• Published 12th Oct 2012
  • 5,456 Views, 82 Comments

Apocalyptic Riders - RedundantRedundancy



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

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Chapter 5: The Beginning of Another Journey

The thick and sturdy trees rattled as the phantom horse rode through the forest, trampling the thick bushes and leaves in its wake. Ruin occasionally set things on fire as he rode with War across the forest, leaving behind a trail of fire.

Chaoseater was strapped to War's back, always in reach whenever the Horseman needed it. The ebony blade glinted in the sunlight, giving off a dark and hellish glow. War rode through the forest, his destination was his brother's newly built home. A few minutes of riding and the literally bony structure was in his line of sight. The building was large, yet small enough to be hidden from anything or anyone that had their eyes on the forest. Ghouls walked around the compound, going about their business. War was smart enough to know that Death had a security system hidden cleverly within the compound. Whatever may trespass here would be torn apart.

In his own way, Death was an architect. Though rough and crude, his designs were intricate, showing detailed scenes of death, some cheerful others gloomy. The building seemed to have a mind of its own, as War sensed that is was alert. The Horseman shuddered, the last time he had encountered sentient structures was the affair of the Grand Abominations. The potent weapons his brother had created through the organs of an extinct race. He shrugged off the memories and walked towards the door.

It opened before he could even reach it.

Death stepped out, Harvester propped on his shoulder, holding it casually.

“What brings you here?” the elder Horseman asked without preamble.

“Does it hurt to visit my own brother?”

Death said nothing. He walked towards War and planted Harvester on the ground, using the handle's sharp point as support. A familiar raven flew down from the trees, landing on Death's shoulder.

“Have you reported to the Council?” Death asked.

“Yes,” War replied, “I told them of the events in this world and they immediately told me to return.”

“Strange that they would act that way.” Death mused.

“It appears as if there is some demonic workings here.” the elder one continued, “Chrysalis said something about 'The Prince'.”

War said nothing as he mounted Ruin.

“That is for us to figure out at a later time.” he said, “For now, we have been called by the one called Celestia.”

Death sighed, and took Harvester off the ground. The scythe became two smaller ones at his will then he hung them on his belt at his sides.

“Go on ahead,” he said, “I will follow once I am ready.”

He watched Ruin speed off into the forest, leaving a fiery orange and red trail behind. He watched his brother disappear within the forest.

Then he stepped into the building.

The building's interior was filled with armor sets and weapons that Death had acquired during his travels and quests. He stopped by a rack with a familiar looking buckler. It was made of bone, sharpened and shaped to create a shield-like appearance. A gaping maw lined with sharp teeth occupied the bottom part. But the most disturbing feature was the single eye that protruded from the center of the buckler, its gaze both longing and hating. Death could feel its soul, a shattered and broken soul screaming, a horrible mixture of both agony and rage.

Mortis. One of the Grand Abominations.

Carefully, Death produced a vial of blood from his belt. It was the blood of the Ravaiim. The only remaining source found in another world where the Nephilim had slaughtered a small colony of the beings. Death had three vials of the blood in his belt and he had kept it a secret from all.

Gingerly, he poured a drop of blood. The dark liquid touched Mortis.

Instantly, the buckler's hatred was reborn anew.

Its eye gleamed, unblinking.

Death took the buckler and strapped it on, careful not to expose his mind to the buckler's semi-sentient one.

Then the eldest of the Horsemen walked out the door.

***

Celestia stood beside War, still unaccustomed to the Horseman's presence, but comfortable enough. They stood silently, waiting for Death. It had been ten full minutes of waiting, yet their patience never grew thin.

Then he came.

Out of the emptiness of air came the cries of the dead, green flames erupted from the ground ten meters away from War, the flames grew, reaching a height almost as tall as the Second Horseman, at the base of the flames was a corpse-green portal, radiating the sordid existence and stench of death and decay. Running out of the portal was Despair, with Death on the steed's back, wearing an unpleasantly familiar buckler. Even from here, War could feel Mortis' hatred, its anguish and its rage. The cry of the Ravaiim. Their cry for revenge against those who had denied them everything. The hatred seemed too much for Celestia as she flinched the moment its power touched the air around them.

As Death neared the two, he willed Despair to go back into the Void, from where he came. The phantom horse obliged and sank back into the earth, its deathly cries still echoing in the air above.

The eldest Horseman slowly walked towards the two, ignoring their strained expressions upon the presence of Mortis.

“What made you think to bring that...thing?” War asked.

“Just in case.” was Death's only answer.

War took that as a sign to leave the matter be. He turned to Celestia and gestured for her.

Celestia understood and turned to Death, still at an unease due to Mortis.

“I have come to ask for a favor.” she said.

“We are not your errand boys, equine.” Death said.

“Oh I'm sure that you will find that this quest has its rewards.” Celestia continued, unwavering. She told the two to head north, where they would have to help her subjects in protecting the Crystal Empire, an empire thought to be lost long ago, but has returned after countless years in complete darkness.

“Help us, Horseman, and we will help you.” Celestia said finally, “ Perhaps you may even find somethings useful in your ongoing mission.”

“She may have a point, brother.” War said.

“Since when did you, War, take the opinion of others?” Death said semi-sarcastically. War did not take it as an offense, he merely shrugged.

“Fine,” Death finally said, “in the meantime, I still need more answers.”

Celestia nodded, knowing full well what he had meant.

She watched as the two left, their mounts leaving behind a fiery trail.

***

The bucolic landscape soon changed. At first, the scenery reminded Death of Eden, it was beautiful, peaceful and quiet. There were no disturbances, no noises aside from the thundering hooves of Ruin and Despair. Yet the scenery changed as soon as they knew they had crossed the border going to the North, where their new task awaited. As they neared the North, the grass slowly changed from healthy, to withering and poor then to nothing as the blizzards and snow began to fall and strike the Horsemen with their unrelenting fury and force.

For War and Death, the cold was nothing. They had been to even colder worlds, some were from the Abyss, where worlds would crumble and be reborn. This cold was nothing to them.

They pushed on forward, Ruin and Despair galloping through the snow as if it were nothing but thin air. The Horsemen rode, their hellish and powerful mounts leaving a trail of melted snow and burning hoofprints.

But what they did not notice, was the living shadow that they would soon meet.

It watched the two powerful figures ride through the thick and heavy snow. Then it dissolved, becoming a trail of blackness, slithering across the snowy ground, and occasionally leaving a mark of black and poisonous crystals.

It slithered, moving towards it true objective, leaving the two figures it observed as unimportant.

However...it would soon be proven wrong..

Author's Note:

Hey guys, how's it going?
Anyway, I guess I will take a short break from this story for awhile, like maybe two weeks or so, cuz I need to focus on my other stories too, so I hope you can wait for awhile before the next update.

Remember:
- Give me some feedback
- Some constructive criticism is highly accepted, nothing like "This story is sh**t." or something like that.
- Stay awesome!