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The Age of Iron and Flames (DirrtyScarlettXVinaein)


Nov 8, 2020

After the war, the scavengers would return to feast, a true fact of life in the world they lived. Nikolai was kneeling by the still, cool waters, cleaning away the stains of black and red from his battered, dented armor. The knight had removed his helmet, his face impassive as he took a handful of spring water, lifting it to his face to soak it. The sweat was wiped away, hair moistened and unstuck from his head as he allowed a pleasant sigh to escape his lips. His sword, cleaned on the grass remained at his side while he gazed close at his own reflection.

"You know, for all you're aware of, there's a Melusine within those waters," Piotr said from behind him. Nikolai rolled his eyes slightly, finishing his brief wash, before he rose to his feet without even a single screeching creak of protest from his armor.

"I'll take my chances after that," the young knight returned. He held a hand against the hilt of his blade. "Did we get them all?" He asked after a moment. Nikolai de Noire, as he had been named by the bishop as a younger man, was striking in appearance with jet black hair and eyes. His skin was fair, features handsome, if unemotional at most instances. His attentive gaze traveled about as he heard the noises of pickpockets and other buzzards darting about to loot the bodies at the nearby battlefield. "I thought we'd prohibited that..."

"Not much we can do to stop them," Franco was an older man, with graying hair, a veteran of innumerable campaigns. He wore a short beard shot through with white, his blue eyes heavy now. "Kristof is unlikely to live out the knight." It was not news that came as a shock to Nikolai now, though the younger knight expressed it by lowering his head. He was aware he should make the sign of the cross, but could not bring himself to at the moment. Something about it did not feel right at the moment.

"We stopped a horde of damned Satanists, though," Franco said encouragingly. "They're dead now, the devils. Hopefully they've taken the secrets of Houska to the grave with them." Houska Castle, Nikolai thought. Even this far away, in Italy, the name was enough to bring a chill to the spine of any knight. The Order had been formed to keep anything from getting out or in, the one castle in all of great Europe whose defenses were turned inward.

"If even one slipped through our lives, though...there's been more to worry about recently, Franco."

"Is there? Or have we just been noticing more? Lad, don't take it too seriously. Even the end of the world..." Franco gave a soft laugh and waved a hand. "Glad you were at the front. Damned things all but flocked to you."

"I'm glad you find it amusing," Nikolai muttered. "I could go for a damned drink."

"You ain't finding one of those. After a battle, any ale is blessed, as much as if Christ himself sprinkled his holy blood in it." Franco smiled and Nikolai found himself returning it. "Maybe a good on for you. Or a pretty lass?"

"Aren't we bound by the church's law?"

"What the bishops don't know won't hurt 'em!" Franco grinned at the younger knight, Nikolai shaking his head at that, while they departed the field. "You head to the inns, we've already got it paid. Short ride through the woods!"

Nikolai always liked the woods, no matter what might be lurking there. It was where he had been found by the knights, after all....and riding off soon, all he wanted was a good drink, a warm bed and a good woman...

Before the next inevitable battle with those things from the shadows...
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