I want to start off this episode by wishing my co-writer @lex-zaiya a very happy birthday! May you have an awesome day and have lots of cake!
Enjoy the new story everyone!
Viewer discretion is advised due to gory violence! Undead! Swords! Death! Beware!
Adiran narrowed his eyes as he considered the possibility. He grumbled under his breath and fumbled around in a pouch near his belt and pulled out something rectangular between thumb and forefinger.
He placed this shape on the palm of his other hand and then waved at the object with his now free hand. in a brief flash of light, the object expanded and turned into a large heavy tome. The book was wrapped in a sort of leather that was made of a patchwork of many different skins and hides.
Adiran flipped open the book and began paging through the book. Muttering all the more.
Some of the undead could not fit around the carcass of the giant that they were tearing into and advanced forward to the very mixed group. Mortis turned around and simply decapitated one of the shamblers.
"Strange how they are willing to eat their dead here." The knight remarked when three of the undead stopped to tear into the body he had just made.
I have seen the same in the countryside. Derric replied. Magna had not even seen him transform again into the wolf shape. The shapeshifter was loathe to bite into an undead, instead, he swiped at them with large claws that were decidedly not wolf-like. There was something else that was odd about them but Magna's attention was called elsewhere.
"We don't have time for you to read books now old man." The female wraith said as she stalked towards him. She breathed deeply into her nostrils. "Right. He is family... but not the King?"
"He uh..." Magna tried to stop the wraith from connecting the dots before she could explain it to her brother.
"Wait!" Mortis' sister stalked toward where Magna and her brother was standing. "The same smell is here! What are your names?"
"I am Magna, remember? You did not even tell us your own name." Magna crossed her arms.
The wraith chuckled. "Oh that defiant streak, just like my mother... and myself I guess. I am Ostia. I am the Keeper of the Gatehouse in Drakenspoort." The wraith pointed. "What is his name?"
Adrian looked at the imposing woman with wide eyes. "I am Prince Adrian, son of King Johnathan and Queen Mary."
Ostia nodded her head. "Magna's twin." She then looked at Adiran for a long moment.
The shadowy guard had come to stand next to the mage and pointed at the book. "Taluc-ihn is life there is a space before the symbol for Kijal, thus it is not phonetically Taluk-jial. That is how the spell should be read anyway. Like I said, the Ancients just wrote. It is a detail distorted by time."
Adiran snorted and shook his head. "I better get to this then." He stooped down and rolled the priest out on his back. "Adrian! Come here!"
"Yes, Uncle!" Adrian said and ran over.
"Uncle?" Ostia barked a short laugh. "That's not your uncle child."
Adrian stopped short, suddenly afraid.
"They do not have time for this." Magna said and waved in annoyance at the wraith. She pushed Adrian towards Adiran "Just go to Adiran. You can trust him. Don't worry about what Ostia just said."
"No buts. Do not worry. Adiran has gone through a lot to get us here to help you." Magna stopped pushing once they were before the Mage. For a moment it dawned on her that they were intending to use this man... this offering in the spell to save her brother and she felt guilty for a moment.
"Do not feel sorry for him." The shadowy figure said, his blue-gray skin showing as he took the hood of his cloak off. The man's eats were long and pointed. "I was charged by your Mother's ally, my Lord Lucien to track this man and his companions. They intended to harm your brother. They are an enemy."
There were so many questions Magna wanted to ask but her attention was drawn to a sound like the crack of thunder and a ripple of force that gentle pushed against her. She looked back at Adiran.
Already blue light crackled all around the old man and a red haze was wrapped around the dying body between them. Magna stood behind him but her brother walked forward slowly and looked at all the magic on display before him. "There is a lot you have not spoken to me about isn't there?"
Adiran nodded at the boy.
"There is a reason you were always avoiding me, more than anyone else, isn't there?" Adrian said, his voice choked with emotion.
"How about I tell you all about it once I have fixed your soul?"
Adrian nodded, then touched his own face, feeling the bridge of his nose and along the edge of his ear. The boy suddenly laughed.
Suddenly the serpent was next to Adiran. "Careful. He is remarkably bright."
Adrian laughed as he was engulfed in magic. There was no fear in the boy's voice. He merely laughed without control as the essence of the dying man was brought out and infused into his chest.
The brightness of the magic was nearly blinding and Magna had to look away.
Magna! We need your help Magna's head whipped around and caught sight of the dead marching forward on their position. There were larger undead amonth them.
Ostia had already waded into the fray, smashing the dead back with her shield, forming a solid center with Mortis, who hacked and battered the dead. On the right hand side Derric and Helga slashed and harried the dead as much as possible while on the left side, the reptilian creature that was Adiran's companion held back the dead with claw and small plumes of close-range fire.
But the dead were leaking through this line and they were losing ground as the defenders needed to turn back to stop the dead from advancing on the Mage and the boy.
A quick glance told Magna two things: The mage and her brother were wholly focused on the task at hand, and the shadowy figure that had brought the body of the man that now lay on the floor was gone.
She already had her sword in her hand as she slashed at an undead shambler and shunted the body back through the gap between Ostia and Derric. There was a large undead shambler now fighting with the wraith. It towered above her, its bulk and muscle making it more difficult to overpower.
The creature gripped Ostia's shield with both hands and prevented her from pushing or pulling away. Magna darted towards them to stab an undead creature that sought to attack the wraith locked by the creature.
Mortis ran in from the side and chopped into the back of the hulking undead man's lower leg and then turned towards a new foe without a further glance.
With practiced ease, the moment the hulking monster's leg was torn and began to fail the creature, Ostia turned and allowed the creature's forward motion to overbalance it. As it hit the flagstones of the hall, the wraith's shield hammered into the back of its skull and it lay still.
Magna covered the gap while the wraith could return to the line and hacked at the outstretched arms of two shamblers and backhanded another with her armored gauntlet. Another hulking undead creature as large as the one that Ostia had struggled with was coming up behind them and as Magna's sword struck into the neck of the one shambler it barely slumped and the big one grabbed the body, lifting it to its face.
It merely stood and feasted on the body as the remaining shambler tried to bite at Magna without any arms left. She shoved her sword into its's chest sideways to keep it off her and punched at its damaged jaw, breaking the bone and the jaw came to lose and fell to the ground.
The shambler shuffled forward for a second as though intending to cause her further harm but could not do anything other than move, so she kicked it back.
The big one was still eating, blocking the way for other undead who needed to shuffle around it. She had a moment to see that there were at least five more of the big ones, advancing on their battle line.
She looked at the feeder and saw it instantly grow additional muscle mass. A fuzz of black fur was starting to grow on its arms and probably on its back as well. She had seen this before.
"We need to stop them from feeding! They are growing from eating their own dead and that big one!" She yelled as loudly as she could but she was not sure if anyone heard her. She saw that the jawless shambler was still alive and had not been attacked by any of the other undead had when given a body to bite.
The bodies were not distracting the dead, they were growing from them!
Ostia was beside Magna, she stopped the wraith. "Do not kill this one. Dismember it, break its jaw. Otherwise, it will feed the others and they will grow." Magna tried to yell over the din of battle. "No not let the dead eat the dead!"
There was a flash of red magic and Magna looked around to see that Mortis had removed his helmet. His face was still blue and purple, but he was a lot more fleshy than before. "Unless that means me!" The knight bellowed and magic sprang up from the sword, snaking tendrils of red and black arched around it.
The death guardian's face twisted and Magna shuddered when she saw that Mortis's mouth was filled with a tow of sharp, predatory teeth like nothing in the mortal world. The knight stepped forward and hacked into the dead with his sword in one hand and gripped another shambler with another hand and drew it towards him.
She looked away an instant after seeing the knight's teeth sink into the shoulder of the shambler. There had been a spray of old blood and ichor. More than that, there had been tendrils of essence drawn out of the undead and into the knight.
Magna felt sick. The image and all the gory details were too shocking for her mind to make sense. It was as though Mortis were more demon than man. He was eating the dead.
Of course, he ate the dead... he had done so before. She kind of knew that... but never like this.
"Magna! Get your act together!" Ostia shouted at Magna just in time for Magna to raise her to guard against the outstretched hand of one of the undead.
Her vision shifted and she had a sickening feeling of disorientation as she was lifted clear off the ground. Only then did she feel the crushing grip of two unnaturally large hands gripping her one shoulder and her thigh. She was being drawn upward to the mouth f one of the big shamblers, this one the biggest one yet.
Despite her revulsion earlier, she could think of only one name to scream at that moment.
Back to you then @lex-zaiya!
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