The Weeping Oak, by Daila Thornsbury
The limbs of a neary tree tapped a steady rhythm against the bedroom window. Another storm was building up on the horizon, but Daila could not shake the feeling that this would not be just another shower. She sat up in her bed and took a quick glance at her husband, Oliver. He was still fast asleep. Not even a hurricane would stir that man from his slumber.
Daila got up, making sure not to shift the covers off her husband. She tip-toed to the wardrobe and retrieved her gear: a well-worn suit of light leather armor and her trusty sword, Stormheart. The blade sparked with electricity as she removed it from its scabbard. The enchantment was still as strong as the day she had found it in the tomb north of Darkvale. Daila replaced the blade and hooked the scabbard into her belt. She took one last glance at Oliver before heading out the door. It was best he did not know about her little nightly vigils. He would just worry himself sick, and Daila could not stand to see him so obsessed over her safety.
The wind whipped Daila's hair around her face as she stepped out the front door. The rain was already starting to pick up; the ground was drenched with moisture, turning the path into mud. Daila tread carefully, planting every step on a stone or where the ground was still firm. At last, she arrived at the edge of the lone oak tree, a place she could be alone with her thoughts, but there was something off about the spot that night. A deep sense of dread immediately overcame her.
"I knew you'd come out to greet me, Daila my dear," a ghastly voice spoke from behind the tree. Daila drew Stormheart, its sparking surface turning the rain drops into mist. A dark figure showed itself and calmly walked towards her. She could not see the man's face, but she knew well who he was. "Come now, is that any way to greet your brother?" The man spoke again. Daila did not say a word. Instead, she let her blade do the talking for her. The figure countered her blows with a blade of his own, a burning sword that left streaks of fire across the air with every swing. "I see you've been practicing," the man said with a grin forming on his lips.
Thunder crackled in the sky as lightning flared down from the heavens, briefly illuminating up the scene. The light from the storm revealed the face of Daila's adversary, the grisly heavily decayed face of her brother. "Dravis," Daila hissed through clenched teeth. She dove in for another attack...