The demons were crying in the twilight, shrieks and howls that sent small children sobbing to their mothers and made grown men shudder and clutch the hilts of their swords. As the sun sank bloodily behind the distant rolling mountains in the west, a lone rider thundered down the forest road, cloak

can you hear them?

whipping in the speed-wind. Its steed beat a brisk, frantic rhythm on the packed dirt of the narrow pathway with oddly-shaped hooves – the cloak obscured the beast’s

they’re getting closer

pelt. No one was along the little-used road to be passed, and so none saw the mount’s fur – a beautiful, swirled mottling of silver, black, and midnight blue. The demon-horse carried its rider swiftly towards

run run run faster

the setting sun. The forest was breached and gave way to gentle plains, and herds of wild horses jerked and scattered defiantly as the rider raced past. The demon-horse never tired, arched neck drenched in sweat, sculpted equine head leveled into the wind of its own passage. What looked like a long, thick plume arched backwards from the back of its skull and coiled

they’re going to catch us if you don’t

like a peacock’s feather, lax. The rider turned a hooded, veiled face to look over its shoulder at the swiftly-receding forest and hissed. “Faster,” it urged in a guttural growl of a voice and

hurry, you know, you’re our last chance to

faced front again. The smoke of a village could be seen now, staining the darkening horizon. The demon-horse ignored the cries of its kindred that erupted, snarling and screaming, from the tall grasses of the plains. It knew

make it back in time

that the jaws snapping at its ankles and fleet hooves would not touch the dark pelt. It knew, watching the world through wild jewel-like eyes, that no mortal creature could catch

hurry please hurry

a demon of such clean limb and enduring speed. With a thunder of long, sharp hooves, the beast lunged over a shadow that growled and aimed white fangs for a blued silver throat. The shadow

almost there

hissed and retreated when it missed and was rewarded with a stabbing kick as the demon-horse fled. The village was within sight now, a few inhabitants visible – tall, grey-furred beasts of men, clutching spears that


more resembled fallen logs with sharp tips than anything meant to be thrown. The rider unwound one four-fingered hand from the base of the steed’s black mane and drew a curving horn from its belt, then pressed the small end to its muzzle. The sound

too close, they’re right behind us and

echoed brassily across the plains, and within seconds, other horns were being blown from within the village. The smoke guttered and the half-beasts they could see disappeared from sight. The rider inhaled and began to

i can smell them, too close–

call again, but an arrow plunging into its shoulder knocked the wind from its lungs. The horn fell to the grasses as the demon-horse crossed an invisible line that defined the edge of the little village. Blood streamed down the rider’s torn cloak and stained its steed’s haunch, but it wheeled the beast about and

…this is the end

watched with hooded eyes as its fellows rose up from the tall grasses and sprang from the sturdy huts. The battle closed as pale, slender figures on white stags flickered into view like a mist – but only the half-beasts and the demons bled red blood. The ghosts they fought never fell.

Leave a Reply

Share your last post?