Hello everyone, the start of this week was quite tough. I was down with the sickness, so to speak. A bit of flu hit me hard, the some one that has been affecting @clairemobey for 2-3 weeks now. So I had 2 days off from work but spent most of it man down and sleeping.
So this episode is a bit late, but I will put it out anyway...
This is a continuation of the Mortis Custos Part 59 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!
They were trying to hurry through the dark and murk. They were trying to move forward without falling into the muck and mire. It was slow going however, it was dark and because of the pungent smells and fetid air, it hurt to smell and it hurt to look.
Meanwhile, there was a scrabbling behind them. The rats, or whatever they were, were coming. They were not fast, they scrabbled onward like old and misshapen sick things. They did not have the dexterity of their living alternatives in the living world.
It was an inexplicable feeling, but Magna was most certain that she did not want them to catch up to her. The bearing of those rats, their angry sullen look, was that of implacable dread. They were not charging in a rage, but rather seemed to hobble onwards with the grim determination that said that they will follow until your death is certain.
Magna shook her head. It was as though the rats, or the sewer were attempting to choke her with this feeling of dread. As though, by infecting her with these thoughts, it could slow her down and devour her.
She stumbled and her hand shot out to a wall. This time, instead of feeling solid clammy walls, it struck something wet that gave way a little before it could support her. She withdrew the had quickly and gave a small cry of revulsion. She immediately regretted this as her following intake of breath was deeper before and the sickly air seemed to burrow deeper within her.
"We need to get out of here quickly!" She hissed.
"I agree." Derric said. "My senses cannot handle this any longer. It feels as though we are in the stomach of a beast... a dead one..."
They came to a cross-section, behind them, the sewer sloped down towards the place where they had entered. Ahead and left and right, the upwards sloping underground trench seemed to go on forever in all directions.
"No telling which way to go." Derric said. "No sign of fresher smells or air movement or light."
Magna closed here eyes. They did not do her much good anyway. She called forth what she knew of the layout of the city. She did not know the streets and the layout of the commoner's areas well enough she now realized. But she knew enough of the areas and districts to understand that going straight still seemed like the best course of action as it would lead them towards the centre of the city or towards the castle, which would be much more familliar.
"It's too soon to start going down a side path." She said and pushed onwards. "Let's go."
Far behind her, the scrabbling continued.
The Queen strode along the battlements. For the first time in more than a decade, she wore her battle armor. The last time she wore it, it was the silvered heraldry of the Princess of Highpass. Now, she wore the royal gold and blue of the Throne of Dragonshold.
It had been a strange war that had set her parent's armies against that of her late husband's parents and yet, this was how they would meet.
Oh Johnathan, what I would not give to have your council and your sword beside me now.
She had sent word to have the citizens of the City gather before the castle. There was a layer of defences on one side of the castle that could be breached only by crossing the city walls, most of the castle's unprotected side faced the bluffs over the ocean except for a small gate on the side of the castle that opened out directly into the countryside. Though this would mean less area to battle through to gain purchase to the castle, it was a dead-man's land covered by cross-fire from the towers and walls that surrounded it.
No self respecting army would try make their main assault there and yet it was always guarded, for it was the point from which the Knights of Dragon's Hold would sally forth to break the efforts of sappers and seigers.
She looked out at the upturned faces of the populace. There was fear and hope among those faces. She felt the same, inside, but outwardly kept her face cool and confident.
"People of Dragonshold!" She proclaimed loudly. She did not need to call for the crowd to hush. Everyone knew about the massive army that stood outside their gates. Many had feared that these were the invaders.
"We have had scant time to mourn the passing of King Johnathan, my husband." She tried to to have the emotion of her loss leak through her voice. She could not show weakeness now. "The full extent of the truth was kept private but I can tell you some of the details now."
"The King was killed in combat by assassins. He gave up his life to protect his family and the Prince barely lives because of his sacrifice!" There was a murmur in the crowd. The people were angry and they were dismayed. "We were attacked by a force... of evil, you have all heard the rumors of what was found in the castle. Dead things, abominations. An enemy unseen. And yet and army of the dead now march to take this castle. Instead of an infiltration, it would be the full assault of conquest."
She gave this a moment to sink in.
"Yet, the King's brother, Adiran... was revealed to be a great wizard... he had been watching and preparing for this day." She pushed right through the murmurs and cries of surprise. "And thus had amassed allies to aid us on this day." She waved to her side.
Lucien stood, regal and noble, looking. The life drinker still did not wear amor but she doubted he needed it. He wore a cutlass on his belt. Next to him... the thing called Millmor had changed once more. He now appeared as a massive bearded man, who bore a massive double-bladed axe on his back. The weapon was easily seen by all.
"These are the allies Adiran sent to aid us against the coming tide of death." The Queen paused. The two allies had cautioned her at revealing too much or too little. "Yet... these are not ordinary men."
Back to you then @lex-zaiya!
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