The squire’s sword moved, swinging in a high arc towards the man’s face.
Fairchild tucked the book under his arm, and casually caught the blade in his left hand.
A burst of light. Jonas saw a bone-thin hand with too-long fingers holding his blade. The skin was green and smooth — or did it only appear so in the emerald corpse illumination?
The flash was gone. The man pushed the squire’s blade aside.
“Now, now.” the man smiled. “No need to be so forward. There will be plenty of time later for that sort of thing. Now, have a seat, young
Jonas felt his knees buckle, and his knuckles hit the marble floor. He still clutched the hilt of his good steel, but it felt heavier than a millstone.
Fairchild sat calmly on the pile of corpses, and pulled the book into his lap. He drummed his fingers on it for a moment.
“I knew someone would come, but I didn’t know who. A hero? A prince? Who are you, son of Gilead?”
Jonas said nothing. He tried to move, but his arms and legs refused.
“I suppose it doesn’t matter.”, the smiling man mused. “You are the one who was promised. You will be my hunter.”
I will be nothing for you, the squire thought. I will find a way to make you pay.
“Oho! Your mortal eyes blaze so fiercely. It must be hard.” Fairchild said sympathetically. “To crawl on your belly through the ruin of your home — to find all that you knew destroyed. Everyone you ever knew. Dead. How you must thirst for vengeance….”
The tip of his sword blade moved a quiet inch. Jonas focused on the feel of the hilt in his hands, and tried to make the sword move again. He kept his eyes on the smiling man, on his green throne.
Fairchild clapped his hands.
“Enough of that. It is time to speak, you and I. I must pull you from thoughts of the past, so let us speak simply. Yes, it was I that did all that you have seen. Every living creature in the land of Gilead is dead. Dead and worse, by my hands.”
Jonas saw the man’s hands change — fingers too long, and green, green, green. The squire choked with horror and grief.
” Well, not quite.” Fairchild leaned forward. “There is one survivor. Would you like to see her?”
The squire nodded, and fought back tears. And managed to move the sword tip another quiet inch.
The man who was not turned slightly, and pushed the arm of a corpse aside. Nestled within was a small, cloth bundle. It moved slightly as Fairchild pulled it free, and then it began to cry.
A baby, held in a prison of green spider-hands.
Fairchild held it forth, and smiled.
“Now, let us talk about the terms of our covenant.”