Rainbow Knights

by

rainbow knights

Lost and Alone, the Sleepful Mountains

Advertisement
Remove

A note from rainbow knights

Siegfried design #2

Gilsa landed on his shoulder and rolled far to the side, the serpent snappings its jaw shut with an audinable snap just as he dodged. He leapt to his feet and spun back toward the serpent as it came upon him again, Gilsa blocked the fanged mouth with the fat of his blade, pushing the monster away as he turned to move along its side. His sword cut into the tight flesh, sending briars flying at him, but Gilsa kept moving, keeping a single step ahead of the barrage of thorns.

Seventeen paces. Back and forth, one straight line.

Gilsa saw the tail of the serpent start sweeping toward him from the white, and he ducked. As the tail moved above him Gilsa slipped his sword tip up and cut the very tail tip off. He knew the serpent would be trying to lunge at him again, and quickly ran forward without looking, hearing the monster's angry hiss at him escaping again.

Twenty-four paces, more forward.

With a spin Gilsa struck out at the serpent's bowed head, slicing a deep line through it. The monster's skin let loose hundreds more of the thorns as it tried to retreat. Except this time Gilsa dove forward, not allowing it to draw back into the distuping fog. Gilsa pressed it back, cutting it up in slash after slash, needing to be done with this monster quickly, so he caught the thorns upon his leather armor and fell upon the serpent.

Thirty-one paces.

It shuddered and hissed widely, pulling its lithe body back close together, coiling into a tight ball. The tail swung around again, this time trying to grab him as the serpent struck forward with its glimmering fangs. Gilsa pushed forward still, even these few minutes too much time wasted, and stepped upon the body of the serpent. His foot scraped along the thorns, catching them like treds, and he thrust his arm forward into the snake's mouth, his sword slamming into the hard bone of skull. Gilsa screamed with effort, slamming his left hand into the pommel of his sword like a hammer, breaking through the monster's skull and out through the other side, a spray of violent blood hitting him in the face as Gilsa cleaved the monster's brain through.

He had his eyes closed in anticipation, and jumped back quickly to the ground as he withdrew his sword, landing firmly. He squinted open one eye, seeing the thing teeter to the side in death, and then stepped backward, over the tail which had tried to entwine him. He brought the cuff of his sleeve up and wiped the blood off his brow, looking around frantically.

Forty paces exactly.

"Your Highness! Siegfried!" He hollered, his voice booming across the small, small space. Forty paces was barely the length of a room, and he'd kept his movements close. "Siegfried!" Gilsa shouted again, panic clawing at the back of his throat.

There was no response.

He rubbed his face, fligning the fat blobs of dark blood aside. Started walking forty paces exactly back to where he was literally minutes before. Except there was nothing there. No sound, no blood.

"Your Highness!"

All of the world was white. Cold fog that rolled across the dark sky and covered all of the earth. There was no middle distance, there was only this endless unmoving mist. Gilsa hadn't counted wrong. He had made a point to not move far away. He had killed the monster quickly, and moved directly back to where Siegfried had been.

Yet he wasn't here. Nothing was here. No sound, no monster, all of it completely vanished.

"Shit." Gilsa cursed, doing a heel face and walking back exactly forty paces again.

"Shit."

No monster corpse, no blood, not even his own foot prints.

Gilsa brought his hands up to his eyes angrily, scrubbing more blood aside. He should've taken a hit from the serpent and stayed by Siegfried. He should have insisted Reicket stayed, thrown something at him to make him stay. Gilsa should've been more careful. He knows better. He trained for this.He was born for this, no, he'd been bred for the purpose of protecting the King and Kingdom, and he'd -

Gilsa shoved his frustration down, cutting off the thoughts.

Thinking like that, berating himself, wouldn't solve the problems. He was tired, exhausted, and his legs and arms ached. He had to keep moving, and trying to find the others.

Reicket, if he was alright, would be foolish enough or smart enough to keep moving upward.

Siegfried… hopefully he'd do the same. Gilsa wasn't sure what he would do. Especially in this mist, this curse.

He started moving upward again. It was the only path other than doward, the incline of the mountain leading him blindly. The mist stayed thick and so completely white and isolating. The only noise was his own footsteps.

It was tiring simply walking. Each step made Gilsa feel more and more exhausted. The lack of noise, the subdued color from lack of light, the almost cloud like mist made him want to lie down and fall asleep. There wasn't anything to fight, there was no real path he was on.

Gilsa rubbed his eyes as he walked, trying to keep them open. They'd rushed over here with almost no rest. While the riding was long, Gilsa always tried to remain extra vigilant, watching for danger longer. He was a light sleeper regardless.

He shook his head, and kept walking. His next step made a sound, startling Gilsa badly enough that he jumped backward.

There was a broken flower. Crunched down into red petals with a black center.

"A poppy?" Gilsa wondered, recognizing it from memorials.

There were more. Breaking through the mist were hundreds of the red flowers. They almost seemed to dispel the mist, the tops of their petals swaying side to side in an invisible wind and waving away the whiteness.

As Gilsa moved upward he smelled the sharp fragrance of the flowers. It was soothing, like the silence was soothing, and the white clouds were. He almost felt like he was walking through a dream. Each step up hill was more and more tiring, it made his eyes heavier and want sleep more.

It wouldn't hurt to take a rest. Sit down and wait for Reicket or Siegfried to get here. Surely they'd stop when finding this soothing field of poppies.

Gilsa sat down, letting out a sigh of relief at no longer being on his feet. He could probably take a nap now, in the soft blanket of poppies, and just wait for them. He was always a light sleeper. It couldn't hurt.

Just a quick nap. Sleep for a moment. He rested his head on his wrist, lying out just a little bit.

He could still look down the hill in this position. The mist obscured most things still, but he could see the way the white fog churned and moved above the poppies. There almost seemed to be vague shapes in it, hands and faces, just like clouds.

The fog drifted around above the flowers, small folds and shadows made the shapes clearer. Gilsa clearly saw hands, reaching up from the mist ground with pale fingers, and he clearly could see faces. He rubbed his tired eyes as he started to drift off, trying to clear them of the images.

He looked up and yawned, almost ready to lie down and sleep right there, but then another face appeared. It was one that made him sit up, squinting, because it looked familiar somehow. He could recognize it even through the veil of sleep.

Gilsa sprang to his feet, unbelieving, and horrified.

"Grandfather?" He gasped.

For that moment, Gilsa was certain that the old smiling wrinkled face of his grandfather was there. He saw it surely, he did, and then suddenly he saw hundreds of faces. Young men, old women, warriors, farmers - this wasn't mist. It had never been a fog. All of it was a veil of death. All of it was ghosts.

Gilsa shook his head violently side to side, clearing the pull of sleep - the magical pull of deadly sleep - and he turned. No, he couldn't stop here, he had to move. Gilsa turned around, and began running back up the mountain peak. He had to find Siegfried, his King, and Reicket, his friend. They could be in trouble. They could be caught in this spell - this curse - as well.

He was running blindly now, not bothering to see the faces which appeared in the mist, the ones that blurred by. There had been an end to the mist before, there would be an end now. He just had to find it.

His foot caught hard against something, breaking it and sending Gilsa tripping into the ground. He caught himself on his arms, and looked angrily backward. He'd wasted time, he'd nearly fallen under the curse, and lost Siegfried and now what? He'd tripped into a - ribcage.

Gilsa pulled his foot from the broken bones and scrambled backward. The flowers had covered it. They were covering an entire skeleton. He looked around, getting to his feet carefully this time and there was another skeleton. Another, farther back. Even more decorating all of the field of poppies.

As he got to his feet the mist began to dwindle, or it already had, and he realized with a dawning horror that all of the flowers were in massive pools around countless skeletons. All of them were ancient, bleached white ones. Humans and creatures he didn't recognize, just decorations of old lives in this red field of flowers.

"I have to find Siegfried and Reicket." Gilsa gasped, turning away from the sight for a moment. All of these people must have just fallen asleep, been lured into it like he was. And then they never woke up again.

This mountain, the Sleepful Mountain. There couldn't have been a monster here, not one for long at least. It must have all been a terrible trap, a legend of chasing shadows, that brought all these men here to simply sleep themselves to death. All these monsters, even the one he fought, must have been stupid beasts who got lost in the terrible mist just as they had.

Gilsa calmed himself, and turned back around. The skeletons were old. Just dead bones unmoving in their puddles of red poppies. They were strangers who had died for nothing, but he would be sure no one else fell to this fate. Not today. Not again.

He started moving upward again.

Before him the mist continued to swirl and disappear. It was getting thinner as he did, and when he turned back could see that there were clear spaces which had more fog hanging over them like a black cloud. Just like before. It was possible that the mist appeared in rings, or in layers, at certain points on the mountain. First the ground, then the trees, and now this field of poppies. There was no peak in sight, and as Gilsa glanced upward there was only more of the fog.

Something else was there as well. All of the mist disappeared ahead, revealing short grass and sporadic poppies. There were almost no more skeletons either, most people must have moved on or given up then. But through the rising plane of grass a single straight object rose.

Gilsa moved to it quickly, hoping it was a waymarker, but quickly realized it was not. It had a very distinct shape. Not a sign post. Even in such dark lighting it glinted for a moment, just as he came upon it.

A sword.

One much like the one he carried now, with a flat and wide base, and a narrow tip far beneath that. The longsword had a line cutting through the middle, showing the strength and flexibility of the blade. It had a wide cross guard, one which circled upward toward the blade, the hilt a narrow ovular shape with a band in the middle, and the pommel a hollow circle.

Gilsa knew the sword.

He'd known it his entire life, since childhood.

"Firebrand."

It wasn't a Rainbow Sword. No, it was the Ducere family sword. There was no magic in it. All that Firebrand had was history. The experience of generations. It was sentimental. It had been his Grandfather's sword.

Gilsa looked back over his shoulder, at where the mist swirled down below, where he had been certain for a fleeting moment, one moment… he'd seen his Grandfather's ghost. Now he was certain of it.

He took the handle in both hands, firmly pulling the blade from where it had penetrated the earth. She lifted out easily, her weight perfect in his hands, and Gilsa swung her once to toss the old dust and dirt aside. He gently brushed his fingers over the steel, finding it unpolished, still covered in grime, and the edge hadn't been sharpened in years. Yet he recognized it, he treasured it, his and his Grandfather's sword Firebrand.

"But why… here?" He wondered, narrowing his eyes back down the mountain. His Grandfather had been dead for years, he knew that. He knew coming here that he had died upon this very mountain, and yet there was no skeleton this far up. There was only more mist ahead, he knew. So why leave Firebrand here?

Then Gilsa saw it. Or more accurately, he noticed it. The mist beneath him was rotating exactly like clouds. It was spinning around, thinner in some places and thicker in others, and in one place there was no mist. That must have been why when they left the trees it had been clear - the mist had moved over them. That was why the sword was placed here, as a marker for where to stand to search.

"Thank you, Grandfather." Gilsa whispered, sliding his backpack off and hastily tying Firebrand to it.

Now he could tell exactly where to search. He could wait until the moving mist revealed where his friends were, and then keep ahead of it so as not to get lost again. Once he found Siegfried and Reicket, all he needed was his compass. Easy.

After waiting for the mist to move, Gilsa finally saw a form collapsed onto the earth which wasn't a skeleton. Siegfried or Reicket, he couldn't tell, but they were lying on their side not too far away. Most likely they'd also had the idea to keep moving toward the peak and not managed to get as far, falling under the curse.

Gilsa took off in a run, springing down the mountainside. He watched as the mist kept moving, rotating to the side and away from him. It moved slowly, but suddenly, and he kept glancing to the side where the white wall of mist rolled over itself, encroaching toward him from the side. If it was ghost or not, right now he didn't care, he moved with the single focus of reaching his fallen friend.

He slid down the mountain, skidding to a stop and then jogging the final distance so as not to go passed who it was. Gilsa let out a sigh of relief as he kneeled down, turning him over to wake him.

"Siegfried! Your Highness!" He shouted, half shocked and half relieved. Siegfried's face was horribly swollen, bloody, and covered in dirt. "Wake up, wake up, please." Gilsa hoped, shaking him as he sat him up.

Siegfried woke up quickly, his eyes snapping open, but looking side to side as if he couldn't see what was in front of him.

Gilsa let out a loud sigh, "Oh, thank you Goddess. Siegfried, Siegfried, can you stand? We need to start walking."

Gilsa looked over his shoulder as the rolling wall of mist began getting closer. It seemed as if it was following him now, and after seeing the ghost and skeleton that only felt more eerie. He began lifting Siegfried to his feet.

"What… what's going on?" Siegfried asked, blinking as he started to wake up more. "Gilsa? You're here." He looked immediately to his side and patted the White Sword with a soft smile.

Gilsa couldn't help but smile for a moment. Then he looked at the retreating area which was free of fog. He started pulling Siefried hastily forward. "Yes, your Highness. Now hurry, we have to find Reicket."

"Ah! Wait." Siegfried hissed, bending his knees slightly and grabbing at his legs. "That snake-"

His pants were shredded, cut with littles holes and stained with blood. Up and down his legs were wounds from the thorns, and he touched his knee tenderly, trying not to put any weight on it. Siegfried let out a painful breath through his teeth, and pulled a large thorn from the side of his thigh.

"The last thing I remember is killing it. Where did it go? Where did Reicket go?"

Gilsa worriedly watched the mist get closer, a lot closer, very suddenly. "Here, lean on me. We need to keep moving until we find him. I'll have to look at your legs later."

Siegfried let Gilsa throw an arm under his shoulder and awkwardly leaned on the much taller man. Gilsa was actually huge compared to Siegfried, but despite that they managed to work out a way for Siegfried to limp forward.

"Did you figure out where to go? I lost you in the fight." Siegfried asked, looking worriedly into the fog. "What of the other serpent?"

"I slayed it." Gilsa simply responded. "I figured out a trick of this curse, I think. As long as we stay ahead of the mist, by moving sideways, we should be okay. We need to find Reicket and get out of here. If you fall asleep, it's for eternity."

"I don't even remember falling asleep." Siegfried reazlied, watching the tide of mist with wide eyes. Then he gasped. "What about the monster!"

"There isn't one."

"What? There - there has to be! Those two things we fought - they couldn't have been what I was looking for." Siegfried cried.

Gilsa shook his head, keeping a look out for Reicket. "The attacks must have been those, or something else. Whatever it is, it isn't on this mountain. The curse kills anything which falls asleep." Gilsa tried not to remember the scattered bones of completely unidentified things.

"No that - that can't be right…" Siegfried mumbled, trying to look away from Gilsa.

"There!" Gilsa suddenly said, lifting his chin up to see better, "There's a tree, and I think someone as well."

Siegfried nodded, though he said nothing.

Gilsa glanced at him worriedly, but didn't pause. He had to keep moving, and get out. He led the both of them over to where the tree rose in the distance, the mist pulling off it and revealing the dark black wood and twisted circular curling branches like a stage curtain. It looked diseased. Under it was the clear shape of someone curled up into a ball and sleeping. As he got closer and the mist pulled back father, it also revealed another sleeping body.

Sleeping there, just on the other side of the tree, a mound of spikes and leathery skin, was another serpent.

Siegfried froze, but Gilsa kept moving forward so he was forced to continue. Even as they moved closer the serpent didn't move. The grass crunched underfoot, they were breathing, and the noise of their armor and clothes rustling together surly made enough noise to wake either, yet not one stirred.

Reicket seemed completely free of injury. Gilsa stayed standing up, supporting Siegfried, and nudged Reicket's back with his foot. Probably both had fallen under the curse before they could fight.

"Wake-up stable-hand." Gilsa fondly called, even though he kept nudging him with his boot.

Siegfried looked at Gilsa disapprovingly.

Reicket groaned, and swatted at the air, obviously refusing to wake up. Gilsa stepped on his side lightly, just enough to make Reicket jolt awake in a hurry gasping and glancing around widely.

"What! Where'd he go! Whats'happenin'?" Reicket shouted, seeing the tree, the snake, Gilsa and Siegfried all at once. "What happened?" He gasped, jumping to his feet and reached out to Siegfried. "Did that guy come back! Did he do this! I'll get him - I was - I was close behind him I swear!"

Siegfried shook his head. "It's from one of those serpents. I'm… mostly fine."

"You don't look 'mostly' at all." Reicket glanced up at Gilsa with worry and a need for guidance.

Gilsa checked the mist following him. "It needs to wait. We have to get off this cursed mountain."

"But what about-"

"Reicket." Siegfried interrupted in a strong tone. "We're… we're done. We slaid the two other serpents, and that one will sleep itself to death." Siegfried glanced at Gilsa for confirmation and he nodded. "We're returning home.

"But what about that man?" Reicket demanded still, stepping farther away from the still slumbering monster.

"How do you propose to find him then?" Gilsa responded. He didn't bother waiting for a response, however, and started trudging down the mountain.

Reicket huffed. He saw how exhausted Gilsa was, how terrible Siegfried looked, and left it at that. He took up the rear guard. He wanted to be useful, keeping an eye out still for the frequent traps and also that man. Reicket knew the both of them were exhausted, clearly hurt as well, and hoped to help them as best he could by watching their backs.

With only needing to go downward the going was much easier. They didn't need to keep an eye out for signs of monsters, and their legs didn't ache from an upward slope. Knowing what lied ahead, the rough ground and trees, let them find a path easier as well, and soon they were making quick time back to the bottom.


Siegfried was covering his face in embarrassment. He just wasn't sure what type of embarrassment. The fact he'd so clearly lost a fight. That he was worse than Gilsa, he was a terrible fighter and King. It could be that he was in only his underwear. All Siegfried knew was that his face was hot and burning and his stomach was tight.

"Your knee is probably only strained, but you should have Master Quinn look all this over when we arrive home." Gilsa explained to him, not caring at all that Siegfried was pantsless. Gilsa has forced him to take them off so he could put gauze and bandages on his wounds.

"I will." Siegfried moped.

Gilsa was tying a tight knot, having treated the unique holes and long scrapes that covered Siegfried leg's along the back and front from the serpent. Completely unharmed. To Siegfried, it didn't even look as if he'd broken a sweat. Siegfried completely believed Gilsa when he said he'd fought the second creature himself, yet it was unbelievable since he seemed so unharmed.

Mostly, the embarrassment was that Siegfried was so much worse. That he'd handled this terribly. Nothing had gone right.

"Your Highness?"

Siegfried opened his eyes, wiping the grime from his face. "Yes? Did you say something?"

Gilsa looked at him oddly, not needing to be perceptive to notice Siegfried's doubts.

"It's… nothing." Siegfried looked away. "My legs feel much better now."

"If you don't want to talk about it, I won't push it. For now." Gilsa lifted up a bandage toward him. "For your cheek."

Siegfried took it shyly, and poked his own horribly swollen face. He almost couldn't believe how much his cheek had ballooned, and the way it stung every time he touched it. He'd washed the pin-pricks left from the brambles along his head and neck, but the bruise from the punch hurt more.

"It's just…" Siegfried sighed, his breath squeezing around his heart painfully. "I don't know. I just feel so - so… defeated." He concluded, his words making him feel worth at how the rung true to him.

"Defeated?" Gilsa repeated in surprise. "Siegfried, you slayed that serpent monster alone. I'm ashamed of it, but I nor Reicket was there to help you at all, and you won by yourself. It was a monster, not a person like we're used to fighting, and all you ended with was a sprained knee. I don't see that at all."

"Only a sprained knee? I have mine-meat for legs." Siegfried shook his head, "You don't. And that man - he completely defeated me." Siegfried lied, he lied, remembering the critical moment where Gilsa had surprised him and made the perfect opening to slay the man. Except Siegfried couldn't. He'd defeated himself.

"Whoever that was, he out fought all of us." Gilsa banefully said. "And if he appears again, it'll be different. A lot different."

Siegfried looked away, pressing a hand against his burning cheek. That didn't change the fact he hadn't been able to fight, or to finish the fight, today. That he'd been completely knocked out. Siegfried hadn't even fought the serpent well, he couldn't have because Gilsa taught him and Gilsa was untouched.

"Siegfried." Gilsa called out, drawing his attention again. "You did well today. There was nothing we could do against the curse of the mountain, and you won a battle against a monster alone. It is commendable."

"It wasn't even the monster! There isn't even a monster here, and I could barely…" Siegfried sighed angrily.

"Then train more. Work harder. Have patience and gain experience." Gilsa determinedly told Siegfried. "Whenever you feel frustrated, let that be your reason to grow stronger. It's what motivated me."

Reicket returned just then, happily cheering with the three horses following him, saving Siegfried from responding. Reicket seemed completely proud of himself for tracking down the horses where they'd wandered away, and skipped over to where Siegfried and Gisla were. Reicket immediately started snickering, looking directly at Siegfried's underwear.

Siegfried blushed angrily, pulling his shredded pants back on quickly.

"Told ya they were good ones! Didn't even go that far!" Reicket beamed. He patted Yannin on the flank.

"Are they rested enough to ride?" Gilsa asked, starting to put all of his supplies back into his pack.

"Of course." Reicket bragged. He walked closer, and as he did his eye caught onto one of the items Gilsa was putting away. "What's that!" Reicket gasped, running up next to him. "Where'd you get the sword!"

Siegfried lifted his head in shock, frantically looking over. Gilsa was tying a very long and old looking sword to the top of his pack. He was smiling, except it wasn't full of bragging or pride, but something softer.

"Is it-" Siegfried couldn't continue, just from the sheer horror at not having noticed and the awe of how humbly Gilsa had received the sword.

"No." Gilsa stood up and pulled on his backpack. "It is Firebrand. My family's ancestral sword."

"Your family's?" Reicket wondered, "But how'd you find it? The Rainbow Swords are kinda scattered everywhere - what's that doing here?"

"I mentioned it; how years ago my Grandfather came to these mountains and never returned? He left it here, upon the mountain, as a marker. It is how I discovered the trick of the mist, and allowed us to leave safely." Gilsa glanced over his shoulder at the rusted steel.

"That's incredible." Siegfried congratulated.

"That's insane! We would've died if you didn't find an old sword!" Reicket shuddered, "Wait, did you also find any other monsters? Was it just those snakey-bushy things?"

Gilsa shook his head. "There's no other monster here. The entire mountain is the monster - it makes everyone fall under an enchanted sleep, and they never wake up again. Nothing that's here for more than a day survives."

"Is that what the curse is? I mean, I don't remember falling asleep, but how do you die from it?" Reicket looked atSiegfried for an opinion, or support, but Siegfried still was looking aside.

"I saw it." Gilsa told him. "When I found Firebrand… the entire field there was covered in sun-bleached skeletons. I couldn't even recognize half of them, as they weren't humans, and all were unharmed, as if they'd died right where they'd fallen."

"But what if the monster did that!" Reicket insisted.

"If it were a monster there'd be broken bones or claw marks." Gilsa shook his head, "There's no monster here. The ones we fought probably attacked the nearby village, and then got caught there. Like we almost were." Gilsa turned and looked back up at the Sleepful Mountains. "The reason the Rainbow Knights, the former ones, couldn't defeat the monster here was probably that there was none afterall."

"You're right." Siegfried unhappily sighed, getting to his feet unsteadily. "There's nothing here. There's no other reason for us to be here. Let's just head home."

Both Gilsa and Reicket looked at him with concern. Neither said anything however. The day was incredibly long and exhausting. Siegfried had gotten beat up twice. His whole reason for coming here, beyond protecting the Kingdom, had been a lie. They knew he was frustrated, and if what he wanted was to return to the castle, then that is what they would do. With a little more conversation on how to depart, the three mounted their horses once again, and began the journey to return, as victorious as they could have been this day.

Advertisement

About the author

rainbow knights

Bio: I will try and update weekly

Achievements
Comments(0)
Log in to comment
Log In