The Darkest Knight
A Short Story By Sheena St. Charles
Every year like clockwork, it comes; like the longest day of summer or the coldest day of winter; so comes the darkest night of the year. When neither the moon, nor stars shine; as a tradition in our village of Drakken, the only light to be used must be that of a fire lit by day. Thusly as you saw, earlier this morn we lit the bonfire in mid town, and as we speak all of Drakken’s torches are lit from its flames.
On this night, as I sit upon my stool, inhaling the musky smoke from my pipe, I ponder. You may ask; what an old fool story teller may have to ponder on the darkest night of the year. Never fear, I will tell you exactly that which I ponder!
You see children, and I call you all that, as I am older than most of yer folks; when I was as young as the youngest of you though, there came a night like this, precisely like this, as a matter of fact. The darkest night of the Year!
Back then we held a Fire Festival in honor of The Spirit of the Night; whom was feared and therefore all but worshipped. The Spirit was said to be the force of nature that brought upon us the darkest night of the year, that caused nightmares to come, and villains to be born.
It was common knowledge in my day that The Spirit of the Night and the Spirit of the Light, were in a constant power struggle. Of course, as you may have guessed; The Spirit of The Light is usually the stronger of the two, having planted the power of the stars and moon to keep the Spirit of the Night’s powers of darkness at bay.
I can see by the glimmer in your eyes that you know exactly where I’m going with this. On that night, this night, the darkest night of the year, The Spirit of The Light is helpless against the powers of Night.
Well, that night, so very long ago, as the flames of the bonfire flickered high in the sky and the youth of the village danced about merrily, a strange and evil presence loomed at the outskirts of the festival. This was a time before we sought the precautions we do now, and the fires were started at dusk and so would not have retained as much of the Light’s day strength. Even still, The Spirit, being week to the presence of any kind of light, dared not approach so long as the fires burned bright. Ah, but he had plotted a devious plan. Quickly he gathered his minions, known only as the shadowmen. With in minutes they had the village surrounded. Then, as the villagers young and old alike, danced about blissfully unaware, the minions readied for the attack.
As quick and silent as only the master of all things dark could be, The Spirit of the Night gathered his will and strength and heaved a mighty blow of night wind at the bon fire. The kind of wind that chills you to the bone, swept rapidly through our town and just as quickly the fire was out. Darkness blanketed our beloved Drakken, heightening our fear which The Spirit feeds upon. Snatching up the opportunity to strike, before it could slip away, the shadowmen and their master swarmed the village. Steeling the breath of the young, and stopping the hearts of the elderly. Churning the thoughts of Drakken’s people and turning them against their kin. Crimson coated the ground in an otherwise black world.
Was there no one who would fight, no one that could save them? I hear the questions seeping from your minds, as it did mine that night. There was but one entity that stood a chance, one who could fight The Spirit of the Night and hold his own.
Ah, but we’re not quite there yet...
As I crouched on this very porch, behind that pillar, right over there, observing as is the way of the storyteller, I saw it first. The night was at its darkest and the air was filled with the scent of burnt ground and death. But suddenly, as often is the case, came a beacon of hope in the form of a knight.
We know, of course, the strongest weapon against darkness is light, but The Spirit of the Light was unavailable as it were and as they say; when you can’t fight fire with water, you must fight fire with fire! Or, as it were in this case, Darkness with Darkness.
For as this was the darkest night of the year, so was this beacon of hope, The Darkest of Knights. He looked much like the shadowmen if not for his glimmering armor which had a glow of its own, though the tales say he was once recruited by The Spirit. The shadowmen, you see, are really lost souls who have been recruited by The Spirit of the Night as minions. When faced with the opportunity, The Darkest Knight had refused, as he had been a good man in life who had lost all will to live when his family had been tortured and slain. Vengeance had been his vice, and to blame for his death. Thus his own spirit being lost, he became as the shadowmen had, but sought to redeem his self if he could.
Thus, as good as he had been in life, so was he in death, the greatest hero, the mightiest warrior and The Darkest Knight. His steed, a shadow stallion was as dark as he, wearing silvery armor of its own, with blazing red eyes. The Darkest Knight held his weapon high, then pointed it at The Spirit and charged. The Spirit of the Night pulled himself into a wide spread sheet-like creature the size of a small mountain. Figuring the Knight would bounce off, like any other creature, but too late saw what he was made of.
The Spirit’s defense was based upon having to defend itself from light and was all but defenseless against the darkness itself. The Darkest Knight being, just as the shadowmen were, made of the very essence of darkness could easily penetrate The Spirit’s otherwise impenetrable mass.
Before The Spirit could act, the Knight had slashed his mighty sword through the veil of darkness that was the Spirit himself. As the pieces of the Spirit flew about like wisps of a popped bubble, our Knight held high what appeared to be the handle of a flameless torch. As he did so, the wisps of the Spirit’s essence were drawn into the torch. Once all of the spirit had been trapped in the torch of darkness, the Knight rode after the Shadowmen but they simply disappeared, apparently having no purpose with out their master.
The torches of Drakken began to light once more, and slowly the remaining villagers came to surround the Darkest Knight! They wanted to thank him, honor him, and do anything they could to please this being that had saved them. But as we brought our newly lit torches to surround The Knight, he too faded out as if he’d never existed.
Later people would doubt the tale, but those of us who saw it, would never forget….
The Darkest Knight.
The Darkest Knight is an original work of fiction by Sheena St. Charles, any similarity to any persons living, dead, or fictional is entirely coincidental. Please do not copy, sell, or share any part of this posting with out the explicit and written permission of its author.
The Darkest Knight © Copyright 2010 Sheena St. Charles