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Short Story • 3 Minute Read

Shadows of Damnation

By Anthony Reynolds Lenné

The Black Mist coiled and twisted like a living creature as it rolled forward to encircle the isolated, grey-stoned castle.


The Black Mist coiled and twisted like a living creature as it rolled forward to encircle the isolated, grey-stoned castle.

A massive, armored figure walked within the darkness of the Black Mist. His heavy warplate gleamed like oil, and orbs of cruel witchfire burned within his horned helm.

Grass withered underfoot as the armored revenant marched towards the castle's gatehouse. He could see movement on the walls. They knew death had come for them.

His own name drifted on the wind, whispered in fear:

Mordekaiser Mordekaiser.

Arrows sliced through the night. Several stuck Mordekaiser, ricocheting from his armor. One sank into the gap between his helm and gorget, but his inexorable approach did not slow.

A heavy iron portcullis barred Mordekaiser's advance. The revenant extended a gauntleted hand and made a wrenching motion in the air. The lattice ironwork screamed in protest as it was twisted out of shape before being hurled contemptuously aside, revealing the heavy oak gate beyond.

White hot warding runes burst to life upon the gate, forcing Mordekaiser back half a step. The Black Mist roiled around him, and it was possible now for the defenders to see other forms within it - hateful, shadowy specters that hungered for living souls.

Mordekaiser stepped forward, brandishing his immense spiked mace, Nightfall Nightfall. A weapon of dark renown, thousands had fallen before it. With a powerful swing, he slammed the weapon into the oak gate.

The runes exploded, Mordekaiser's dark sorcery overcoming the petty protective spells of his enemies. The gate smashed inwards, ripped off its hinges.

The Black Mist flowed through the breach, Mordekaiser striding within it.

The garrisoned soldiers and men-at-arms waited for him in the courtyard beyond.

Weaklings all. His gaze swept over them as he sought a foe worthy of his attention. His undying gaze settled on a silver-clad knight that stepped out to meet him, sword drawn.

"Begone, revenant, or I shall see you banished", said the knight. "This hamlet and its people are under my protection."

Rising to this threat, a host of specters and translucent warriors manifested in the Black Mist behind their master.

"This one's soul is mine", Mordekaiser said, holding the eager spirits at bay. His voice was deep and sepulchral, the timbre of death itself.

Mordekaiser pointed, and a cone of malignant unlife unlife burst towards the knight.

The knight's armor shone brightly for a second, then returned to its normal, mundane form, leaving him unharmed by Mordekaiser's necromantic sorcery.

"Demacian steel", sneered Mordekaiser. "It will not save you."

He stepped forward and brought his spiked mace down toward the knight's skull. The strike was met with a two-handed parry, though the power of it forced the knight to his knees. Mordekaiser towered over him.

The knight spun away, avoiding Nightfall as it swung toward him in a lethal arc. He sidestepped and sank his blade deep into Mordekaiser's side, biting through the banded links and chain. To a living man, it would have been a mortal blow, but to the armored behemoth, it was as nothing. Mordekaiser backhanded the knight across the side of his head, sending him reeling.

The Iron Revenant stepped in to end the fight, but the knight turned aside his strike with exquisite skill, and rammed the point of his blade into Mordekaiser's chest with all his strength and weight.

With a wrench of metal, the blade punched through the breastplate above the heart. There was no resistance from within, as if the suit were hollow.

Mordekaiser grabbed the knight by the throat in one giant hand and lifted him off the ground.

"You thought you could protect these mortals", said Mordekaiser. "But know that it will be you who slays them."

He squeezed, tightening his grip on the knight's throat. The mortal's feet kicked in the air. Mordekaiser watched closely, eyes burning, as the life drained from the knight. Finally, he dropped the lifeless corpse to the floor.

Mordekaiser knelt and placed a hand upon the dead knight's chest. When the armored giant rose, he drew forth the shade shade of the dead warrior.

The spirit of the knight looked around it, horror writ in its spectral eyes.

"Now", commanded Mordekaiser, knowing that the shade was powerless to resist him.

"Kill them all."