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The White Rabbit:
Hey Guys,

Your friendly middle aged dad here, boy it has been a long time.

This story is not being updated, it is not being done. Back last year I had a low point in my life, as such I went and did what felt right, I wrote a story. It isn't amazing but I am posting it here so that it is remembered and in a few years if the server is still about, I can reflect on this and my old stories with nostalgia.

Any who depressing part over. Here it is, tales of the damned.

Chapter 1:

Sounds of cheers and joyful music could be heard throughout the town, with the Festival of Spring creeping closer and closer each day the usually quiet town of Knottshill sprang to life. Each year, winter would always prove to be a difficult peroid for the villagers. Harsh northern winds would destroy most crops and the dramatic decrease in temperature would wipe out almost all of the village livestock. Even though it was a difficult season, every man, woman and child would band together and make it through.
The Festival of Spring was Knottshills way of strengthing the bond between villagers, banquets of food, tankards filled with homebrew ale and wine accompanied with songs and dance that would continue throughout the night celebrating another year trouble-free.

There was one boy who enjoyed the festivities more than any other villager, As Tyron wandered the streets absorbed watching the other villagers prepare for the evening festivities. Colourful banners stretching further than the eye could see and the aroma of cooked meat made Tyron appreciate how lucky he was to be a proud member of the village.

'This year I'm definatly going to do it.' He thought to himself as he skipped down the street, seeing what he could do to help. His left hand clutched onto a small package wrapped carefully in silk cloth, as per tradition Knottshill villagers would exchange gifts to family and friends and for the first year Tyron was going to participate. His gift was a simple silver necklace with an Opal pearl hanging preciously at the end, once belonging to his mother, an item he treasuered close to his heart. A part of him didn't want to give away his treasure however Tyron knew he couldn't simply keep it hidden from the world and decided that it was time to give it someone who would wear it with pride and joy.

Tyron was so lost in thought, when he finally snapped to reality he had somehow managed to end up home, the door hung slightly ajar with a strong smell of fermented yeast that made Tyron hold his breath in fear of intoxicating himself.

As he pushed open the door he could hear his father's cheers and bellows. The stocky man was built like a castle, easily towering every other village member, with a stocky build and bushy beard he would look closer to a minotaur like the ones Tyron had read. Unlike the terrifying tales of half man, half beast doomed to walk the cold, empty halls of ancient keeps Tyrons father was a gentle giant. Tyron bounded towards his father ignoring the strong smell of ale that seeped from his fathers cauldron, attempting to wrap his arms around the mountain of a man, Tyron looked up towards his fathers drunken grin.
"My boy, where 'ave you bin?" His words slightly slurred from the ale, Tyrone father was never a big drinker however he was the greatest brewer throughout Knottshill and every year he would create the strongest ale. His father once boasted that he made an ale so strong he put the town's local drunkard 'Ricah' to sleep within one goblet. Tyron never enjoyed the taste of ale but even he knew never to doubt his father when it came to the subject.

"Just been about pa, seeing if 'nyone need any 'elp?"

Tyron gleefully told his father about all the preparations for the evening.

"Mister clotter had spent all day baking more bread then the town could possibly eat."


"Missus Jayhne sewn all the banners last night and the town looks so colourful."

Tyron didn't pause once between a story, it was as if his tounge was possessed but his father didn't mind. Every tale Tyron told, his father was ready and eager to respond. "I'll make sure Arto's bread won't go to waste even if my belly be popping through me breaches!" Or "Lydia Jayhne sewn all those? Her 'ands must be crampin' by now!" Each answer was followed by a whole hearted chuckle which filled the room with a cheerful glow.

Eventually Tyrons stories came to an end leaving the pair in a comfortable silence, Tyron loved moments like now hoping that it would never end. His father was the one to break the silence pulling himself away from his son.
"Tyron, do us a favour and check if Mister Rahm has finished making the tankards or we wont be drinking 'nythin tonight."
"Will do pa, be back in a tick." Tyron chirped, he loved visiting the Rahm household since Mrs Rahm would always have smoked meat hidden away from her husband ready to give to Tyron while he waited.
His father didn't even have the chance to say farewell before the door swung shut as Tyron darted away. The village of Knotshill wasn't a large one, the last village meeting counted 30 Men, 28 Women and 15 Children, a total of 73 villagers with such small numbers Tyron knew almost every family and loved each and every one. As he passed people of the streets he would always greet them with a smile, a polite child with only the purest heart, even when he passed the derelict house owned by the village drunk Ricah he would make sure that he was still breathing.

"Eh, Mister Ricah you ok in there?" Tyron shouted trying to act as authoritative as he possible could.
A groan heard within the ruined home confirmed that the drunkard was still alive and it wasn't long until the clattering of bottles and strong curse words could be heard from the other side of the door.
"What'cha want ya lil prick?" The haggard voice called, there was no malice in his tone not even a hint of aggression, Ricah was known for many things however violence was never one of them. He was a man with no filter, he would say whatever he wanted to whoever would listen, the wives of the village hated him and the husbands would wallop and cheer whenever he stumbled away from the local tavern. Tyron loved him like a wild dog, made sure Ricah was always ok but never get too close in case he's bite.

"Nothing Mister Ricah just wondering if you've seen anything interesting as of late?"
Another grumble was heard behind the door before it was swung open.
If Tyron was to describe Ricah from one of the creatures inside his book, Ricah would look closer towards a goblin than a man, his hair had thinned to such an extent that it was more scalp than hair. He walked with a limp and hunched back from a hunting accident when he was younger, turning to alcohol as a pain relief. Everything about Ricah screamed vagrant, from his attitude, to his clothes and to the way he smelt of dirt and stale ale. Tyron would often wonder what Ricah would have looked like before the accident, a knightly figure with a chisled jawline and headfull of hair? Or more like the rest of Knotshill population, a normal looking man.

"Tell ya' what a did gaze upon, yesterday eve I saw a group of travellers come through the town. Never saw 'em in my life but t'was dark and couldn't really see."
Tyrons face lit up in joy, he loved visitors to Knotshill, most time it would be traders from nearby villages however last year a group of adventurers passed through which caused quiet a stir throughout Knottshill. Tyron remember sneaking out past curfew, avoiding his father and snuck a glance at them while they were merrily drinking the night away. Their armour glistening under the flickering candle light, their weapons hung carelessly from the back of their seat whilst they told takes of the beasts they slew and droves of treasure they found. It was at that moment Tyron became entranced by the tales of storming a castle with his companions defeating the Dragon and claiming the gold it hoarded.

"Last I saw of 'em they went to that creep Twaights ste-"
Tyron suddenly remember the task his father left him to do and had to rush off before Ricah could finish his tale.
"Sorry Mister Ricah but I gotta job t'do, I'll be back t'hear the rest later ok?"
As Tyron was apologising Ricah grumbled under his breath before turning back into his home.
"No need brat, I'll be out by then. Just fetch me some of your father's ale tonight 'nd we'll call it equal."

With a quick wave Tyron darted off to go and see if Mr Rahm had finished preparing the tankards as the sun started to set over the village of Knotshill.

The White Rabbit:
Chapter 2:

As Tyron finally left the Rahms home the cool evening air was a blessing, being around fermenting yeast started to become unbearable, the sun had started to set but that only seemed increased the liveliness as celebrations were well underway in Knotshill.

The festival was held in the centre of the village, as Tyron headed towards the music his heart started to pound to the beat. clutching his fist he almost forgot the silk wrapped gift in the palm if his hand. Tyron suddenly developed a lump in his throat and uneasy feeling in his stomach, he hadn't seen her at all today, tonight was going to be the most nerve racking day of the boys life and this seemed to amplify the urge to hurry. This would be his first attempt at courting a girl and he didn't know where to begin.

A sudden crash to his left pulled his attention away from the fears brought by the hormones. Tyrons heart stopped, his breath quickened as the reality of where he stood dawned on him.
To the left was a small home, not as decrepit as Ricah's house but not as comforting as any of the others in the village. It stood there alone as if no one had lived there for years. Knotshill was such a peaceful town that even during celebrations the other homes would always feel alive, from the smoke billowing from the fireplace, to candles flickering away in the windows. Not this house however the door had swung open yet nobody stood in the empty frame.

Tyrons thought process suddenly kicked into overdrive, trying to figure out exactly who lived in this cold, lifeless building. He never felt this was before, Knotshill was his home yet right now he felt a ominous fear that he never felt in his entire life.
Suddenly the fear was brought to another level. A noise started to develop deep into the dark shell of the home, at first no similar to that of boiling water over an open fire but it quickly developed into something much more sinister. A low murmer could be heard at first it sounded like four or five people whispering, overlapping each other however the longer Tyron waited the more voices seemed to gather into the murmer. Over the course of a minute the original four or five voices became a chorus of dozens, and as if knowing of the young boys presence the whispering started to grow in volume as the murmers grew into growls and shrieks, that was it for the young boy.

He ran, never in his life had he ran in fear for his very safety, yet he felt that if he even stopped for just a second that would be the end for him. His lungs struggling to catch the very air he'd breath, pushing through the pain and cramps he was too scared to look behind just in case the source of the shrieks were bounding towards him. His legs never missed a step as he darted around building to building, through the empty streets trying to find his way back to safety, the only thing he could hear was the rapid beating of his heart as the adrenaline had seeped into his every pore. Tyrons home, his village and the streets he used to walk every day seemed so foreign too Tyron now. It wasn't much longer until his lungs finally caved, his sprint became a jog and slowly the sounds of the village came back to him, the music was a comforting sound, full of joy, happiness and most importantly safety.

Tyron stopped for a second, he needed to gather his bearing this was his village, his home it wasn't a foreign land but rather somewhere he had lived his entire life, it wasn't long until he realised how close he was to the village centre, only a few streets left between him and sanctuary.
With a new found energy, Tyron ran towards the source of the music and within a minute he burst into the bright plaza. Greeted by colourful banners and joyous music it was truly the start of the Spring dance.
His eyes darted through the crowd desperately looking for his father, fears of that he was walking past the demonic home and knowing his father's confidence would investigate it for better or worse.
Finally he spotted the hulking man on the other side of plaza enjoying the company of the other villagers, Mr Rahm and Mr Longe. Tyron sprinted towards him with tears in his eyes he needed to be by his father side and he would save Tyron from the monstrous creatures in that home. Tyrons father saw the fear in his sons eyes as he sprinted towards him, reaching out he grabbed hold of the boy holding the shaking child in his arms. His father knew something was wrong, the usual cheerful boy, charismatic and never afraid of everything and afraid of nothing was cowering in his arms in pure terror.

"Tyron what's the matter?" "Are you ok?" "Boy tell me what's happened?"
Tyron had never heard his father sound so concerned. It was comforting knowing how his father knew something was wrong, soon the trembling boy found his voice.
"I'm ok Pa, it's just I heard some horrible voices in-" Tyron suddenly realised where the voices came from, which home he stood by and the empty door frame where the demonic shrieks resided.
"It-it was by Mr Twaights home, I 'eard somert in his house, it wasn't normal pa. I've never been so scared!"
Tyrons father looked down at his son, concerned by his fears but he knew of Old Man Twaight, he was an eccentric man who enjoyed playing tricks on the children of the village. As he held his son, Tyrons father was trying to figure out the severity of the prank Twaight had played, he eventually pulled his son away clutching his shoulders and looked him in the eyes.

"It will be ok Tyron, when Twaight arrives I will demand him an apology. He's gone too far with these blasted jokes." "Now rest boy and enjoy tonight, as you have something special to do."
His father grinned his usual ear to ear smile and all the fears seemed to just melt away, Tyron smiled back as he trusted his father's words if Mister Twaight was playing a cruel prank he knew that his father confront him.

Little did Tyron now, Twaight would never arrive to meet his father's berating.

It wasn't long until Tyron was back to his old usual self, dancing among the adults and children as he was convinced the terrors from Twaights home was a cruel prank from a cynical old man. Eventually the party reached the climax, the adults enjoying the ale and songs whereas most of the children were cuddle into each other soundly asleep around a nearby brazier for warmth.

As the moon was high into the night sky it was finally time for gift exchange, somehow throughout all this ordeal Tyron never once let go of the necklace instead the fear at the time strengthened his grip and the once beautifully silk gift lay crumbled in the palm of his hand. The music stopped and a sense of childhood anxious grew within Tyron, there was only a handful of children left most of them were around the same age as Tyron and felt the same way about the whole exchange, tonight would be the start of several new found relationships as both the males and females would show their true feelings towards their childhood friends.

A total of ten young adults and children were now gathered in the centre of the plaza. Boys facing girls reminded Tyron of the time when the children would dance at the start of every village meeting as a way of lightening the mood before the important arguments started. This time however the children and young adults stood anxiously waiting for the first to move.
It felt like an eternity until the first child finally started the ordeal. It was Tyron who took the first step, every nerve in his body screamed at him to stop however a part of him was excited to do so.
The recipient of the gift was his childhood friend and secret sweetheart, Ladia Wight who was by no means a pretty girl, she was the daughter of the local blacksmith and in such had a boyish charm about her, no matter the trouble Tyron was in, Ladia was always there to help him. The other children often saw them as an odd friendship since Tyron was such a loving, energetic child whereas Ladia is was the polar opposite. Everyone else saw her as somewhat cold and distant, always ready to fight however Tyron was the only one who knew this wasn't the case. She often told him that because of the being a blacksmiths daughter she had to show she could carry on the family name and line of work but deep down she wanted to be seen as Ladia a young girl who found happiness in natural beauty.

As Tyron walked towards her both children started to blush, Ladia in particular started to fidget on the spot in excitement. The both knew it would happened eventually, but it was still an exciting experience for the pair, Tyron stood in front of Ladia visible beads of sweat started to form on his forehead again but this time from anxiety over fear, he tried to speak, to confess to his childhood love but his words were caught in his throat. In a nervous panic he trusted the gift towards Ladia his eyes averting her gaze, his face a shade of red never seen before. Tyron didn't notice that Ladia herself was just as nervous with tears in her eyes accepted the gift was a small innocent smile.

The fathers roared and cheered, whereas the mother's wiped away tears. After the first exchange each child followed one after another, the anxious air which once surrounded the children had vanished and the music once again resumed as the adults exchanged their own gifts. When Tyron made his way back to his father he sighed a sign of relief, his father prouder than ever had tried holding back tears and instead griped his sons shoulder.
"Your mother would be so proud to see you now."
Tyron grinned his usual joyful grin, now the awkward ordeal was over he was ready to enjoy the songs and food. That was until his eyes gazed over to the alley where he first came bursting through, stood between two building almost blending in was Ricah, no one other than Tyron would pay anymind to the drunk but he noticed something that no one else would, his hunched back was gone. Not only that the man stood tall as if the accident never occurred.

Tbe peculiar sight of the once crippled man initially threw him off, that was until he saw Ricahs eyes. Even from across the plaza he knew something was wrong, when he saw the drunkard earlier that day his eyes looked tired but aware, his back hunched and struggling to stand upright.

Now his eyes seemed glazed and in the lights of the nearby fire he noticed that the iris were now a shade of grey throughout.

The White Rabbit:
Chapter 3:

Seeing Ricah in his unhindered state worried Tyron, for as long as the boy could remember the drunkard would always carry a limp with hunched back and even this morning it was no different. Then there was his eyes, they were once filled with life and emotion but now there was nothing but a grey haze which could be seen from miles around.

It was as if Tyron was looking into a reflection of the moon and that unsettled him.
Suddenly Ricah started to move, each limb violently trusted forward almost independently from each other as if a child was learning to control a marionette. It was then the other adults started to notice the village drunk, stumbling to the centre of the plaza, it seemed no one else worried about the odd movement or how he was now walking limp free. Tyrons heart started the race again, this mixed with the voices from before had once again created a feeling of dread. He clasped himself onto his father's arm seeking comfort from just knowing he was there, eyes fixated on the drunk who had now clumsily reached the centre and was stood motionless with his head slumped now hiding the ethereal eyes.

Tyron was again the first to notice another horrifying experience which made his blood run cold as ice. A murmer, even with the music, laughs and chatter there was an audible murmer resonating from Ricah. At first it was a single voice but like Old Man Twaights house more voices and murmer seemed to gather, Tyron tried to understand what the voices wanted but it seemed to speak in a tounge unknown to the boy. Soon the murmers were starting to be picked up by other adults, one by one they drew silent, unnerved by the now hundreds of overlapping voice.
Tyrons father also noticed this and held his son close to him whispering in his ear.

"Don't fear boy, don't act rashful and don't go near him."

Tyron knew his father was acting as tough as possible but underneath the tough exterior Tyron heard his father's uncertainty and quiver in his voice. Wordlessly he clutched tighter still to his father's arm cold sweat sticking to his tunic, now the musicians had finally stopped playing with the only sound seemed to be resonating from the centre.

At this point the volume seemed to increase as the murmer turned to chatter which developed into shrieks. No one understood what was happening but everyone, sober or otherwise were afraid. Tyron noticed some of the adults gathering up their children ushered off into the dark alleys back to the safety of their home, his eyes glanced around looking for Ladia in a vain hope she had slumped off with the other adults but she hadn't. She was stood there next to her father desperately trying to act brave but Tyron could see her fear, it was the same no matter who he looked at, the same look of terror was unmistakable as no one in the town of Knotshill had ever experience this before.

A sudden cry of pain dragged Tyrons gaze back to Ricah, his head no longer slumped was staring ardently ahead. His jaw was slack and hanging loosely as if his very jawbone was missing.
This time it wasn't Tyron who was the first to notice as a scream could be heard from his left, Mrs Rahm stood there with her finger casted towards the ground beneath Ricah, Tyron then noticed what she was screaming at. Ricahs legs were coated a deep red which seemed to seep into the ground, to the villagers dismay the liquid started to spread out as if perfectly straight lines even though there were no grooves in the ground. It was as if the liquid was alive squirming along the ground crossing over each other like snakes trying to escape a fire. Unbeknown to the frightened villagers the liquid wasn't randomly spreading but rather, meticulously creating an ancient symbol written in an unknown tounge.

The remaining villagers stood motionlessly eyes fixated as each stream of liquid locked into place, a horrified terror mixed with a sickening curiosity. They knew they needed to escape, this ever evolving nightmare but a part of them felt that it was already too late. Eventually the final piece of the stream connected with doing so started an humming from below. A constant drone pierced through the villagers skulls creating a vicious migraine enough to knock some to their knees in pain.

Throughout all the ongoing horror, one thing didn't change. Ricah still stood, jaw slacked with glazed eyes piercing the empty space where villagers once stood. He reminded Tyron of a grotesque statue, a centre piece for a horrifying exhibition.

The drone grew louder and louder still, the earth shaking beneath their feet, it was as if the ground would split open and swallow Knotshill whole. At this point most of the villagers had fled much to Tyrons relief, Ladia and her father had already disappeared from the crowd. Suddenly his arm jerked drawing his attention to his father.
"Get going, now!" He shouted, it was the first time he heard his father raise his voice and the severity of reality struck the boy. He was ready to run, faster than ever before to escape the horrors but as he turned away a very human scream ripped through the air.

The scream originated from Ricah, snapping from his lucid trance Ricah had finally come to his senses, sadly it was too late as his body started to undergo a transformation. The sound of bones snapping and crunching could be heard above the drone as Ricahs body was being destroyed, twisting each limb in unimaginable angles. His bones piercing the flesh holding him together as his arms folding into themselves, blood now gushing from multiple wounds it was almost unbelievable he was conscious let alone standing however both options were not in Ricahs control.

His eyes filled with fear and pain was frantically looking around for help, his screams turned to pleas as he helplessly turned towards his fellow neighbours and friends. It was an hopeless endeavour however since everyone remaining was paralyzed in fear including Tyron, the night which originally started with joyous music had turned into murderous cries and pleas for help.

Eventually his cries lessened as the shock seemed to break the old man, his throat, hoarse and dry could only whimper in the pain, even as his legs started to contort and snap he made little sound. The remaining blood had soaked into the ground filling in the lines between the liquid, even though Ricahs arms and legs had now wrapped around his body, he still hung there motionlessly in the air as if held up by an invisible force, briefly reminding Tyron of the child playing with the marionette, now bored of the toy they cast it away.

The remaining life of the old drunkard had left him as his body floated lifelessly in the air.
This wasn't the end of the nightmares but rather the beginning, as the pool of blood started to boil and froth, widening throughout the red trail of liquid, filling it in creating a complete circle of blood which covered the majority of the plaza. All of which still bubbling as if it was boiling water, Tyron struggled to keep it together as his father pulled him away from the scene. The last thing the boy saw was a claw burst through the blood as he was pulled into the dark streets of Knotshill.

This was only the beginning for the night of terror on the villagers of Knotshill.

The White Rabbit:
Chapter 4:

Running down the darkened streets of Knotshill no one expected this would be how their evening would end, every other year they would stumble back home intoxicated and tired but happy from celebrating a joyous occassion.

As Tyron was sprinting home, doors slamming, bolts catching and furniture scraping along stone floors could be heard all around, it was a vain hope but without weapons this was the best that the villagers could do to hide and hopefully survive.

Tyron and his father lived along the outskirts of the village, one of the homes futherest away but it was their best chance of survival. It was almost like instinct since it seemed every villager had the same idea, as if the monsters were stories from a child's book and when confronted by a locked door would simply walk away leaving the family completely unharmed, no one had ever experienced fighting monsters before and even if hiding in darkened homes had no effect it was the only solution, so they hoped, hoping that Ricah was still ok and it was all a vivid nightmare.

Tyron knew otherwise, it might be because of the stories he read or the murmers from Twaights home but he knew this wasn't a vivid nightmare and a locked door wouldn't stop the claw that came bursting through the boiling portal of blood. His home in sight was a sign of relief for the boy, it was the first hurdle and making it here meant he was still alive. As Tyron reach the door a blood curling roar shook the very air around him, the monster had finally clambered from the blood and now it seemed desperate, like a starved dog howling before a hunt. Tyron flung himself into the safety of his home, the smell of stale yeast attacking his sense of smell he slammed the door shut, flinging himself to the furthest corner is his home behind the cauldron that his father had brewed the ale earlier today.

His father, Tyron completely forgot that his father was there next to him the entire time, his memories raced back, if his father pulled him into the darkness then he would have been just behind him throughout the journey but he wasn't, Tyron was alone, afraid and alone as he darted from street to street. Then it dawned on the boy, his father didn't pull him into the darkness, Tyrons father was still stood there awestruck by the hand that pierced through the ground into his world.

Dread completely overwhelmed the boy. 'What if the monster got him?' He thought to himself, too afraid to shout out to his father all he could do was wait. His father was a minatour, a hero, he would know how to beat the monsters and save the village from danger. Trying his hardest to comfort himself in this ordeal his eyes fixed on the door, shuffling himself to be as small as possible.
The smell of yeast mixing with his fear was making the boy heave, he couldn't move. The first guttural roar was no long on it's own, screams, shrieks, growls and chatter seemed to fill the air with a demonic symphony. Tyron couldn't tell how many creatures had gathered now in the once populated plaza, being so far away from the chaos meant that for now he was safer than most.
The door suddenly burst open, a tall figure stood breathing heavy, eyes crazed looking all around the room suddenly cried out.

"Tyron, you 'ere, please be 'ere son." His voice no longer hiding his distraught, his father stood there, as if the gods above heard Tyrons silent pleas. Tyron slowly clambered from his hiding place, still slightly wary, he saw Ricah, he looked human before it all unfolded and he wasn't entirely sure that his father was actually his father. The sight of his son made the man cry out in joy for only a second, he quickly spun round slamming the door behind him, grabbing any nearby furniture to create a rudimentary barricade. Within seconds the front of the house was now barricaded by the majority of the families furniture.
His father, ushering him close needed to talk to his son. At that point Tyron noticed his eyes, full of life but afraid. No grey haze reflecting a cold moon, the man was truly his father not possessed by ancient demons or turned stir crazy. Tyron tip toed towards him afraid that making any sound would cause the choir of demonic cries to target him and his father, as he reached his father his voice barely audible whispered to Tyron.

"Son, listen to me. Hide, no matter what happens, stay hidden. Can you do that son?"
Tyron nodded, tears streaming down his cheeks, he was scared, tonight he was suppose to confess to Ladia. Sealing their love with his mother's precious necklace, this was suppose to be his love story but here he was afraid to cry out loud in case the demons roaming the streets would burst into his home, devouring both Tyron and his father. Quietly Tyron slunk away back to his original hiding place, shooting his father a quick affirmative not letting him know he understood. Tucked away the cold stone wall to his left was uncomfortable on his skin scratching away a layer of flesh in doing so, to his right the cauldron stood still slightly warm from the brewing it was a small piece of comfort for him. As Tyron got into his hiding place the last glimpse of his father was that which he never saw before. His arms stretched to the rafters above, pulling down a black sheath and a glimpse of cold steel could be briefly seen as his father attached the sword to his waist, in the distance, the sound of splintering wood and human screams haunted the once empty streets.

The White Rabbit:
Chapter 5 - The longest chapter yet

Klaus Stahm intended to hide his past for as long as time permitted, leaving the horrors of war behind he fled during a hopeless charge. Punishable by death but the order to charge was a death sentence in its own sense, so fleeing at least had a chance for surviving no matter how slim, destroying his pride he stripped himself of his war emblems and fled into the darkness.

Night turned day, days into weeks, Klaus endurered the hunger and thirst, never asleep for more than a few hours a time. He would be a wanted war criminal by now, avoiding towns and roads he travelled. In his native homeland across the sea he was seen as an average man but here in the foreign island of Kör he towered over all his enemies as did his brother in arms, the issue being that tales of the giants monsters that tore through these lands had reached most of the villages. There was no safety, his own army would slay him where he stood and the enemies would do worse if they caught him. Klaus had a plan, he would head as far north as possible, bundle himself into a trade ship and escape.

He had nothing for him at home, his family would have already disowned him, sickened of the idea their son would abandon his country. He would rather risk exile and hope for the best.
The countless days running off small game and low energy took there toll on the man.
Most nights, clutching the hilt of his blade it was his final form of safety, he could no longer wear the armour his father gave him, weighing too much on his now frail frame as well as his consciousness, he could hardly cross these harsh lands while encumbered with such a burden. His once tall, proud figure had all but gone replaced by skin and bones, laboured breath, lacking nutrition was going to be his downfall.

On one fateful night as Klaus pulled himself through overgrown bramble he lost his footing on an unexpected decline, the fragile body flung itself down the hill. His body tumbling, cutting and slicing on debris and undergrowth he fell, rocks, thorns and roots soon replaced by dirt as Klaus finally reached level ground. His final sight was that of a horse hoof stopping mearly inches from the wounded soilders face, under the cloudless night Klaus sucummed to the strain, passing out as the rider clambered off his horse.

When Klaus regained consciousness his reaction was that of fear, he clasped to his hip ready to draw his blade but it proved fruitless, his weapon no longer by his side Klaus finally came to the realisation where he was.
Slowly pulling himself up to take in the surroundings, the sound of boiling water, the comfort of straw matress resting on the sturdy bed frame but most importantly the warmth of the sun light as it caresses the wounded man's bandaged skin.

He sighed with relief, he was safe for now and that was enough for Klaus. As Klaus carefully laid back into the mattress the distant sound of children playing and adults enjoying their morning gossips seemed to send Klaus into a deep slumber. The sun had set when Klaus finally awoken again, body still weak from hunger he at least felt refreshed, glacing around this time taking in where exactly where he was. It was a small home, no bigger than his old room back in his own country. It seemed the living quaters, kitchen and bed chambers were all in the same room. It was a commoners home but regardless they took sympathy on the wounded giant which made Klaus somewhat relieved.

Most likely the news of the ongoing war hadn't reached here yet, but where was here? Klaus didn't know how long he had travelled, the war could have been forgotten already and the solider wouldn't have been the wiser.
Lost in thought he never noticed the slim figure approach his side, cautious but curious. She had never seen a man so huge before, even under his frail composure he still stood taller than anyone else in the small village and the girl was still slightly afraid.

Klaus suddenly aware drew his attention to the young girl, startled slightly by the sudden appearance of the small, dainty villager. The young girl blushing, flustered spoke out to Klaus.
"S-sir, are you hungry?"
It had been so long since Klaus had spoke to anyone, haunted by old memories, he was too afraid to speak out. Eventually he simply forgot that he even had a voice. Through a hoarse throat Klaus managed to croak out a response.
"I-if that's not too much to ask."
His voice as timid as his appearance almost startled Klaus from just hearing himself speak, 'what's happened to me?' The thought crossed his mind.

The girl darted outside, for a second leaving Klaus to enjoy the comfort of the night, a fire crackling in the corner of the room heating an empty cauldron reminded Klaus of his mother preparing food back home. A sudden sense of nostalgia washed over Klaus making him long for home, the door opened again and the small girl shuffled back into the room carrying a steaming bowl of stew which brought a smile to Klaus's face.

Never in his life had he enjoyed a hot meal in his life, thanking his gods for being so merciful when he thought all hope was lost.
He nurtured every spoon full of stew, enjoying the salted meat to the warm broth, the girl bemused sat at the end of the bed never feeling hunger to the same extent as the soilder could only appreciate how he enjoyed her cooking.
Placing the bowl in his lap Klaus finally found the strength to speak, his voice stronger than before surprised the girl with his foreign accent.

"You saved me life, I am truly grateful but with nothing to pay you I am deeply ashamed."
The girl flustered and blushing, blurted.
"No, no, no, don't worry, I do not need coins, me pa would turn in his grave if I left 'ya to starve 'ere."
Relief washed over Klaus the girls sweet voice was like honey to him, he smiled at the young girl, something which he hadn't done since he boarded the war ship to pillage and destroy the nearby land of Kör. He originally intended to raze these lands now looking at himself and thinking about his current situation, wounded, malnourished on the verge of death in a hostile land yet here he lay safe and alive.

Looking down at his bowl he aimlessly moved the spoon around as if trying to find a hidden chunk of salted meat in the already empty bowl. Finally placing the spoon down he looked towards the girl who was now staring out the nearby window soaking in the last of the sunlight, Klaus somewhat hesitant decided he needed to know the name of his saviour to truly thank her.

"I'm Klaus, Klaus Strahm of the Strahm House."
Not shifting her gaze from the window a small small developed on her face as goosebumps developed lightly on her skin.
"Kiera, Kiera Musgrove, pleasure to meet you Mister Strahm."
She turned to the wounded soilder, blessing him with a most pure smile. Klaus realised at that moment, his heart suddenly beating against his ribcage that he might be developing feelings for the village girl who cared for him when he thought all was lost.

The following days seemed to fly by as villagers came to see the gentle giant each more eager than the last, they comforted him realising that the wounded man had no where to go back to. Saying he could stay for as long as needed and that once nursed back to health could help toil the lands or fetch lumber. As day light fled Klaus would tell Kiera tales of his journey, always leaving out his original intention of attacking these beautiful lands.
Days turned to weeks and weeks to months. Klaus with his regained strength worked the nearby fields toiling away from morning till night, Kiera worked the stalls during the day and in the eve, both would retire, sharing a meal together before Klaus retired back to the local tavern for a peaceful night sleep.

One particular evening Klaus sat patiently outside Kieras home soaking in the last of summer sunlight, his body back to its original stature and to much to his surprise started to grow facial hair. The villagers would always joke on how he was slowly turning into a werebeast which always made him chuckle. At this point he became a part of the community and tonight he was going to seal away the final part of his past and hopefully create an ideal future.

In the distance Kiera was gracefully making her way back, Klaus saw her elegant movement, her grace and her beauty. He had truly fallen for her and tonight he would confess to her, as she approached her home the welcoming sight of Klaus made Kieras heart rush through the months the pair had developed a close bond, both had fallen in love yet couldn't see how the other felt.
"You hungry Misses Mudgrove?" He shouted to her, his old accent fading away he lightly chuckled on how his life has changed so much.
"I've got some salted meat for the occassion Mister Stahm!" Kiera responded cheerfully as she finally reached the giant giving him a quick courtesy before entering her home.

The home no different to when Klaus first woke up here, starved and wounded, quickly came to understand the beauty of the modesty and simple life that Kiera lived, he too wanted to indulge into this simple life by her side. Whilst Kiera rummaged through the bountiful basket of vegetables, Klaus reached into his tunic retrieving a small package no bigger than the palm of his hand.

Unsure with how the villagers of the town express their love too each other decided to go his own way and hope for the best, soaking in what he hoped would be his soon to be home he noticed the final piece of his past that he wanted to hide from the world.
He walked over to the far corner, peaking from the bed frame the black sheath stood, grasping the cool leather what was once comfortable resting in his hand now felt violated and disgusted. If Klaus never left the battlefield he would have used the weapons for bloodshed on this innocent island, not one villager was armed and the idea that one point he might have come to this peaceful town bringing with him death and destruction wether he wanted to or not.

Kiera noticing Klaus grasping the sword always wanted to ask about the origin for such a dangerous weapon but was afraid of the answer. Seeing the pain in his eyes as he held the sword she quietly spoke to him.
"You could always hide it, the blade I mean. Just put it somewhere safe since these lands won't always be a place for peace."
With the blade in one hand Klaus nodded whispering his thanks to Kieras understanding he reach overhead carefully placing the blade on one of the rafters in low home, here it would be safe and he would use it to protect the one he loved no matter what cost. Past finally hidden Klaus took upon himself to start his future eith the women he loved. Heart pounding and sweaty palms Klaus fumbled the package between his hands, unsure on how he would present it to Kiera, lucky for Klaus the young girl noticed the package asked curiously.

"I hope you don't damage that gift with all that fidgeting? If it was for me I would hate to see such a beautiful gift ruined by your giant hands."
Laughing at her own statement Kiera closed the gap between them, her face blushing ever so slightly.
"If it was for you? I would hope you'd love the gift regardless of the wrapping." Retorted Klaus, a false bravado in an attempt to hide how awkward he felt.
The gap between the pair closed as Klaus took a step towards Kiera, their eyes locked for a second before he handed her the gift. Her smile unwavering carefully unwrapped the gift to reveal a necklace, a simple pure silver necklace. The materialistic value was nothing compared to the emotional value that this gift held.
Kiera looked up towards Klaus, eyes fighting back tears was left speechless. This was the first gift the girl had ever received and it meant more than anything that it was given to her by the man she loved. As if not missing a beat Klaus took up all his remaining courage finally asking Kiera the question that would change their lives.

"Kiera, I fell for you so many moons ago but I was always afraid that you wouldn't feel the same way back. I'm taking the plunge Kiera but, would you take me as your husband?"
Tears no longer held back Kiera wrapped her arms around Klaus weeping tears of joy in his tunic.
"Yes! Yes! I would love for that. More than anything I would love to become your wife."
They held each other for what seemed like eternity, Klaus never wanted this ideal life to end. For a while it didn't either.

Years started to flow by like a stream of memories, the married couple had a modest ceremony outside the village, every villager responding with joy to Klaus and Kieras marriage. Soon after the consumated their marriage, an awkward ordeal for both parties. The next few years were unforgetable for Klaus, from him moving into her modest and humble home, to countless nights cuddling beneath the stars simply enjoying their time together. Conversation never seemed to end between the two as new topics would arise and both Klaus and Keira were eager to respond.
For years the tranquillity between the two never wavered, not a single argument arose as they enjoyed each day together as if their last. Eventually on the fifth year of their marriage Kiera delivered that she may have fallen pregnant to Klaus's child, overjoyed by the news he ran from street to street telling anyone who would listen. Klaus finally felt at home and with the news of an expecting child had made him feel happiness that he never felt before.

As the months passed, Klaus developing a paternal bond with his unborn child set to work making Kieras life as simple as possible, taking over her role at the stall he struggled to understand the basics of finance he somehow managed to keep it afloat throughout the pregnancy. When Kiera reached the stage of swollen ankles and laboured breath Klaus started to take upon himself to make every meal and cater to her every need. Kiera hating the idea of being bed bound was greatful in her own stubborn way.

One night in particular, Klaus had sat there at the edge of the bed in the same way Kiera did all those years ago looking at his wife, drained of all energy. Her body weak from the pregnancy had taken a turn for the worse. Struggling to stay awake Kiera spent most days fading in and out of consciousness made Klaus sick of worry, the village cleric coming by daily would always be a comforting sight for the couple.

That night while Kiera was still aware, conversation flowed like wine this time revolving around their child.
"We need to name our son."
Klaus boasted even though they had no way to tell gender Klaus said his family on birthed males and rode that confidence much to Kieras disapproval.
"We need to name our 'child', if it's a boy I would want to call him after my father."
Enjoying his current life Klaus had no intention bringing his past memories back with a name from a family who'd disowned him all those years ago. He would happily accept any name from Kiera, especially if it was the name of her father he proudly accepted the idea of it only asking her the name of the man who his son would take after.

"Tyron, Tyron Musgrove. He helped build this village when I was just young child." Her voice dropping at the end, the strain of pregnancy making each sentence laborious to the extent that she saved each sentence to when she really needed to. Klaus undeterred smiled softly at his wife.
"And so it shall be, Tyron Strahm will carry our name and our legacy!"
Bashful as he may be Klaus still worried deeply, he had never experienced pregnancy before yet he had never seen his wife so weak before, waiting till she finally fell asleep Klaus never once left her side. Morning rose when the screams started, Kiera had gone into labour much to Klaus's dread. Never in his life had he panicked before as he ran from house to house hunting the village cleric.

When he got back Kiera was barely making it through, heavy breathing and constant contractions had almost made her succum but she withstood it all, waiting for as long as possible baring it all till her husband came back. Klaus held her hand afraid of squeezing in case he injured her, he just sat holding in the tears, the last few days her body was snow white in colour and cold to the touch he knew it was nearly the end but a part of him hoped that their son, little Tyron could be held in her arms as they watched the stars like they did all those years ago.
His eyes never leaving Kieras kept talking, comforting her the best that he could even though he knew she wouldn't respond as each contractions passed she would cry out in pain. It broke Klaus's heart, the man who should be her hero sat by her side unable to do anything for her.

"I can see the head!"
The cleric called out, it was nearly the end and hope started to rise for Klaus and Kiera, her breaths shorter and more laboured final part would be the biggest challenge, trying his hardest to motivate Kiera the final contraction hit Kiera, her cries would be heard throughout the villager and she strained and pushed.
"It's nearly here, one more push Kiera darling. You can do it."
Soon Kieras cries died down and was now replaced by the sound of their son. Tyrons cry rang through Klaus as a gentle melody his attention now drawn to the bundle of joy wrapped by the cleric, he never felt happier. The cleric passing the child to Klaus as he held his son close to him, Tyron Stahm the newest family member looked like the spitting image of his mother, sweet and innocent.
"Look, dear he looks exa-"
As he turned to Kiera his words froze, she lay there eyes closed, a small smile on her lips she looked tranquil, her arm drooping off the side if the bed where Klaus had let go to hold his son an emotional pain shot through Klaus.

Her chest motionless, her skin still holding a fleeting warmth she lay there. Kiera Stahm, the light of Klaus's life, the saviour when he needed her, the only person he loved and most importantly the mother of his child was no longer with him.
"Kiera? Kiera, please speak to me? Kiera?" His voice breaking Klaus knew it was too late but as grief took over tears started to fall as Klaus wimpered her name over and over. The sound of Tyrons cry brought Klaus to his senses as he turned to the cleric passing him the boy.

"... find one of the mother's in town ask them if they could feed Tyron. I'm sorry if that's a lot to ask but... I need to say goodbye." Trying his hardest to maintain control he ushered the cleric out before sitting by his wife's side.
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry I couldn't protect you. I love you Kiera Musgr-, Stahm, Kiera Stahm. I promise I'll look after Tyron no matter wh-"
Klaus couldn't hold on any longer as the pain finally tore through him.

His cries filled with sorrow travelled over the village that day.


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