Riding across the open plains, Wendol shielded his eyes against the light sprinkle of rain. A sense of dread fell over Wendol as he spotted the gate, cut down and in shambles. It meant that Loque had been here for sure, though Wendol could only hope that he’d only stolen a boat and been on his way.
Dismounting from his horse, Wendol let go of the reins and pulled his saddle to the ground. Patting his horse’s chest, Wendol slowly walked into the town carefully stepping over the broken gate fallen on the street.
The city was covered in fog, everything masked in a deep, ominous feeling. No more than ten feet in, Wendol spotted blood splattered across the walls of a building.
Not daring to get any closer, Wendol took a wide path around the blood-stained wall, spotting that the door of the same building had been cut away just as the gate had been. Knowing that the building would boast the same destruction, Wendol peeked his head in. Instantly, his eyes landed on three bodies discarded next to an overturned table.
Looking away, Wendol stepped back onto the street. Looking down the main street, Wendol noticed that each of the buildings bore the same destroyed front. With a resigned sigh, Wendol headed towards the next building knowing that he needed to look for anyone who may have been spared the sight of Loque’s blade.
Wendol slowly walked throughout the rest of Trepton, briefly glancing into buildings through their shattered walls. At every turn an appalling scene was laid out before Wendol, people from the youngest of children to the oldest of the elders lay slain around the bends of every corner.
Wendol, seeing the sheer amounts of damage thrown across the town, knew the Loque had long since passed the threshold of safely breaking. The deaths that had been so callously carried out were the reminder Wendol needed to remember that Loque no longer was himself, rather the remnant of a person left in a ruined shell.
Sitting down upon the dock, Wendol pulled a chunk of bread from his bag nibbling at the stale meal. The day seemed to echo hollowly around him, the gloomy fog settled across the ocean spilling into the town leaving it feeling all the more empty. The only sounds left in the ghost town were the soft crashing of waves against the sand and the splattering of the drizzle against the dirt.
Staring out towards the sea, Wendol couldn’t make out any boat or waves, the heavy fog blanketing the world, turning the endless sky into a wall of grey. The sun’s path had only begun to trace through the sky, eerily visible through the fog to the East.
Wendol shifted through his sack, counting each piece of bread, dried meat, and filled flasks. He had enough for seven more days, meaning he’d have to collect more supplies once he landed on the shore at Ukkan Isle.
Rising to his feet, Wendol stretched and yawned, stepping down onto the rickety, wooden pier. Glancing at each of the boats, Wendol’s eyes landed on a well-built fishing boat. Made from the finest woods, three masts erected in a triangle pattern on the deck. Stepping onto the boat, Wendol glanced around before easily untying the knot connecting it to the pier.
Skillfully pulling at the sails, spreading them wide open to catch the wind, Wendol pushed the boat off from the dock. Slowly drifting away in the ocean, Wendol continued to pull at the masts. His movements habitually falling into place, Wendol angled the hull of the boat outward and spun the sails around. The strong winds pulling the sails open, the boat picked up speed gradually as it dipped over the waves heading West.
Wendol’s course remained strong, crafted to spin the wind’s power constantly forward. Guided with skill, Wendol’s boat moved swiftly over the sea’s calm surface, gaining on Loque’s own path with each passing hour.
The days blurred together, aimlessly spanning on and on. Wendol busied himself with watching the sea and keeping his path straight forward. It was dusk of the third day of sailing that the mountains came into view.
Recalling the research he’d done in preparation for a later trip to Ukkan Isle, Wendol pulled the sails down as he drifted towards the beach. Carefully stepping onto the beach, Wendol looked around. He’d landed at the base of enormous cliffs that fell upon the rocky beach, no signs of a path upward visible.
Picking to head North, to the right, Wendol lifted his sack over his shoulder and slowly began walking as the stars came into view above. The cliffs had begun to slope downward to the beach as Wendol noticed, in the distance of the beach, that an older ship had been left drifting among a collection of rocks jutting from the sea.
Glancing upwards, towards the hills built up as the cliff edge fell down to the beach, Wendol slightly picked up his pace. Walking up the hill, Wendol pulled a small dagger from his side. Cresting the first hill, Wendol looked out across the hilled landscape before him.
The blanket of darkness that had settled across the landscape, masking the hills and sea around, blocked Wendol’s sight. Straining to find any signs of life, Wendol lifted his dagger. Pushing his energy into it, the bloodstone woven into the hilt of the dagger, lit. A sword, made of steel and glowing a deep red color, sprung from the hilt of the dagger, twisting to lift and illuminating the hillside around Wendol.
“Where did you go?” Wendol murmured to himself, slowly beginning to walk down the hill.
His eyes still cast ahead, Wendol fell to the ground as his feet caught on something. Rolling to his side and glancing up, Wendol was surprised to find Loque lying on the ground motionless. Loque’s skin was red, though Wendol didn’t notice as the red light from his Oathseeker was all that lit the night. Sighing, Wendol knelt down next to Loque.
“What in the world?” Wendol asked aloud, his eyes drawn to the Bloodstones that had been scattered around Loque’s body. “You had more than enough to survive, so what happened?”
Putting the thought out of his mind, the horrific memories of Trepton drove Wendol to rise to his feet. A slight tremble in his hand, Wendol slowly drew his Oathseeker back. Just as he was about to swing downward, a deep voice echoing through his head roared from nothing.
“What are you doing? Humans on my island, already fighting. How unexpected,” the voice roared deafeningly loud.
Dropping his blade and clutching his ears, Wendol stumbled backward, falling to the ground. His vision turning red, before him he could see Loque’s fallen body. Yet, even as he stared at the sleeping figure, he could see the translucent figure of Loque rising, blood streaming from his eyes.
Wendol silently cried out, falling back as the image grew in his mind while the darkness of the night enveloped his vision. As darkness caved around Wendol, stealing away his consciousness, Wendol’s mind was filled with the vision of Loque rising from the ground and slaying him before another nightmare began.