Skelton von Heel "would be" adept of the black arts
In the beginning
Dressed in his dark robes Skelton felt nigh invisible against the darken landscape cast by the feeble light on the moon. Skelton knew that the ruins of the manor house lay ahead and more importantly he knew what the former occupant had been, a creature of the night, a drinker of blood in other words a vampire.
The witch hunters had hunted the vile creature down, whilst cornered though the vampire had fought like a daemon slaying many of those sent against him before fleeing into the darkness of the night. In turn the next day the witch hunters had burnt the place to the ground leaving only tattered stone walls and rubble behind. Skelton knew there was one place the fire would have left untouched the cellar and it was here he was bound in his quest for dark knowledge.
The ruined manor house lay in darkness shunned by both man and beast since its destruction. Skelton due in close to one of the ruined walls, he knew the cellar entrance must have been around here somewhere. On his hands and knees Skelton brushed away the dust and rubble, he glanced at the drawing he had bought at some expense from a rogue of the night. The fellow had been a burglar and had been lucky he had not attempted his break in whilst the former occupant had been in residence. There Skelton had found it a iron circle attached to a stout wooden hatch, he quickly cleared away the rest of the loose dust and dirt.
Standing he heaved with all his might upon the trapdoor for such it was, with a loud creak and a bang it came open. nervously Skelton glanced about but no one ventured here least of all in the dead of the night. Lowering himself into the yawning darkness Skelton found his footing on the wooden stairs and ventured down.
Stood in total pitch darkness Skelton felt the odd twinge of fear grasping into his robes he brought forth an old oil lamp with flint and tinder. Slowing coxing the flame into life Skelton glanced around him, the rough earthen walls of the cellar framed by old wooden racking where in a former period no doubt bottles of wine and liquor had once sat. Only the sorry remains of a few broken bottles laid testament to this. Skelton ventured further into the barely lit darkness he knew there must be more down here, a hidden passage or concealed room and it was there he would find what he sought.
A sudden noise and movement caught his attention, spinning on his heel he faced towards it "who goes there" he whisper shrilly. His eyes dropped to the small rodent that had caused the disturbance, focusing his eyes on the small creature Skelton gathered the winds of magic around him, with an ancient incantation and through the focus of his will a small dart of mystical black enervating energy shot forth. With a curse Skelton saw the first bolt miss the rodent, mustering his magical arts he shot out another dart this time grinning with glee as it struck the hapless rodent.
Striding further into the darkness Skelton ran his hands along the walls searching for signs of an opening or door. After several moments he found a small alcove blocked off with stone blocks roughly mortared together. There must be something worth hiding in here thought Skelton he looked around for an implement with which to strike at the stones. Wielding a large rock in both hands Skelton struck it repeatedly against the mortared stone blocks, after several powerful blows he was able to remove several of the stone blocks.
Raising his spluttering oil lantern Skelton gazed into the hole he had made he gave a start, matching his gaze was the eyeless look of a deaths heads, a human skull. Looking further he saw manacles holding the unfortunate victim inside their tomb where they had been interred whilst alive. Disappointed Skelton moved onwards.
Holding his latern higher he saw a small wooden door cleverly concealed in a corner, this must be it Skelton though. Tugging on the old warped wood the door slowly edged open carving a swathe in the dust of the cellar floor. Using his latern Skelton gazed inside yes this was what he sought a handful of ancient mouldy looking tomes. Gathering them into his bag Skelton paused to look into one, the text was clearly painstakingly hand written in a language he could not decipher immediately. Unconcerned Skelton placed this final book into his bag.
Turning out of the small dark room Skelton began to make his way out of the cellar, as he moved further down an icy chill made its way down his spine. More blocks had been removed from the small alcove and worse the skeleton itself was missing!
Hearing the clanking of rusty chains the nightmare vision of the skeleton shambled into view, its once empty eye sockets now blaring with a red bale fire. Skelton fought down the compulsion to flee knowing his only exit was past this aberration. The skeleton shambled towards Skelton who glanced around looking for a weapon to defend himself, unable to find one Skelton pulled on the framework attached to the earthen walls. Collapsing the wooden framework onto the skeleton the framework fell onto the uncaring unfeeling denizen of the night. Skelton took a deep breath to survey his handiwork, pinned beneath the heavy wooden shelves the skeleton lay still. Watching with horrid fascination Skelton saw the skeleton begin to move, his nerves shredded Skelton fled to the waiting hatch and the inadequate safety of the moonlight all the while listing to the creak of bones moving with unnatural vigour behind him.
Skelton grinned with dark glee he had been correct the vampire had been a skilled practitioner of the dark arts, the animated skeleton attested to that. Now with some of his abandoned text books Skelton would be able to increase his own power as soon as he had worked out how to decipher them. Lost for a few moments in his own thoughts the scraping of old bone upon the earth brought him to his senses, feeling the old manor house and its guardian skeleton he fled into the expanding dawn.
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