He tried to force his eyes open. Pain burned through his body. Temples pounding, Borus attempted to get up from his face down position in the mud. There was screaming, chaos in the ranks of the army. The men were panicking, and something was not right. Borus stood up and screamed in horror at the sight before him, Soldiers created a wide circle around him as they panicked and drew their weapons. Cries of “Do not retreat!” echoed through the night. Knights in metal plate armor lit torches, illuminating the edges of the circle, trying to isolate an apparent threat.
Borus was inside the area the army created; right next to whatever they were protecting themselves from, right next to what caused hundreds of grown men to panic.
There, right before him, was a ghastly pale man with dark hair. Crimson red blood dripped down his chin as he mauled the neck of a Soldier, whose face was twitching, bone white, and twisted in agonized pain.
Borus’s heart thudded in his chest. He was too scared to run, too scared to scream.
“This… It’s not… But… how…” Borus’s thoughts raced within his head. The monster before him finished it’s feast and turned towards him, making eye contact. The bone thin structure and bat like features of its face became even more obvious. The Creatures pale yellow eyes thinned as it gave Borus a broad, bloody, ravenous smile, fangs and all. Borus couldn’t hold it in any longer. This was Borus’s one and only fear, something of which he thought existed only in myths, until now.
He screamed, but it was futile. The Militiamen paid him no heed as they raised their weapons and their horses stepped back, widening the large, inescapable circle around him. He was locked in with this monster. He could not escape as men blocked any possible way out. He soon got knocked over. Blood dripped down from the monsters fangs onto Borus’s face as he wrestled it upon the ground. Borus held his two hands upon its neck as it snapped repeatedly; it was trying to get to his neck. Adrenaline rushing through his body, Borus forcibly pushed the fiend away from him with all of his strength, screaming and sending it flying across the grass. It wasn’t long until it was up again, attempting a charge back upon him. He braced and covered his neck with his arms.
A voice cut through the night. Before the vampire could reach Borus, a large gout of flame erupted, as if out of nowhere, and engulfed it. The monster screamed in agony as the surrounding militia looked in horror. Its pale skin blackened as it was burned to a crisp, turning to ash after only a couple of seconds in the searing hot blue fire. Borus, about half a yard away from being burned to death, had to look away and roll to cover as heat surrounded him. Borus winced as pain stung his body, only to suddenly disappear as the flame seemingly extinguished itself. He tried to breathe, still recovering from shock. He heard footsteps approaching his direction.
A gaunt, male figure approached him. He was tall and dressed in black clergy robes, completely splattered with dark, red blood. The man pulled down the hood covering his face, revealing bone thin and pale features alongside discolored red and white eyes. His freakish appearance was complete by a receding hairline with straight, dirty black hair.
“You there. Show me your neck.”
Borus could do nothing but gape at his horrific, deathly appearance.
“I said show me your neck!” His face twisted in anger. He had a powerful presence. The surrounding militia cowered, looking down. Borus stood, allowing him to inspect his neck. He felt the man’s cold, rancid breath against his face.
“Good. This man is not bitten.” He said, turning away from Borus and walking around the inside of the circle the army formed. “Now tell me, who is in charge here!?”
Crickets chirped at the starlight above, and Ravens cawed somewhere in the distance. Everyone was struck by fear.
“That would be me.” A General, clad in heavy, gilded steel armor, stepped into the circle. “I lead this army by authority of the-”
The cloaked figure stretched a ghostly white palm at the general, who slowly drew his hands to his neck, gasping for air.
“Wait… Wait!” the General gasped. “I didn’t know you were the-”
The cloaked figure murmured something akin to a curse as the general’s eyes looked up into his own skull, tearing themselves from their now bleeding sockets. He gasped for air in an attempt to resist. It was futile. The General fell backwards as his very soul was forcibly torn from his body and shattered. The cloaked figure licked his lips and smiled sadistically, satisfied with his kill.
The surrounding men stared in shock and horror. Borus watched and was nearly too afraid to breathe. The cloaked figure withdrew his arm and turned to face the army.
“All of you will face your greatest challenge a day from now, when we will lay siege to the northern kingdom.” He spoke. Hundreds of dark figures, with blood red armor and skull helmets, emerged from the shadows of the night around him, complying to the summons of their master. “My name is Azelzeth, The royal Necromancer and leader of the Crimson Skull Guild. I specialize in fire and death magic. I am the master of the underworld itself. I am your new leader; to betray me or flee will give you a fate worse than death. Believe me when I say that you have only seen a mere trinket of what I can do.”
Azelzeth stopped his small speech, glaring about the army. Borus looked down at the scorched earth and felt the cold mud on his face. The hundreds of men around him fell into dead silence. It didn’t matter whether they were mournful or afraid. Something about Azelzeth seemed much more frightening than any vampire.
Borus gritted his teeth in raw hatred. This was the man who forced him from his home. This was the man who separated him from his family. This was the leader of the Crimson Skull Guild.