William Slade, Shadow Slayer, Episode One: Captive Commander
—by Nathan on January 29, 2010—
Darkness has fallen over the land of Durele. The kingdom of Grizlale, where High King Hastell rules, has gathered all the young men in Durele. That have trained them to be the best fighting force in the world: The Shadow Slayers. Their job is to battle the forces of the darkest Shadow Spawn of all: Zazek, and his evil henchmen. And William Slade is the greatest Slayer of them all. He just could be what Durele is looking for: A hero.
William Slade hid in the bushes, his face peeking through openings in the leaves. He surveyed Darzinel, a fortress of Zazek, lord of the Shadow Spawn. Nether Beings, the soldiers of the Dark Army, guarded the front door. William had to get in there. His mission was of utmost importance.
Inside was commander of Grizlale's armies, Devbeck Hestron. His battalion was passing through the Valley of Sins that bordered Zazek's realm, Skyre, when they were ambushed by a horde of Shadow Snakes, men of darkness with one, long tail instead of legs with poison-tipped claws on their hands. The men were swift, but the Snakes were faster. They struck like lightning, killing many soldiers and capturing Devbeck. Only one man had escaped to warn High King Hastell of the commander's plight. William had been sent to rescue Devbeck.
The young man sighed and fingered his sword. He wished soldiers had been given to him for help. But, for some unknown reason, Hastell thought he could handle this mission on his own.
Standing, William rushed forward, crying a war-bellow. The Nether Beings, giant, Troll-sized beasts, met his charge. Disposing of the first Being, William was caught off guard and knocked over on his back by the second. The huge monster swung down with his axe. William cut in the half and stabbed upwards. The Nether Being groaned and fell to the ground, dead. William wiped his sword clean and struggled to open the heavy, iron gate that guarded the evil fortress.
He rushed in, cutting down two more giants. Shadow Snakes leaped from the darkness, but were easily disposed of.
What's wrong with Zazek? the young man wondered. Can't his freaks even pose a challenge for one, lone Slayer? There has to be something more threatening here, like a Dragon of Darkness or a Slaith...
"You who entered my realm," hissed a deep voice to the side, "why have you dared to come? Your entrance signifies your doom, and the doom of he you search for. Oh, yes..." the voice laughed menacingly, "...we know why you have come, Shadow Slayer. We know of your mission. Do not expect to save your comrade, or even find him alive. The commander is to disposed of in the morning, so are the orders of my lord, the great Lord Zazek!"
William whirled and stumbled back, trying to hold in a cry of dismay and alarm. A creature made entirely out of fire stood before him. Its body ran like molten lava, but somehow never ran out of flame. Its crimson, diamond-shaped eyes glared at William with a hatred no man could attempt to describe, and its fingers were burning daggers, more dangerous than any knife or sword. The Slayer knew his blade wouldn't stand a chance against such a foe, against a Hearth.
The flaming beast blasted fire at William, who leaped to the side. The young man reached into a bag on his belt and pulled out a ring surrounded with spikes. A Cell Spike. If William could throw it just right, the Spike could imprison the Hearth until the Slayer and Commander Devbeck fled.
Fire formed a ring around William and closed, a death the young man nearly escaped by jumping high. However, it seemed as if the Hearth had anticipated such a move, for it flung a flame at William and knocked him to the ground. It laughed again as it approached, a fiery ball in its hand.
"Your time as a Slayer has reached an end, you witless worm," the monster grinned. "I assure you the slow, painful demise you rightfully deserve. I hope your king marks it up as a warning. A warning that won't be taken lightly, I hope. He should realize that it's just idiotic to send a child to do a man's job. You both should have known. Your foolishness will cost you dearly, very, very dearly."
With a grunt, William tossed the Cell at his enemy. It hit the Hearth and surrounded him with steely chains inlaid with spikes. The creature cried out at the poking pain and fell to the floor.
The Slayer leaped over the beast and charged down the hall. He rounded corner after corner, dashed down corridor after corridor, struck down Snake after Snake. It still seemed too easy. He came to the end of a hall and flung open the door. He gasped.
But what our young friend perceives must wait...until Episode 2!