Heart of Stone

By Elias N., 12

Repugno glared down upon the fortress which lay in the lands below; Lord Plagueo, a man of exceeding evil and infernal malice, dwelled deep within its towering structure. One amongst such towers lay in the center, looming over all others.

The armies of Bonus Regnus stood with Repugno, clad in armored plates of silver and green. They carried broadswords of costly appearance, forged of precious metals, and bore shields that displayed the crest of their beloved kingdom. To look upon them from afar would be as to gaze into the depths of an emerald sea. All had long since fallen silent.

Repugno, atop his mount, shattered the buzz of nothingness. "Alright," he declared, his eyes tranquil yet thunderous courage within them, "we must prepare ourselves for a battle of great difficulty; we must conquer in a glorious triumph if we are to secure the lives of those whom we love!"

The day was quite lovely, actually; a distant stream spoke rhythmically, answered by the soft cry of the birds of the air... A summer breeze passed swiftly through the trees; it hushed the wildness of the world which harbored it with a whoosh. The temperature was ideal; the warriors were saved from the heat that the battle may bring upon them, for the breeze was to gently brush it away.

Heart of Stone

Repugno glared at the fortress; it was truly as majestic as its master was dreaded. He turned to the warriors accompanying him, saying aloud, "We shall enclose the stronghold in a 'Ring of Death,' and Magicus shall forge for us an opening."

Magicus, his bejeweled staff tightly within his grasp, glanced at Repugno, nodding- even daring to flash a smile at his general. Repugno, displeased, shot at him a glare of stone, causing him to stifle his emotions.

Repugno then spoke aloud, "Onward, brothers! We begin our battle! Victory is written upon the very blades with which we strike!"

Repugno gave a final furious glare towards Magicus, then spurred his mount. A man of both wits and skill, he coordinated the onslaught exceedingly well. The fortress was swiftly surrounded by the gallant warriors; their bloodlust was that to assure that many would fall.

Repugno nodded towards Magicus. The young mage nodding back, looked once more upon the walls, muttering the spell, "Fiat accido arx" or, "May the walls crumble."

Immediately, a thunderous noise erupted from some distant realm; a bolt, like a flame of magenta, then flew from the tip of his spiraling staff. It struck the stone walls of the stronghold, causing them to crumble before the eyes of those loyal to Bonus Regnus- and those against it.

Repugno flashed a pleasured look at Magicus- although he forced away any smile that may have come upon his face. He spurred his mount once more, leading his warriors through the gaping hole which Magicus had opened. The edges of the opening seemed charred, as if one had set the stone ablaze. An unexpected wave of heat overtook the warriors as they entered, it passed just as swiftly, leaving them at the (abundant) mercy of the summer's will.

The menaces which dwelled within the fortress reacted with incredible reflex; Upon the entry of the Bonus Regnans, the freaks clad in black were upon them. The battle had sparked- and blaze it had become. Repugno saw his fellows as they were struck down by the warriors of the dark; additionally, he watched them return the favor. He did not cower back as those with him fought courageously, no, he assisted them, barking furious orders over the blitz of metallic clanks.

In the midst of the battle, the steed upon which he rode was struck. Terrified, Repugno watched as his mount fell to a particularly skilled enemy warrior, a menace. He fell to the ground along with the beast, yet he must hurry on—it was like leaving a friend. The menace refused to relent; he offered no hesitation, not a split second in which Repugno may have arisen. The blade of the warrior struck him, shattering the armor which clad his body; one final strike would likely be the blow to slay him.

Repugno glared into the heavily veiled eyes of the dark warrior; the armed soldiers looked down upon him, speaking of impending doom, drilling into the heart of the fallen warrior. Weakness overcame him with a blackness deep as an unending night. Repugno felt the hand of death grasp his soul, his hope lost. None shall save me now thought he. He awaited the blow which was to banish him from the earth forevermore.

Then, unexpectedly, a surge; a furious quake; thundered through the earth. The menace who was to slay him fell. Repugno was quite confused, and yet could not dare hesitate; he took up his blade once more and, still laying upon the ground, impaled the warrior.

He rose, only to find Magicus by his side, smiling blissfully. "Magicus ..."

"Tis I. The spell of the surge is often useful, is it not?"

"Thank ..." Repugno said, blinking. "Cease this staring and continue!"

"But I've just saved ..."
Magicus began.

"Respect your general!"
 Repugno, attending an issue which lay behind him, snapped around, implying a swift clash with, and inevitable triumph over another who sought to slay him. He exchanged blow upon blow with many a menace, never again being overcome. The battle was soon concluded; blades, bows, and bits of fodder lay about the fortress. The cowards had fled, and the courageous had fallen. Not a single warrior of the dark remained.

Repugno, pulling from his belt a horn with velvet ribbon around its rim, gave a great blast; all those who followed him could hear the call. As his army rallied around the central tower, the summer breeze cooled them, drying the sweat from their worn faces. It was, to Repugno, as pleasant as it was to his fellows. The sun gave a gentle warmth once more, and the warriors made for silent celebration of their victory.

"Sir?" said one amongst the warriors.

Repugno glanced towards him. "Yes? We may now harvest the spoils of our onslaught; we've won. But I have one more task to complete."

Repugno glared at the looming central tower standing before him. He furiously drew his sword, and, taking from the ground a stray battleax, struck down the barred door. The stairwell that greeted him was mind-numbing; it spiraled perilously upward into the central pillar.

Dust fluttered about the air tickling his throat. The uneven boards of the wooden stairs creaked as he walked upward; it took him quite a while to reach the tip of the tower, but once he did, he found the one he sought.

"Lord Plagueo."

His enemy sat on a throne, regally dressed in magnificent silver robes. Plagueo looked up sharply, as if waking from a trance. Seeing Repugno, his eyes grew wide, and he fell from his throne onto his knees.

"I know not your name." His voice sounded odd; he seemed quite elderly, and spoke somewhat weakly, yet was easily audible.

"My name is Repugno!" Fury arose on Repugno's face once more, as he scowled viciously. "You have slayed all those whom I loved! I am here to finally end your tyranny!"

"Oh, Repugno!" Plagueo now appeared to him like a beggar in king's clothing. "If you have any heart at all, you will spare my life! I shall never commit another evil as long as I live! But if you haven't the heart of forgiveness, strike me down where I stand!"

Repugno glared at the dark lord, disgusted, then, sheathing his blade, he said, "So be it."

He began back down the spiraling stairwell once again, leaving the hated beast to sit upon his throne. He murmured to himself with satisfaction, "As of this moment, no one shall ever fall to his tyranny again. We are free!"

Without warning, Repugno felt a pain as sharp as frost burn strike his neck. Unable to swivel his neck, he watched in terror as blood poured red upon the ground—his blood. A voice like an icy wind rang in his ears, as all around him faded into a deathly black.

"Repugno! Oh, Repugno! What a fool you are!"

With the final stirring bit of strength left within him, Repugno bitterly gasped his last words.

"You coward!"

In late 2017, I sat in a lovely little English classroom, thinking of what sort of narrative I wished to write, such being an assignment and, for me, a treat. My mind began to churn and clink, cognating some great fantasy. It soon struck me.

"Heart of Stone" tells of Repugno's strong belief in a victory which they may easily grasp; a victory "Within Reach", if you will.

Elias N.