Hmm... Give this a second go. I thought I'd posted this earlier but it seems somewhere I failed to complete the process LOL! Once again, this is a story that's been banging around in my head for a while so I decided to set it loose as it were. Set in the DC universe, it's about a hero you don't hear much about. A shiny fragment of the Emperor's armor goes to whoever can guess who it is LOL
Good luck and good gaming,
The Demon Within
She wandered through the darkened, windy streets at night, passing beneath the flickering light given off by old street lamps in ill repair. The sour stench of moldy garbage and rotten food filled the air. Shadows pooled heavily in the open mouths of alleys between stone-faced buildings lining the way; their weight hiding the refuse and detritus of a town long given to a deep-seeded decay. She flirted with danger this far down in the bowels of the city. Who was she? Another soul that should have known better. She shouldn’t have come out so late. The night belonged to the rape gangs, thugs, drug dealers. The filth made the streets their home when the sun went down. They were like roaches crawling from dark crevasses, a vile disease that spread once the bright lights of day winked out over the horizon. They say once someone had said that the meek shall inherit the earth. They were wrong. It was the scum that society had forfeited the streets and alleyways to. Crime was rife even during the daylight hours but it grew bolder in the gathering gloom. Here the law of man had no place. Survival of the cruelest had its day. The champions that once watched over the city’s huddled masses of humanity had long since given up and moved on… or died. I should have known better. I should have walked away that night. I should have let them have her. But, there comes a time when a man must face his demons, stop turning that blind eye to let the world burn in the fires of its own making.
All my life, I have wanted nothing more than peace from the demon that eats away at me. Through the span of these many lifetimes, I returned to an old friend, finding the solace I craved at the bottom of a bottle. Alcohol numbed the body and the mind, letting in the sweet release from the voice ticking away at my sanity. Foolishness? Perhaps. But in my vain attempt to escape the crushing reality that dug at my soul, I found myself led into the dregs of society. Once I had everything, the world on a silver platter. Power beyond the ken of man was at my beck and call. No mortal could hide from my power of insight. I could delve deep into the souls and hearts of men and know their goodness or their evil. It is my curse. I no longer know who I am, the skittering memories of a life spent too long living make their way back and forth through my mind, but I remember days of glory.
Now here I stand at the mouth of the alley, her screams filling the night with their piecing call. Why do I stand here like a fool? Am I driven by some need for redemption, to make right this wrong that plays itself out before me in stark tones of black and white? Faded memories flitter to the fore, mocking me. Days of magic. Days of mighty men and mightier deeds. The realization hits me, the blow dulled by liquor. Gone is the day when I stood tall in the saddle, sword and lance at my side as I rode across the lands of old Britain. In the place of mail and plate, I am garbed in the filthy rags of a vagabond, an unclean, homeless beggar, no better than a wretch. Where my sword should be, a cheap bottle of whiskey fills in the role of knightly armament. There is no noble steed beneath me, only staggering legs made weak by the vile spirits I have wasted my night consuming. Deep within me the whisper starts, quiet and unassuming, like the soft buzz of a mayfly on a warm summer night. It knows my name, but it will not tell me. It knows my secret; my darkest curse. It calls to me. Riddled words spill through my head as it speaks. It presses against the chains of flesh it has been bound to for all these centuries. I know its name but it eludes me. The toll of time and a life frittered away in self-loathing and selfishness has left my mind in a stupor. A fleeting moment of clarity sweeps away the fog of alcohol and I know why I stand here. It is not honor or glory that’s driven me here. No noble sentiment of honored deeds and stalwart heart. No, not these grand ideals that have fueled the hearts of good men, honest men. It is shame. The shame of knowing what I am.