The Black Gate

“Go back,” the dark figure said. “There is nothing here for you.” It waved an ephemeral hand at the door.

“I have traveled too far,” the knight replied. “I will accomplish my goal or die. That is my oath.”

The dark figure sighed and let its hand down to rest at its side. “They all say that,” it said. “Every single time. Now you’ll be expecting to best me in battle, or challenge me to a game of wits, or something like that, I suppose?”

The knight drew his sword. It glowed with a holy light that profaned the abyss in which he stood. “I will destroy you, if need be.”

“Just once,” the figure continued, ignoring the knight’s challenge to pace back and forth before the Black Gate. “I’d like someone to come down and offer a bit of conversation. Maybe share a meal? But no, nobody ever thinks of that. It’s just ‘Oho! You must be defeated!’”

“Um.” The knight hesitated. “Is that really what I need to do? Would that get me past?”

The dark figure shrugged. “No.” He raised his hand again. The knight disintegrated into fine ash.

“But it would be a nice change of pace.”