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Night of Gluttony

By Brian Robertson


On a cold, gray spring morning, a young knight walks through their starving small town, plagued with death from the winter seasons, sensing that today might be the day they find a meal for the first time in a week. The knight, equipped with a beautiful kite shield made of silver and a broadsword with a pale blue hue, walks to the castle gate, noticing a rat feasting on the corpses of the few who couldn't survive the winter. The rat, the size of a boulder, spots the knight and begins to run away; the knight dashes towards the rat and lops its head off in one strike. Seeing meat for the first time in months, the knight debates whether it is worth eating the rat. Upon killing the rat, some of the surviving villagers immediately try to get whatever meat scraps were on the rat's head. Souring their appetite, the knight throws the rest of the rat's body at the villagers and leaves through the town gate. They wander into the local forest following the morning sun, drifting through the tall, dark oak trees and luscious green pine brush, and the knight comes across a large winding river. On the other side lies a pure white boar. The knight slowly wades through the river, but as they pass the middle of the river, they slip and twist their ankle on the rocky river floor. Upon hearing the knight fall into the river, the boar begins to run up and down the beach, ready to attack the knight. They pick themselves up after swimming onto the rocky shore and, after chugging a small vial of elixir, stand ready to strike at the boar. The knight bashes the boar's head in with their shield and, after making a quick heel turn, slits open the boar's neck turning crystal blue water into a deep crimson red. Tired, the knight sits near a small grove of trees on the embankment, makes a small campfire, and a spit to cook the boar on.

Never once does the knight remove their helmet to eat, just taking small bites of food through a small gap under their helmet. The boar reminds the knight of meals and memories of the past. The smokey and savory flavor of the meat brings back their thoughts of holidays and family. The comforting flavor increases their appetite, leading them to eat the boar's remains, even down to the bone marrow. Seeing that they've rested enough, the knight puts out the fire and begins to travel deeper into the forest after packing a few of the boar's leftover roasted bones. After what seemed hours of walking through the forest, the knight comes across a cave entrance. The cave seemed to glow with a faint golden-yellow light and called the knight's sense of adventure. As the knight carefully crept into the cave, they began to notice the light radiating from some sort of vine and berry. The vines snake across the cave, carrying golden nectar into all the fruits as if the cave were one big orchard. The knight approaches one of these fruits and grabs hold of it. The fruit has the shape of a pear, the feel of jelly, and radiates a light comparable to a rising sun. Breaking one open, its contents spilled out from thin rind and poured like a thick nectar over the knight's hands and cave floor, losing its light. As they lick some of the fruit juice off their finger, the knight immediately notices the citrus flavor of the fruit. The sour flavor sharpens their mind to a point and increases their reaction to everything around them. The sounds of water, the chilled damp winds, even the slightest movement of cave bugs. Without hesitation, they begin to eat the fruit whole and grab one after the other, devouring entire sections of the cave. Addicted to the flavor and their body's reaction to the fruit, they continue to eat until they physically can no longer eat it. After realizing they can eat nothing else, the knight packs some fruit carefully to avoid breaking them and travels further down the cave.

The knight reaches a chasm with no end in sight, a deep abyss with a wall covered with deeply burnt orange crystals. Like tainted gold, the crystals looked ever enchanting but extremely dangerous, with fractals jutting out of every crystal surface. As the knight walks closer to the edge of the abyss, they begin to see rusted weapons sticking out of the wall, all impaled at least halfway in. They're all covered with a similar orange-colored rust, and seemingly none are broken. Looking up and holding their hand out, the knight notices how the rust falls in specks of dust smaller than snowflakes. The rust particles shine with luster, brighter than any night sky. Tasting their dusted finger, the fine powder sweeter than honey momentarily distracts the knight, and they trip over and fall toward the abyss. Narrowly grabbing a nearby sword, they pull themselves back onto the abyss edge. After trying to remove the sword from the abyss wall, the knight slips on the foot they hurt earlier and falls into one of the spikes, both tumbling down to a nearby ledge. Picking themselves up again, they notice the small crystal that's pierced their thumb, and licking it, they recognize the sweetness of the crystal. The crystal seemed to be made out of pure sugar, just like the dust, and sweeter than any nectar or ambrosia the gods would even have. Attempting to eat the larger shards of the spike the knight fell on, the crystal tears and cuts the knight's flesh as they ate. But each mouthful of crystal somehow heals the knight's body and thus increases his appetite for the crystal. He stays at the ledge for what could have been days, eating more and more of the sweet and sharp crystal. Devouring whole columns of crystal and even licking the crystal rust off some of the weapons, he eventually gets tired of the singular flavor and moves further down the abyssal wall. Scaling down the wall, the knight feels a warm breeze come up from below, and a faint red glow from the abyss comes into view. As they descend, the light grows brighter and brighter; however, there seems to be a void in the middle of this new red surface. The bottom of the abyss turned out to be a lake full of boiling red liquid. It bubbled like a thick, viscous red pasta sauce.

As the knight reaches the lake's surface, they step into the liquid to find it very shallow on the edge but grows in depth fairly quickly in the lake's center. As they dip their hand into the lake, the knight notices that the boiling liquid is actually blood, from what they didn't know. Still, it was darker than human blood, and the thought of this much blood terrified the knight of where they found themselves. Just under the lake's surface, the knight could feel shattered weapons, torn and mangled pieces of armor, and the scales of a large beast. Just as they stepped back to get out of the lake and retreat, a serpent that could only be described as dimensionless with skin as dark as the night sky rose up from the center of the lake. The serpent is thrashing around wildly, tearing through the terrain under the lake, with its mouth locked deep around its own tail. Howling in pain, the serpent's wounds seemed to heal faster than it could eat itself. Noticing the knight inside its domain, it made one last "crunch" as it bit through its tail and swallowed it. Already, the tail started to regrow, and it lunged straight towards them, jaw agape. Steeling their resolve, the knight lifts their shield, pushing it forward with all their strength, ready to clash with the titan. They drew their sword behind them and readied to strike right at the serpent's neck. Slamming their head into the shield at an off angle, the knight gets flung back a dozen or so yards and lands deep within the boiling blood lake. Drinking some of the boiling blood from the lake somehow began to make their wounds heal, but it made them start to feel hungry at the same time. Eating the last of the fruit from the cave entrance that they had stored, the knight began to sprint at full speed around the serpent along the jet-black wall of the abyss, sending multiple magically enchanted swings at the serpent. A blade of fire singes the serpent's face, A bolt of purple-hued lightning pierces the serpent's left eye, and a magical scythe made from blue starlight breaks off a chunk of the serpent's scales off the back of its neck. Letting off a powerful screech, the serpent swings the remainder of its tail at the knight, sending him flying into the wall and breaking most of the bones in their body. Falling once again into the boiling blood, they drink again, but this time in a much larger amount. Fueled by immense hunger, they pick themselves up once more and eat the remaining marrow in bones that they had packed for later. Losing both sword and shield, the knight panics and picks up a broken shortsword from under the lake's surface. Feeling as ready as they could, the knight attempts to stab the serpent in the neck, but the blood-covered sword slips out of their hand, and the serpent strikes past the knight, barely missing them. Panicking again after losing their weapon, the knight picks up the large scale of the serpent's neck and jams it right into the serpent's right eye. With the serpent blind, it began to thrash around without control, destroying the walls around the lake. With rocks and boulders and some of the crystals falling from above, the knight sprints to their sword and shield and rearms themself. Climbing up what seemed to be the only safe passage up not very far, the knight jumps off the wall of the abyss and stabs the serpent right through the head. Channeling a fire enchantment through their sword, the knight sends wave after wave of bright blue flames throughout the serpent, cooking the beast from the inside out, thus killing the serpent. Feeling the adrenaline leaving their body, the knight sits down along the wall to rest. Somewhat intraled by the color of the blood, they drag their finger across the blade and taste the blood. When the knight does this, only now do they recognize that it was the blood that healed them during their fight. It has the most perfect flavor out of everything they've ever found. It was savory yet sour, salty yet sweet, making the knight insatiably hungry. Realizing they no longer had any food after eating during the fight, the knight carves a piece of the serpent's meat off the carcass. The serpent's flesh staves off the knight's hunger for a brief moment but quickly returns tenfold. As the knight continues to eat more and more, he multiplies in size too much to be natural. But eating more neither sated his hunger but increased his pain. The knight eats and eats, but even as the serpent's remains disappear, the knight can't be satisfied. With nothing remaining, the knight wallows in hunger and determined to eat once more, the knight rips off part of his arm.


And takes a bite.


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