The following is a short story to help give an idea of the motivations of each characters that appear in the Black Mask & Pale Rider series. All will be written in the first person. To begin, Helena of Mystos.
The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider by Tim Holtorf is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada License.
Based on a work at https://taholtorf.wordpress.com/bmamppr/the-series/.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://taholtorf.wordpress.com/
You can taste their fear.
Mixed with the stench of blood and sweat, their fear is unmistakable. And it only drives us that much more.
Within the ranks of our army, soldiers stand, shoulder to shoulder. Women who have sworn to protect the glorious elven City of Mystos. At one time, centuries ago, we did so against Athenians, Spartans, The Roman Empire, the Eastern Mongals, and others who dared seek to claim this city as their own. With ideas of subjugating her people. We never lost.
But we are the soldiers of the General Queen. Empress Trianna N’Tir, General of the Furies.
Each soldier has their duty, their specialization. Archers, front line soldiers, those who operate the siege engines, the Consolers who deal with the dead. But we are different. We are Captains, commanding a column of soldiers, each tasked with two body guards. But not to protect us, to aid us in battle.
For we are the Beserkers. Our pure rage empowers the soldiers under our command, to continue to fight, never retreat, never show fear. We are easily identified in the ranks. Red cloaks at our shoulders, brilliant, bronze breast plates, a sharpened gladius and a strong shield. The horse hair on our helms matches the colour of our cloaks; blood red.
They say that colour was chosen for the Beserkers because the blood of our enemy wouldn’t be seen as we would cut a swath through their ranks. It is only a rumour.
Our uniform is not the greatest give away of who we are. As the other soldiers stand at the ready, awaiting orders from our glorious Queen (she whom we pledge our lives and our loyalty), their eyes never twitching, their stance never faltering, we Beserkers pace and twitch. We aren’t afraid, in fact, quite the opposite.
We can’t wait for the battle to begin.
Being a Beserker means you must have a great deal of discipline. You must be strategic. You must be a leader, a teacher, a friend to your soldiers. They look to you to lead them into battle. They look to you for confidence. If you can show them that you know fear, but do not give into it, then they will follow you to the gates of Hades and beyond. A Berserker must keep their rage in check as they lead their soldiers across the battle field to meet the enemy.
But when the signal is given by our Queen…
Nothing can stand against our rage. I have been told, after a battle, that I have used the head of one enemy that I ripped from his shoulders with my bare hands, to club to death another. I have seen my sisters kill twenty well armed soldiers without breaking a step, a roar of rage escaping her lips. I have done that myself, and seen the enemy shrink back in fear.
For when we enter our rage, it has been said that our eyes glow blood red. Often it has been said that we are unable to see the difference between friend and foe. But we can. We know exactly who is our ally and who is our enemy. For our actions drive the soldiers we command to push forward, using their own skill to add to the carnage we have already started.
We have our own body guards, but they do not protect us in the way one might think. They step in when our rage has been exhausted. For to unleash such wrath can drain one so easily. It is their job to make sure we are not killed. It is their job to ensure we return to the battle and lead our soldiers.
I am a Beserker. And I am proud of that. I will give my life to protect my city and my Queen. My General.
I am Helena of Mystos. I am a Captain of the Second Column. I am a soldier in the ranks of the Furies.