Their presence a warning as a dark cloud curls behind them. Wings spread to embrace the land in fear. They move in unison. A journey so long there has been no beginning and will be no end. Their curse commands and they yield to it like an oath. They ride heavy, from war of the deep, the lords they slay, to new lands budding, now to plunder. They ride heavy. Their beasts heed to every word, every sound like an extension of themselves, a shared seed of sufferance as they sound thunder across the open plains. Each day grows dark, there will be no light to guide them on their way. But still they ride. Through every town, village and borough. No one is safe and none shall be spared.
They glide into the mouth of the forbidden forest, the throat of the very devil himself, darkness so thick it seeps through every pore of their cold skin. But still they ride. A faint scent of smoke slivers on the air only to choke it the deeper the move. The distant glow of a fire and instantly their senses are ignited. Black eyes widen at the promise of a kill, the spirit of their cause. Heavy hooves roar as their pace quickens, the light from the fire flickering through the remaining trunks of the trees.
The massive fire roars at the centre of the clearing, curling and licking as it touches the sky. Where three mountains meet on the edge of the field and hordes of the damned sway as they wait. Bursting through, the riders breach the forests edge and observe the stage of their next stand. The taste of blood teases them and their sinister stares are betrayed by crooked smiles. Their destiny turns, a nemesis of numbers screaming to greet them. “This will not be quick,” they think, while they savour the kill. Smoke swirls from the flared nostrils of the beasts as five riders raise their arms in fury of the charge.
Slow and thunderous, they strike in a bone crushing blow. Solid and deliberate. Their horses rear as they bring down the hammer and slash with the chipped blade of the axe. The sick drawl of vocals grown and bodies heave at their every command, vibrations tearing through each mortal soul. The brutal fire burns, higher and higher, with every smashing chord. Five riders raging, flailing arms beating down on the drum of war. Sweat leaps from steel strings as tension is released, driving its point through the heart of each waiting target. Skulls crush under leather boots and silhouettes rise across the face of the mountains seeming them to move and sway with every blow.
On and on it rages, all the while the spirit of the serpent looks on and smiles. Cradled in his nest afar, he feeds from the darkness of death and war. The tyranny of five riders raging, riding heavy, until every soul is struck down, ill-prepared to meet their doom.