A single, lonely traveler walked hurriedly on a muddy road. The road was surrounded mainly by forestry that stretched almost all the way over the traveler's head, though leaving just a small crack for light to creep in from. The traveler himself seemed to stay close to the center of the road where the light met the ground. This way his feet touched the driest spot of the dirt path. His long, dark hair breezed into his face as the wind rustled past him, shivering the trees around him. The clothes on his back were all this man had on this journey. The only thing that disguised his identity was the worn out leather cloak that hung from his shoulders. The traveler breathed heavily through his nostrils, maintaining the energy inside him. His legs were pained with soreness just from walking at the fastened pace. He had to think what his rush was. What was more confusing to him was what his fate was, and why it was he that was chosen.

Just as a strong gust of wind picked up, the traveler could smell the rain in the air. A storm was approaching. Judging by the skies, plenty of sad, grey clouds cooped up together in a predictable pile. The traveler threw the hood of his cloak over his head and picked up the pace. Getting caught in a bad storm in a place like this was dangerous and the last thing he wanted was to be lost. He couldn't help but think of his poor wife. In the village he lived in, neither of them suspected him to be chosen. This very morning that he left, his heart sank to the lowest part of his soul when he heard those distressful sobs as he turned his back from his doorstep and onto the path of the unknown. He didn't want to leave, but there was no choice. His village could not be plagued, not again.

The traveler saw a light in the distance. The path now was getting foggy and difficult to see, but the light in the distance seemed to keep him on track. He would nearly trip on the stiff roots on the ground just trying to get out of the darkening woods. At last, he was able to get past the creaking trees of the woods. The light that was seen before could easily be identified as a lantern up on a pole. The traveler looked up, and observed the location he had sought since this morning. A tower of utmost mystery and sheer silence that emitted some sort of eerie feel as the traveler approached it. It did not look welcoming, but as the traveler looked over his shoulder and back to the woods, they did not look as welcoming either. To escape the hard pouring rain, the weary traveler rushed to the entrance of the tower, passing gravestones that marked the yard. He gripped and pounded on the rusted handle that hung on an old, withered wooden door, and hoped for an answer.

It took a while, but after a short time of pounding, the door unhinged. The traveler released the handle, and grabbed the sides of his cloak to pull into his chest. The door slowly creaked open, and out from the dark doorway was a tall, robed old man. His eyes were wrinkled, and sagged with exhaustion. A pure black hood lightly rested at the top of his head, and his robes matched the color as well. His voice was shriveled and croaky.

"So you came," the old robed man muttered. The way he spoke held no satisfaction in the traveler's appearance at the tower. Without listening for a response, the old man turned around and beckoned for the traveler to enter. "This way. You've been expected." He began climbing a stone stairwell that ascended into the tower.

Once the old man turned, the traveler followed after with little hesitation. He dragged the wooden door behind him, and just as it closed it made a loud slam that echoed through the tower. The traveler jumped a bit, but the old man made no reaction to it. All the escort seemed to do was continue climbing the ancient stairwell. The traveler stayed close behind the old man, listening to the steps they took echo up and down the stone structure. Weak torches were mounted on the walls as they ascended, and they provided very little illumination as they traced each step.

Finally, the old man stopped at a double wooden door that had two brighter torches mounted on each side of it. The old man stepped to the side of the door and nodded to the traveler. "Go in," he said with his eyes locked on the cold and wet traveler.

The traveler only looked at the robed old man, analyzing his blank stare and lazy eyes that did not seem to blink. Eventually the traveler tore himself away from staring, and entered the room without a word said to the elderly escort. He couldn't find any words to say to him. Not even a thanks for answering him at the entrance.

Upon entering the double wooden doors, the traveler was greeted by yet another poorly lit room. All that seemed to give off any light was the small fireplace that another elderly man sat next to. The man was also old, though slightly younger than the robed individual that the traveler had previously met. He wore robes that matched the man that greeted the traveler, however his hood was down and revealed long silver hair that ran down his spine. The robed man turned his head, and eyed the traveler that stood in the middle of the dark room. He smirked and began to speak in a low and devilishly matured voice, "You've made it. Good." His eyes stayed fixed on the traveler as he stood there, breathing heavily.

The robed man stood up, and walked over to the window cut-away, pressing his hands on the frame. "Strange how on this very day, it rained just so the year before." He chuckled evilly. "The same man standing in the same spot." Again he turned his head to the traveler who still said not a word. His smile faded, and his expression exposed his disappointment. "Take a seat."

The traveler didn't move for a few seconds, but then he forced himself to sit in the only chair that rested by the fireplace. As he sat, the chair felt cold. Even as the robed had been sitting in it and as it sat closely to the fireplace, the chair felt as though it had been sitting outside in the cold. The traveler placed his hands on the arm rests of the chair, but he remained tense and nervous as he exhaled deeply. He could hear the steps of the robed man, but with his back turned he couldn't see anything he was doing. He tried to relax, but there was something that unnerved him about the tower and the robed individuals. Something in his stomach felt that this was no safe place.

A stone mantle sat idly at the side of the room, having no light to see what rested on it. The robed man paced his way over to it, and searched it as he spoke, "The journey must have been long with these woods. They say that the woods drive men insane, and seize their souls." He traced his hands on the mantle until he found his item, and lifted it silently in his right hand.

"The rain was my only problem," the traveler spoke at last, breaking his silent spree. Though it was a mumble, the room was so quiet that possibly even whispering could echo through the walls. The palms of the traveler tightened on the arm rests, sensing a chilling feel of evil come over the room. He heard the steps of the robed man get closer and closer. Sweat beaded on his forehead, and he swallowed fearfully.

"Like the last, the storm clears the path," the voice seemed to raise, and suddenly the traveler felt a hand on his shoulder. The hand forcefully pulled the traveler back, throwing the chair down to the floor.

Goat man

As the head of the traveler made contact with the floor, his sight met with two beaming eyes that bore severely into his mind. The eyes were those of the robed man, who now had the face of a goat. His entire head completely transformed into a brown, long-haired goatman. The eyes glowed, and his horns curved deviously above his head. The traveler questioned if it were a mask, though it couldn't possibly be. He could feel the very essence of darkness as the robed goatman glared into his worn soul.

The goatman lifted his arm, and in his hand was a ceremonial dagger that was sharpened and prepared to pierce his flesh. The traveler couldn't move, and overall he didn't want to move. His mind felt that this was an experience of acceptance, and his eyes shut as though his fate was decided.

Later, the eyes of the traveler peeked open. He panicked, and felt his body for gashes and stab wounds. He ran his fingers over his chest and found a knife wound that pierced directly into his heart. He looked at the hole, and observed what looked like black blood that profusely leaked from the opening. He ran his hand over his head in shock. As he felt his head, his hair felt matted and dry. His finger tips met with something that felt solid and long. He felt up the solid objects, and identified the texture. They felt like horns. The traveler sat up, scanning the room he was in. It was a cell type of area, and instantly he knew that he was in the basement of the tower. He heard a sound from the cell door that sounded like a jaw cracking. When the traveler turned his head, he saw the same robed man with his terrible goat face. Behind him were more disciples that wore the pitch black robes. They all shared the same goatman expression, and their eyes all had the beaming glow that pierced the darkness of the chamber. The leading robed goat laughed maniacally, and spoke the words that would both scar and relieve the traveler forever.

"Welcome, brother."