The Phoenix Knight

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RHFay
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The Phoenix Knight

Post by RHFay »

Hello all!

This is a fantasy flash story that started life as a troubled poem. The poem didn't do well, and I decided to rewrite the piece as flash for my web site. I know at least one editor that really doesn't like stories written in the present tense, and I know it's unusual, but I think it works in this case. I think it works with a small piece, and gives it the feel that the events are unfolding before your eyes.

Anyway, here's the story:

The Phoenix Knight

by Richard H. Fay

Foul deeds breed diabolic consequences. Loss of hope and faith leads to the rejection of all that is sacred. Strife and misery give rise to black despair. Days of abject sorrow give way to nights of profound dread.

The dark thoughts stirring in the minds of evil men are finally given tangible form. Pouring forth from sulphurous cracks in the earth, Hell's vile progeny roam over a scarred and weary land. Waves of pestilence and death follow in their wake. The unquiet dead then rise from their mossy beds to exact a terrible revenge for mankind's unholy folly.

Lucifer’s host marches beneath a pale crescent moon. Mortal armies fall like stalks of grain before the reaper's sharp and deadly sickle. Demonic witchery breaks down stout walls and sturdy towers. Lofty seats of power and might crumble to dust. None are left to stand in the way of the vile mob’s malignant chevaucheé.

Noxious smoke and flaming brimstone fill the still midnight air as the pillaging horde puts peasant cot and village croft to the torch. The weak and the small flee into the quaint parish church, protected by its blessed stone walls. The damned pound ominously on the inviolable sanctuary door, while the innocent within pray for heavenly intercession.

In answer to the desperate pleas for divine aid, a shining paladin of light appears out of the desolate darkness. A holy avenger rises like a new sun from the ashes of ruin. His flaming sword and burnished armour flash like beacons of hope in the choking gloom. Astride a strong destrier barded in silver and gold, heaven's bright champion sets out to challenge the fell host.

Determined to keep safe the last remaining bastion of goodness and light, the stalwart stands like an immovable rock before the onrushing tide. The lone horseman waits until the ravaging devils are almost upon him, then he spurs his mighty steed deep into the thick of the savage fray. Black blood boils on the keen edge of his fiery blade as many a foul foe and undead fiend fall beneath his mighty blows.

Routed by the victorious paladin, the vanquished demons retreat back into the endless ebon abyss. The walking dead return slowly but surely to their mouldy graves, not to rise again until Judgement Day. Satisfied that his work is done, the angelic warrior brandishes his weapon in triumph then vanishes into the mists of time.

Copyright © 2007 Richard H. Fay

It's supposed to be just a taste of my writing style, a sample for the web site. I also wanted to bring back the religious aspect of paladins; they are supposed to be holy warriors, after all. Besides, the medieval period, when this story obviously would take place (or in a fantasy equivalent) was the Age of Faith. Now I think I finally have enough of my writing on the web site.

Cheers!

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clknaps
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Post by clknaps »

I liked this, though I stumbled over a few words. The imagery is so rich I found myself reading lines over again to catch it all. Very nicely done.

CLK
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Post by RHFay »

clknaps wrote:I liked this, though I stumbled over a few words. The imagery is so rich I found myself reading lines over again to catch it all. Very nicely done.

CLK
Let me guess, one of the words that you stumbled over was chevaucheé. I was being a bit unkind inserting that word. It's a term that describes a destructive raid during warfare in the middle ages. A column would travel through the countryside, ravaging fields and villages. Edward the Black Prince famously launched a chevaucheé through France that eventually lead to the battle of Poitiers and the capture of the king of France.

Here's a link to the Wikipedia entry about the chevaucheé:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chevauch%C3%A9e

It was one of those instances of my chosen word being a bit "technical", but it was a word that fit perfectly. My old 1913 Webster's Dictionary has an Anglicized version of the word, but I chose to use the version that appears in current medieval military history references. I was a bit worried about using the word, but I liked how it fit into the story.

I believe every other word I used can be found in a standard dictionary. Destrier, for instance, is an old term for warhorse, but this one is in my recent Collegiate Dictionary.

I hope the imagery wasn't too rich. I do like to have a great deal of imagery in my writing. It's the poet in me coming through even when I'm writing prose.

Thanks for the comments! :)
"I'm going to do what the warriors of old did. I'm going to recite poetry!" Andrew of Armar.

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clknaps
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Post by clknaps »

Yes, that was one of the words. Destrier, however, I know and even use in my stories, one of my favorites. :)

CLK
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RHFay
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Post by RHFay »

clknaps wrote:Yes, that was one of the words. Destrier, however, I know and even use in my stories, one of my favorites. :)

CLK
Yes, a great word destrier. They had many terms for horses of different quality back in the Middle Ages. Destrier was the most prized war horse, often used in the joust. Then you had your charger, and your courser, and your palfrey, etc., etc., etc. There is some debate about what a destrier was actually like, but it was definitely a prized mount. Not something you really wanted to ride around in the countryside upon, though! That's what a palfrey was for.
"I'm going to do what the warriors of old did. I'm going to recite poetry!" Andrew of Armar.

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