Unclear Visions -- Part 9With a start, Cedric found himself pushed out of his dreams and back to reality. A familiar hand firmly shook his shoulder. He shook his head, moreso to let Catherine know that he was awake than out of any need to clear his thoughts, and then sat upright.
With some concern, he noted the distinct lack of warm sunlight on his face. Internally, it felt as though had had hardly slept at all. Was it still during the dark of night?
“I'm awake.” He grunted, less than politely.
Catherine's voice greeted his ear. “You had best rise and shine, then. We have a lynch mob coming to visit.”
“A lynch mob?”
“Yes. The townspeople are coming for you with torches and pitchforks. Hence why I'm waking you. After all, I assume that you would not like to greet them in your present state of undress?”
Cedric swung his legs over the side of his bunk. A small part of him was amused at how easy the motion was now. He had become very accustomed to moving about in his
Unclear Visions -- Part 8It was a war on two sides: a war that Cedric was no longer certain that he could even win. The first side was that of remaining upright as his nurse partly guided and mostly pulled him around the castle courtyard. She had this most frustrating habit of abruptly turning first one way and another. Presumably this was to avoid some obstacle in their path, but the entire experience frustrated Cedric enough that he began to wonder if it wasn't just to annoy him.
The other enemy he faced was perhaps the most deadly. Forget Eryne, the greatest threat to his sanity might very well be disorientation.
This world of darkness took all sense of orientation from him. Cedric didn't know where he was in relation to the castle walls, much less which direction he was facing at any given time. He could vaguely tell where the sun was by the dim orange glow that it cast about his sightless vision, but that information was not enough to provide him with any bearing or direction.
Thus, he was infinitely glad
Unclear Visions -- Part 7"Well, the sun has risen. It's time for you to get up and face the day."
Cedric turned his face in what he hoped to be the owner of that voice's general direction. He frowned at the slightly irritating, feminine, voice and glared at his nurse through the layers of bandaging that covered his eyes.
"Don't be that way." The voice persisted. "I'm not about to have you lounging around here, wasting away to nothing all day. Your face may be healing, but the rest of you needs some exercise."
"And how, pray tell, do you expect me to do that?" There was no point in keeping the irritation out of his voice.
It was an irritation born of fear as much as anything else. He had seen what regular fire would do to unguarded skin. Magical fire was far worse. It was the arcane variety that had scorched his very eyes. He very much doubted that he would ever be able to see again.
And how could he fight, do battle, track fugitives, or bring Eryne to justice if he could not see? Those answers lay far beyond h
Unclear Visions -- Part 6Consciousness began to flirt with Cedric's mind, drawing him-- against his will-- back into the land of the living. He clawed, desperately, at the darkness of oblivion in an attempt to remain asleep. He didn't want to awake. Waking meant confronting the pain and sorrow of losing Lara. So long as he was asleep, he wouldn't have to deal with her permanent absence.
When he could delay no longer, he slowly opened his eyes. Horror filled them immediately. His head wildly whipped this way and that. His eyes spun around in every direction, searching for some sign of escape. There was none. The cold truth dawned on him: he was trapped in a living nightmare.
He was floating in the Mists of Time. 'Floating' was the apt word for the situation. The endless emptiness had consumed him so thoroughly that even the ground beneath his feet was gone. Cedric attempted to turn, to roll over, and when that failed he frantically waved his arms as though swimming through water. If his efforts had accomplished
Unclear Visions -- Part 5Cedric found himself annoyed at Eryne arrogance. The fact that she was clearly enjoying having the upper hand also perturbed him. This, combined with his exasperation at her most recent revelation, that she desired him to be king, left him more than a bit uncertain of how to react to the situation.
Several moments passed. When Eryne failed to provide any more information, he was left but to stoke her ego by asking: “King? Me?”
“Yes.” Eryne replied simply.
She left it at that, clearly expecting him to beg for more details. Her clear smugness began to transmute his be wilderness into frustration. Cedric forced his pride aside and attempted to discern her motives. A large part of his mind desired to lop her head from her shoulders and just be done with it. He ignored the notion: firstly, because such was not proper conduct for a paladin of the realm; secondly, because doing so might strand him in these wretched mists.
He decided to say as much. “I've no time
Unclear Visions -- Part 4“Mists of Time?” Cedric repeated haltingly. “Surely, you jest.”
Eryne's eyes sharpened around her reply: “I never jest; my interactions with that insufferable archer should have well established that.”
The paladin winced at that unwanted reminder of his comrade's death. He wondered if the trace of vehemence in her voice had been real or imagined. Her demeanor, although empathetic a few short moments ago, was now swiftly removing any sympathies he might have had for her. His hand longed to lash out and split the magician in two, but he stayed the desire. Whatever happened, justice was still his ideal. He would not sink to the level of a common murderer.
“Explain.” Despite his resolve, he was unable to keep anger from creeping into his voice.
“Let me pose a hypothetical first.” If she noticed his fury, it was impossible to tell. “Suppose that you were warned that a neighboring kingdom was going to attack our fair land. Sup
Unclear Visions -- Part 3An eternity passed in that swirling, intangible void. Finally, the shock began to ebb and the grief began to recede. Cedric became coherent of his surroundings. He looked up, starting slightly with the realization that the mist had begun to clear.
No. Not clear. It was retreating. He was certain of this fact. It was pulling back, removing itself from the area so that it was still present, but in less numerous volume. The slow sound of measured, uneven footsteps reached his ears. His hand darted out to grip the handle of his axe.
'Let this be an enemy,' He silently begged. It would do him well to turn his sorrow into rage upon some unsuspecting foe.
The fog pulled back, revealing a black-haired woman in magician's robes. Eryne stood before him; her face was contorted between pain and resolution. Cedric tried to relax at her presence. It was a futile gesture. His body was simply too stressed to listen to the calming influence of his mind.
“I am sorry, Cedric.” Her voice was l
Unclear Visions -- Part 2Cedric readied himself as the mist encroached itself upon them. He grunted and tried to coax readiness from his aching joints. His very armor was now abominably heavy; it fought his every move and motion. He ignored the cry of his weary muscles. Greater things were at stake than his personal comfort.
A seed of unease planted itself in his heart-- a nimble seed that avoided his every attempt to wretch it out of existence. He blocked it from his mind; he fixed his mind on their goals and conditions of victory. The line had to hold. The prince had to be kept safe at all costs. The seed sprouted into a thin vine that began wrapping itself about his chest. Fear gripped him. He wrestled with it, refusing to surrender to it.
The surrounding mist refused to allow him peace. Cedric winced and tried to close his widening eyes. His eyelids ignored his orders. The fear turned to horror as he stared into the fog. By now it was within inches of his nose. He glanced this way and that, attempting to d
Unclear Visions - Part 1In a perfect world, they would have ample time to stop and thoroughly plan out every military action long beforehand. They did not live in a perfect world; their present world? Well, Cedric wouldn't even call it a fair world-- it was more like a brutally unfair world.
He did his best to drive such thoughts from his mind. He had far more important things about which to worry: such as driving his axe through resurrected skeletons and cleaving through demon wolves. It was more difficult than it should have been. This battle-- the final battle-- had lingered far longer than any fair world would allow. It had drained their strength and sapped their wills. Now, even focusing on the enemy before him took inconsiderable effort.
They were operating on pure improvisation, making up their tactics and strategies at the spur of the moment. There was no consideration of what lay ahead or any sense of optimizing their tactics and strategies. There wasn't time for that. There was only time to react.