Valdara tied his hair back into a ponytail as he took a knee before the pedestal atop the hill. His sword rested still as silence washed over him. The words carved into the stone slab filled him with a profound sense of regret and loss. He bowed his head, shame falling from his visage.
“I’m sorry, Master. I must take leave once more. Please, lend me your strength. All of this, I do for you.”
Do as you please. Know that I will not settle for any less than utter annihilation.
A harsh red light radiated from the stone’s carvings, overwhelming Valdara’s senses. He lifted the sword and marched away, the winds blowing back his hair and brushing the grass as he blurred into the gray clouded sky in the distance.
When Valdara returned to the hill, blood stained his robes. His sleeves were tattered, his face was bruised and battered, and his knees cracked and buckled with each step until he finally dropped in front of that same pedestal. He attempted to stab the sword into its resting place, but his legs collapsed under him. Valdara finally rested under the protection of the stars. The drops of rain washed the dirt from his hands as exasperated breaths formed quiet words.
“Master, I won. Soldiers from every corner of the country gathered. Ryuuto, the spoiled regent of Midori, Weisheit, the cosmic mentor from the dark realm. All decorated warriors and I fended off their armies for you. Now I ask, am I free?”
Valdara was now crouched on all fours, blood pouring from an open wound in his chest. His smile widened as the hot crimson leaked from his mouth. He rolled over to his back and fell flat as his chest puffed out with laughter. The grip on the hilt of his sword loosened as the pulsating weapon fell from his hand.
“I did everything you asked of me. What am I to do now?”
I am not the one responsible for our covenant, Valdara. This is the price you pay for the bloodlust you’ve felt. The sword’s pulse rang louder and louder as Valdara’s heartbeat slowed. The carvings in the stone slab radiated a soft red glow as laughter faded to breathing and then to nothing, as the proud warrior Valdara lay, reduced to a victim of the blade’s seduction.