Ride Away

Inspired by this song:

Clinton Hull rode into town as the sun dipped below the horizon. Off in the distance he could see the obelisk daggering into the sky, made of dragonglass. He could see the town around it didn’t quite live up to its name: Monolith, supposedly with a population of 20,000 and dwindling – according to the welcome sign posted by its walls. Things hadn’t been the same since the Necromancer had started wandering; spreading his gospel of madness, disease, and decay, but Clinton was surprised and somewhat unsettled to find this town so…silent. 

As he stopped along the High Street, a shopkeeper sweeping the front of his general goods store nodded to him. Clinton dismounted from his horse, a grey palfrey called Smoke, and tipped his wide-brimmed hat in acknowledgement to the shopkeeper. 

“Ar, yer one of them gunslingers, ain’t yer?” the shopkeeper said.

“That’s about right,” Clinton replied, his eyes darting away from the shopkeeper and flickering from side to side, taking in his surroundings. 

“What brings yer about to these parts?” 

“I’m looking for someone,” Clinton answered, not looking to give the whole truth. All sorts of wrongs had to be set right, Clinton figured, and they all traced back to the Necromancer. What was one more half-truth added to the pile? 

“And who might that be?”

Clinton scowled. He doubted the Necromancer had an actual name. As far as he knew, this nameless enemy he chased was only known as the Necromancer. 

“Well? I can’t help yer if you don’t help me,” the shopkeeper pressed. Clinton didn’t have time for this. He needed to get going. 

“I’ll know him when I see him. I didn’t get a name.” 

“Ar, fair enough, I suppose. Will yer be in need any supplies?”

Clinton considered this for a few moments, the shopkeeper eyeing him without another word.  

“Let’s see what you have,” Clinton answered, at last.

The shopkeeper clapped his gnarled hands, laughing. 

“Ar, well then, step ye inside and have a look!”

Despite being a general goods store, the supplies the shopkeeper had were generally not good at all. Clinton scowled. Why was he wasting his time? It wasn’t as though he had extra coin lying around just waiting to be spent - he wasn’t here to shop, but to shoot. Shoot what exactly depended on if he found the Necromancer or not.

“Well, be ye wanting anything, heh?” the shopkeeper said. 

“I’m thinking,” Clinton replied. “I don’t like it when people interrupt me while I’m thinking.”

“Well think ye faster, gunslinger, don’t be wasting my time and yours!”

Wondering what sort of the shopkeeper’s time he could be wasting since he was only the only customer, Clinton decided on a handful of items: a bag of overripe red apples for himself and his horse, a wheel of hard yellow cheese and a loaf of stale oat bread, a new whetstone for his knife, and a coiled length of rope. The food would keep him going, while the whetstone and rope would most likely be useful later on. Clinton paid with all the silver he could spare. He had a sinking feeling he might have need of it soon. 

Leaving the shop, Clinton strode back over to his horse. He should have tied its reins to the nearest post to make sure nobody stole it, but Clinton doubted there were any horse thieves about – hell, it didn’t seem like anyone was around. He grimaced at this disquieting thought. Why was there no one around? Monolith seemed as yet untouched by the Necromancer’s vile influence, so had the townspeople fled before it could reach them?   

 “Good luck to ye, gunslinger! Be ye finding whoever it is ye came a-looking for!” the shopkeeper yelled from the stoop of his shop as Clinton saddled up. Not bothering to acknowledge the shopkeeper, Clinton kept his back to him and stirred Smoke into motion.  It was high time he investigated the mysterious dragonglass obelisk that towered over the town. The deeper into the town he got, the more agitated Smoke became. Clinton gave up trying to calm his horse down though, when he at last sighted the obelisk from a close enough range for inspection. 

On the obelisk was a strange symbol: a burning reddish-orange heart with an R inset on it; in the upper circle of the R was a glaring eye. Clinton recognized it. It had been emblazoned on the battle standards of the crazed hordes led by the Necromancer against the crumbling gunslingers.    

       “Easy, boy,” Clinton muttered, patting his horse’s head and giving him an apple. Clinton dismounted again, climbing down with his riding spurs rattling. Frowning, Clinton gazed at the symbol. A hellish red light emanated from it, blinding Clinton. He staggered back from it, cursing. A diabolical laugh echoed from it as Clinton regained his composure. 

“Greetings, gunslinger,” the Necromancer cackled as Clinton’s vision cleared. “How like you my town?” 

“Your town?” Clinton replied, puzzled. “I sense no trace of your presence here, Necromancer.”

This only prompted more diabolical laughter from the Necromancer. 

“This obelisk is all the presence I require, I assure you.”

In response, Clinton drew his guns, two massive heavy-caliber Cobalt revolvers, chromed with blue steel and featuring ironwood grips. Clinton constantly kept these guns cleaned and loaded although their safeties were usually on to keep from blowing his legs off while he rode Smoke. Besides his revolvers, Clinton had his knife, still in its sheath, and a shotgun, in case of emergency, tied to the side of the saddle. 

“Go ahead, gunslinger, do make my day,” the Necromancer mocked him. Clinton fired once, only to see the hollow point round pass melt through the Necromancer and clink to the ground harmlessly, sizzling.    

    “A specter,” Clinton snarled. 

“Very perceptive, gunslinger, but I must tell you your shot only activated the obelisk.” A low, loudening rumble thundered from all around the obelisk; the sound seemed to be coming from the town itself. 

“Tell me, gunslinger, how does it feel to be the last of your kind?”

Clinton gnashed his teeth. The gunslingers had maintained four nearly unconquerable fortresses down through the long ages of their existence: Waypoint Watchtower in the west (so-called because of its location in the coastal city of Waypoint); Coelhage Citadel in the north, situated in the Khorinfel Pass, Estershire Bunker, under the Estershire Hills out east, and Syrenas Stronghold, the strongest of all four. Clinton had been Lord Commander of Syrenas before the Necromancer rallied all the scum of the earth to annihilate the gunslingers.

“I know I’ll feel much better once I’ve rid the world of you, Necromancer,” 

“Hahaha, how very droll, gunslinger – but do not presume to make a promise you cannot keep.”

The townspeople of Monolith screamed out towards the obelisk, howling in an unearthly, demonic language Clinton struggled to identify, though he felt a chill as he heard it. Twenty thousand had become two hundred, but it was still an imposing number, especially for one lone gunslinger. 

“Fight your way out of this one, gunslinger, and perhaps we shall palaver again. Farewell!”       

2 Kudos


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Rachel's profile picture

Um, this was amazing. I played the song while reading it. It was like this old Western meets D& campaign.

I'm here for it. My imagination went all over after the ending. So cool!

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That was supposed to say D & D
Idk what I did but oops haha

by Rachel; ; Report

😘 it’s meant to be a one shot. But you are more than welcome to pick it back up!

by Byronic Hero; ; Report

Byronic Hero

Byronic Hero's profile picture

I wrote this in June 2010, so it's just under 11 years old!

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