“A sentinel is never corrupted.
A sentinel never falters
A sentinel never fears
A sentinel is never defeated
If a sentinel falls
Another will take his place
We are the gate of mankind
The spear that keeps the darkness at bay
And if the last flame fades
A sentinel will avenge it. ”
He kept whispering, every word, every phrase, he said them in sequence. Perhaps in the vain hope his sacred oath would save him, or at least keep him in the right direction, but the darkness did no favors, he could barely see up to two feet. The loud, frantic steps on dry leaves, fallen branches and pointed stones made him more and more terrified, he could not find the path he was going through anymore, his despair had already dissipated and now it was sheer terror, he hits himself against a tree while searching for the lost path, falling from his back.
He tries to get up, prostrating under the tree he had just hit, “A sentinel … is never corrupted” he repeats to himself, standing again. He took a few cautious strides, and listened to the sound of leaves breaking behind him. A rush of adrenaline stirs him and he pulls out his spear with shaking hands, “A sentinel never falters,” he says in a low voice while turning to the sounds direction, trying to accompany it. The alternation between falling branches randomly, sounds of metal objects creaking in the wood of the trees around him, did not allow him to focus on only one side, he spinned on his own axis, trying to look for the source of such diabolical sounds.
“A sentinel never fears,” he says in a muffled voice, swallowing saliva and keeping a defensive pose, years of training will not be thrown away, he thought. A full moon night favored him, but the clouds capped any lunar light that could be of service, except for a brief moment, a small crack in the heavy clouds made it possible to see clearly for a moment, and there it was, the trail, mere yards ahead. “A sentinel is never defeated,” and he sets off on the road, he could hear other steps following behind him, they were heavy, incongruous, they did not follow any apparent rhythm, when he thought he was about to be reached, they seemed to be far away again .
He needed time, he knew that his companions were far, and that he needed to mislead whatever it is that had been following him this whole time. He held up his spear with only one hand and reached into the garment with the other, pulling a container of reddish liquid, “If a sentinel falls,” he says, tossing the container deftly toward his follower. A bright red glare rises from the trees, a shrill and deafening cry takes the surroundings, He knew that he should not look back, but the morbid curiosity overcame him, and he tries to catch a glimpse.
What his eyes caught in that fraction of a second he saw the creature could not be conceived by the human mind, he gasps and his heart pound on the chest, “Another … will take … his place,” the phrase involuntarily escapes in a moment of horror, his legs become wobbly, but they manage to keep their frail run as high as they can, the arrhythmic steps had ceased after the creature’s frightening scream. Slowing his pace out of sheer exhaustion, he pulls his wineskin from his waist, taking long, slow sips of water, gasps again, this time with some relief, resuming his accelerated walk.
He could feel the trail getting more and more open and cared for, more smooth stones and ancient writings determined that he was close to safety, he loosened his grip on the spear and noticed that his fingers were completely bloody, he had held so tightly that didn’t even notice the wood ripping through the skin. But he continued, strong winds against his path swayed the great trees around him, old leaves were plucked and flew, branches of dead trees fell suddenly, but in the distance, he heard something different.
The sound of a tree breaking and falling, but in a way more violent manner, he tries to make some sense of where it came from, but the darkness, despite more mild since the sun was about to come up, still made it ardous to see properly. An unconfortable silence is instigated instantly, and from his peripheral vision, observes something coming at unbelievable speed, he didn’t even had time to get down, as a wooden trunk passes inches from his head, violently hitting the tree behind his back, it seemed to have been thrown like a toy, he points his spear from where the log had came from, “We are the gate of mankind”, he shouts as the creature approached at ungodly speed.
When the beast was barely in front of him, he applies a desperate thrust with his spear, but it passes by cutting wind, he is thrown away with a strong hit, flying meters from the ground and falling between the stones of the trail, one of them pierces his right leg, he uttered a cry of grotesque pain, but despite it, he knew that the creature would come to finish his work, he manages to stand up with one of his legs, picking up his spear that had fallen beside him, keeping it at his front, he could hear a loud breathing nearby, stalking him, “The spear that keeps the darkness at bay,” he says firmly.
The first step is taken by the creature, but he could not see where, his teeth squeak with anger and pain, a second step is given, this time closer, heavier, accompanied by a strong, rough breath, the third step was loud, it was evident that the creature was right in front of him, enjoying its prey, “And if the last flame fades,” he says, his eyes fixed on that thing that he could now see clearly, then came the forth step.
“A sentinel will avenge it.”