Reader Discretion is Advised
Yo. I know I haven't been around for a while. I also know that can I tell you that you can see Death Knight 2.0 on Booksie.com.
I'm rewriting the DK tale as an independent universe, (no fan fic). Readers will definitely recognize the story, but I had to change around a lot because now the characters are human. I think its been improved. I fixed a bunch of stupid mistakes from the first version, from grammar to conflicting descriptions of characters. Some names had to be changed. Vulpo is still Vulpo, though. Ashtail and the twins, however got brand new names.
Right now there I have written two entirely new scenes for DKI, but there may be more when it all gets up. The uncensored sections you couldn't/may not have seen before will be up too.
SRRF's stories are up there to.
Death Knight, by Schizophrenia on Booksie  Hope to see your comment there.
Chapter Fifteen: Crimson Ink
Inkeyes kept his head down and his eyes drooping as the door creaked open. He wrinkled his nose slightly. It was the white cat. He smelled better than the others. The wildcat walked with a purpose, straight towards the otter. What was he doing?
Matar stood in front of him, reaching to his waist. He fiddled with the ring of thick keys fastened to his black belt as he spoke.
“Awaken, waterdog. You’re being moved to work detail.”
Inkeyes feigned fatigue and confusion. “What? Work?”
The wildcat held up his key ring, flicking through the various keys as he explained. “Masonry for you.”
“Is that good?”
Matar stared into the otter’s dark eyes. His eyes narrowed and his ears flattened against his head. “You’re not that tired, waterdog. You’ll do your work whether it’s ‘good’ or not.”
The otter bowed his head again slightly as the cat stepped closer. “Of course, sir.”
Matar flashed close. His paw gripped the otter’s ragged shirt. “Are you patronizing me slave?”
Too much acting, then. “Never” You’re not worthy to lick the filthiest pot of the Northern Brigade.
Matar rolled his eyes in disbelief and bent down to reach the lock around Inkeyes’ ankles. With a click his left leg was free.
Now or never.
Matar unlocked the other ankle and stood. “Remember, try anything, and you’re dead. Disobey, and you’re dead. Try to run, and you’re dead.”
Inkeyes, snapped his eyelids shut as Matar leaned forward to reach his arms, lest they reveal him. He casually slid one paw down as it was unlocked, making no sudden movements. Matar slid the key into the final lock. With a near silent click it opened. Inkeyes smiled. Idiot. Unbeknownst to him, Matar saw the grin.
Quick as lightning, his knee flew up. Equally swift, Matar jumped to the side. His claws extended and he lunged. Inkeyes’ battle instincts, nearly forgotten in the dark hell, arose so quickly even he was surprised. With one paw he batted the veritable scythes away, the other reaching for a choking hold.
The other prisoners seemed vitalized by his resistance.
“Give it to the pussycat!”
“Kill the demon!”
Matar ducked. His left arm bent to hold the otter back with his solid forearm as his right went to his waist. He curled his white digits around the grip of his knife. Inkeyes gave a throaty grunt as his mildly atrophied, but still powerful arms encompassed his oppressor. The two were engaged in a vicious wrestling match. The prisoners were now shouting. The younger slaves yanked at their shackles and howled.
“Kill the cat! Kill the cat!”
Inkeyes stared into the inner black of his foe’s eyes. His arms were wrapped around the cat, one paw forcing its way from the back of the neck to the front, the other pulling the cat close. Matar’s drawing paw was pinned to his waist, the other keeping the otter from completing his death embrace. Hardly able to move the arm, he used his claws to scratch away at his opponent’s shoulder. Both flexed their muscles, trying to gain any small advantage. Matar had the easier time, awake and healthy, and his paw slowly drew up the dagger. He smiled.
“You are about to die, waterdog. Give up now.”
Inkeyes’ face hardened. “I will die a hundred times before I think to yield to you once!”
Matar gave a mighty thrust with his left elbow, breaking the otter’s grip and sending him backwards. The cat lunged forward, driving his dagger upwards into Inkeyes’ gut before he could react. He grunted, and his arms seemed terribly weak.
Time seemed to flow slowly. He breathed out. Matar jammed the point higher into his ribcage, shoving out the last breath of air with a grunt. Inkeyes’ gaze focused on the cat. His slovenly face broke out into a large smile. He uttered his last words as his eyes began seeing another place.
With an audible exhale, the otter fell back, carrying the lethal blade with him, still lodged in his heart. He was a prisoner no longer. He was free before he worked for his enemy.
Across the room, the door opened. Three guards rushed in, then abruptly stopped. They eyes drank the scene. Every single prisoner was staring, mouth agape, at the corpse of an otter, mouth still twisted in a triumphal smile. As one they sank back down in silence.
Chapter Sixteen: Ominous
Matar looked over his shoulder nervously. The stone hall was empty and silent. Good. Then, he heard a near-imperceptible scrape of a footpaw against the floor. He did his best to look as natural as possible. He relaxed as Emeraldai turned the corner. She smiled upon seeing him. He returned the grin.
“Are you sure this will work tonight?” he whispered.
“Yes. Boneeye should be making sure that the guards aren’t there tonight right now.”
Matar stepped closer to her. She was so pretty. This was too dangerous for her to risk doing. “I should do this.”
“No, I have to. You are expected to be in the barracks. You always are at that time, waiting for your watch or sleeping. I’m not expected to be anywhere,” she laid a paw on his arm. “But thank you.”
Matar swept his cloak aside and drew out a dagger from a hidden pocket. He gave it to the other wildcat, then pulled out another item. He held up the vial for her to see. The glass was filled with a deep yellow-green liquid. Its sickly hue spoke of danger.
“Poison?” she asked, slipping the dagger into her own cloak.
“Not exactly. It’s not lethal on its own. I’ve learned how to make it, after a lot of practice, so I’m sure of that. I once tested a small amount on myself.”
“What does it do?”
“It’s hard to describe. Remember the end of the siege? The...demons?”
“Remember the feeling that rushed through you, grasping your insides in icy iron? The feeling is similar to that. Except no matter how hard you try, you cannot move. Even if the queen notices you, all you need to do is get the first strike. The closer you get to an artery, the faster it will act. As little as seconds.”
He handed her the crystal vial. Emeraldai slid it inside her cloak. “But I warn you, it reacts to the air. After a few minutes, it will be as potent as seawater. Wipe it over your blade at the last possible second.”
Emeraldai nodded and smiled. “Thank you, Matar.”
Matar’s mind raced. Should he do it? He so desperately wanted to. He wouldn’t find out if he didn’t try. “You’re welcome, Emeraldai.” He leaned forward, taking her arms in his paws. His lips met her cheek.
Emeraldai put a paw behind his head and turned it. She kissed him. Matar felt a rush. Nothing could go wrong. It was an invigorating blast of cool air suddenly whipping by. She backed away from him.
“Good luck” he said.
“Thank you.” Emeraldai turned and hurried away.
Matar stood mute as she disappeared around the corner. ‘Good luck?’ Of all things I could’ve said, that?
Vulpo breathed out slowly and squinted in the light. The two had just risen over the crest of their final hill. Before them stood the dark fortress, silhouetted against the dim orange sunset. Its tall spires rose from the earth, mighty talons promising to swallow them whole. Ashtail fell into place beside him, bristling. Vulpo extended a paw and grasped his shoulder.
“Don’t do anything rash, friend.”
Ashtail nodded. Vulpo looked into his face. There was no sadness there, precious little worry. Only hatred for the stone peaks piercing the horizon. The fox’s heart ached. Was this how he had looked? Willing to do anything. Ready to die knee-deep in blood, just because it was worth it to know you tried. Vulpo looked deep into hazel eyes, a virtual mirror. No, not a mirror. A window that held hope, though hard to see.
He saw that the squirrel was nearly ready to bolt towards their target. “I’m going to scout this place out, alright? I’ve got to see how we can get in.” Ashtail’s eyes flashed with annoyance. “I need to go. I need to do something for Sefera.”
Vulpo returned the harsh gaze. “The best thing you can do right now is staying here and not get caught.” Ashtail’s face remained hard. “For Sefera. More than one scout will just double the risk.”
The squirrel dropped his gaze, conceding the point but still angry. “For Sefera.”
Boneeye winced at the slight click his talons made as they hit the stone windowsill. He paused and held his breath. This would be easiest if he had more time to think of what to say. What possible reason would guards have to be away from their queen when that could mean their own death?
Boneeye turned and looked out over the ocean. The sun was just finishing its journey through the sky. The clouds were a rare orange, rather bright for the North. Above the sea but below the clouds was a slit of actual sky. A small celebration for what was to come. The rule of Queen Emeraldai!
Boneeye leaned against the side of the window and brought his opposite talon up to scratch his side. The thin rib there prickled. It always prickled when he was nervous. Boneeye clacked his beak in sudden worry. He was never nervous except when-
The raven’s eyes widened. He hopped, twisting his body and giving a weak flap to land in the hall. Spasmodically he stepped to the bend and looked around. The two guards were leaning against the wall to each side of the door. His milk-white eye focused as his other snapped shut. He gazed beyond the guards.
Soldiers were running everywhere, shouting; some for aid and some for their lives. A thin film of blood was sprayed down some of the walls. What could have happened here? A rat stumbled in from a wooden door. His snout was split down the center. With a groan he fell.
“Where are they?”
“Is anyone alive down there?”
“Is it a prison break?”
The soldiers froze as a chilling laugh echoed down the halls. The hard ice of the sound brought up vicious images in their heads. Some of these soldiers were veterans of the siege of the Brigade Bastion.
“The demons have returned from the hellgates!” shrilled a weasel, dropping his axe and fleeing, praying for his soul, as others followed him.
Boneeye shook his head. Where was the door the rat had come from? Where was the blood? With a shudder he realized it was happening again. It never happened without a reason, but it was always right. Boneeye spun around. He ran on spindly legs and leaped out the window. His wings extended and he twisted on the buffets of air. His beak clacked nervously as he turned to the mainland. Tonight would not be a night of change. His gift had told him. Tonight would be a time of blood.
Vulpo padded through the snow. High, sheer walls. One heavily-guarded entrance. Three sides ending at sheer cliff with less space than was needed to get footing. Whoever built the castle was one cunning little bastard. Not even a window low enough to swing a rope too. All the windows were high.
The castle formed a square. One side was the entrance. The gate was not a simple door, or even passage through the walls. It was its own hallway, perpendicular to the wall and travelling out forty paces. It didn’t help that there were at least thirty guards, just at its mouth. More guards on the ramparts. Not lazy guards, either. Discipline was tight and there were no slackers. There could be far more guards in the hall, and definitely far more inside the gaping monster of a fortress.
The wall that housed the entrance went to the edges of the cliff. No footing at all, so there would be no sneaking into that area. Not that it mattered. Windows even there were too high to reach without flight.
The fox frowned, brow creased in thought. There were far too many soldiers to handle head-on. Perhaps Ashtail had a plan. What else would he be doing? Vulpo looked over his shoulder. He hadn’t seen any patrols, but there were enough tracks to suggest that there were some. He was sure he hadn’t been seen.
Vulpo stopped. This was the area he had left Ashtail in. Where was he? To his right he heard a snap. That would be him, surely. He turned. Then, his nose wrinkled. What was that smell? Sweat certainly, and old leather. He froze. Ashtail wore little leather, and what he had was new.
“Those b-” his words were cut off by a thick bag covering his head. He made the mistake of inhaling. The bag was soaked in some foul brew. Battle instincts hitting him, he brought his elbow back. There was a grunt as the paws holding the bag released. The accursed contagion was oppressive. His thoughts grew muddled as bodies tackled him. Why couldn’t his arms move? He stood strong yet. His confused, distracted mind listlessly counted the impacts. Three…four…
A thought shot through with breathtaking clarity. How did they get so close without me knowing?
His trouble body began leaning back as arms and legs forced him down. You were distracted…let me handle them. The voice was comforting, sibilant. It would be easy. Just let someone else try for a while. It would be fine. His body hit the dirt, driving a thin breath from him. With the impact came another thought. I am in control. You are not.
There was a hiss from the darkness. The time for blood is nigh.
The thoughts spiraled into blackness.
Chapter Seventeen: Happy Friday The Thirteenth
Vulpo groaned as he surfaced from unconsciousness. A voice, sounding far off, came from behind him.
"I suppose this was not part of your plan," said Ashtail dryly.
Vulpo flexed his arms. They were tied loosely behind his back and around something large and wooden, so he couldn't move them much. He felt another body, also against the wood. Ashtail.
He turned his head around. Of what he could see, Ashtail and he were tied to different sides of a support beam, his arms against Ashtail's back and vice versa. The room was small and dark. Typical prison cell, or empty storage area maybe. They were alone. The walls were moist stone. The barely visible door had a single small window in it that provided all the light.
"No, but I can improvise a bit" Vulpo replied.
"What are we going to do?" asked his friend.
"Give a minute, mate."
Vulpo experimentally moved his arms. They were bound at the wrist, but loosely enough so that he could slide his paws somewhat. Vulpo patiently pushed the right sleeve of his cloak up with his constrained left paw. When it was up his arm far enough, he slipped his paw into the sleeve and up his arm. Ashtail fidgeted.
"What are you doing? It's like some bug is running up my back."
"Patience is a virtue, Ashtail."
His friend laughed. "Remind me of that next time we're tied up in a prison cell."
Vulpo moved his arms as far as he was able, trying to reach his right forearm. Then, he felt the cloth under the sleeve.
"Thank you, Aspen" he whispered.
Vulpo fingered the cloth around his arm with his left paw. It was around his arm twice, forming a small covered spot between the layers of fabric. Vulpo fingered the solid metal and smiled. Whoever removed their weapons was a tad lacking in thoroughness. Vulpo pulled the item down his sleeve carefully.
"What is it?" asked Ashtail. "I can feel you doing something."
Vulpo withdrew his paw from the sleeve. He flipped the slim, claw-length dagger around and began sawing at his binds. The ropes fell loose. Vulpo smiled. No one would make a fool out of him. He turned and sliced Ashtail’s binds. The squirrel rubbed his wrists and chuckled.
Vulpo nodded and approached the door. He peered through the small window. All he could see was the stone wall across the hall. He jiggled the handle. It clicked, then froze in place.
Ashtail bit his lip. This would be difficult.
“Hey, did you hear something, Krag?” rasped a thin voice on the other side of the door.
Vulpo’s face tightened in a grimace. He shoved Ashtail against the wall on the side of the door. Ashtail winced as his shoulder hit the hinges. Quickly, he stepped sideways as Vulpo hit the wall on the other side of the door. The lock clicked and the door eased open, letting a beam of light fly into the room. The two pressed against the wall to avoid being seen.
Easy. We let him walk in, close the door and team up against him, thought Ashtail.
A weasel leaned into the room. Suddenly, Vulpo’s arm flashed into the light. His arm was tensed, elbow pointed. The bone of his elbow slammed into the weasel’s sternum. They was a dull snap. Elbow still in his chest, the weasel’s nose had an unexpected meeting with Vulpo’s fist. There was a sharp crackling as his nose bent in. The arm rotated back down as swiftly as it had come. The weasel fell with a gasp.
Vulpo’s eyes widened. He was fundamentally better than these wretches. You are the ruler. They deserve the death you bring. He smiled. It was true. He was the best. He walked out of the room. Another guard stood in shock, staring at his fallen comrade. He recovered his senses and rushed the fox.
Vulpo chuckled. How could anyone move that slow? He watched as the paw extended, aiming for his face. He blinked calmly. He couldn’t be touched. He jumped to the side, perpendicular to the fist that had so recently been rushing for him. He brought his paws up and grabbed the wrist. There was a sickening crack as the paw went limp. He released the paw and turned to the guard. How could the soldier move so slowly? His face had just contorted in pain. His paw flew forward, clawed digits ripping at his face. Blood flew into the fox’s face. The guard finally seemed to react. He twisted away, running down the hall. A deadly laugh echoed into the hall.
Vulpo let him go. It would be more fun to have them alert. He raced away from the guard, laughing madly. He was deaf to the protests of a squirrel behind him. There was death to issue.