Mark Davies finds himself in a strange parallel world in which he is one of an order of magicians fighting against a tyrranical Emperor. He has to deal with being forcibly taken from Earth at the same time as learning the arts of both magick and swordplay. His life may depend on it.
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The dark man opened his eyes.
The eyes were not—could not be—entirely human. Their irises were stained a bloody red that almost completely eclipsed the original hue. The pupils were much larger than was natural, allowing him to see much better in the dark than normal humans. The whites were completely bloodshot. An ordinary person would have found the eyes disturbing.
The dark man loved them.
Apart from his eyes, his face was that of an ordinary human in his twenties. A rather handsome one, at that. He had pale skin, and tousled blond hair which gave him a somewhat boyish look. He was of average height, and had a slightly more muscular build than was normal. He looked for all the world like one of them.
His wardrobe, however, stood out here on Earth. He wore long, billowing black robes that gave him an intimidating silhouette. A hood covered his face. Underneath these, he wore a tight-fitting tunic, dyed crimson. His leather boots were tipped with iron spikes. His belt was black leather as well, though a shade darker. A fine chain mesh was woven into the clothes.
A sheath between his shoulder blades held his weapon, a two-handed sword. The stout blade was pale as moonlight, seeming almost to glow. It was in fine condition; the dark man oiled and beveled it whenever possible. It extended for about three and a half feet before coming to a sharp point. The ricasso had a small ring attached to one side; during battle, his right index finger would slip through it, aligning the blade with his arm to maximize thrusting effectiveness. Below the crossguard, the hilt was wood, wrapped in ebony leather and silver wire to help maintain a firm grip. The teardrop-shaped pommel had a large black pearl set in it. The one flaw in the sword was the five notches in the leather on the hilt.
This, however, was an intentional flaw. Each notch represented an enemy magician the dark man had killed personally.
A modest number—Judas the elf had slain as many as twenty, and Jaesel dozens upon dozens, if the rumors were to be believed—but he was proud of it. After all, he'd only been fighting against Jyavah's Chosen for three years.
On any other of the occasional missions on Earth that Jaesel would send magicians to perform, the dark man would have shed the robes and tunic and left his sword behind. Blending in was far more effective than more blatant methods; the demons in this world had learned that long ago. One did not seduce a woman by threatening her with a blade. However, subtlety was not what was required here. He had to show the boy the raw power he could possess if he gave himself to Jaesel and to the Gods; otherwise, he might not accept his offer. Besides, he had to move fast; Jyavah's Chosen was probably already in the town, searching for him.
A pity that the servants of the Gods could not possess others like the demons of their ally Satan; the boy was certainly open to possession. It would ensure his cooperation, doubtless.. But then, men were always more effective under their own will; this had been proven on Earth by those like Karl Marx and Adolf Hitler, people who were not directly under the sway of Satan but had managed to further his glorious cause more than any demon-possessed man. And on Elbesh by those like Jaesel and Judas. And myself.
The dark man shivered ever so slightly in the wind. It was cold in the town of St. Emmaline, cold enough that another man wearing nothing but robes would have been struggling to stop his teeth from chattering. However, the dark man was far from ordinary. He did not dwell on the chill; he had more pressing maters at hand.
As far as he could tell, no one in the immediate vicinity had noticed the bright flash that had come when he broke through the wall between the two worlds. They had probably still been getting dressed or eating breakfast; the lazy fools in this part of the world did not get up until the sun had already risen. Westerners. Bah! The sound, akin to that of a small bomb exploding ,would have alerted a few, but the dark man had hidden himself well enough that they would see nothing strange, and most likely pass the noise off as a backfiring car. Those who did not know magick existed often used mundane happenings to explain its effects.
And if one of those who had heard did suspect something was amiss...
Well, it had been awhile since he had used his sword. He could use the practice.
Pausing in his musings, the dark man closed those red eyes. He muttered under his breath, concentrating, focusing on the magick...
When he opened his eyes, they, along with the rest of his body, his clothes, and his sword, were invisible.
He smiled. A neat trick, that—one he had worked on for the better part of a year to perfect. Even now, he had to be careful; if his concentration slipped, he would become visible once more. Still, the results were more than worth the effort.
The dark man stepped out of his hiding place, no longer worrying about one of the townspeople noticing him. It would be rather amusing if they could see him, a black-cloaked man with a blade as long as a ten year-old was tall hanging on his back. He could picture their open mouths and staring eyes as he passed their homes. Ha.
Maybe he would do it sometime. Now, he had a mission.
Find the boy. Kill the agents of Jyavah's Chosen that were also hunting him. And bring him back. Simple, really, in the end.
As the best plans often are.
With an idle flick of his mind, he erased his bootprints from the fallen snow as he walked down the street.