This week has been going rather slowly, but at least it is trudging along. My partner's father is doing well, which we are really grateful for. Other than that, I am working on a gardening book and hoping to get that done by next week.
Here is the update from Part 32 Zak did. I hope you find it as shocking as what I did.
Mortis was struggling. Had he had access to the magic bound in the blood that had soaked his glove, it would have been easier to catch the animals grazing around him. Now it was pure torture. He had spent hours chasing after them with his sword, failing miserably at each turn trying to get one. His presence spooked the animals, who easily out sped him. Soon he was pushing them toward the corrupted land, and they were getting desperate to get away from him.
The larger of the animals herded away the smaller, but they tried to avoid the corrupted dirt that was sprinkled with crystals. Mortis watched in horror as a slimy tentacle seemed to rise from a crystal and wrap itself around the leg of one of the young animals. It bleated in terror, and the adults bellowed. Several larger creatures ran at the tentacle to only be attacked by other tentacles. These larger appendages seemed to be covered in hooked barbs. The more the animals shrieked and tried to get away, the more their coats became stained in blood. Eventually, the appendages tightened, and several sickening snaps were heard, then silence.
The rest of the herd rushed past Mortis, who had enough semblance of mind to raise his blade to kill one. He didn’t stick close by with his prize as the tentacles continued to search for more prey. He needed to get himself fed or he would soon lose what strength and will he had left.
Yet, as he tore the belly of the sheep-like creature he noted small red and black crystals growing in its organs. Just being close to the corrupted land it can become corrupted. Mortis dared not touch the animal anymore as he pushed the carcass away in fear. He couldn’t risk feeding on this. He turned to see where the rest of the herd had gone but saw nothing but rolling hills. The fear and hunger were starting to get the better of him and he collapsed. The urge to wail and weep was strong, but he forced it down. He was a warrior, and he need to overcome this, or he would never see…
See what? He couldn’t remember. Taking a deep breath, he got to his feet and looked out toward to corrupted land. The child was close. He needed her now. He had to find her. Turning toward the blighted land, Mortis tried to search out the best way to get passed the writhing tentacles.
Helga held her breath as Adiran rebound her broken wing. It was agony but she didn’t say anything. The curse which made her the gate’s protector had been broken, but she had never thought that she would be sucked into a trial. She looked over her remaining limbs and thankfully found herself overall still healthy. As long as her leg strength remained powerful, she could defend the injured mage.
“Have you reconnected to the well of power?” she asked.
“I will need a few days to recover before I can cast anything more than a cantrip. I wish we had some healing herbs. Mother was right, you should always keep herbs on your person and not in the saddle bag.”
“The horses and their saddle bags are long gone dear mage.”
“My mount will see to their safety. For now, we need to find the knight and the children.”
Helga snorted and pointed to where the sky was darker than the rest, despite the sun being high over their heads. “They are likely there, and if your knight is anything to go by, he will head in that direction.”
“Then we should too.” Adiran tried to take a few steps but found that his head was spinning too much.
“You need a few hours of rest mage. Despite us needing to find your companions, I cannot defend a man who cannot defend himself. We will rest for now.”
“No buts. You rest, I will stand watch, and I will expect you to do the same later for me when I need to rest.”
Adiran wanted to argue, he had to argue, but the agony in his head prevented him from making more than a squeak as he sat down.
“I will meditate instead.”
Helga snorted, “With a cracked skull? Sure, you do you.”
Derric and Magna slowly trudged along what looked like the end of the corrupt land. Derric was starting to tire now, so Magna walked beside him. Her armour dragged her down, and soon she was too exhausted to walk.
We need to keep moving.
“I can’t, my armour; it’s too much.”
Take your blade and leave the rest behind.
Trust me to protect you.
After some internal struggle, Magna eventually shed the heavy armour. She took some time to ensure her side pouch and sword were strapped in place before she continued after the large wolf. She paused only once to look at the pile of armour. It had been the last gift her father had given her, and now it would remain behind as she desperately struggled to survive. She shut her eyes and silently begged for forgiveness from her father.
She turned to run after her companion. Misjudging the ground she was on, she slipped and fell down a small embankment. Surprise dragged a cry from her lips, and she fell sprawled out on her belly.
The urgency in Derric’s voice made her roll to look at him. Then the ground beneath her suddenly gave way. Except it wasn’t the ground that gave way, but rather her being lifted by her foot. Looking upward she noticed a tentacle wrapped around her foot. Within a second of realizing she was caught, the tentacle started slamming her against the crystals in the vicinity. Derric was on it within seconds, but he could do nothing about the strength at which it was throwing her around.
Magna couldn’t do anything, and now without her armour, she was vulnerable. Each blow to the crystals cut into her and fresh blood sprayed around the area. She quickly realized that she was going to die if she didn’t do something. She struggled to draw her blade, but it had fallen from her scabbard. She then reached for the tentacle, hoping she could grip it and hurt it in some way to release her.
Then, as quickly as the attack had happened, it was over. She hit the ground hard and lay there, stunned, and in agony. Sensing someone was close, she sat up to see who it was. Blood dripped into her eyes and all she could see was an armoured figure that reached for her shirt.
“Mortis?” She was sure it was him. It looked like him, and the armour was similar.
“This will hurt, but I need it. Sorry.” She heard his voice say.
She was pulled to him, and she once more smelt what she thought was death. She wanted to push away from him but as she tried his jaws locked around her neck close to where it joined her shoulder. She didn’t have time to comprehend what was happening, much less time to scream when the pain swarmed her mind.
She heard Derric scream, but she couldn’t do anything. All she heard was Mortis apologising and begging for forgiveness as his teeth dug deeper. Her breath came out in frightened gasps and eventually, she managed to grip the front of the knight’s armour.
“Please stop.” She begged, and she heard tears in her voice. “You’re hurting me.”
Without explaining anything, the knight released her and muttered something under his breath. Black flames exploded in her neck, and finally, her consciousness fled her. As Magna collapsed to the ground Mortis looked at Derric as he readjusted his helm.
“We will discuss this later.” That was all he said as he drew his blade and continued to hack at the many tentacles started swarming them.
Well now, guess I just painted @zakludick into a corner. Have fun with this bud!
Here is an explanation of Chain Stories and here is the current Chainstory Library
Mortis Custos Parts
|Part 33 - You are Here
|Part 34 - Coming Soon
The Reader List
If you would like to be tagged in every episode of Mortis Custos, leave us a comment and get added in, miss nothing!
Right now I will add people who have been keeping an eye on this series:
@weone, @merenludick, @clairemobey, @therneau, @blitzzzz, @pravesho, @joetunex, @captainquack22, @irisworld, @braaiboy, @sketchygamerguy, @fuego-oscuro, @felt.buzz, @dibblers.dabs, @beeber, @brittandjosie, @tamacvet, @thinkrdotexe, @alonicus, @joetunex