Greeting all. Almost completely forgot to update today. I hope you weren't waiting for the update. This is a continuation of Part 24 by Zak.
But she didn’t sleep. Even when Derric’s low rumbling snore eventually filled the tent, it didn’t lull her to sleep. She was frightened. Frightened with the dream and what she had smelled.
Was that a dream?
She rolled onto her back and viewed the tent material through exhausted eyes. She raised her hand and could almost see the sword in her hand once more. She needed that sword. There was something about it that was calling to her, just not for the remainder of that night. Try as she might, Magna was unable to fall asleep again. Eventually, she gave up tossing and turning and sat up.
“Might as well get breakfast sorted.” She muttered under her breath.
She threw off her bedroll and noticed that somehow Derric never slept in his, before covering him. She had no idea why the Ghoul King wanted a child on this adventure. Then she remembered that she was no more than a child herself. Sighing, she left the tent. Once outside, she became uncomfortably aware of the hot, stickiness of the swamp. It smelt terrible, and she realised the smell of rot had come from the swamp and not Mortis.
She snorted under her breath, “As if Mortis is undead. There is no way.”
She busied herself around camp, unaware of the pair of eyes which had opened to view her in interest. Mortis had placed himself at the edge of the camp where he knew they were least protected. Behind them, the ghouls would take care of, but in this direction, there were far fouler things. Not wanting to startle the girl, he continued to watch as she moved silently from bag to bag, getting items ready to cook the morning meal.
The knight looked up at the sky; it was some time before dawn. Her dreams must have woken her, and now she couldn’t fall asleep. Slowly, he rose from his seat. The girl’s training kicked in and she immediately turned to where his armour had creaked.
“I didn’t see you in the dark.”
“That’s the point.” Chuckled the knight. “Why are you awake? It is hours before dawn.”
“Hours? I thought it would be only an hour.” She said glumly.
Sensing there was something on her mind, the knight sat down next to the fire and added more wood to it. It hissed as it tried to catch flame. Everything was wet, all the time here. The fire was going to quickly become a luxury.
“What is on your mind, Magna?”
“Nothing, I’m fine.” She muttered as she continued to busy herself.
“Women love to use that sentence, but I am old enough to know it generally means something is wrong and you don’t want to talk about it.”
“Then why are you bothering me?”
“Because I promised myself to your cause. Sit, talk to me.”
Bottled up emotions surged to the surface and tears stubbornly came to her eyes. She sat down on a bag and poured her heart out to what had essentially been a stranger a few days ago. She was hurt. Her father was dead, her twin was severely injured, and she felt lost with no guidance. She needed someone, anyone, to listen to her. Mortis listened empathically and nodded or shook his head when it was needed. Magna finally felt heard for the first time in days.
“It is the Guardian’s Sword, Magna.” Said Mortis.
“The Guardian’s Sword.” Mortis got up and pointed to the sky, “See that cluster of stars there?”
“When I was really little, and people still believed in the gods, there was a tale of a leader who was gifted the Guardian’s Sword by the gods.”
Mortis could see the disbelief in the girl’s eyes as she rolled them. He pressed forward with his tale. “The land was covered in the blight you know as the undead. There was no end in sight. For each one destroyed, three more would spring up in its place. Humanity was being destroyed and eaten, becoming an endless matching horde which devoured all life. The gods hated seeing their creations being corrupted, so they sent dreams to those brave enough to take up the challenge and lead humanity out of the corruption.”
Mortis pointed to a different cluster of stars. “But there was a god that enjoyed the misery he had caused. He preferred the undead to the living. He sought ways to prevent a leader from rising to the challenge. Revenants, vampires, ghouls, every undead abomination you can think of, he created to act as a barrier for whoever would challenge his might. The gods soon found themselves on the losing end of this war and running out of options. They were on the point of giving up on this world when one of their number refused. He took all his might, and courage, and forged a sword and shield. He then marched into the blight, looking for someone who could answer the call of the gods. However, it wasn’t one person he found, but two, twins. The two took up the weapons and marched into the horde. The silver blade cut vast swathes through the undead, while the shield was used to protect the sword wielder.”
“What happened to the twins?” asked Magna, now engrossed in the tale. It was so rare that heroes were twins, and she was captivated.
“They died.” Mortis shrugged his shoulders. “There were too many abominations and too many undead.”
“You are terrible at telling stories.”
“Didn’t say I was done.” Mortis pointed out two more stars. “Humanity saw what the gods and the twins had done. It gave them hope for a brighter future. The gods took the weapons from the bodies of the twins, granting them true death, so they may never be resurrected unless it was deemed necessary by only the gods. They then gifted the weapons to humanity once more, hoping that someone would step forward once more.”
“And they did?”
“Or we’d still be overrun by the undead.” Nodded the knight.
“But hold on. You only mentioned the Guardian’s Sword, what about the shield?”
“Ah! Now you are asking the right questions! The Striker’s Shield hasn’t been noted in a dream for many, many years. It is believed that the sword comes to a dreamer now and again as the undead start to rise. They get quelled early enough, and so the shield isn’t needed.”
Magna milled this over for a bit and then said, “I heard someone calling me. Is it the sword?”
Mortis frowned within his helm. He wasn’t sure how much he should tell the girl before him. Eventually, he broke his silence, “If you are dreaming of the blade, there is a chance someone is dreaming of the shield. If you heard a voice, that person may be in danger. With the number of undead I have seen as of late; it may be that the sword and shield need to be used together.”
“Adrian.” Whispered Magna.
I hope you all enjoyed the update! Will see you all in a week's time. The rest of the tale will be told by @zakludick
Here is an explanation of Chain Stories and here is the current Chainstory Library
Mortis Custos Parts
|by @lex-zaiya||by @zakludick|
|Part 1||Part 2|
|Part 3||Part 4|
|Part 5||Part 6|
|Part 7||Part 8|
|Part 9||Part 10|
|Part 11||Part 12|
|Part 13||Part 14|
|Part 15||Part 16|
|Part 17||Part 18|
|Part 19||Part 20|
|Part 21||Part 22|
|Part 23||Part 24|
|Part 25 - You are Here||Part 26 - Coming Soon|
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