This is a continuation of the Mortis Custos part 19 by @lex-zaiya.
To start at the beginning of the story please see the links provided at the end of this post!
Viewer discretion is advised due to gory violence! Undead! Swords! Death! Beware!
It was long after midday when Adiran woke with a start.
He bolted upright and looked around. Magna and the wild boy were still asleep, the boy had managed to curl up next to her and almost slept on top of her.
Meanwhile, the fire had gone out, and the day outside was warm.
"You are awake."
Adiran started and looked towards the sitting room again. Mortis was sitting on a wooden chain. The knight's visor regarded the mage impassively.
"I suppose that you have no need for sleep?"
"Bah! I have slept long enough." The knight said and then chuckled. "Well indeed. In my condition, there is no need for sleep. I can continue my vigil for as long as needed!"
"Will your vigil ever end?" Adiran asked. This man was out of his time. He had long been on duty. What he had seen now made it evident how this man was kept to honor his oath to defend them.
Mortis did not answer right away.
"There are conditions that can be met that will allow me to rest." The knight answered. "This... condition I have. It is part boon, part curse. I bear it proudly... and yet... I have known too many years."
"Speak for yourself." A voice rumbled from beneath the floorboards. "I would like to keep on for as many centuries as I can have!"
Adiran looked down at the boards. "Some King you are."
"What?!" The Ghoul King scoffed. "It is daytime. My Kingdom is a Kingdom of the night. It hurts to walk around up there. Too bright. Too hot!"
"Right," Adiran said. "Do you know if the horses and Magna's sword have been found?"
"The Ghouls did a fine job rounding up the horses and recovered the sword." Millmor said.
"But your steed could not be brought back." Mortis completed the rest of the statement. "It is not exactly a horse and it did not want to follow them, or me."
"But it is nearby!" Millmor called.
"Yeah, I know." Adiran said. "She's waiting for me. She's would not follow the Ghouls because they had attacked her. And... she has certain hangups with..." He waved at Mortis.
"I understand." The knight said. "It must be strange then that she travelled with us."
"I convinced her to go along with it." Adiran smiled. "But I prevented her from trying to kick your head in."
Mortis chuckled at this. "A fine thing she did not."
There was a groan from the curled-up mass and all three beings turned their attention to the two young people. Or at least, the two that seemed young. All three of them would give their lives for this little bundle on the floor, covered in fur and blankets. They would give the lives of many others' as well to protect them.
"Do they wake?" Millmor asked from beneath the floorboards.
Adiran stood and peered down at the two of them. "It seems not. They dream."
"Leave them to sleep a while longer." Mortis suggested. "It is still some time before they must get ready for our travels."
"Indeed." Adiran said. "I will go look for my steed and bring her back."
"I shall stand guard. As I always have." Mortis said impassively.
It was bright outside.
The shadows below the branches of the forest made it feel cool and fresh. Magna stroked her horse's mane as they rode. She was a fine mare, the stables had not raised an equal. Strong, and swift but kind.
Magna looked behind her and saw that her brother was lagging behind again. He said awkwardly in the saddle and held an expression of pained perserverance.
He looked up at her and the moment their eyes met she knew what he was thinking. He would rather be back at the castle with a book or something.
"Come on you two! The day is running out!" Called a voice ahead of them. She turned around and saw him.
It was the King. He wore riding leathers and nothing too fancy, except for the crown on his head he would have looked like an ordinary man. Until he moved. The purpose of his movements exuded command and his voice demanded respect.
She used to think he was mean, cruel and angry. Maybe he was... but he didn't seem so now.
Why did you have to die?
The world around them suddenly went black and the horses whinnied nervously.
"What's happening?" Adrian called from behind them.
"Father?" Magna asked and looked towards the King who had stopped his horse.
Only now he was no longer on the horse. Her father looked at her, expressionless.
"Father?" She repeated. She tried to spur her mare forward but found that she was also now on the ground. She tried walking forward but she did not seem to make up the distance at all.
A shadow, deeper than the night loomed behind King Jonathan. "Father!" She began to run as fast as she could. The shadow had eyes. "Father look out!"
The tip of a knife thrust out of her father's chest and blood began dripping from his mouth. The shadow seemed to smile at her wickedly then pointed behind her with a clawed hand.
Magna looked and gasped.
Her brother was laying on the ground in a mess of blood. He was till breathing. She looked both left and right, trying to decide which way to go.
Her father had collapsed.
He had died already.
She began running towards her brother and the same shadow that had snuffed out her father raised itself out of the ground between her and her brother.
She drew her sword. It was... it was shining! Like the moon Helios... it shone and she dove forward with the light in her hands to cut at the shadow.
Aaaaand I will stop it right there! Your turn @lex-zaiya!
Here is an explanation of Chain Stories and 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||You are here!|
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