Feature Writer: Joe Barnosky /
Feature Title:  Roses Red /
Story Codes: Erotic Horror /
Synopsis: An unspeakable evil terrorizes Spain’s countryside /
Author’s Note: Another tale in my CATU/Black List universe. This time taking you to a time in history somewhere in the 1400s Spain. A random tale of a order of Knights trying to protect their homeland from an evil.


Roses Red

A baby cries out in the night. Blood covers her as she is handed to her mother for the first time. Upon reaching her mother’s comforting arms, she stops crying.

“There now my beautiful child,” the mother says in a soothing manner.

“Isabel, we must be quick,” the priest that performed the birth warns.

“Please Father, just a few more minutes,” Isabel begs.

“Zephlanith will have already sensed the girl’s birthing. We must removed her from her or risk him taking her,” the priest replies.

“At least let me name her, before you take her,” Isabel pleads as tears stream down her face.

“Very well, but you must hurry.”

“Roselyn. You my beautiful child will be Roselyn.” She musters a smile as she takes one last look at her child.

The priest scoops the child into his arms. The baby, Roselyn, begins to wail, ignoring the cooing the priest offers. The priest edges his way along the wall, feeling with his hand until he finally finds what he is looking for.

Grabbing a hold of a stone, he pulls downward. The sound of sliding stone is heard, but only briefly. A passageway is revealed before the priest and the baby. Quickly, he enters with the crying child, leaving Isabel alone and weeping for her child.

The door closes quietly behind the pair as they proceed down the long shaft. Isabel lay in the bed, shivering and sobbing. A shadow suddenly falls over her, cast from the little sunlight that manages to seep through the only window in the room. “It’s too late Zephlanith,” she whimpers.

It is a shame to lose one so fare. You should have never betrayed me.

“You are a monster!” she spats.

That I may be. Now where is the girl?

Isabel is frightened to the core, but she somehow manages to summon the courage to face the demon. “She is far removed from you, that is all you will get from me!”

You may be unwilling to reveal to me the child, but I will find her.

Isabel sits up in the bed and spits at the demon. “She will be the one to kill you as you will kill me!”

Zephlanith reaches down and grabs her throat. Too bad you won’t see how wrong you will be. With his other hand, he pulls out both her eyes. Isabel screams from the pain as blood seeps out of her sockets. You’ll at least live in misery; death is too easy of a way out for you. Zephlanith misted away leaving Isabel to sob in her darkness.


I spent most of my life under the protection of Queen Mireia. The people of Spain were told I was her daughter, but I knew the truth since I was five years old. That was all I knew. I was told my mother died when I was born and that was all I was told. When I was twelve, I got curious and snuck into Father Mortigan’s study.

I was amazed at the amount of books he had. Of course Queen Mireia had an extensive library, but her books were nowhere near as interesting has Father Mortigan’s.

I was in his study for hours when he walked in and caught me. I could have sworn it was only a few minutes, but time must have flown by as I was captivated by the books.

Father Mortigan was a little angry with me because I invaded his study. His anger was quickly forgotten when I began asking him all kinds of questions.

That day a whole other world was opened up to me. Father Mortigan told me of the demons that lived in our world. Queen Mireia also belonged to this group and had formed Roses Red to fight against the demons that plagued the land.

For many years peace wasn’t known in the land. Zephlanith, an Ifrit, was responsible for the destruction upon the citizens of the land. Of course the people of the land weren’t aware he was a demon, but rather a Necromancer — a wizard with an undead legion at his disposal.

According to Father Mortigan, I was to become the leader of Roses Red. A prophecy surrounded the land saying a child born with the tattoo of a rose would rise up and kill The Great Evil. Strangely enough, I had a tattoo of a rose and I could only assume this Great Evil was Zephlanith.

Father Mortigan told me he waited for this day to come. I was told the matter was something I had to become aware of on my own.

Why that is, I don’t know. I never asked. I just accepted it.

From that point on, my life changed. I was no longer a little girl in a world of innocence and play. I was thrown into a world a—the real world, full of evil, death and corruption.

My training began the following day. Over the next few years, my head was crammed with knowledge about the demons and their world. Strategy and swordsmanship was my daily routine. After many bumps and bruises and loss of sweat and blood I became the best warrior in all the country. My name echoed on the tongues of friend and foe throughout land.

My blade was swift and fierce.

Yet against the hordes of Zephlanith, ours efforts were useless. No matter what path we took, no matter the strategy, we were only able to hold the horde at bay.

My life was filled with endless battles and monotonous campaigns for many years. Just when I thought the tide would never turn, my life took an unexpected turn.


I stand atop the walls that supported the massive gates to our city. I am entranced by the beauty of the land as my gaze sweeps across the horizon. In that moment I wish I was a little girl again. I miss what remained of my childhood. Before that day that I went into Father Mortigan’s study.

My reverie is broken not long after it begins.

“Roselyn Ortega! M’Lady Roselyn!”

A shout erupts from the road outside the gates. A man dressed in rags staggers toward the city. Behind him in pursuit are wolves or what remains of the once living animals.

“Archers to the wall!” I shout.

The archers wouldn’t do much to stop the undead creatures, but it would slow the pursuit. I draw my sword and leap over the wall. The thirty foot drop would kill most people, but I have a gift; a gift that each member of Roses Red also has.

I land softly. As soon as my feet touch I am running toward the man. I can see the dread and fear on his face. What color he may have once been has drained from his face. I was half way to him as I heard the gates behind me open and the swoosh of arrows overhead.

I can hear the howls and grunts of the undead wolves now. The sound is so clear even under my labored breathing that I would almost swear they were right next to me. The arrows seem to not have any effect on them; most just pass through the rotting flesh to penetrate in the ground beneath.

I reached the man moments later. A look of relief floods his face before he collapses in my arms, unconscious. With my sword in hand I take up a stance preparing for the pack to reach me. There is no possible way for me to flee with the man and us both make it back to the safety of the city.

I don’t have to worry though. Tadeo, a large man over six feet in height and the strongest of Roses Red pulls the man from my arms. I look up at him, taking my gaze off the impending battle and give him a slight nod.

“Save some for my return,” he says in a gruff voice.

A smile creases his face in response to my smile. Tadeo has always managed to make me smile even when my mood wouldn’t allow humor. With another nod from me, he turns and runs back toward the city.

I glance back briefly to see the rest of my knights forming up behind me. I throw a smile up then turn my attention back to the wolves. My smile is replaced by fierceness for battle.

My fellow knights draw their weapons and prepare themselves as the pack descends upon us. The first wolf falls in half as I easily cut through its body.

Gaspar, a man who favors the spear, impales three wolves in rapid succession then tosses the creatures aside readying himself for another victim.

Roses Red was known for its bravery and fierceness in battle and this day we proved ourselves once more. Like every battle we faced with the undead, this one lasts until the final creature falls.

Unfortunately, Tadeo makes it back only after the battle is finished.

“Hey!” he yells. “You were supposed to save some for me.”

“Sorry Tadeo,” I say with a smirk, “you are just too slow.”

The rest of the knights burst out with laughter. Tadeo stands there with frown before finally joining in the laughter.


Father Mortigan, who is now an old and wise man, treated the stranger. From his appearance, ragged clothing and cover with filth, he looks like a beggar. It isn’t until the next day when he regains consciousness are we able to find out who he is. He is young with a strong face and body. His hair is fair and cropped short, not at all bad looking of a man.

“Good, you’re awake,” I say to the man with a friendly smile.

Normally I would treat any stranger as hostile until I found the truth about them out. Considering a pack of undead wolves were chasing him, it is safe to assume he is on our side. I still keep my guard up, just in case it is all a ploy.

“Thank you for saving me,” the man says groggily.

“Only doing my job,” I says, brushing off the thanks. I got that a lot and it was true—I was just doing my job. “You are safe now,” I add, hoping to give the man some sort of comfort.

“We’re not safe M’Lady. Zephlanith has wiped out my entire town as well as many of the surrounding towns.”

He nearly springs out of the bed. I have to rush to his side and physically hold him down. “It’s okay, just relax,” I says soothingly.

“But we’re not safe!” he yells, still trying to spring from the bed.

The door swings open with such a force that I nearly believed a wind had forced its way into the castle.

“Is everything alright Roselyn?” Tadeo asks as he bursts into the room followed by Gaspar.

When I don’t answer due to struggling to hold the man down, both the men rush to the bed and grab a hold of the stranger.

“Gaspar. Go get Father Mortigan, quickly.”

“We’re not safe! We’re not safe!” the stranger continues to scream.

It only takes a few moments for Gaspar to return with Father Mortigan. Father Mortigan rushes to the man’s side with a special jar of salve in his hands. Wasting no time, he rubs the salve on the stranger’s forehead and almost instantaneously the man begins to calm. “It’s alright now son,” Father Mortigan says.

The stranger’s eyes glaze over and an almost peaceful state comes over his body. All the muscles relax as he settles back into the bed.

I don’t know what the salve was made from and I am not really sure I want to know, so I don’t ask Father Mortigan about it. I think my fellow knights are thinking along the same line, but like me, none of the others ask.

“Can you tell me who you are?” Father Mortigan asks.

“My name is Armando,” he says without any emotion.

“Tell us your story Armando.”

“My town Cadiz was attacked by Zephlanith and his horde of undead. The other towns surrounding us were the first to fall. Those that were able to escape fled to Cadiz. We formed up an army a fought his undead for three days. Then on the fourth day we began to slowly be killed off. It took his army only two more days to wipe us out. A few of us left decided to retreat to warn others. I don’t know if any others are alive. We were separated a day later when we were ambushed. It’s as if Zephlanith knew every move we made.”

“Thank you Armando. You may sleep now.”

And just like that Armando is sound asleep. It is eerie to watch the whole conversation take place. I doubt the man could tell the story and remain calm the entire time without the salve.

“If this man is true then we need to prepare,” I say looking at Father Mortigan.

“Yes, I feel the time has come to fulfill the prophecy. Prepare the city. Send scouts to every town within our range of protection and send scouts to Cadiz to verify Armando’s story.”


We spent the next few days preparing the surrounding towns to move to our city. Being the most fortified, it was only logical to make a stand here instead of stretching ourselves thin protecting multiple cities. Of course this brought Zephlanith’s force to one place, but for Roses Red this wouldn’t be a problem.

During this time I focused on what strategy we would need to take, but I knew I didn’t have the full story. Without it, I couldn’t lead Roses Red into battle and expect to come out a winner.

It was time for answers.

“I need the truth, now Father Mortigan,” I say as I kick the door open to his study. The study I had not entered since that fateful day that changed my life.

“The truth may not be the truth you want to hear,” he replies calmly.

His riddles no matter how many times I hear them frustrate me. “Damn it Father. And damn your riddles. I want the truth.” I grit my teeth and clench my fists in frustration.

“You know that last time you were in this very room, you were just a young girl?” he asks, arching his eyebrow.

“Stop stalling Mortigan,” I say sternly.

The only time I didn’t use Father when calling him by his name was in times like these.

“Alright, but only if you are sure you can handle the truth.” He looks me square in the eye when he says that. Beneath the façade of humor and riddles, this is something he takes very serious.

I take a seat in Father Mortigan’s reading chair. I don’t know if it annoys him, but frankly I’m not worried about that.

“What I am going to tell you may shock you into disbelief.”

“I’m a big girl now Father. Whatever you tell me I can handle it,” I say with a hint of sarcasm.

Father Mortigan snorts, but doesn’t say anything about it. “Many years ago when you were born, you were placed in my charge. Your mother Isabel wasn’t able to care for you.”

“What happened to my mother?” I ask, interrupting him.

To finally hear my mother’s name is exciting to me. I know nothing about her and every attempt I take to learn about her only leads me to dead ends.

“Patience child. Patience has never been a strong trait in you. Now where was I? Oh yes. No matter where your mother went, Zephlanith would be able to find her. Through her, he could find you. So I took you into my care and Queen Mireia agreed to raise you as if you were her child.”

“What would he want with me?” I ask.

“Because, Zephlanith is your father.”

I am beyond shock. In fact I don’t think I say anything for several minutes. I just sit there staring at him as I try to wrap my mind around what he has just told me. When I finally find the words to speak they sting me more than they do him. “You’re a liar!” I shout.

“I assure you child, I am telling you the truth,” he says sympathetically.

My anger ripples through me. I know deep inside he tells the truth, but I don’t want to accept it.

“How is this possible?” I cry.

Yes I am tuff, but something like this is enough to break you down. I feel betrayed by Queen Mireia, by Father Mortigan and especially by my mother.

“Your mother was not at fault my child,” he says, as if reading my mind. With Father Mortigan there is really no telling. “Zephlanith wanted a half human child because many of the rules that surround the demon world don’t exist for them. He chose your mother, mostly for her strong inner strength and desire for life. He wanted those traits of her and himself combined into a single being. That being you,” he says, pointing at me.

“Why hasn’t he tried to seek me out? Why take me from my mother?” I am filled with questions and I know he has an answer for everyone one of them. Yet, I don’t really wish to hear any of them.

“Because even with the link of you being his daughter, he cannot sense you unless he is close. It’s through Isabel that he has a link with.”

“What happened to my mother?” Once again it is a question I thought I am prepared for.

“Zephlanith took her eyes and left her to live in blindness and agony at the loss of you. Your mother still lives because of you.”

I am taken aback by the fact she is alive and I want to see her so bad it makes me hurt inside. “Can I see her?” I ask with false hope.

“The treat of Zephlanith looms to close. He has waited all these years for you to be reunited with her. Once you come in contact with her, he can sense you. The only thing that protects you now is the walls of this city. An ancient ward set up long ago protects you now. Protect all that live here. I fear this invasion, however, will be enough to dispel that ward. Once it does it will be up to you and your knights to protect the people and finish off this threat forever.”

“Once this is over, I will see my mother,” I say firmly. I am tired of this charade and it is about damn time things went my way. I leave the room and silently vow to never enter the study or Father Mortigan’s presence ever again.


The next few days roll by uneventful. The evacuations of the surrounding towns are complete and our city is as fortified as we can make it.

If not for the scouts not returning by now, we would have given up waiting for an attack. The stranger that entered the city only days earlier had recovered. Against our suggestions for him to rest, he refuses and insists he help in the upcoming battle.

What could I say? I have a feeling this battle is going to be hell for all of us and we need every person we can get to fight.

The day is nearly gone when the first sign of Zephlanith’s army makes its show. Trailing in front of the undead legion is a single man. Once the man is within better distance, I recognize him.

Of the four scouts sent out, it appears he is the only remaining one. He looks to be worn out—his clothes torn and almost completely missing in various spots.

The legion stops their march at just a thousand feet from our gates, but the lone scout continues forward. His pace is slow and I half expected him to collapse at any minute, but he never does.

Not wanting to take a chance Zephlanith has a surprise in store, I call for Tadeo and Gaspar to follow me. We race out the city gates and toward the man.

As we near him, I can see the man has lifelessness set in his eyes. It is as if his body remains tied to the earth but his soul is no longer here.

The scout stops in place as we reach him. His lifeless eyes look up at us; more specifically at me. “Zephlanith demands you surrender your city and yourself to him,” he says with a voice otherworldly.

I personally didn’t know that man, but I am certain it isn’t his voice. Tadeo and Gaspar’s reactions only confirm my suspicions. Deep down it makes my skin crawl, but I am not willing to let anyone else know that.

“And what if we refuse?” I ask with as much defiance as I can muster.

“Then he will consume every soul in the city and you will ultimately serve him,” he says pointing at me.

Before any of us can say anything in response, the man convulses and arches back. He opens his mouth and releases the most horrific screech I have ever heard. Then in a flash, the screech ends and the man falls into a crumpled heap.

“You will bow to Zephlanith or you will die,” the scout says in a final gurgle.

“This isn’t going to end well,” Gaspar mumbles.

“It’s what we signed up for,” I say grimly. “Now let’s get ready to protect these people.”

I give one final look at the undead legion and turn back to the city. It is going to be a long battle and one I expected to not end well.

Since we are well fortified, we wait for Zephlanith and his legion to attack. That attack comes early the next morning.

The legion rolls in in waves; one group after another. The archers fire upon the undead, but it seems to not have much of an effect on them. Ladders are thrown up against the wall, helping the undead to filter their way over the walls. The archers fall under the attack and are of no use against the invaders.

Seeing the men fight and fall in vain, I order Roses Red to the front. We battle the undead, saving as many of the archers that we can. Knocking the ladders down seem like a useless task. For every one that falls, another two are put up in their place.

I made a hard decision at that moment.

“We go over the wall!” I yell.

My fellow knights, without any objections, follow my orders and take to the ladders themselves. If we can’t keep the horde off the wall from the top, we will do so from the bottom.

The armed citizens follow us, seeing that with the mass of the horde against us, the battle will not rule in our favor. We gain ground against the legion and hold it. Yet, every time a citizen or knight falls, Zephlanith uses his magical power to bring their lifeless corpses back to life.

It is now midday and even I am beginning to tire. The sun pours its heat onto the battle field, causing the rotting flesh to overwhelm us with its stench. Sweat pours down my face, washing away blood, guts and brains.

Throughout the battle I hope to find Zephlanith himself. Never once have I spotted him over the endless ocean of undead until I see Gaspar on the ridge to my left. He is locked in battle with Zephlanith, their swords crossed, both at an impasse.

I prepare myself and start to run in their direction. I hope Gaspar can hold out until I reach them. As I run, I cut down effortlessly any undead that stand in my path.

I reach the bottom of the ridge nearly and am there when I am tackled from behind. I feel claws cut deep into my back. I cry out in agony, feeling blood pour down my legs. Hot breath rolls onto the back of my neck and all I can focus on is reaching my sword. Claws dig into my shoulder, sending waves of pain through my body.

I can feel the creature rearing back, ready to bite when suddenly the weight of it is pulled off of me. I roll onto my back to see Tadeo standing over me. The undead wolf struggles in his hand. Growling and snapping at him.

“You look like you need some help,” he says with a chuckle.

I throw him a smirk as he reaches with his free hand and rips the beast’s head off. He throws the wolf aside then reaches down to help me up. As soon as I get my feet, I fall under surprise. Tadeo sees the expression on my face, it saying all the words he needs to hear.

He quickly turns, catching two more undead wolves as they leap at him. All three go to the ground rolling. “Go! Help Gaspar!” he yells.

My mission is Zephlanith. Tadeo can handle himself, but it is Gaspar we both are worried for. I take the hill to the top of the ridge as fast as my legs will take me. When I reach the top I am relieved to see Gaspar is still holding his own.

Gaspar sees me first, but I can assume Zephlanith senses me long before now. He throws me a wink and presses harder against the demon. At that moment, I can tell Zephlanith is holding back. With lightning speed, the demon weaves his sword, slipping past Gaspar’s defenses and into his stomach.

He pulls the sword from Gaspar, letting the man drop to the ground and slowly turns to me. My beautiful daughter Roselyn, here to kill me.

“Your reign of terror in my land will end here today!” I yell. I feel strangely defiant at that moment.

Doubtful. Even as powerful as you are, you have yet to unlock your full potential. You don’t stand a chance of defeating me.

“I will take you to hell with me if need be!”

I draw my sword and attack. I spent my entire life practicing my sword fighting, but nothing could prepare me for the challenge I face now before me. Each time our swords hit my arms feel like rubber. His strength is so great and soon dread begins swelling inside of me.

You have no chance to win child. Surrender to me and I can help you unlock you power. Together we can rule over these worthless humans.

“Never!” I grunt.

My sword is locked with his as I strain to hold back the force of his blade. My attention is so focused on holding him at bay, I never see the attack to my legs.

I fall hard, slamming my head on a rock. Blackness surrounds me briefly; my sword falls away from my grasp. When my head clears and my vision returns, Zephlanith stands over me.

I feel a slight prick against my neck. I dare not move my neck in fear of his sword piercing even deeper into my throat. This is your last chance. Do not dare think I will not kill my own daughter for her defiance!

“You’ve waited for too long for this day Zephlanith!”

Father Mortigan stands there, sword in hand. He stands there with defiance but unmoving. I never knew him to be anything of a fighter, only a scholar.

The blade moves away from my throat as Zephlanith turns his back on me to face Mortigan. Quickly, I take the distraction to look for my sword, but to no avail I don’t see it.

You shouldn’t have interfered Mortigan. From the beginning you have been a thorn in my side. Nothing you do today can delay the inevitable.

“Today is the day your tyranny ends with the ending of your life,” he says calmly.

He lifts the sword and charges. Just from the way he moves I know his plan isn’t to survive the attack. As Zephlanith’s sword comes up, Mortigan releases his grip on his sword, letting it sail through the air toward me.

I don’t know if Zephlanith caught on to the plan or not, but his strike was already committed. Father Mortigan’s head rolls off his shoulders as I catch the sword. Zephlanith lets his momentum carry him full spin to face me. My sword is already in motion, piercing deep into his chest as he faces me. Shock overshadows his face at the unexpected blow.

A smile forms on my face as I take pride in his defeat. That pride ultimately becomes my undoing. With his last effort, his sword perforates me. Seems I’ll be taking you to hell with me.

Before my death I shed one final tear, not for me but for Father Mortigan. In that final moment I regret the vow I made.

I close my eyes, never to open them again.

The undead legion losing the power held over them by Zephlanith fades with his death. Like a crumbling tower, the undead fall leaving the field a mass of bones and flesh.

Tadeo finds his way to the ridge soon after the battle ends. He carries our bodies back to the city below. The fallen members of Roses Red are declared heroes and we are buried in a special tomb built for Roses Red long ago.

Roses Red continued protecting the queen and country for many long years since the battle with Zephlanith until eventually fading into history along with the battle.


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