I see the stories have turned into dark and light versions. Alright, I’ll hop on that boat. I don’t have a light version card of the knights because it simply didn’t speak to me, but here’s the corrupted version.
The black-clad knights
S ‘Hurry up men, the immortals will be here before the end of the hour!’
The town sheriff shouted as he marched out of the town hall and looked at the lacking progress on the make-shift walls the militia were working on. The wall around their village was meant against wolves and maybe a bear, so he doubted that it would do much good against the immortals nearing in on them with an alarming rate. They were so close, he could already smell the foul stench of decay in the wind.
S ‘Soldiers, get off that wall and put your uniforms on! You need to be rested and ready when those damned undead hit us! Leave the constructions to the people that won’t fight!’
The sheriff sighed as if to resign to his fate. The walls looked terrible. They looked like a child had been tossing branches and pebbles onto a sandcastle to make it look better. Frankly, it was amazing that some parts hadn’t collapsed upon themselves due to the flimsy construction.
S ‘Look at it from the bright sight, maybe it will trap some immortal underneath it when it does collapse.’
The sheriff muttered to himself as he turned to the first squadron. He didn’t like the look in their eyes. The men looked just as scared as everyone else, just as scared as him. They reminded him that he was just as terrified as everyone else.
He was supposed to protect these people. As the sheriff, he was pretty much the only man in the village with actual fighting experience. He was the only one who knew how to handle a sword. And yet he was just as scared as these people. Their ‘soldiers’.
These people were no soldiers. They were militia, outfitted in the sturdy uniforms of their kingdom’s military and carrying high-quality weapons, but they were militia nonetheless. Hunters, lumberjacks, the local butcherer. He had to pick anyone who had the experience or physique to fight, and he had to pick from a very limited selection. They were better than farmers with pitchforks, but not by a lot.
And they only had six hours worth of training, training he had to give them. He, who could barely be called a soldier himself, had to condense years of experience into six hours. He wasn’t ready for this, and these people were neither.
But they would have to do. They would have to fight. They would have to protect their families. They would…
The sheriff’s thoughts were interrupted by a sudden uproar of hooves and clattering armor. He looked to the source of the noise and saw terrifying dark figures charge their way. The civilians in their way could only barely jump out of the way as they ran straight for him, avoiding the deadly stampede with nothing but a hair-length.
The sheriff drew his sword, an icy chill running over his spine as his mind was thrown into chaos when he tried to reconcile the scene before him. Were these undead horsemen? Some kind of immortal lord? An illusion?
So when the soldiers called their horses to a stop and the man in the front asked him a question, the sheriff didn’t move. He was frozen in place.
K ‘I said, are you the leader of this place?’
The sheriff looked up at the black-clad man. Sitting on a well-bred black horse, wearing completely black armor and his head adorned with a helmet in the shape of a demon’s head, the human voice sounded unnatural from this apparition.
The demon sighed and took of his helmet. While still looking like an imposing man, the cavalry lieutenant seemed more human with his face revealed and the sheriff managed to get more than a stutter over his lips.
S ‘Y-Yes, I am. I’m…’
K ‘Good, I was told that you are currently training more soldiers, correct? Will these be ready before the immortals get here?’
S ‘I, uhm… Yes, yes they will.’
K ‘Good. Men, we’ll be resting here until further notice. You, sheriff, are there any provisions you can spare for us?’
Not waiting for the sheriff to reply, the knight got off his horse and handed the reins to one of his soldiers. The sheriff unconsciously backed off a bit when the soldier got near, even though the skull-shaped helmet was less imposing than the demon-shaped one, these people were still terrifying.
K ‘And tell those people to stop messing with that wall. They are going to bring it down and give the immortals a breaching point before those damned corpses even get here! Tell them to fortify the town hall instead, I don’t want to worry about protecting the civilians here any more than I have to.’
The villagers, who stopped working the moment these knights appeared, quickly climbed off the wall before infuriating this man any further. Gathering up all of his courage, the sheriff approached the knight.
S ‘What do you mean, fortify the town hall. If we do that, the people will be stuck in a dead-trap.’
K ‘See this village, Sheriff? See those walls? That’s the dead-trap. This village is the dead-trap and we’re all stuck in it already. Just nail shut any windows and blockade the doors, at least we don’t have to worry about every single immortal getting anywhere near the village center. And if they manage to kill us soldiers out here, well, then it doesn’t matter if the people are trapped in there or not, they’ll be dead either way.’
S ‘Ah, I see. Well, then I…’
K ‘So, when will these new recruits be ready exactly?’
The knight interrupted him blatantly. Without really paying attention to the sheriff, he ordered some of his men when they rolled a barrel of the village’s mead towards their comrades. The other knights cheered when they opened it up and passed their cups around.
In the half hour after that, the Sheriff couldn’t get another word in. The lieutenant seemed to ignore any attempt to start a conversation and ordered the villagers around on how to fortify their village hall. Only when the sheriff got word that the new recruits were ready, did he acknowledge the man’s existence.
K ‘Ah, about time. Here, an order from your king.’
The lieutenant took a fancy-looking letter with the royal crest out of his sash and handed it to the sheriff. Opening it up, the sheriff saw some strange symbols.
S ‘I, uhm…’
K ‘Can’t read calligraphy? Why aren’t I surprised? It says you’re called upon to march towards the city of Huntersvail. Take all the men you’ve trained and outfitted and leave immediately.’
S ‘Leave? But…’
K ‘Don’t worry, we’re ordered to protect your village for now. Our unit will suffice to take out these immortals on our own. In fact, we tend to work better when we don’t have to worry about you militia smucks getting in our way and turning into immortals yourselves.’
K ‘Concerning the recent developments, the king prefers these kind of strategies. If we just throw sufficient numbers at them, just enough to win with many casualties, we’ll run out of able hands before the undead do. This way, you guys will actually get some proper training from experienced soldiers instead of half your unit getting wiped out in your first battle.’
S ‘But our families! We have to protect our families!’
K ‘And we will. Don’t worry, are these the faces of men who’re about to die?’
The dark knight gestures at his men, who’re gathering around the half-emptied barrel, gambling and telling dirty jokes. He hated to admit it, but the sheriff couldn’t find a single scared face among these people. And they weren’t drunk enough yet for it to be drowned out.
S ‘Sigh Very well. Just promise me you’ll keep my family safe.’
K ‘I promise. Now make haste, every moment you linger might be the one that the undead need to overrun Huntersvail.’
The sheriff called the rest of his unit and left the village behind him not long after. The last few unarmed villagers took their families and belongings into the village hall and two of the black-clad knights began to barricade the door from the outside.
Soldier I ‘What was that all about, Lieutenant? Did you really promise that man we were going to protect these people?’
K ‘Experience taught me that things tend to be a lot easier when you say those two simple words. Besides, a broken vow is far from the worst thing we did.’
Soldier I ‘So, shall we ignite the tar?’
K ‘No, the undead won’t get here for another twenty minutes. Wait ten minutes to put some distance between us and those rookies, and then we light it up. Right now, they could still hear the screams of their burning families trying to break out of the village hall. And tell the men to get ready to leave, I don’t want to be anywhere near this place when those undead get here.’
Soldier I ‘Aye aye, sir.’