The Eternal Struggle
by Brian Beam
Eldis slowly removed his sword from the Dark Lord, crimson blood dripping from the blade’s tip. The Dark Lord’s gray eyes were widened in stark disbelief that his end came at the hands of a simple man with no special powers of his own. Just a simple man with a simple sword.
As the Dark Lord’s body crumpled to the richly carpeted stone floor of the throne room and his last breath rattled from his throat, Eldis couldn’t help but exhale in relief. He felt as if he had been holding that breath since he had first entered the castle keep. With the world falling apart from the Dark Lord’s rule, the chaos Eldis had been through obscured his memories of how he had even come to this place. That chaos was now at an end. The world could finally heal from the wounds inflicted by the Dark Lord’s tyrannical reign.
Letting his sword clatter to the floor, Eldis turned to the narrow slit of a window to his left. All he could see was a blood-red sky filled with dark clouds and near-constant red lightning that stabbed at the landscape below. Nothing had changed.
Eldis rushed to the Dark Lord’s side, checking him for signs of life. There was no pulse. No breathing. No life. Why had the Dark Lord’s death failed to stop the destruction of the land?
Because, the darkness runs so much deeper than a single entity.
Eldis whipped his head around, searching for the source of the sinister voice, but saw no one else in the throne room. Was the voice in his head?
“Who are you?” Eldis called out in the cavernous room, his voice shooting back in a staccato echo. “Show yourself!”
Ah, but you have seen me countless times. We have spoken before, you and I.
“No, you are a pestilence in a world of good. If I had seen or spoken to you, I would have killed you. This world deserves to be free, to be healed.”
Malicious laughter rang throughout the room. Is that so? And why should you care? What have people ever done but taunt, abuse, and ignore you? Do you think your actions here will raise you in their eyes? You know this will change nothing.
The words stung Eldis like a whip across his back. There was a truth to those words that cut through his soul.
Together we can build a world where you will be above the rest. You could have anything, be anyone.
The words were so inviting, but Eldis knew when he was being deceived. Nothing the voice said could be trusted. The words were nothing more than a poison intended to course through Eldis’ veins.
“I have seen what you have done to this world. Just look!” Eldis pointed towards the crimson skies, the lightning seeming even more violent than it had moments before. “Show yourself and face me!”
Do you really think that it is as simple as that? After all this time?
No, Eldis realized. No, he did not think it could be that simple. He could remember the voice now. This was not the first time he had waged this battle. Nor would it be the last.
“You will not bring me down. I will never join you. Never!” Eldis was screaming at the golden-domed ceiling now, turning in circles with his arms outstretched. “Do you hear me? Never!”
We shall see, young Eldis. We shall see.
The voice echoed until the only sounds came from the entropic environment outside the castle keep. Eldis’ memory of the voice was the only remnant that the voice had even existed. But, he knew it had been real. He knew it would be back. There would soon be another Dark Lord to defeat, another voice controlling it.
Eldis exhaled, enjoying the momentary relief and went back to the window. In the far distance, miles away, a ray of sunlight broke through the dark clouds and struck the land below. That golden circle was more than just sunlight. It was a sign of hope. As long as there was a ray of hope, Eldis would continue his fight to clear those dark skies and quell the unnatural lightning. One day, the land would be peaceful again. On that day, the others would finally accept him.
For now, though, all Eldis could do was close his eyes and wonder where he would be when he opened them again.