A few notes before we start:

--> Yes, I know it's like 8 hours late. Sorry, my idiot self fell asleep without putting it here
--> Map doesn't match the story exactly. I did the maps that will be featured here way before the story.
The challenge is to make a story that follows a line of maps, not vice-versa.
--> There are 10 more days coming! Look for them on weekends.
--> I have absolutely no idea where to put this in the Forums. If someone has any ideas, let me know or
move it to the right place. Thanks!


A knock came on the door and a servant poked his head into the room before Andras had a chance to answer. The man's face was sweaty and nervous; Andras knew the servant could not carry good news.

"What is it, Stevens?" Andras asked. The man dipped his head, avoiding eye contact, and spoke carefully.

"Another of your trading vessels has gone missing sir. Reports suggest that it was apprehended a little more than halfway between here and Tavmin. I think it was the pirates again, sir." The servant replied. Andras sighed slowly, frustration building inside of him. It was not the first time a report of this nature had been issued this week. His fleet was thinning, and so was the money that came with it.

"Which vessel was it, Stevens?"

"The Norfolk, sir."

Andras swore. The Norfolk had been one of his favorites, and he had been personal friends with the captain of that ship. He dismissed the servant, who was relieved to exit so quickly, and sat silently at his desk, thinking.

As the sun retreated back to the Earth and the stars began to come out, Andras paged through an old book he had found in the deepest recesses of his private library. The book was worn with age, though it had spent the vast majority of it's time on the dusty shelves in the dark. Inside the pages, evil thoughts were scribbled hastily in some places, and methodically in others. Andras had been reading it for the past few days, in secrecy, and only tore his eyes from the pages when a knock on his door forced him to conceal the book. In part, Andras felt guilty, but he also felt strangely compelled to experiment with the suggestions made within the book. One, in particular, stood out from among the rest as being the worst, and also the most appealing. Andras, his mind focused elsewhere, was staring at that page now.

The comprehensible writing on the page was sparse. Instead, the author had written loosely, leaving out spaces between words and sometimes even letters. Reading was painstakingly slow and difficult, but Andras was so curious he refused to give up. The page also contained a shockingly accurate diagram (though the author of the book had seemed to rush here as well) of a man in a summoning circle. Little by little, Andras had deduced correctly that the page contained instructions on how to summon a major demon, possibly one that served evil directly and willingly.

While this revelation should have shocked Andras out of reading the book, he was so deeply immersed in the pages that few things could have stopped his continuing. There was corruption somewhere deep in his mind, and had he been his normal self, he would have felt something was wrong. His thoughts, however, were not entirely his own.

Andras decided that he had to try to summon this demon, for he was immensely curious. He did not know if what the book said was true, and he doubted the spell would work, but he wanted the opportunity to confront a demon. With the hour nearing midnight, and most of the lights in the village below his window disappearing, Andras set off through his manor to find the objects required for the spell. A few, like the candles and the chalk, were readily available. However, while Andras knew he had them, materials like copal incense were harder to find. When Andras had finished gathering the materials and had stalk piled them next to the summoning circle he had drawn (replicating the one in the book), it was nearly quarter to midnight.

Andras carefully lit the candles and the incense. The book had said to light an absurd amount of incense, and the room quickly filled with strong smelling smoke. The candles, as the only source of light in the room, dimly shone through the smoke. The summoning circle lay in the corner of the room, standing out on the dark stone floor.

Shaking with a mixture of fear dulled by excitement, Andras consulted the book for the final time before stepping into the summoning circle and chanting a series of words from the demonic language. The words chilled him; he didn't understand their meaning, but he found himself speaking with certainty in his deep voice. He grew more tense as he went, reciting the words from memory, as there was no way he could read from the book - it was not possible to read in the low light or bring the book inside the summoning circle.

When he finished, he was at first disappointed; the effect was not instantaneous. Then, the light from the candles dipped, plunging the room into near darkness. A sudden fear leapt up in Andras's heart as his mind was freed of corruption. For no more than a second, he realized the full extent of what he had done. Then his mind was once more clouded as an evil being slipped inside. His head felt heavier, swelled with the pressure of thousands of years of pain. Panicking, Andras ran out of the summoning circle and fell onto the enormous collection of candles. Though flames engulfed him, he felt no pain.

Andras collapsed and rolled on the floor to extinguish the flames, and remained there for several long moments, contemplating what had happened. He was not possessed by the demon, but his thoughts were corrupted and influenced by the wants of the evil creature inside him. He stood, and laid his eyes upon the book. He desperately wanted to tip the candle and spill hot wax and flame onto the evil pages, but something prevented him from doing so. Emotions rolling inside him, Andras stepped out onto the balcony connected to his bedroom.

Looking down, the drop was drastic. Even though Andras's quarters were located on the second floor of the keep, the balcony dangled over the cliff below, and the drop was more than five-hundred feet. The normally violent waters below were calm, lapping easily against the base of the cliff. A cold wind chilled Andras to the bone, but he stubbornly refused to retreat back to his warm rooms. Part of him wanted to avoid the mess he had made inside, and he knew he was not going to get any sleep.

Looking off to the side, Andras saw the village in the distance. Only a few lights were left on so late at night - midnight was only a few minutes away. Evil thoughts once more filled Andras's mind (influenced by the demon within) and his grip tightened on the railing of the balcony. He imagined a world under his control, were those who had the audacity to defy him were executed publicly, and he could send soldiers to die with the flick of a finger. Andras pictured the world the way he wanted it to be, and smiled a twisted smile.

The sound of a pebble skittering caused Andras to whirl around in rage. A terrified servant stood behind him, carrying a candle on a silver plate. The candle dropped when the servant saw the look upon Andras's face.

Though Andras would have called the man Stevens, the servant was not the same man as before. Andras did not know the real names of his servants, and did not care to learn them. Instead, he called every servant by the same name. The first servant had served Andras's family for years, and knew the consequences of bearing bad news. He had done so once today, and would not have been found doing it again. This servant, who was much younger and inexperienced, had been the unfortunate loser of a bet, and had been sentenced to check upon the master. He had mistakenly entered the room when he had seen smoke and had received no response to his incessant knocking.

Andras, infuriated beyond reason, grabbed a sword from were it rested against the wall (where the balcony connected to the castle) and advanced menacingly towards the servant. The man stumbled backwards in an attempt to get away from Andras, but was decapitated before he could retreat back into the bedrooms. Blood gushed from the hole where the man's head had been, and spilled over the edges of the balcony, dripping down into the waters below. The unfortunate man's head had just come to a stop when the clock struck midnight.

Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Bleak Castle.jpg 
Views:	101 
Size:	1.70 MB 
ID:	54507