chapter 3 of metalark
When Raven and Lady Star arrived at the town of Greentree, the whole town was in chaos. All hell had broken out. Fire was spread between all the buildings and even in the streets. It hungrily consumed all in its path. The dry, dead wood was perfect for fire starter and combusted into flames by the heat. Rubble and dirt was strewn everywhere and dead bodies were mixed in. Thick, black smoke clouded the sky and blurred vision. Cries of pain and agony could be heard from around corner. Raven ran into the chaos with Starkiller in his hand. His feet pounded against the ash and his heart raced. He had to find Lark.
Raven ran harder than he has ever run in his life. He stopped to look around in the smoke, and saw that he was now surrounded by several towns folk, all with some sort of weapon in there hand. Axes, swords, sharpened sticks, all pointing at him.
“You brought this upon us, you!” they yelled at him, their faces unmoving their voices did not falter. They came closer and closer. Raven did not want to kill them, but they wanted to kill him.
The first one to attack was a man, he had an ax in his hand. He swung it wildly at Raven, who snatched the ax away with the blade of his scythe and hit the man in the gut with the dull edge, throwing him back several feet. He got back up and did not act hurt, but continued to walk towards Raven, That's when he saw that they were all walking in the same manner, like the undead. “They are under a spell!” Raven thought to himself, “These people are already dead!”
Raven looked around franticly. More and more people were walking towards him in the same way as the man. He saw that the people he thought were dead were getting up and grabbing rocks and other weapons and looking at him. Then he heard it. How could he have not heard it before! There was a song in the air! That meant Lark was nearby!
Reminding himself that thee humans were no longer with the living, but the dead, he pulled out his crossbow and aimed it at their heads. “Sorry for what I've done!” he yelled and pulled the trigger. The string let go with a twang, and he hear the next bolt turn into the slot. When he looked up, the arrow had hit its target head on. She stumbled a little ways before falling to the ground. The bolt had pierced her head and was sticking out of his skull.
He continued to shoot and more and more of these undead “zombies” fell to their deaths...their true death. Then the click came and he through down his crossbow and took Starkiller from his back and charged a small group of zombies. Slicing off heads and other limbs, he fought his way to the town square, And there she was. Lark was tied to a wooden cross and being forced to sing by the army of the Lord of Night. She looked at him pleadingly and sorrowfully. He was covered in the dark crimson blood of the town.
Something sharp bit into his skull in the back of his head. Blood drained from Raven's head swiftly and quickly. His vision blurred and the last sounds he heard before falling to the ground was Lark yelling something he could not recognize...
Raven lifted himself up from the ground spitting ashes from his mouth. The sharp pain in the back of his head was now gone, and when he felt where it was, there was nothing there. He slowly stood up. Even if he didn't have a wound in the back of his skull, he still had a splitting headache. No one was around him anymore. All the zombies had gone and the soldiers too. Lark no linger was tied to the cross and the fires did not burn. He wondered where he was.
“Your in Limbo.” said a deep, scratchy voice, This is where we leave the Realm of the Living, and you fallow me to the Realm of the Dead.” Raven then watched in astonishment as a dark, cloaked figure stood before him. A scythe in his hand. That reminded him, where was Star?
“What do you mean?” demanded Raven. The figure before him looked up from under his ghastly hood. His eyes were blacker than the inside of a coffin at midnight. His face was rotted and decayed.
“You have a choice.” exclaimed the hooded figure, “you could fallow me, The Grim Reaper, to hell, or you can challenge yourself against my labyrinth.”
“But there has to be some way I can stay here! My task here is not done!”
“There is none.” Death spoke in a calm voice.
“Then.....” Raven's next words came out strong and sure, “then I'll challenge you!”
“Hmm, may I ask why you would want to fight me?” he was much intrigued.
“Because it would amuse me!” Raven looked at Death and Death saw that Raven's eyes had changed. They were no longer the eyes of a living man, but a man that no longer cared what happened to himself. A man that has reached his limit, and was no longer human, but insanity itself.
Death thought to himself for awhile before answering, “Fine,” he waved his left hand in the air in an up and down motion and a dagger appeared in front of Raven, “This is your weapon, lets begin!'
Raven clutched his hand around the hilt of the dagger, “Lets...” The dagger was simple. A sturdy steel blade with a small scrap of brown leather strapped to the handle for a grip. Blood stained the blade.
Death stood there at the ready with his own scythe, Raven knew that even though he seemed like an old man that can't fight, he is going against an opponent that is next best to a god. He decided to play with Death a little. Raven bent down slowly and clutched a rock in his fist and threw it as hard as he could at his foe. With impressive speed, Death disappeared and appeared right before him in the blink of an eye. His scythe was pulled back. Raven tackled him before he could swing and repeatedly stabbed him with the dagger.
When Raven stopped, he thought he won for all he now held in his hands was death's clothes, stained with blood. But to late did he learn that it was his own blood and death was behind him. His scythe had pierced Ravens flesh just above the left hip. Death gave a smile and pulled out the scythe. Raven turned, his hand gripping the wound. “You actually thought you could kill me?” Death smirked.
“I never said that, I just said it would amuse me.” the smirk left Death's face and raven let his dagger fly. It flew straight and true and Death started to dodge it, but was to slow for the dagger entered his skull through the eye. Death screeched and dropped his scythe, his hands springing to his eye. Raven saw his chance and ran for the scythe. As soon as he laid his hand upon it, he was flung back by the force of Death's hand. Raven flew against a brick wall, which crumbled at the force of the blow. A cloud of dirt and ashes flew up into the sky.
Death pulled the dagger from his eye and looked at The cloud of dust. He could not see Raven. Then, a dark shimmering figure got up within the cloud and limped out into the open. Raven was not giving up yet.
“You surprise me Raven!”Death exclaimed, “Most people would just give up!” he picked up his scythe and walked to Raven.
“Ya, well, I'm not most people.”
“Ah, yes, I see that!” Death had enjoyed fighting Raven for it proved a real challenge, h hated to see him go. Either way, Raven must lose, and he raised his scythe to Raven's neck.
Raven knew what would happen next, he fights with a scythe himself, but unbeknownst to Death, Raven had a plan. Death sighed and drew his scythe back slightly to make sure it would cut all the way through the neck with one clan stroke. Raven grabbed Death's wrist and the handle of the scythe, surprising Death, for he did not think he had any fight left in him. “You left yourself open!” Raven said rather smartly and looked into his opponent's face with insanity in his eyes. Raven swiftly pulled his wrist towards him and pushed the scythe away, freeing Death's grip on the weapon. Then he swung the scythe around and gripped it with two hands and slashed at Death. He gave out a howl and dark-colored blood spilled from his shoulder. Death's right arm was twitching on the ground, parted from his body. Raven rested the blade on Death's shoulder, the tip prickled at his throat.
“It appears you won.”
“So now what? Do I go to hell anyways?”
“Because you are the first person to beat ever, I will let you go back once more...but your soul is owed to me!” Death admired Raven for being such a challenge, but hated him for winning, he wanted his soul to burn forever.
“Fine.” Raven replied and lowered the blade from Death's neck before giving it back to him. Death gladly accepted his scythe and cast his hand at Raven. He fell to the ground unconscious. His head swam with thoughts, and he began to here Lark's voice in song.