Verbruary Prompts 8: Loop

Lightning flashed overhead and thunder boomed nearby, shaking the stained glass windows at the top of Castle Ravenloft. Creed lay on the floor, battered and bloodied, but still in the fight… even just barely. His fists and feet glowed with holy energy from the spell Kiirith had used to empower him to fight Strahd. He leapt back to his feet and took in the scene of devastation in front of him. Strahd was a powerful foe, and his team was suffering during the fight, but he felt that overall they seemed to have the upper hand. Gernak and Dagmer were both bleeding heavily but were fighting toe to toe with Strahd, alongside his wife Sybil and until a couple of seconds ago, himself. Kiirith was still casting spells from a distance and keeping the group together in the fight. Strahd was still laughing, a deep, guttural laugh, but he had taken some pretty serious hits from the combined efforts of the group. Creed tensed, ready to get back into the fight after a blow from the vampire lord had sent him flying across the room. But then… before he could move… Strahd let out a burst of speed of his own. He sent Dagmer and Gernak flying with two almighty punches, Gernak sliding to the far end of the room, and Dagmer sailing into a table, turning it to splinters as he landed. Strahd still had momentum and in a single movement he swept forward and picked Sybil up from the floor and to Creed’s horror, sunk his fangs into her throat, draining her body of blood and tossing her to the floor dead. Tears stung in Creed’s eyes and rage erupted from him and he charged the vampire.

Lightning flashed overhead and thunder rolled. The windows of Castle Ravenloft shook, dislodging decades of dust. Creed slowly picked himself up from the floor. He was bloodied, but not yet broken. His fists and feet let out a dull light as the spell that Kiirith had cast on him were still working. He needed to get back into the fight. Sybil and Gernak were still fighting the monstrous Strahd up close. Dagmer had managed to secure some silver bullets and was taking up a tactical position behind the grand piano, besides Kiirith who was providing spell support. Creed turned just in time to see a powerful blow send Gernak sailing into the grand piano, which let out a discordant note as the orc landed on it heavily. Strahd pulled back his fist and spun to face Sybil, flinging forth his rapier… piercing Sybil through the chest, a look of shock crossing her face before pained anguish and then… nothing. She fell to the ground and Strahd kicked her lifeless body aside like it was a ragdoll he had finished playing with. Creed screamed a primal fury and charged the vampire lord.

Thunder and lighting played in the sky over Castle Ravenloft. Creed limped heavily, he was barely alive, and the rest of his friends weren’t doing much better. Gernak could barely lift his morningstars, Dagmer was having to resort to swords after running out of ammunition for his gun. Sybil and Kiirith were both running out of their most powerful spells and still, Strahd stood. The mighty vampire lord strolled confidently through the room, clearly, he was going to toy with the group until they all expired, so he might as well have some fun. Creed screamed as he picked up Sybil by the throat. Strahd turned to face him, and with a smile on the edges of his mouth, he turned Sybil to see Creed… and then snapped her neck.

The scream continued. Creed sat bolt upright as the wind blew heavily around the windows of the Prideblossom estate. It had been decades since Sybil and he had left Castle Ravenloft. White hair grew in distinguished patches around his temples now and speckled through the rest of his once jet-black hair. Sybil awoke next to him… knowing what the scream meant. Concern lined her face as she pulled him into a tender and reassuring embrace. Even after all of this time, all of the other victories they had seen. All of the powerful new allies they had made, the training and abilities they had gained. Even now that they were mostly retired from the adventuring life, leaving that role now to their daughter and her friends… Even now… when the wind blew in the right way… the scars… the mental side effects… still ran deep.

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