A Tainted Soul
"I've been told by the other monasteries," Father Francis explained. "He lets live those of the most honourable souls. His dark piercing eyes can see through your bodily coil and peer deep into one's soul."
Inside Father Francis's chambers, himself and Sir Stonewars conversed in his chambers. It was an old monastery, built of stone, brick, and clay. It had aged through time and wind. It was dim and gloomy.
"The ancient scribes say it is the Green Seed," the Father said in his serious tone. "In our church, green is the essence of death, the ultimate evil. Pray tell Sir Stonewars, before his presence had plagued your land, had a mad white rider appear at your castle gates?"
Dapel stared at the Father with a confused look. He tried to remember. It was painful to do so. He tried to bury those horrible memories, bury them deep. But there it was, a vision of the mad white rider with a sheath with no sword, in his hand was his king's bloody crown.
"Yes…" Dapel answered breathlessly. "I do remember the white rider. We all denied the words of his mad tongue. When the sun had arrived the next day, war was upon us."
Visions of the red rider flashed through his mind forcefully involuntarily. It haunted him so terribly. In his ride to Castle Fedrik, the memories had terrorised him. Even in his heart, blackness had sewn itself.
Father Francis, in his fine bishop robes feared the worst. He was a man in his late forties. He ran his fingers through his white and black strains of hair. He was unnerved by the horrid massacres. He was breathing quickly as his heart raced with pure fright. His hand was shaking terribly.
"It is the prophecy of utter chaos," Father Francis explained further, his words broken. "First comes the white rider who brings word of arrival of the angel of death. Second, comes the red rider who brings war upon a peaceful land, setting the world afire. Third, is the black rider of plague, a symbol of all rotting corpses of the ravaged lands. Last is the green rider, who causes the land to die and diseased filled where nothing can ever grow again, a barren wasteland.
"You, are but one of thee prophecies, Sir Stonewars," Father Francis said in all serious and reverence.
The Father stood up as he finished and left his chambers to fulfil his duties as bishop. Leaving Dapel to try and understand his terrible part he played in this ancient tale. He denied it and convinced himself he was not the white rider Father Francis spoke of.
When he decided to stand, a cold chill was crawling up his spine as he shattered. He walked out of the chambers and stepped down the spiral stairway. He hung his head low, his mind was clear. His stare was empty. His hold on his helmet became loose, very loose.
As he had set foot out of the church, he headed straight to the river nearby. All the priests and monks stopped and stared at Sir Dapel Stonewars. All of them felt sorry for the poor, poor boy. He passed through tall pine trees and bushes as though the world meant nothing to him.
Reaching the riverbank, he collapsed on his knees.
"I—I…will be, respons—ible for all…the innocent lives in Fedrik…" Dapel's broken words were filled with pure despair and sadness.
He whimpered in silence. A single tear dropped into the calm blue river. He was breathless as he watched the water ripple till it was peaceful once more. With his red watery eyes he peered deep into the calm blue river to see himself. He saw how black his eyes had become with days without sleep. His face was so pale as he went days without eating. But, his gaze was drawn to the white hood over his head.
He inhaled slowly as he took his hood in his hand. He gripped it tightly as he rubbed the soft white cloth twice. Slowly, he looked down at his white cloak.
He shrieked and fell back in utter fright!
Quickly, he had torn off his cloak and threw it aside. It was stained with red blood…thick red blood. He then rose to his feet and darted towards the monastery.
"Father Francis?" He called out countless times as he ran about the monastery like a madman.
Finally, Dapel found Father Francis at the monastery gates with his horse straddled and packed. The knight had stopped, appearing confused. He slowly approached the bishop.
"You must leave this place, my friend," Father Francis said sadly.
"I need to answers!" Dapel countered.
"You must go!" the bishop echoed.
"I will not leaving until I know a way to prevent these massacres," Dapel argued angrily.
Father Francis then sighed and said. "If you seek answers here, you will find none. Questions such as these can only be answered within the Ruins of the Forgotten. The path to such a place I do not know, so travel south until you arrive at the land of sand. There you will meet a blind sage. He will aid you in your quest."
Dapel listened hard. When the bishop was finished, the knight climbed up his horse in a hurry.
As he took hold of the reins, the bishop grabbed his hand tightly. "Beware the blackness that now breeds in your heart, my friend," Father Francis warned. The bishop had nodded once as the last word sled off his tongue and released his grip from the knight's hand.
Dapel nodded as he kicked his horse and it jumped into a hasty run far down the road. Father Francis watched till the knight disappeared under the horizon. He smiled to himself.
"Of all those before him, he has something they don't," Father Francis said to himself. "Spirit…" And the old priest walked back into his monastery…
And there it was, a chance to redeem his faded honor. It brightened his heart to know he can change his fate. Smiling happy to himself as Dapel was riding fast. The light of the midday sun shined down on him proudly. Riding past the thousands of pine trees, the hooves of his horse stomped hard on the dirt. The cool wind blew against his face. It felt wonderful once again.