flASH fiction: Volume 2: Five Years of Blood

Log Final

Five Years of Blood
By
Jason Pere

Sir Eric Greyhand was dead. The news of the Rayward Master of Arms death rushed through every high court, city tavern and county farmstead in Argaia. The unified hope that all people had placed on the knight and his great host of fighting men was shattered into oblivion. It was known that the chimera were a fearsome enemy but the prospect of the monstrous beasts defeating the finest military contingent in all the land was unfathomable. Only the gravest skeptics had mentally prepared themselves for the reality that the realm found itself in. The people of Argaia lived in total fear, now knowing that they existed by and large at the mercy of the chimera.

Emperors, Queens, Warlords, nobility and government of all sorts clamored to temper their dominions against the chimera. Many rulers put out a call to arms. Several nations began stockpiling supplies and bolstering their armies. Even with the show of strength that many leaders demonstrated the people remained fearful. There were few forces in the known world that could compete with the Rayward military’s honor and discipline. The crippling defeat of Sir Eric seemed a foreboding prelude to the destruction of any fighting force that dare oppose the chimera.

Panic swept throughout the land as despair began to take hold on the spirits of men and women alike. Civil unrest was felt in the walls of every major city. Some of Argaia’s most populated metropolises even broke into violent riots. It soon became a daunting task for many rulers and governing bodies to simply maintain order and prevent anarchy form running rampant within their domains. For some who ruled it quickly became a concern that their own subjects might be the ruin of their cities before the chimera even came to call at their gates.

Many payers were said and offerings made to the various powers and deities that the people of Argaia worshiped. The words and ceremonies may have differed significantly from region to region but the thing that was requested of each higher power was the same. The people all cried out for freedom from the wicked beasts that the red rains had spawned. The chimera were rapidly growing in numbers, strength and the willingness to attack larger fortified human settlements. It seemed like the only hope for respite from the chimera would be the intervention of some omnipotent force.

As if by some divine act of ironic mercifully cruel humor, the collective payers of Argaia were answered. The chimera subsided their onslaught and retreated into the wilds. The people did not celebrate this reprieve from their oppressors. The cause for the chimera’s sudden withdrawal was no cause for rejoicing. Everyone who had lived underneath the red skies up until this point thought that they had seen the worst that the rains of blood had to offer. That belief was soon proven to be nothing more than steam and vapor. The red rains intensified and unleashed a mighty primal fury across all of Argaia. The storm of blood that beat the children of the dragon back and away from their human prey was the single greatest natural catastrophe that the world had ever seen.

The sun seemed to vanish from the sky. The heavens that looked down over Argaia were consumed with an infinite sprawling blanket of red and black clouds. The deluge of blood that fell from above was a horrific living nightmare for everyone that dwelt underneath. It was not long before people longed for the days when the chimera roamed free. Light and warmth quickly faded into memories as the world was cleansed with freezing darkness. A long cold night began and clutched Argaia in a bloody stranglehold.

As the red rains fell with their newfound wrath humanity suffered greater loss of life in the first days than it had it all the time that the chimera had swept across the land. Farms were washed away and erased from existence. The oceans rose and their scarlet tides swallowed entire portside towns. Only the largest and greatest cities in Argaia stood up to the merciless storm that raged in the skies. The rest of civilian was torn asunder and left broken and weeping in the night.

The world was drowning in blood and all of mankind was powerless to do anything about it. The red rains were the most vicious killer that the land had ever known. No warrior’s blade could slay this unrepentant murderer nor could any holy man’s words sooth it’s bloodlust. The collective might of kings and all society’s nobility were brought low but the unbridled fury of nature. Argaia’s proudest age was put to and end and cast into nothing by a faceless terror of darkness and blood.

The red rains ruled over Argaia for five long years until they stopped without warning or explanation. Once more the people did not celebrate the end of their oppressor. With all the destruction that had been visited upon Argaia by the rain of blood few hearts had any joy left within them. With the break in the storm hope and prosperity did not return to the inhabitants of the realm. Where hope should have taken seed in the hearts of men a new fear laid its roots. Fear was the only lesson that men had learned in the five years of rain and it was a lesson well learned. People did not rejoice at the cessation of the rains but instead pondered when the storms would return to terrorize the land.

More than a fear of the red rains returning there was a dormant fear that was reawakened as the sun returned to the sky. People remembered the chimera. More so they recalled how the rain of blood had been the harbinger of the twisted beasts in the first place. Every living spirit in Argaia could only use the farthest reaches of their imagination to postulate how the chimera might have endured and even thrived during the long storm. Past that, the question on everyone’s mind was when the monsters would choose to make their presence felt once more.

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