Interlude

Part Ten of the Sonata in Red series.
Part One: A Song of Glory
Part Two: A Choir of Intrigue
Part Three: Etude in the Sun
Part Four: A Requiem in the Dark
Part Five: Hymns of Terror
Part Six: Refrain from the Past
Part Seven: Refrain from the Past (pt. 2)
Part Eight: A Fugue in Three Parts
Part Nine: Rondo Alla Contrattempo


Years earlier.

The roar of battle fill the air with the death filled banshee’s wail. Unspeakable weapons of war pounding great blows upon the earth like the hammer of gods. Out in the trenches, Her Majesty’s crusading army weathers the storm anticipating a break in the assault to allow their advance to continue.
At the vanguard of the crusade, The 1st Assault Reconnaissance Company under the command of Captain Carter Thierris, are positioned far ahead of the main force. The campaign for the conquest of the Eastmark has raged for a century without sign of an end. Lead by Marchioness Madeleine Wilson, the expected outcome of this assault was the capturing and elimination of the monstrous encampment. Success at this junction would carry accolades for the officers involved upon their return to Caelestis.

“Captain, the regulators predict the bombardment will be exhausted in an hour,” Lieutenant Sir Alexander Taylor reported. Carter acknowledges the report with a curt nod, the lieutenant had been with him for most of their assignment, along with First Sergeant Aiden Williams, Carter doubts he could have come this far. Afforded his commission due to being the eldest son of a Caelestis Baronet, as an officer Carter was smart enough to understand he relied on the knight and the vastly more experienced enlisted man.

“Have Williams ready the men to attack,” Carter orders. The order itself is all but a formality, the planning and briefings for the strike having long since been delivered. As the lieutenant departs, Carter is assisted into his armour by a servant to the backdrop of the gradually slowing bombardment strikes.
Despite being his second year of his tour of duty, this battle would represent the first engagement where Carter would see active combat. He was afraid, though as an officer he could not afford to show that fear. A good portion of the men under his command were veterans in combating the Aberrant. They knew he was unblooded and he had yet to earn their respect. They say a mans first time facing the Aberrant defined him, Carter prayed to the stars that he would earn his honour in the battle.

Emerging from his pavilion Carter watches the company’s preparation with a critical eye. The deep alien red Eastmark sky swirls with the unwholesome appearance that defined the Aberrant territories. Pillars of sickly green flame descend upon the field in arcing trajectories originating from the profane encampment whose perverse gaze stared mockingly down at them.
Offering a silent prayer to the stars and The Queen for strength, Carter stares defiantly back. The trembling in his knees grows stronger before the reality that lies ahead. Accepting the offered cup of tea from the servant, Carter receives the Lieutenant Taylor’s report with all the confidence he can muster. “The men will be ready by the time the barrage ceases.”

As predicted the barrage soon comes to an end. Carter’s whistle signals the charge, voices bellowing orders rise up in concert and as one they surge forth from the trenches into the killing fields. From across the smokey, cratered field impossible, inhuman figures pour out to meet them.
A hail of arrows from behind him rain down on the Aberrant, dispersing the tide of bodies momentarily before the dead monstrosities are swept away by the fresh waves of foes. Volley after volley delivers death from the heavens to the monsters as the men charge forward. With just over fifty yards left, the soldiers form a wall from their shields and brace to receive the Aberrant charge.
The battle formation silences the soldiers battle cries, in its wake an eerie silence broken only by the sporadic bellowed orders from the soldiers and the advancing ethereal chittering and profane gibbering of the Aberrant. As the alien tongue reaches Carter’s ears meaning half understood claws at his consciousness assaulting his senses with madness.

Then almost as soon as it began, the battle is done. Disgusting films of alien viscera and eldritch gore spatters Carter. His sword lost in the corpse of one of the undulating creatures that had broken the line and fallen barely before it would have slain him. Horrified nausea shook him as he stood before the strange structure their enemy had been defending.
His orders were to hold this position and await further orders. As the ranking officer, first spoils of the battle were his. The nobility reserved the right to any Aberrant technology or artefacts recovered. But as Sergeant Williams had insisted it was a tradition for trophies to be taken by the commanding officer. Only a handful of men had survived the battle, less than twenty, but they all looked on as Carter took the strange glowing orb from among the spoils and raised it high above his head in triumph. A bellowed cheer rose from the men, praising the strength of Mankind in defiance of the Aberrant.

***

As the first rays of dawn sunlight peeks into the dark, heavily curtained bedroom of the aged knight. Sir Alexander Taylor cries out in fear, the familiar nightmare waking him from his slumber like clockwork.
Sebastian has been expecting the cry, enters the room, opening the curtains and comforting the gibbering old man. The knights feeble fingers cling to the servant while he babble unintelligible nonsense. Long grown used to his master’s terrors, Sebastian is patient as he listens. Amongst the garbled rambling a single phrase holds any semblance of meaning amongst the madness.

“Stars protect me, it saw me! A red moon rises and rivers run red, staining the earth with the colour of blood! Majesty take me! It never died, and it is coming!”

Author: Zairron

I'm writing to build a habit, practice, and be creative.

10 thoughts on “Interlude”

  1. Pingback: Writing Regularly

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