Warrior of Darkness
It was such an odd word, tyrant. He had been called that more times than he could count since he had taken control of the mountains. Strangely, though, he had never once thought of himself as that. He supposed tyrants rarely did. Neither, though, did he think of himself as the other names that had been pinned on him through the years. Dark warrior, dark tyrant, dark lord. Always dark something, it seemed.
He supposed it was his own fault, though, for never disclosing his own name, only ever being addressed as 'Lord'. In the privacy of his mind, though, he still used his own name, long forgotten by history as a dead knight.
There was no one to call him that but himself, now. Not even the sorcerer still lived. Corr was sure, though, that the magician was laughing from the grave, enjoying the fact that Corr could not defy him any longer.
Are you satisfied, sorcerer? Does my compliance with this curse you thrust upon me bring you joy in the afterlife?
He asked the questions silently, wondering if the sorcerer could hear the thoughts of his one-time puppet.
Turning suddenly from the view from the cliff's edge, he strode away from his sanctuary of sorts.
As he walked, he once again immersed himself in his thoughts. Unbidden, they turned to the one time since his curse had been thrust upon him that he had shown mercy to another person.
He had killed many, many men before the boy's father, but never in front of their children. Before, they had always been lone travelers with no one to mourn them that Corr knew of.
The child, Hawke, his father had called him, would be a man now, but still in so many ways a child, as boys were at that age. Corr should have killed the boy that day- he had been just as defiant as his father. Something had stopped him, though.
Something inside him, so deeply buried as to be nearly forgotten. That long-ignored part of him had reared up in an instant to stop his blade before retreating once again into that part of his soul where it slept.
It was a shame, though, that Corr would have to kill the boy anyway. The warrior hadn't missed the look in Hawke's eyes as he walked away with his mother- pure, unadulterated hatred of Corr, and a silent vow to kill him. Corr had seen it many times before, but never once had he thought the person who looked at him with it in their eyes strong enough in personality to carry through with it, not since the last of the challengers to his rule had died at his hand.
The child wouldn't be able to kill Corr, of course. That was impossible, he knew. Corr himself had tried every way possible. Even beheading didn't work. His head simply didn't come off. Neither did any of his other limbs. Still, Hawke was sure to give a good account of himself. At least he'd prove to be a challenge to defeat.
He stopped his train of thought as he entered the capital of sorts of the mountains. Being met with bows and murmurs of 'Lord', he ignored them all, striding purposefully towards the center of town.
He sensed their resentment, their hatred of him. But no defiance, not a single bit in any of them.
Wait….there. That man had done something to defy Corr. It showed in his eyes, in his demeanor, the way he avoided looking at his lord at all, they way he shot nervous glances at the others in the square, as if fearful that they knew something that would spell his death sentence.
Corr turned on his heel, changing course abruptly and heading towards a merchant.
"You. What is that man's name?" He indicated the nervous man. The question was not impolite or threatening, but the merchant cowered away before looking where the warrior had gestured.
Corr did not shift his gaze from the man he had posed the question to until it was answered.
"Peter Fletching, Lord. That's Peter Fletching." He looked like he wanted to say something more about Fletching, but didn't want to be accused of defying the mountain lord. The sentence for that was death by the midnight blade of Shadow's Vengeance.
Without another word, the warrior turned once again, this time stopping before the guilty man.
"Y-yes, Lord?" the stutter was the final confirmation.
"Reveal what you have done to defy me and your death with be quick. Withhold it, and you will suffer. It will do you no good in the end." Corr rarely spoke, but when he did, it chilled those who heard his voice to the bone. All those in the square heard it now, and stopped their various activities to listen.
"I just wanted extra food for my family! Please, Lord, have mercy!"
For the first time in a long time, Corr hesitated at the plea for mercy, but then drew his blade and killed the man. No one in the square noticed his hesitation.
"Locate the stolen food and return it to the owners if you can find them. If not, place it in the storehouses. Leave the body for a day, then bury it. No grave marker." The order was not given to anyone in particular, but the warrior knew it would be carried out.
Without another word, he strode out the opposite end of town in a flurry of his black cloak.
He was angry with himself for his hesitation. Ever since the boy Hawke had awakened that forgotten part of him, something had been different. Corr did not like it. It was too….weak. Too merciful, too soft. Too much like he himself had been two centuries earlier, when he had been mortal.
He wondered for the first time in a long, long time if what he did to his subjects was wrong.
He had no answer for himself.