I read Part 5 and there was just so much going on that I went straight into writing Part 6 below and put the post on a Scheduled publishing. It's just so exciting!
Adrian's breath burned in his throat.
Screams of dying men echoed in the hallways. There was the sound of steel clashing. This meant that the undead was in that direction, but so were living beings.
A shiver crawled up his spine as his indecision fought for control with his panic.
In the silent parts of the castle, there could be more dead things or there could be nothing. Only where there was sound, would he find people? Thus he fearfully began heading in the direction of the sounds.
The soldiers should be trying to defend the royal family so surely they would have gone in that direction when fighting began breaking out. A bell sounded through the hallways. The royal suites!
I was right!
Adrian set out at a run.
I need to get help for father!
She stared at the backs of the armored soldiers gripping the steel blade before her.
"Relax your shoulders girl." The command was made in a harder voice than Magna had ever heard her mother use. She looked away from the heaving mass of soldiers before their doors at the woman as though she was a whole new person. "You will never be able to swing a sword with your shoulders set so tightly. You need to be loose to swing."
Magna copied the twirl of the blade Mary made with the larger sword the Queen carried. The motion felt awkward to Magna but her mother completed it with ease.
Queen Mary had taken scant minutes to don a suit of armor. Gold trimmed breastplate, shoulder pauldrons, greaves, and bracers were paired with sword and kite shield that was all part of a set that matched in function and its appearance.
Besides the appearance, the Queen had taken on a whole new demeanor.
"Captain Shike! Take ten men and go down the western corridor! Sweep for my son, husband, and any other survivors."
"Yes, my Queen!" The man paused. "Who will take command of the men here?"
"I will of course. Did you forget who I am?"
The Captain grinned. "I have not, last time you were on the other side of the battlefield."
"I have forgotten nothing Captain. Now hurry. Bring me back the rest of my family." The Queen said and the Captain gathered the men and headed out the western corridor.
"Men at arms! To me!" The Queen yelled out over the din of fighting. "Push these monsters back! Cut their heads from their bodies and do not let them grab you!"
Magna followed behind her mother. They had won some ground. There were dead soldiers behind the front line, men who had been bitten and torn by grabbing hands. Often their wounds were caused by a dozen undead.
There were rotting corpses between the uniformed dead men. These bodies wore a varied collection of rags and pieces of rusted armor.
Where did they come from?
"My Queen!" A soldier yelled.
"Yes, soldier? Speak!"
"They are gone, my Queen!" Came the reply. "All the dead have been defeated out front!"
"Very well." The Queen said. "I need ten soldiers to take rear guard. We march north to the banquet hall. We will set up our staging point there!"
Soldiers shifted from the back of the line to form up around the back of the line and the front of the mass of soldiers began moving forward along the corridor.
Magna stilled her breathing. She was ready to take on any enemy.
It was at that moment that her confidence was shattered by an ear-splitting roar. Yells and screams came up from the front ranks.
"What is it?!" She yelled at her mother.
The Queen's face was pale and grey. "I do not know child." Then louder to command the soldiers. "Fall back! Fall back to the royal suites!"
A thundering could be heard over the yelling of frightened soldiers.
There was a thundering and a roaring in the distance.
He could see the torches in the distance. He has been so close. Adrian choked back a sob of fear. He dared not make a sound or else whatever it was that had roared like that would find him.
He edged backward slowly.
Arms whipped around him and Adrian screamed, his blood turned to ice in his veins at that moment, racing like pain in every limb. The scream made nearly no noise as the gloved hand pressed his mouth shut. The other arm was wrapped around Adrian.
"Quiet boy!" The rough voice commanded.
Adrian was given a moment to calm down before he was released. He turned around. "Captain Shike!"
"Come now, Prince." The man whispered. "Let's go back to your mother."
Adrian shook his head. "My father is in the mustering field! The dead surrounded him! He sent me to get help!"
"By Helios!" The Captain swore. "With me men! You better come with us too, Prince." Only then did Adrian see the other men that were with the Captain. They remained quiet as they hurried the way that Adrian had come, stepping over the dead people as they went.
Please still be alive!
The Dreadthing stalked out into the open night air.
Jonathan's heart froze when he saw it on all fours like a nightmare made flesh. Massive front limbs ended in bladed claws. It stood larger than a horse, its back sloping back to smaller back legs. Covered in dark wiry black fur the most unnatural thing about the creature was not finding the maw of a massive beast on its face.
Instead it had the massive face of a man, a giant withered skull with sharp teeth. It turned towards Jonathan and the thing that held his head. The Dreadthing growled and prowled forward.
"The boy is not here." The thing with the dagger hissed. The undead before Jonathan parted before the beast that approached them. Its hollow eyes stared at Jonathan. It snorted and sniffed. With another growl, it turned around and Jonathan could see the bunched muscles of its back were covered in the coarse fur. Pieces of bone protruded from its back.
"Father!" Came the shout from across the yard.
The thing that held Jonathan hissed a dreadful laugh. "The little fool came back for you! Perhaps he is just as dumb as you are!"
The boy was not alone as soldiers passed the Prince the shout came up. "To the King! On me men! Charge!"
Captain Shike! Jonathan had a brief moment of hope until the Dreadthing roared, clumps of dirt churned up into the air as it charged forward towards the soldiers.
It took a moment to recognize the pain. Instead, all he felt was a coldness. Numbness spread through his face and Jonathan did not have the voice to utter a cry anymore as blood spilled out across his chest.
"No need for you anymore." The thing hissed into his ear and let him go. Jonathan dropped to his knees and through blurred vision became aware of something shining on the ground.
The sword... it was glowing... Jonathan could hear the screams of soldiers being ripped apart by the Dreadthing, cut through all of that was the screams of his son.
My boy. You should have stayed away.
He would never be able to pass on the... sword?
The family sword was no longer on the dirt before Jonathan.
On the other side of the field, Adrian fell to his knees, much as his father had done. He knew there would be no way to save him.
Vaguely Adrian knew that he too would soon be dead. The Dreadthing had shredded tha Captain's men like paper and the Captain himself had last half his face from a single swipe of its clawed hands.
I am going to die here.
It was coming.
There was a shining light on the other side of the field. When it disappeared, it appeared again next to Adrian and the impossible happened.
There was an armored knight in full plate holding his father's family sword striding towards the giant monstrosity that pounded the earth as it charged towards them.
The sword shone with an inner fire as the knight lifted the blade high...
Mortis Custos Parts:
|by @lex-zaiya||by @zakludick|
|Part 1||Part 2|
|Part 3||Part 4|
|Part 5||You are here!|
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