The Ghast of Sir Vargas

The Ghast of Sir Vargas

A Story by John Lauterbach
"

An old soldier tells of a legendary kingslayer.

"
                Sir Vargas the Bled... No one takes his legend seriously. Minute you say he's undead, people treat it as just a story. There's no truth to sorcery or black magic or whatever that old dead-man did to 'im. I've seen him at a distance, walking away an' I didn't wanna move an inch closer. It's the sound of him that got me. All the hilts an' blades bangin' together like he brings a battlefield with 'im. They really are all over him; the swords. Stuck in all directions, comin' out his back like a bloody hedgehog. Through his arms an' legs an' neck. He's bloody massive to hold himself together... maybe it's the magic.


                Not my experience mind you, but I hear he don't bother you 'less you're a king. Or if you cut 'im. 'Course if you're a king, you put a bounty on a kingslayer; even an unstoppable one. Prize like he had sent a lotta men to their graves. Bargee saw 'im close once; s**t 'imself, but didn't draw his sword. Renounced the gods afterward, but he's alive. Said the rot bound the leather an' mail to his skin an' the swords kept 'em in place. Where he had skin, I mean. Said the wind made his rotten blood gurgle an' spit, but he doesn't breathe. The swords are the real Hell of it; he actually uses 'em to cut people down. He'll pull 'em out of 'imself an' gut the next fool to run 'im through. Even maggots won't take to a corpse he leaves. Jus' turns the dirt an' bones black.


                He only hunts kings, I think. Like he can smell their blood, or feel it. He's a b*****d, you know. Royal one. Whoreson too; grew up with other b******s an' whoresons in the fields, 'cept their fathers weren't kings. Was a giant of a man with a king's good looks, I hear. Became a knight under his father, neither knew the other, o'course. Durin' that war 30 years back, the king offered his daughter to the man that brought 'im the head of the opposin' General. Vargas got it, but got kicked in the face by the General's horse. Killed 'im dead in the bloody mud with all the other dead knights. Days after, a sorcerer came to the battlefield. He traced evil runes in the mud an' tried raisin' 'em all. Only Vargas came back; everyone knows kings blood has strong magic in it. 'Course he wasn't Vargas anymore, jus' a shell that looked like 'im kinda. Caved-in face an' rotten; no place fer a soul.


                That old wizard commanded Vargas to kill King Thyssen of the offendin' country, so he might win the favor of the king an' marry the princess himself. Vargas left with only a sword an' armor. When the wizard told the king what he'd done for 'im, the king was horrified, an' publicly burned the man at the stake. On the pyre, the wizard cursed the king with madness while the fire ate his words. King wasn't the same after. Set his own chamber ablaze a month later, killed his daughter too from what I hear.


                Vargas killed old King Thyssen a country away as the wizard had told him. Murdered 'im with 20 swords stickin' out his back. All his knights an' children too. All that were there. When that invincible horror left, they said you could hear the battle bein' carried outta town. Vargas came back to the ashes of his master, who couldn't tell 'im what to do no more. So he did what he knew; huntin' kings. He roamed the land fer years carryin' a battle in his chest, killin' all the kings he found. On the road or in their keeps, didn't matter to him. He'd stand outside the gates with his clangin' steel an' starve 'em out if needed. Most times, he'd butcher his way to the king an' kill everyone, 'cept a few family members if they escape. No lowborn would risk the king living an' hangin' 'im a traitor. Other times, he'd make it cleaner an' jus' nail their face to a pillow. Can't imagine how they ignored the sound.


                'Ventually, people here forgot about 'im. Made him a legend like the Weddigo an' laughed. Blamed the regicide on someone else. "Serves the king right." They say. Even nobility says it, jestin' 'bout Sir Vargas the Bled at coronations, sayin'; "He's comin' fer you now." as a toast.


                'Cept sometimes they were right.


© 2013 John Lauterbach



Author's Note

John Lauterbach
I really want to tell this story at a campfire, if people still did that kind of thing.

My Review

Would you like to review this Story?
Login | Register




Featured Review

I love the way you wrote this, with the sort of tone and way of speakingone might envision of a peasant gossiping about the royals. I could almost imagine the narrator entertaining a cluster of friends in a tavern via relating this tale to them.

This really would make a great horror story to tell by a campfire while the listeners all eat smores.

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

John Lauterbach

4 Years Ago

Thank you! I originally pictured the narrator telling this story to his comrades around a campfire, .. read more



Reviews

I love the way you wrote this, with the sort of tone and way of speakingone might envision of a peasant gossiping about the royals. I could almost imagine the narrator entertaining a cluster of friends in a tavern via relating this tale to them.

This really would make a great horror story to tell by a campfire while the listeners all eat smores.

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

John Lauterbach

4 Years Ago

Thank you! I originally pictured the narrator telling this story to his comrades around a campfire, .. read more
Hi John,

I really enjoyed this work of fiction and I find myself obliged to compliment you on the manner in which you structured this story. Each new piece of information flowed beautifully from the previous details and the reader was left with a clear picture of how Vargas became that which he was. I must admit, however, that I would have liked you to have better identified the two kings in your fourth paragraph as I found myself having to re-read the paragraph to ensure that I knew exactly what was going on. Perhaps, instead of naming the offending King in paragraph five, you could have mentioned his name (King Thyssen) in paragraph four to so as to differentiate between the two Kings.'

Also, I admire the fact that you undertook to write the entire piece with an accent. However, there were moments when I questioned the authenticity of the character because of his accent. To elaborate, you chose to drop off the "h" sound ('im instead of him, in the fourth sentence of your first paragraph, if I am not mistaken). But you were not consistent with your efforts (you interchanged 'im and him throughout the story, which I found somewhat disconcerting). You also tend to do the same thing with "t". In some sentences, you use the word jus' while in others you spell it "just". Perhaps, when you do choose to edit this work, you can check for consistency in your proposed accent.

Very enjoyable read though. Will definitely check out more of your other work.

Cheers!

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

This comment has been deleted by the poster.
John Lauterbach

4 Years Ago

Thanks for the review, I appreciate the close eye on my craft. Hit me with a read request anytime.read more
Great story. Told authentically. I can see an old man with only half his teeth, sitting by the fireplace in an old inn telling this story with a tankard of ale in his hand.

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

John Lauterbach

4 Years Ago

Half teeth might be generous. I love the gritty representations of fantasy, where "beautiful" means .. read more
I loved this story. It was interesting, and the accent you put into the words made it seem much more like on old folk tale that I can imagine a group of old men sitting around a table sharing this story with the younger men who care to stop and listen. It was really well written and I just loved the whole idea. Great job! :)

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

John Lauterbach

4 Years Ago

Thanks, glad you liked it. This was my first shot at horror and I'm glad it had that sense of histor.. read more
Dark Rider

4 Years Ago

You're welcome. :)
This is great. I don't think you need to read it with an accent because they way you have written gives that tone anyway. I was really engaged with it, its very well constructed and I didn't spot any grammatical errors. It has a very Arthurian/Game of Thrones tone to it and the concept has a life of its own. A great story with lost of potential if you ever wished to develop it! Great job

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

John Lauterbach

4 Years Ago

A friend of mine wants to run a D&D campaign with this guy as a villain; maybe that's where the extr.. read more
Even before I read your note, I read this, hearing an accent. It does work well! I like this kingslayer - he is a great addition to the usual "monsters" in such stories. Some really wonderful, creepy lines:
"Even maggots won't take to a corpse he leaves. Jus' turns the dirt an' bones black." - now that's eerie!

You painted a vivid picture of Vargas, adding both vision and sound to his image - that would work really well at a campfire! I would suggest adding a couple more examples of Vargas' skill - some different ways that he might have caught a king unawares, before that awesome concluding paragraph about the ironic coronation toast.

Very spooky, an enjoyable read!

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

John Lauterbach

4 Years Ago

Thanks! Reflecting on it, I regarded him as a Jason Voorhees sort of killer; not creative, just pers.. read more
Rita L. Sev

4 Years Ago

I definitely see that... I like what you've added - that paragraph just needed a little more. Now yo.. read more

Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


Stats

382 Views
6 Reviews
Rating
Added on June 25, 2013
Last Updated on August 11, 2013
Tags: Ghost Story, Horror, Campfire, Undead, Zombie, Ghoul, Dark

Author

John Lauterbach
John Lauterbach

NY



About
I write. Sometimes I draw, too. I love harsh, valid criticism and provide the same. Workshopping between writers is a great feeling. That said, I started reading One Piece recently. All your read r.. more..

Writing