Lightning crackled through the sky, streaking bright fractals of pure electricity down into the darkness below. Rain splattered the ground, pelting down from black storm clouds as thunder rumbled from the heavens. The wind swirled in large circles, twisting the storm from side to side, curling around trees and the small stone buildings of the village. Street lamps tried desperately to pierce the darkness, but were swarmed with the darkness of the night itself, drowned out by the black water that poured from the sky.
Autumn storms were common, and they often spread through the land with little warning, drenching any who dared travel in the turning seasons. Storms like this particular one, though, were rare. Storms like this one only happened when very particular conditions were met.
On one of the many dirt roads leading into the village, a lone traveler was riding. Rain pelted their armour, soaking through the gaps and drenching the light clothing they wore beneath. The black stead they rode seemed unphazed as the storm raged all around. The pair moved steadily through the hills, kicking up wet mud as they rode closer and closer to the little village, bringing with them a troubling atmosphere.
A man sat in a chair, dry in his home, facing the front door. He could hear the storm as it battered the thick stone walls, he could hear the rain as it hit the glass of the windows, and the thatching on the roof. The man sat in darkness, glaring at the door as he waited.
He did not have to wait for long- the sound of hooves on cobblestone outside cut above the roar of the storm after only a few minutes. The world seemed to go quiet for a few moments, the rain easing a little, as time seemed to halt.
There was a slow, heavy knock at the door.
"Why bother with the formalities?" The man spoke quietly and his voice sounded tired, devoid of hope. "We both know you'll enter whether I want you to or not."
There was a moment's pause, before the door opened slowly, the sound of rain rushing back into the house, louder than it was before. Lightning streaked through the clouds, darting toward the horizon. The thunder rumbled through the village moments later.
A tall, dark figure stepped into the room, armour scraping against itself as it moved. Its booted footsteps were heavy, and rain slid down the metallic surface, pooling at its feet as it cascaded down.
The man sighed, pushing himself up from his chair with effort, and looked into the space where the figure's head should have been.
"... I'm not going to bother begging for my life. You, of all people, know that I wouldn't do that," he muttered, his gaze dropping to the floor. "But know that you owe me," he said, looking up at the dark figure with hooded eyes. "You owe me, Dullahan."
The figure didn't move, standing silently just over the threshold.
"You know what I ask of you in return." His voice had gone quiet again, and he turned his head to one side, glancing toward one of the doors leading off from the room. "I only hope you are as true to your word as you say you are."
Slowly, it reached toward its hip, unhooking a long, coiled shape from a heavy belt, its hands quivering slightly.
"Just make it quick, okay?"