JWC Design
Josie's Online Portfolio, etc.

In Search of Darkness

In Search of Darkness

Writing | Paternum | Writing Prompts | Short Stories

I had lived a violent life, like most of the unfortunate souls in the world. Specifically, I had been drafted into the eternal war between the Seven Kingdoms and the Dark Lord Karkath, and ended up spending nearly 15 years fighting. I didn't even remember which side - the fine details of your life fade away, in the black.

Oh yeah, forgot to mention, there's a reason for the past tense there. I had died. Some great battle that was supposed to end the war and throw down Karkath once and for all. I don't know how it went, though - I had been stabbed in the gut and died a slow, painful death. Could be worse.

Anyway, since then I had been just kind of floating in the black darkness of nonexistence. It's quite relaxing, I really don't know why people want to stay alive so godsdamned much. My time alive was certainly never as pleasant as my time dead.

...which is also over, unfortunately. About seven seconds ago, in fact. There had been a blindingly-white slash across the endless blackness, and a great hand reached through and grabbed me, then shoved me right back into, well, I assume it's my body. It's decayed a bit, but it still seems to work well enough, judging by how quickly I was able to punch the asshole who brought me back.

He reared back, rubbing his jaw. "Sir Rodrick?" he asked uncertainly.

"I... think that was my name," I said with a little difficulty, my throat rough from not having been used in however many years. Also, I was pretty sure that there was some dirt down there. "Why did you bring me back?" I asked, pushing myself up from where I had been laid on the ground.

"You were the greatest warrior of your age!" declared the guy. "You led your party right up to the gates of The Black King's castle, and sacrificed your life to get them inside! It's thanks to you that Karkath was vanquished!" He paused, then asked, probably still a little confused by my instinctive punch, "...right?"

I scratched at my chin. "Yeah, probably," I admitted after a moment. "That sounds like something I would have done. I think I was a bit of an idiot when I was alive. But again, why did you bring me back?"

Now he was definitely fumbling. Clearly I wasn't following the script. "Well, uh... Lord Karkath has returned, somehow. You are needed once more to fight against him, Sir Rodrick."

I glanced around, taking stock of my surroundings more fully. Looked like we were in the tower of a castle, and that along with the number of bookshelves against one wall implied that I had been raised by a wizard and not a priest. "Okay. What if I say no?"

"...uh..."

"I've had enough of fighting, I think. In fact, I've rather had enough of living. Put me back to sleep, please," I said to him.

"I, uh, can't," he muttered. "The spell is irreversible. It created you as a wight, an eternal soldier."

I groaned. "Oh course you made me a wight." The magics that created wights rather than lesser undead were pretty serious, and they took the word 'eternal' in 'eternal soldier' pretty seriously as well. "So there's no way for me to die again. Thanks, dick."

At least he had the decency to appear somewhat apologetic. "Well, there may be one way."

"Do enlighten me."

He took a deep breath. "The Dark One, Karkath, was and is the greatest necromancer the world has ever seen. If anyone can put a wight to rest, he can."

"Of course," I growled. "Just what you wanted. Well, fine... looks like I'm going after him after all. Again."

Influences

No work of art exists in a vacuum. All things have their influences. Although it would be impossible to identify everything which influenced me in the writing of In Search of Blackness, I do wish to pay tribute to those which I am aware of as well as to those I paid conscious tribute to.

The idea of intelligent undead who would like to be properly dead again, please, in one that has amused me greatly ever since I read Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw’s novel Mogworld, which stars a belligerent undead on a quest to be properly dead again, please.

In Search of Blackness was written as a response to a prompt on Reddit.