"...And so the demon Mastema stood over the fallen hero whose lifeblood even then was spilling to the Earth."
"And then he died!" Pierre interrupted from the other side of the roaring fire - the other children present laughed.
Reaching across the fire with his gnarled old stick D'Ambigeois rapped the boy once smartly over the head. "Do not, young boy, presume to tell me the end of my own story!" Looking around at the faces cast in firelight. "I am not dead yet, so don't try writing me into my own grave before I'm ready!" He complained grumpily.
"So how did you beat Mastema then?" Pierre asked, and it seemed an earnest question.
"Then what happened to the Tarnhelm? And what happened with Princess Genevieve and the mysterious knight?"
"Are you telling the story or am I?" D'Ambigeois asked, shaking his cane again warningly. Then dropping the stick he settled back down. "I suppose you are simply young and curious - but understand, the tale of the Tarnhelm is a tale of chivalry and honour! Not tragedy."
"Siegfried and Brunhilda both died." Pierre said. D'Ambigeois looked at the boy carefully - for an eight year old he had an uncanny knowledge of Norse mythology.
"Indeed they did - but I am not the Sigund of legend and Princess Genevieve is not Brynhild. But we digress dear boy, and I am sure the others would wish to hear the story properly."
"Where is Princess Genevieve now?" There was a brief pause.
"Why my boy, she is the Queen Mother!" D'Ambigeois replied with a laugh.
"Then what happened to the promise you made by the Lake of Crystal Waters?" There was an awkward silence. D'Ambigeois' eyes narrowed on the young Pierre - somehow he had the impression that this eight year old was of a mind to mock him.
"Stories don't all end in happily ever after, but they don't always end in tragedy either." There was no need to strain in order to percieve the regret in his voice. The fire crackled noisily as burning embers rose like fireflies into the night air. Sieur D'Ambigeois took a moment to recompose himself and resume the story - only to be interrupted by the young Pierre again.
"Sounds like tragedy to me." Pierre said. There was something about the boy's voice that set D'Ambigeois off. He regarded the young Pierre carefully, looking for some resemblance and finding nothing he looked at some of the adults around the firelight and drifting in and out of the firelight among the other festivities.
Nothing; no old enemies, old friends...still this child was toying with him. "Well like I said, maybe things didn't turn out happily ever after," D'Ambigeois forced his most charming smile. "But you haven't hear the rest of the story yet."
This time it was boy smiled as everyone else looked on, by this point they were both the center of attention. "That's because the story is not yet ended..." Only this time the boy's voice had changed to something different. Something inhuman; accompanied by inhuman laughter.
"MASTEMA!" The old knight lept to his feet, his walking stick - the only thing within reach even resembling a weapon - instantly in his hand.
Mastema cast off his boyish guise and assumed his true form, seeming to rise out of the flames which flared wildly into the night sky. In his true form he stood nearly twelve feet and there was no mistaking him for a creature born of the tortures of hell. "It has been a long time old friend."
People were running in all directions now; screams pierced the night air. Meanwhile the demon with his terrible blazing sword and the aging Sieur D'Ambigeois with his gnarled walking stick lept at one another through the flames.