I think it was back in college that I was first seized with the idea of a story set to The Doors’ Riders on the Storm.
I remember the story still.
In the hall of a Magyar lord, somewhere and sometime in old Hungary, a stranger came unbidden during a great storm. The lord of the hall would never allow himself to be accused of denying hospitality. Even though the stranger had a sinister air, still he was welcomed, and allowed to sit at the table with the lord and his two sons.
What the lord could not know was his guest’s frame of mind. The stranger struggled under horrible compulsions, like a toad squatting on his mind. In the midst of the meal he became agitated, picked up a knife, and stabbed his host to death, the blood pouring out to mingle with the Tokaj. Before anyone could react, the murderous guest ran from the hall and out over the Pannonian plain.
The brothers called for pistol, sword and cloak, leapt on their horses, and gave chase. With the rain and thunder, it took all their years of experience as huntsmen just to pursue their father’s killer, but pursue they did, becoming inexorably closer.
The elder brother was fearless, thinking of nothing save avenging his father. He did not know his danger. Not danger from the murderer–danger from his younger brother.
For the younger brother had a toad of his own. For years he had nursed a jealous rage against his older brother, who would inherit all their family’s vast estates while he received nothing. Even as they rode out, the men of the hall hailed the elder as their lord. But now was the perfect opportunity. All he had to do, as they closed with the killer, was put the first bullet in his brother and the second in the stranger. Then he would be lord.
Could he pull the trigger? Would the elder brother realize the younger’s plan? Would the killer escape in the fratricidal chaos?
Riders on the storm…