Assassin's Apprentice: The Cursed One
The assassin never speaks of his past. Never gives one clue as to what he may have done, or what he may have seen. Not a single sentence. Not a single word.
He never speaks of the fact that he watched his entire world burn before him, that his people fell to the wrath of King Daarinek. That all he loved was destroyed.
And he never speaks of the horrible monster that the cruel king sent after him...
But he remembers. He will always remember.
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The Buzzing Man
It began with a dream, I suppose. Before that it was a blur of childhood memories, and afterwards a blur of fear and pain. But that dream, that dream stood out.
It was a strange dream. One that had an eerie and creepy atmosphere about it, yet felt strangely calm and tranquil at the time. All I can remember was a man… or perhaps it wasn’t a man. It was impossible to tell. Maybe it was a celestial being, a spirit of some kind, I don’t know. But that doesn’t matter.
It was a tall man. Taller than the hills, it seemed. Taller than the most ancient pine trees. Older than a millennium. He was thin, too. A mere stick. A gust of wind may have blown him over.
But the strangest thing about him were his arms.
Long arms. Long legs, too. His limbs were disjointed, almost. Stretched and lanky, yanked from their sockets. They seemed warped, or hinged, in some places. Like they were both rigid and boneless at the same time.
He stood against a backdrop of white and black. It was a forest, now that I recall it. But no forest I’ve ever seen. Teeth for trees and ghostly fingers for branches. The sky was a white void, and the shadows darker than night. He matched them perfectly.
Sometimes I didn’t see him. No, not until the last minute. He never spoke, not in all the time I’ve known him. He just watched.
A faint noise emanated from him, though his featureless face never moved. It was a buzzing noise, like the sound of furious bees, reverberating across that silent, warped forest. It was scary at the time, though now when I think back I can’t help but be somewhat amused. Though perhaps bemused is a better word. Bemused and bewildered.
I knew this creature… this man… for several weeks. Almost every night as I lay in my bed I saw him. It was always the same. We always stood in that forest, silently watching each other. Nobody moved. Nobody spoke.
But one dream in particular sticks in my mind. That dream was the last.
When I arrived in the ghostly forest the first thing I noticed were the stars. The white void was still there, stretching up endlessly. Limitless, yet a roof over my head. Only now there were stars of deep blue. They were almost black, but the subtlety was there. The first dash of colour in a colourless world.
The second thing I noticed was the absence of the man. This wasn’t too uncommon, as he’d often moved position now and again. He was always standing just on the edge of the clearing I found myself in, half-hidden by the treeline. Sometimes he was in front, other times off to the side.
At the time I put it out of my mind. I remained transfixed on the lights above.
But then things changed. The familiar buzzing returned, only now it came from every direction. Raging and roaring out of the trees, leaping forth like a deranged beast, enveloping and surrounding me. It was louder than usual, far louder. The very forest was screaming, alive with bees which didn’t exist.
The sound was like a blanket, smothering the world. Utterly consuming it beneath its heavy folds. I looked around, trying to find the source of this noise. I turned around.
And then I saw him.
The man. Inches away, bending down to look at me. His featureless face was broken with bulging bloodshot eyes. His newly formed mouth was a bloody gash creeping lopsidedly up his face. It was twitching madly. As the trails of blood dribbled down his chin he uttered a single word.