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The Dark Woman II
However, the demon that was his wife was not prepared to give in. She began using her dark powers to entrance him whenever he lay down to sleep. That way, she managed to secretly drink his blood to sap away his strength. Having fallen out of the true gods' favour because of his sins and excesses, he had grown vulnerable to the darkness, and he could not free himself of the evil that had befallen him. With every day that final battle grew nearer and nearer the king grew weaker and weaker. And yet not all was lost. The king was still in his prime and his strong will, which was without equal among mortals, kept him going. For a while it looked as if he might be able to turn the tide and to lead his armies to victory even in his weakened state. It was then the accursed thing that posed as his loving wife made a fatal mistake. Having become desperate or perhaps simply overwhelmed by greed, she took too much of her husband's life force, revealing her dark nature at last. As the spell that lain upon him for so many years broke and the king awoke from his dark slumber, he surprised the thing he had thought to be his loving wife feeding on his very blood. In a heartbeat the veil of years of deception was torn, and the once-proud king saw the terror that had befallen him for what it was. His despair knew no bounds. Blinded by feelings of rage and guilt, he slew the accursed creature that was neither demon nor man with a single mighty stroke. When he saw the unholy creature whom he had loved so desperately lying in her blood he sunk unhappily to the floor. He wept with sorrow and despair, while outside the drums were beaten and the trumpets of war were sounded. The generals came and tried to call him to battle, but he would not move. Tortured by feelings of remorse and guilt and hate and despair, his mind was close to madness for a long time. Eventually, an idea took hold of his mind that defied sanity. If his strength had been taken from him by stealing his blood, could he not get it back by drinking his accursed wife's blood? And laughing madly, he turned to drinking the dark blood that had poured from the shattered beast. Alas! His hope was in vain. The tainted blood weakened his body instead of making him stronger. Before he knew it, he had passed out. However, when he awoke, he seemed to be strangely invigorated. Feeling ten times stronger than he had ever felt in his life, he tried to get up, only to find that he was surrounded by complete darkness. The air was stale and cold, and not a sound was to be heard. Mustering up all his strength, he pushed against the low ceiling of his stony prison and managed to lift the lid. When his eyes had accustomed to the twilight he realised that he lay in a dusty mausoleum. Stunned and bewildered, the king rose. Everything around him was marked by time and decay.