The prompt from October 14 was: Write about an ink stain, real or imagined. Deb and Sabrina also wrote.
"There is no turning back," the shadow whispered.
"I understand," the man said.
"Good. You know the sign?"
The man nodded. He had studied for four-and-a-half years, searching in the darkest rooms and glens of the kingdom to unravel the marks of the covenant. He would not turn back now.
He took the black pen and signed the symbols of the everlasting bind: the square of no end, the cross of everlasting death, and the circle of the eye. He set the pen down and studied his writing. Then he pressed his finger into the center of the mark, binding himself for all eternity. When he pulled away, bits of his fingerprint remained behind.
His finger was black from touching the ink. He took out his handkerchief and wiped at his finger. But the ink didn't come off. Instead, it slowly spread down his finger, turning the entire finger black. He rubbed harder. "What's going--" He glanced up but the shadow was no longer full of presence. It was just another empty, black shadow. The sign of the covenant was gone as well.
His hand was now completely black. The ink crawled up his wrist and arm. Another spot appeared on his other hand, mirroring the original spot. It, too, spread to his hand and other fingers. The ink turned his tunic and pants black. It even spread across his tattered cloak. It moved with a purpose, gnawing his flesh, his organs, his bones, consuming him. He stepped back when he realized what the ink was searching for. He placed his hand on his chest as though to protect himself.
But the ink took his heart, changing it until it pumped blackness through his body like en eternal fountain of death. There was a surge of strength, and then weakness conquered him.
He stumbled against his chestnut horse, needing its support to keep from falling. The horse flinched from the man's touch, then shrieked as if in pain. The man watched in horror as the spot where he had touched his horse turned black. The blackness spread quickly, consuming the beast faster than it had the human.
The man knew the instant the horse's heart had changed; the horse stood as still as a waiting shadow.