It has been another long week of writing. It would see my current niche is survival and bushcraft. Who would have guessed I would spend almost six months learning how to survive in the middle of nowhere, when I haven't even gone camping in my life.
Anyway, time to introduce the Guardian of this story. Hope you all like the new part!
Jonathan could almost not believe his eyes when he saw the start of a horde of undead shambling around them. The castle wards were meant to be in place. Why else would he bother to keep the mages in his castle? He scanned the creatures around him. They had actively been trying to get to Adrian, but now they seemed to be milling around, almost as if they were waiting for something.
“How many times have I told you to not step foot out here without a blade.” He growled at his son.
“I wasn’t here for training…I didn’t think…” stammered Adrian.
“That’s right! You didn’t think!” Jonathan snapped.
Although he wasn’t facing his son, he could hear the chocked cry of fear and sadness. He didn’t have time to deal with his son, he needed to figure out why these foul creatures were within the castle ground. He glanced back for a second and realized he wouldn’t be able to do that with his unarmed son.
“Run as fast as you can and get help.” He half-whispered, half-ordered.
“I don’t know where the door is.” Mumbled Adrian, as he pressed himself against his father’s back.
“Oh, my gods.” Muttered Jonathan under his breath.
How is he even my son?
Turning, Jonathan gripped a handful of his son’s shirt and in one smooth movement lifted and threw his son over the gathering dead.
“Tuck and roll!” he roared as he swung his blade before him, aiming to distract the shamblers.
If there was anything Adrian was good at, it was being able to get to his feet swiftly. His feet landed upon the head of one zombie, and he was able to launch himself from it. He landed on braced legs and sprinted as fast as he could in the direction his father had thrown him. Before him was the stables, surely there would be someone here.
He vaulted over the lower half of the stable door only to be met with a gristly scene. Half chewed stable hands and horses lay in pieces throughout the area. The hay was gore-splattered and the air was thick with the scent of blood. Adrian wasn’t granted many talents, but the one thing he had was a strong stomach. He gritted his teeth and ran to where the lantern was set against a door frame. From here he would be able to reach the lower part of the castle. He needed to find someone, anyone to help his father. He knew that the king was a warrior, but he had counted at least ten of the creatures as he flew over them. How long could the king last?
Adrian rounded the door and was about to launch himself up the stairs, but when he planted his foot to jump the stairs two at a time, it slipped out from under him. He fell into a burst of stairs exploding before his eyes. He struggled to remain conscious as he slowly got to his feet. He shook his head once, twice, even a third time before he realized what he was seeing before him was real. A pool of blood, and two soldiers, wrung out like laundry. They were on the floor looking up at him, but their blood had come from the upper level and was dripping down the stairs.
It was then he realized these creatures hadn’t just been outside, but some had already been inside. Something very strong had done this to the soldiers. Tears of fear and frustration sprang to his eyes, but he blinked them away. He needed to find his sister and some guards. His father would need help. He got to his feet, placed his left hand against the wall, and started to slowly ascend the stairs.
Jonathan had taken down three of the creatures before they realized that Adrian was no longer with him. A few had tracked the movement of the boy through the air, but they were not following. Jonathan was at a loss for what was happening. He had assumed the creatures were here for his son, but now he wasn’t sure. They were effectively pinning him against the wall, and he barely had the room needed to wield the family sword he bore.
“You see,” came a dry voice, “They can’t think, even when they have orders.”
The king immediately stiffened. The dead didn’t speak, and if they did, they had considerable power. Power he couldn’t deal with without magic.
“Should have let the boy learn. May have been prepared. The signs were there.” The whispering dry voice was now getting louder.
“Show yourself! I am not in the mood for games!” roared Jonathan.
“I am not here for games myself. Parley dear king? There are things you and I need to discuss at length.”
“And if I refuse?”
Jonathan frantically sought out the voice. It wasn’t until he felt a knife at his throat, extending from the wall behind him that he realized the person or creature had melded with the wall.
“Then you die. Parley?”
Disgusted with himself, Jonathan dropped his blade to the ground. This was the first time he or anyone in his family had dropped a blade in order to save their own skin. He would never be able to live down the shame of it.
“Fine. What do you want?”
“Adrian.” Breathed a voice in his ear as the knife was pressed harder against his throat.
Consciousness? It has been…how long has it been?
There was an audible snap as they tried to move, yet there was no pain. Their throat was dusty, but it was hardly an irritant. A quick cough cleared some of the dust, and they were surprised to see the dust fly from their mouth in the low light.
Why am I here?
A stiff hand reached around and felt for the hilt of their blade, but it was nowhere to be felt. Panic filled their mind, and they sat up. This resulted in a clung and them falling back, causing more cluttering.
Where is the…oh no…
The family blade, handed down from eldest warrior to eldest warrior, was not at their side. There had been a son, yes, a son who carried their name, the sword must be with them.
But wait, if the sword isn’t with me, then…
There was a shriek and what sounded like water falling across stones. This time they braced their forearm against what was above them and heaved with all their might. The solid item above them shifted before tipping and cluttering off them. The sound was deafening. With stiffened, armor-clad limbs, they climbed from their resting place. They knew the area around them was dark, there were lanterns, but they could see in what appeared to be a dim light. They quickly scanned their surroundings and found the sound from earlier. A servant, or at least what was left of one. They had been gutted, and their horrified eyes stared into theirs, begging almost.
The family sword has fallen.
A scuffling was heard from beyond the doorway the servant had fallen from. With no weapon in hand, they balled their gauntlet-clad hands and waited.
Mortis Custos Parts
|by @lex-zaiya||by @zakludick|
|Part 1||Part 2|
|Part 3||Part 4|
|You are here!||Part 6 - upcoming|
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