• Published 12th Oct 2012
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Apocalyptic Riders - RedundantRedundancy



The Well of Souls is not where a journey ends, but where they begin...

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Chapter 1: Awakening

What happened to Death? Some say that he had passed. A rather strange event. The death of Death. The Well of Souls was not just another 'resurrection pit', but also another doorway to another life.

A door to a new adventure...


He opened his eyes. The mask was back on. Sunlight flooded his vision. He put up one hand to block out the sun's blinding light.

Death sat up, and looked around. He was in the middle of a clearing surrounded by a rather strange looking forest. Of course, it was not exactly strange for him. Being Death had its moments – almost all the time.

“Hmm...” Death examined his surroundings. The trees seemed to stretch out towards him. Like the claws of a Stalker as it pounces on its victim. Death looked up and saw Dust flying in circles above him. The crow had always remained by his side. Dust was as loyal as Despair.

“Dust, what do you see?” Death asked the soaring raven.

The bird started flying towards the forest. The Pale Rider followed. Sooner or later though, he would have to summon Despair.

Weaving through the trees, Death crossed the thick forest. The brambles and bushes were no problem, as his weapon, Harvester took care of them. It was not long until there was enough space for a horse.

Death started to sprint, green flames and mist surrounded him. The greenish fire intensified, starting to form the shape of Death's steed, Despair.

The Rider jumped up. And out of the ground came a pale and half -dead horse. Its mane and tail were green flames, though they whipped in the air like any kind of hair would. The Rider and his horse then created the image feared by all.

The Fourth Horseman.

Death had many names, Executioner, Kinslayer, the Reaper. But he preferred his real name. A name feared by all.

It was simply Death. Nothing else.

He rode on, out of the darkness of the forest and into the light of the day.

***

The solitary figure stood alone. The winding roads of an old and charred path paved the way before him. He was a bulky figure clad with an armor of such intricate designs. On his right shoulder pad, the face of a demon growled and bared its fangs. His face was hidden by a red hood, also intricately designed. His eyes were white, but they emitted a bluish glow. Strapped on his back was a sword much bigger than its wielder. It seemed impossible to carry.

No weapon was impossible to wield for War, and Chaoseater was no different.

War had been summoned by his “masters”, the Charred Council. A council charged by the Creator to keep the balance between the demons of Hell, and the angels of Heaven. Only they did not do it themselves. They had their dirty work done by their obscenely powerful and merciless servants, the Four Horsemen.

War now stood before three stone idols. All of which, were different in their own ways. He knelt before them, showing only respect, not submission. He was careful to do that.

“War.” the one on the center said, its voice resonating around the horseman.

“You sent for me?” War said, and then, “What is it now?”

“Your brother Death.” the idol on the right said.

War looked up.

“What about him?”

***

Riding through the woods, Death could see the edge already.

He urged Despair to moved faster. The phantom horse obliged. A full minute passed and they were out of the forest. Dust flew above Death as the rider banished his horse back to the unknown.

Death looked and saw a village not far from where he was standing.

He started to walk towards it, thinking that the inhabitants might be one he would recognize.

He was wrong.

The race looked familiar, only they were smaller. They also had a variety of colors, marks and physical traits. Wings and horns for example.

“Equines.” Death observed the equines from a distance. He had stopped walking when he saw the locals. And he knew that if they saw him, they would run in fear – most who saw Death did.

The creatures were small to be horses, and their behavior was similar to that of the Makers or the Humans. They had their own civilization. It was both impressive and surprising at the same time.

Death started to walk away from the village. That was when it caught his eye.

A city.

***

War stood before the Council, asking what had happened to Death.

“He has fallen into the Well of Souls to save you,” the idol on the left said, “the bond of brothers is unbreakable.”

Not long ago, the Humans had been resurrected, and War was saved from eternal oblivion.

He owed that to his elder brother.

“Take me to him. I know that he still lives.” War said.

“That,” the center idol said, “is exactly your mission. More will unfold as you go.”

The Council displayed their power's extent and a doorway appeared before War.

He entered.

***

It stood on the side of a tall mountain. Its imposing towers reached up into the sky, exposing their grandeur.

There was, however, something strange.

The city was encased in a glowing magenta orb.

Death knew all too well that it was some sort of shield. And a shield meant that there was trouble – most of the time. It may not be his business, but it was a good chance of finding the rulers of the realm.

He leaped up and summoned Despair once more.

Death rode towards the city at full speed. Leaving behind a trail of green and intense flames.

***

War came out of the portal already riding Ruin, his steed. The Second Horseman found himself riding towards a city surrounded by a glowing orb.

He knew it was a shield.

War guessed that the city was his destination.

He rode on, knowing fully that he would meet his brother there.

***

Death arrived at the foot of the mountain holding the city. He looked up and saw that the city was surrounded. They were black in color, covered with holes that drilled on through their bodies. They had insect like wings, their mouths filled with razor sharp fangs and they had eyes that were entirely blue orbs.

Once more, they were equine in appearance.

Death narrowed his eyes as some of them turned towards him, their fangs and their eyes glistening with an extreme hunger.

Death readied Harvester. The creatures charged, lunging down on him like a swarm of bees.

Leaping up, Death landed on the magenta colored shield. The first creatures met Harvester the hard way. Creatures fell, cut in half, green blood oozing from their wounds.

The others, after watching what Death did, seemed hesitant to attack him now. Taking advantage, Death leaped up and in a split second, Harvester was not anymore just two scythes, but one massive scythe that was much taller than its wielder.

He slashed the shield open, and leaped in.

He landed and looked around.

He had been surrounded.

Equines, all male, dressed in golden armor had surrounded him. They held spears, leveled and pointed at Death. An equine taller than the rest stepped forward.

Then he spoke.

“Lower your weapons, intruder.” he ordered, though there was a hint of fear in his eyes.

Death's own eye's widened, surprised that these creatures could speak.

“You can...talk?” he asked.

The equine snorted, “Of course we can talk.” he said impatiently.

Death put his scythes away.

“Does that mean 'I surrender'?” the soldier asked.

Death said nothing and just stared at the equine with his orange eyes, unnerving the soldier for a moment. The two stared at each other, hostility hung in the air.

Finally Death spoke.

“Take me to your ruler.” he said.

“I cannot do that, the soldier replied, and then, “but after the wedding maybe.”

“A wedding?” Death asked. No one would ever hold an event like that during an invasion of insect-like equines.

Suddenly, Death looked. The magenta shield was shattering. The invaders started pouring in. the guards scattered, looking to attack the invaders. Death readied Harvester. He looked up at the invaders, and readied himself as they landed in front of him, teeth and fangs bared.

Green beams of energy flew from the horns of some of the insect-like creatures. Death used his scythes as a shield. Then he started to dodge the beams. He cut here and there, killing the hostiles. The only problem: there were more pouring in. Soon, he would be overwhelmed.

He looked around. He was surrounded once more. Death's scythes folded, becoming nothing but harmless sheathed scythes.

“Bring me to your leader.” he told them.

They began walking towards the center of attention. The creatures did not know that the Rider had something planned. They were also arrogant enough to let him keep his weapons, perhaps they believed in bigger numbers in battle. They had reached the gates of an imposing castle. It was tall, its spires reached out into the sky.

Death uttered only two words.