Morifaire : другие произведения.

Fear the Shadows

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  • Аннотация:

    Так как написать большое и законченное произведение по разрабатываемой мной вселенной на данный конкретный момент времени возможным не представляется, то я решил ограничиться пока выпуском в свет небольших зарисовок, так или иначе могущих быть отнесенными к этому миру. Итак, дамы и господа, встречайте картину номер два - падение Города.

    P.S.: Так как этот рассказ есть мой первый опыт работы с английским, то у меня к вам убедительная просьба отнестись к нему хотя бы с пониманием :)



"But what goes up is got to fall",

Linkin Park - "Hit the Floor".

   At the time when the melted disk of the Sun was just about to touch the horizon, a lonely figure in a black cloak appeared on a hill near the City. His head was covered with a hood, and the only thing you could see through the darkness hiding his face were two narrowed eyes burning with cold flame. He stood there without a movement, and it seemed like he was waiting for something... or someone... and that the meeting should occur very soon.
   And down to the foot of the hill laid the City, which its inhabitants thought to be eternal.
   It was smothered in greenery, wallowed in luxury, and the people lived there have forgotten the thing that should be burned in their minds for the whole Eternity. They forgot the reason why they've had to settle here ages ago. They forgot the oath their ancestors have taken and the words they have told to those, in whose hands had laid the threads of their destiny. They forgot the pain they've felt then... And that evening was just the right time to refresh their memories and make them regret of being such forgetful.
   The figure on the hill was still motionless. No sound could be heard from him, as though he was surrounded with some kind of circle of silence... and who knows, maybe it was true.
   The ruler of the City was called the Deputy. None of the mortals knew why, but the one who stood at the top of the hill was not of their kind, and he clearly remembered the day when that wizard - only a man, a weak and pathetic piece of organic flesh! (even now, after so many years have passed, he couldn't keep himself calm while thinking of that) - became a target of Omerna's choice and got that name and the crown of the ruler in addition.
   And he was a faithful servant... for some time. For some very short time, it should be said... It was not sufficient for the plan Omerna's been carrying out, and that fact was completely driving her mad. Moreover, as the goddess told him, the Deputy has had too much (much more than he could handle), but his greed has grown to the indecency and should have been cut a little. Not so much he understood from her words, but the fact of being engaged with her wrath caused by extra questions did not attract him at all.
   However, there was one thing he knew for sure - this place has been a garden for too long, and a little piece of desert with several bloodstreams instead of the City would be the best gift his mistress could ever imagine to have. Also, he knew the Deputy was remaining alive for an inexcusably long time, and the perspective of killing this miserable mortal by himself, slowly and with suffers, was exciting him too much.
   And that is why he was standing there, at the top of the hill.
   That is why he was waiting until the sun drowns in the waters of the western sea.
   That is why his usually cold eyes were burning from the inside and his smile appeared from the shadow was lit with the sunbeams, the last sunbeams this City'd ever see.
   He was smiling. He was smiling and, moreover, was about to laugh, because he was standing there and waiting. And he knew what happened when the Praefectus of the Fourth Legion had waited until the night comes.
   The City was living its everyday life; it was full of light spread by oil lamps and noise that was coming from markets and taverns, squares and parks, and could be heard on miles away far from the city walls.
   The City was living its everyday life, and none of its inhabitants noticed the moment when the hundreds of figures worn in black cloaks appeared from the shadows covered the streets and with the command heard only by them started the business they've all come here for.
   The hunt's begun.
   First laid the city guards and all of the soldiers of the garrison. Decapitated, with cut throats, blades in their backs and arrows sticking out of their chests - at the time, which is not even enough to cry out for help, they all turned into decaying pieces of flesh dispersed all over the streets.
   The dark wave of pain rolling through the City.
   Then the time has come for the civil inhabitants to taste the steel of the legionaires' blades.
   The Shadows were strafing along the streets, and Death itself was following every step they made crushing, killing and burning every living that was so unfortunate to find himself out of his house that night.
   The legionaires were silent - they moved and slayed without any sound came out of their mouths - and the only thing you could hear were mortals' dying screams spread by wind.
   Black cloaks. Black armour. Black plumes of centurions. Only their eyes burned through the slots of their helmets.
   This was not the revenge - they could feel nothing during a long time... so long that it could be called an Eternity...
   This was simply their duty - destroy everything they've told to.
   This was Omerna's order, and that night they were carrying it out with the diligence never seen by any of the mortal kind.
   Guided by one of the Legion's centurions, Praefectus was walking by the neverending corridors of the Deputy's Palace.
   The signs of battle or, it's better to say, massacre could be seen everywhere: floor and walls covered with blood, lots of corpses - departed, burned, frozen and torn to pieces... And cries. Cries, cries, cries - the air was melting of dying screams and groans... But the legionaires were deaf to the others' pain.
   At last, they've reached the room with two praetorians standing at the entrance - the Deputy's bedroom, that it was.
   - Greetings, my lord! - saluted the senior.
   Praefectus nodded in return.
   - Have my order been carried out?
   - Of course, my lord, - bowed one of them. - Everything's performed as you commanded.
   He nodded once again and entered the room.
   That was a pretty mess down there: broken chairs, torn curtains and draperies, bent candlesticks... and three dead guardians lying on the floor in the pool of their own blood. Near the bed stood a human - on his knees and with tied hands, held by two legionaires.
   Praefectus approached the prisoner.
   - Well, well, well! What a nice surprise! The Deputy himself, - a sinister smile appeared on his face. - Who could even imagine we'll meet so... soon.
   The Deputy seemed to be very scared. His lips were trembling and cold sweat broke out over his forehead.
   - Who... who are you? Wh-hat do you want from me?
   - Who are we? Did you hear that? - Praefectus burst out laughing. - Haven't you finally awaken, Deputy?.. Well, all right. I'll tell you who we are and what do we want... - with these words he unsheathed his gladius.
   Deputy's eyes filled with horror.
   - No, wait! Wait!!! I... I have gold, lots of gold! Take it, take it all, but don't do this, please! Don't kill me!..
   Praefectus' eyes burst out with contempt.
   - Gold?! - he leaned towards the prisoner. - I don't need your gold, you goddamned mortal!
   - There's not only gold, - chattered the Deputy, dying of horror. - I have lots of jewels: diamonds, emeralds... lots of them! Take it, take - I'll give you everything, but just don't do this...
   Praefectus straightened himself out.
   - Soldiers! - the legionaires raised up their heads. - It seems like that stupid human simply cannot understand the specifics of the situation he has found himself in. Explain him, but try to avoid too hard terms - our mistress and I will be very disappointed if this fool dies before his time shall come.
   Watching the legionaries drag the trembling Deputy out of the room, he sneered.
   - Not every problem in this world could be solved with money and treasure, mortal.
   At the top of the hill stood two shady figures, watching the City ruins being consumed by flame - street by street, house by house. For some time they kept silence enjoying the sight of destruction they've brought, then one of them said to his companion:
   - I want none of these pigs survive the night. Not a single mortal. Do you understand, legate?
   She nodded.
   - Do everything you want, search every house, check every cellar, every ditch, but there must be no living in the City by morning.
   She nodded again.
   - Of course, milord. You won't find a body remained unburned by the time of the sunrise.
   Praefectus looked into her eyes. She slightly tilted her head and smiled.
   - This time is neither the first nor the last... you know I won't fail you, brother.
   At the top of the hill stood two shady figures watching the last moments of the agony not only of the greatest City those human creatures had ever seen. It was the end of the Goddess' Waiting, it was the end of the reign of mortals... it was the time when all the things they'd believed and valued have turned into dust and been dispersed in oblivion by the dark winds of the past.
   They stood motionless and watched as the first rays of the sun light up the site of fire, pushing through the air filled with smoke and ashes.
   They were victorious.
   As always...
   But no emotions they felt - there'd been nothing within their souls long before they've joined the Legion. Burned emptiness inside their chests... that was enough to become a shadow. That was enough to carve the death-runes on their blades and start the neverending hunt... and all of this just in the name of the Goddess. But none of them refused or repented...
   Never forget, says the Codex.
   Never forgive.
   And never regret.
   Linkin Park - "Hit the Floor".

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