The Fall of Lord Blackthorn

The Light Shall Never Fade

"My Lord—" Thrud was cut off when Blackthorn grabbed the man's spiked collar. The mercenary was two heads taller than he was, yet somehow Blackthorn managed to lift him off his feet with one hand. In the other hand, he held the crown of Lord British inches before the mercenary's face.

"I am no longer thy Lord." His lips turned up in a growl. "I am thy King!" He threw the mercenary to the ground, and placed the crown upon his head. To the others, he said, "Mount up, my friends. We leave Castle Britannia tonight."

"All of us, my Liege?"

He understood why the woman asked the question, and did not blame her for the inquiry, but would have to have her thrashed later for questioning his orders. For now, though, he needed her sword. "We will not be leaving anyone behind to watch over the castle," Blackthorn said. Not entirely true. He planned on keeping one man here, someone he knew who could blend in well. "Castle Britannia is no longer of any use to us." He could sense their disquiet over this. Even one of the horses whinnied nervously. But they could not stay here—he could not stay here. He looked up to where the chamber of Lord British could barely be seen against the night sky. Dread coursed through him, thicker than his blood, and certainly colder. Something had happened to him up there this night. He knew not what—he simply remembered storming up there after Hassad had disappeared, knowing that he had to confront someone—a traitor, he thought—but he could not remember who that person had been. The jester, perhaps? That damnable fool and the scepter had yet to be found.

While he peered at the chamber, trying to remember, a terrible sense of loss joined the dread surging through his heart. He looked away, and managed to subvert those feelings with anger and hatred for all of those who had betrayed him: The Great Council, Windemere, Lord Malone and Sir Simon, his father . . . Even Lord British and Shaana had left him.

He jumped onto his mount, brought Virtue to the front of his company, and led them out the gates. Outside, the Black Company formed up behind its Liege, and all peered down at the crowd gathering in the distance.

Blackthorn drew his sword, and unhooked the Shield of Valor from his saddle. A wind swept over the hill, flapping his cape. "Britannia has been corrupted," he announced, "a shadow has fell upon her fair land. Her Virtues have been twisted, used as excuses to defy law and liege, and now fear, distrust, and malevolence have grown. Unruliness and disorder have been brought to our streets." His call grew louder. "'Tis time for this villainy to end. Town to town the Black Company shall ride, reaping the stalks of Chaos and replanting the seeds of Order. We shall slay those who fight against us, imprison those who disobey us, and reward those who welcome us!" He raised his sword. The light of the twin moons dappled across it. "By book and by blade, we shall oppress villainy!" he called. "By book and by blade, we shall oppress chaos!"

The Black Company repeated his cry, once, twice, thrice. Blackthorn swung his sword forward, its blade drawing forth a brilliant flash from the light of the three comets above. He dug his heels into Virtue, and the Valorian charger spurred forward. His Majesty, Lord Blackthorn, wearing the Crown Jewel of Lord British, and bearing the Shield of Valor, rode forth to restore order to his beloved Britannia.

Previous Page

Page 79

Table of Contents

Next page

Next Page
Next Page