The night he attained the bracelets, he fell asleep in the alley. He says he never woke up. According to him, the next morning, the corpse of Fredariko Duncan rose from its resting place, splayed on the floor of a small bedroom, and walked into the Duncan family’s living room. Duncan’s parents were there, along with his younger sister, who had come with them to Ebony Fields. The body of Fredariko Duncan strode across the room quickly and, with three strong backhands, destroyed three faces. The corpse left its family lying in spreading pools of blood, gathered Fredariko Duncan’s school supplies, and exited the house.
That’s what he says.
That morning, Ebony Fields woke up to its last sun. Never after would sunlight be able to stream through the stained glass windows of the Shrine and dot the plain stone buildings with color. Never after would the entire city bask in warmth. Even as the sun rose, the ground around the city rumbled, and fissures opened here and there. No one thought much of it around the time Duncan was slaughtering his family and he didn’t give them much of a chance to start before he was through with the whole city.
After goading him into revealing more than just that he lost control of his body, I discovered that his interpretation of the world had changed that morning. Apparently, all visual perception he’d had vanished, replaced with brilliant white flames and black void. He explained that the white was anything alive, and the black was everything else. He walked into his living room, saw the three white lights that were his family members, and quickly put them out.
That morning, he says, he went to school and proceeded to kill everyone in the building and then smear their blood on the walls. Eventually, the local guard force came to stop him, and he killed them, too, reducing them to piles of ash. I’m not sure how whatever power he had gained worked, but apparently destruction just shot out from his being and took everything around him, extinguishing light after light, darkening his world, and feeding the bracelets. He says they were one thing he couldn’t extinguish—the bracelets shone bright in his eyes, bright and invincible, undying, immortal, eternal. And as he killed, they grew, spreading along his wrists, fitting to his arms, becoming thicker and heavier.
He exited his university, the building collapsing behind him. Cobblestones exploded as he tread upon them, the street turning into a river of fire in his wake. Red and white flames engulfed the blocks around him and then spread outward. He reached the center of Ebony Fields and, as the Dark Pinnacles burst forth from the widening fissures, so too did the city twitch. That’s how he describes it. Every light he could see—and he could see them through walls, and across barriers, and out the back of his head—gave one uniform shudder. And then they were gone.
Tall tales are told by alleged passersby that they saw Ebony Fields disappear into a pillar of white fire. Tall tales are all they are, for anyone who could see the city could be seen by Fred Duncan, and anyone seen by Fred Duncan that day died.
According to the stories, though, and that’s pretty much all this is, the moment that Duncan stepped into the town square was an explosion of irreversible destruction. It was at that moment that Ebony Fields became the Dead City. It was at that moment that the Dark Pinnacles erected themselves around the city, blocking out sunlight and marking the graves of an untold number of people. It was at that moment that the silver bracelets stopped growing, frozen in the form of a pair of large gauntlets. It was at that moment that Fredariko Duncan transformed into the emissary of death.
Before he knew it, Duncan was Duncan no longer.
He was Gauntlet.
That was some eighty years ago. Ebony Fields is still devoid of life and the Dark Pinnacles still stand, but he’s no longer Gauntlet. Fred Duncan rests in the only crypt in a mausoleum built for two. The basalt construction lies in the shadow of the Dark Pinnacles half the time, but when the sun strikes it it filters through a stained glass window and the inside of the black building glows all the colors that the Dead City lacks.