Black stains

For the gaming thing competition. Might edit names and stuff later to turn it into something else. But right now, I literally have no idea what is gonna happen. It just... Started.

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2. Ariss

My name is Ariss. Lanky, black hair, blunt features, one eye. With most of my height in my legs, I stand at 6'8, pretty tall for a human. Or more of, ex-human. I'm not like Thresh- that guy is just creepy. I am dead, though, which tends to put people off. Generally, they're fine until I mention that one small fact, or open my coat. My coat. My wonderful Trench Coat that conceals all. My identity, my wounds, and my undeath. Some would call me a zombie. While I won't deny that, there are slightly better words to call me. For example, you could call me and my race Walkers, The Dead, Cauldron-Born, Abominations, Rotters, Biters, Lurkers, Corpses, Skin Puppets, Flesh Dolls, Soulless Husks, Horrors, Ghouls, Ghasts, Brain Biters (Why they think we all eat brains I'll never know), Infected, Hollows, Rot-Walkers, Wraith, Revenants, Goons, Flesh-Eaters, Night-Walkers, Hungerers, Shuffling Horrors and Restless Dead. I would prefer it if you simply called us the Undead. And our situation? Undeath. Nothing to complicated, though it does tend to give people so much trouble. Just to say one single name.

I died, as you might have guessed. I died many centuries ago, slaying the monster that had tormented my village for years. It had seemed like ages at the time, but now I've lived this long? That amount of time passes in a heartbeat. Which my heart does. Whilst my chest is torn open for the whole world to see, my heart generally doesn't stop beating. I can't breath, I can't eat or drink, but my heart beats.

People call me strange things. Almost nicknames. Like Wanderer and Stalker. I don't actually stalk the living. That would just be weird. And creepy.

Anyway. I'm looking for answers. Reasons to why I am still here, on this world. Why was I saved? Why then? Who saved me? Surely if I died, I was meant to? The undead don't work the same around here. You don't just come back for no reason. There has to be some sort of magic involved, something that makes the soul want to stay. I had nothing to loose, I had nothing to live for. My wife, if suspected, was cheating on me. She had actually wanted me to go, to die, and maybe slay the monster on the way. She was not expecting what happened.


 

He sheathed his sword, sliding it into the scabbard with a horrid scraping noise. She looked up at him, eyes hard. A false smile worked its way onto her face. He didn't appear to notice. She hated the prearranged marriage they had. She hadn't seen his face until she stood under the arch, speaking her vows. Valoran was getting closer to being a non-sexist continent, but it still had a long way to go. A very long way. She scowled at him as he turned his back to her, shrugging on his own, heavy coat.

"When do you think you'll be back, Ariss?" She said, quietly to disguise the annoyance in her voice. Maybe she could live her life free, to see who she wished, if he died. A raw hope sprung up inside her, as she thought of how she could fake mourning. The people of the village would expect her to mourn. They'd cart in his body, and she'd run over, crying her eyes out. Yes... that would work well. She could easily fake her sadness. If he didn't die... surely she could wait for him, and get the job done herself? Otherwise, she'd just have to put up with the man. She didn't really mind him. He was an OK guy, as they go. It was just the matter of the other one. Handsome, tall and dark. The man every girl in the village wanted. But he wanted her.

No hard feelings to Ariss, but he didn't tick all of the boxes. Tall? Defiantly. He was taller than his rival. Dark? Yes. But Ariss was slightly too dark for Gayana's liking. Handsome? His face was OK. It wasn't that bad, but it wasn't that good, either. He had a pretty average face. And then there was his... hobby, as he called it.

Monster hunting. Gayana didn't like the feelings she got every time Ariss stepped out of the door on yet another one of his quests. She was developing feelings for him. A deep sense of worry for a man she did not feel she loved. She didn't like that. And now, here he was, preparing to hunt the biggest one yet. An ice drake from the north. It had terrorised the village for years. Why he hadn't gone after it before, she supposed she'd never find out. All she knew was that he was most certainly walking to his death.

He turned to her, emotion flickering behind his eyes, moving on too quickly for Gayana to identify. She had become awfully good at piecing together his emotions. He studied her carefully, before answering. "Shouldn't take more than a week to track. after that, not too long. If I'm not back in a fortnight... prepare for the worst..." He turned to the door, pulling it open, stepping through, and slamming it behind him, all before she could say her final goodbyes.

Not that she cared.
 

Ariss trudged through moor and woodland, swamp and plains. Tracks of various creatures distracted him, and he found at least two dozen rabbit burrows rather than what he was actually hunting. At night, the stars formed his roof, the sides formed by weak magical shields, enough to warn him when someone, or something, walked into them. By that time, he could hopefully defend himself.

Ariss hadn't really bothered learning much magic. To him, it was just some sort of flimsy way of looking cool. Magic, in his opinion, was practically useless. It had its uses, though.

It was whilst lying, awake, that he discovered the drake.

The night was cold, biting into Ariss's living flesh, chilling him to the bone. A shiver ran down his body, and he rubbed his arms in a futile attempt to warm them. He had draped his coat over his chest, but it didn't go as far as his arms, and left draughty gaps when he had attempted to squeeze them beside his body. He looked up into the dark sky, at the crescent moon that was shining down on him. That was another reason he couldn't sleep. He was one of those people that needed pitch black when they slept. The moon was, in no way, a dark thing. It shone out as a beacon to all travellers, why, he didn't know. Ariss supposed only travellers would.

A dark shadow passed over the silvery glow, a trail of mist following in its wake. He could just make out the bright white that escaped the creature's mouth. It was ice, glowing a beautiful blue. Ariss clenched his hands. The Ice Drake was making its way to the village, preparing to take its daily course of people. He could not allow that. Not when he had specifically gone to slay this beast, to stop it from bothering his fellow villagers. He stood, swiftly and gracefully, and broke into a slow jog, He cursed his frozen limbs as he slowly picked up speed. In a few minutes, he was running at full pelt, following that strange trail of mist.


 

Maybe it wasn't such a good idea to charge straight towards the beast. It was too late now, he couldn't stop. He had already charged, sword out, ready to drive it into the creature's chest. It picked him up with its tail, which slammed into his chest, taking the air out of him. He was lifted upwards, before being thrown back to the ground by gravity. There he was, thinking it was his friend.

The drake looked down at him with glowing yellow eyes, tilting its head curiously to one side. Ariss's sword lay beside him, and he prepared to make a lunge for it. He couldn't go for it whilst the creature was looking at him, though. He had made a mental note not to move in front of it. His moves were too predicable when he did. The creature, seemingly making up its mind, let out a heart-rending roar. It sounded like the lonely cry of an animal that had known great loss. Ariss knew better than to pity it. It had taken many a life. He moved to the side, sneaking his hand towards the long spine of metal. His land reached the hilt, and he swung it upwards.

The beast wrinkled its nose at him, this time tightening its claws around his waist. One of them, presumably its index claw, dug into the soft flesh where his stomach was. He let out a gasp as it drew blood, and watched the dark red fluid dribble out. It looked at him carefully. Ariss knew it had been a mistake to come alone. And now no one would know where he lay as he died. Everyone would still be troubled by the creature.

It dug its muzzle into his chest now, gaining hold on his ribs with its teeth, sliding them underneath, crunching at them, pulling at them. He could feel the cold running through his body for the last time. Whether that was death, or the dragon he didn't think he'd ever know. With one last shudder, he gave up, and the creature let out a croon of triumph. Right before it found itself with a sword lodged in its skull.

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