Somehow, he was still alive, but the Barghest was nowhere to be seen. Regaining his feet with a head pounding, the darkness within him driving a hunt, which consumes him for two additional days.
And now, the power to wield darkness that had been such a boon to him feels tainted. The inherent evil was beginning to consume him. The darkness itself was not evil, he knew - it was true that there could be no light without darkness, as these two forces were two halves of the same whole. Despite this knowledge, Cedric felt emotionally trapped. His blackened armour covered with intricate carvings of demons had saved him so many times, but now it felt like a cage – the heaviest of cages. Once the extension of his being, his sword that he used to amplify his inner darkness and channel it into mighty blows was now a burden to him, weighing him down with every step. He could not go on like this.
The Barghest's dried blood had soaked his cloak and armour, seeping into his clothing beneath the metal. The icy winds on the Drakespine left him frozen to his core. Every step was laboured, and each slower and shorter than the last. The battle had left him injured and aching, and now that the adrenaline rush had passed, he felt every laceration, every bruise and broken bone. Would the elements finally take him? Was this the end?
"Should I die this night, I do so happily in the knowledge that my King has been avenged, and a great evil is no more." With this thought, his consciousness faded, and with it, the cold and pain ceased to matter.
As his eyelids closed, he saw a vision of a shadowy figure standing over him. A dragon? Then this indeed was the end.
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