The Dead of Winter

The Dead of Winter

A Chapter by Eddie Davis

Aurei and Eleazar find that they have been led into a trap and are shocked to find one of their lost friends serving as a pawn of the Necromancer's Guild.



The Dead of Winter


The heavy metal door to the Emperor’s airship’s treasury should have been solidly locked, but the two Paladins were not at all surprised that it swung open easily.

Immediately a mass of zombies lurched forward and promptly stopped, swaying in place as the effects of the protective spell kept them at bay.   Still they blocked access to the large room.   Eleazar suddenly raised his hand and loudly spoke, “In the name of Yesh the Holy, I command you to be gone!”

As soon as his words sounded, the zombies fell to the ground lifeless.

“Whoa!”  Aurei said aloud, but from deep inside the room, a deep voice laughed.

“Well done, Sir Eleazar!   No need dancing with the pawns when the game waits at the other end of the board.   Do come in.”

Aurei looked over at Eleazar who returned her glance and shrugged, entering the room.   It was the largest room that Aurei had seen on the Emperor’s air yacht, and was filled with crates and artifacts; a multitude of strange and interesting things.   At the other end of the room was a large wooden rack that seemed as if it had been made to display a multitude of weapons.   It stood alone against the middle of the far wall, as if it was some sort of martial shrine.   

It held four very ornate great swords, each sword vastly different in appearance from the others.   But it was what stood in front of the sword rack, holding one of the swords in its scabbard, which drew both Aurei and Eleazar’s attention.

He stood tall and was obviously quite dead, though still very much animated.   The grey flesh hung on his form as if someone had wrapped wet cloth tightly around a skull.   It had enough flesh to grin horribly as they entered the room and red glowing lights filled in where the eyes had once been.   It wore a suit of black plate mail that seemed to absorb all light and strapped to its back was a wicked looking great sword.   Aurei knew immediately that she was looking at the second Death Knight she had ever seen.

“This treasury is truly extraordinary,” his voice said in an almost pleasant tone, “One could spend hours looking for fascinating things here.”

He made a gesture with his finger and the metal door behind them slammed shut and locked.   Neither Aurei nor Eleazar flinched at the action, for it didn’t surprise them.   The Death Knight chuckled, “You both are familiar with my kind, I can see.   I know of your deeds, Eleazar Greyskin, but I have only recently learned of the valor of this lovely creature.   Duchess Aurei Bugley, isn’t it?   The slayer of my sword-brother, Abbadox.  You really ‘shined’ during that battle, didn’t you dear?   Ah, but I should tell you both who I am.   I am Thantus, lieutenant commander of the Knights of Death.   I am here to bring you both back as new recruits in my order, as there are, as of late, vacancies; or, at my discretion, to kill you.”

“I think you will be disappointed.”   Eleazar replied flatly, his gaze locked on the undead warrior.

“Oh, I know you won’t come willingly, but believe me, Sir Eleazar, you both will come, and you will be turned.   Perhaps you need a testimony.    I have someone here you know that can vouch for the veracity of my words.”  


The Death Knight turned slightly and snapped his bony fingers.   There came a shuffling sound and a smaller, zombie-like form, also wearing battered black plate mail, but wearing a strange collar that resembled an ox’s yoke in many ways, walked into the room.   He glowed a sickly green and when he raised his hollow, vacant face to them, both Paladins recoiled in horror.  

It was Alvis Ray, the fallen lieutenant commander of the Blood Knights.

“Yesh preserve!”  Aurei cried out, and Thantus chuckled.

“He didn’t preserve Sir Alvis, I fear, Duchess.”

“What have you done to him?!”   She yelled, fury filling her.

“We showed him the error of Yesh and the power of death.   Oh, he is a most stubborn one, he put up a valiant resistance, but all resistance fades eventually.   This meeting with you is a test for him as well.   It is to see if he is worthy of the title of Death Knight or if he needs to experience more… indoctrination.”

“I’ll send your soul back to the pits of hell!”  Aurei hissed and suddenly sprang forward, both swords out wide.

“Aurei, no!”   Eleazar screamed, but it was too late.   Thantus only gave her an amused glance and flicked two of his fingers at her.   Suddenly a large ball of fire sailed from his fingertips and slammed into the charging Drow girl’s chest.   The impact threw her violently backwards, slamming into crates along with the exploding fireball, which immediately set the wood ablaze.

Eleazar forgot everything as his worst nightmare became a reality before him.   In a flash he was at her side where she laid on the floor, certain he’d find only a charred piece of ash.   Instead he found her completely unharmed, but stunned.    The crates were engulfed in flames and he frantically pulled her free.  

Thantus did not move against them but stood there laughing, while Sir Alvis wobbled, his eyes lost and his lips frozen in a silent scream, beside his master.

“Magic Resistance!”  Thantus said as if delighted, “Extraordinary!   But that is most splendid, for I did so much want to test these delightful great swords that his Excellency has collected.   Do you see this stand up here, Paladins?   The four Great Swords on this stand are the ‘Megil-ada’ as they are known collectively in the Elven tongue.   ‘Swords of the Opposites’ are what humans would call them and they are ancient relics from a much more violent time.   Rather than explain what each of these magical swords do, I thought that Sir Alvis and I should show you.”

He pulled the great sword he was holding from its scabbard.   Immediately the blade burst into flame as if someone had poured oil on it.  

“This is ‘Urwa’, it means ‘on fire’.   Marvelous.”  The blade continued to burn until it grew a brilliant orange as if it were again being forged.   

The air in the room was filling quickly with smoke from the burning crates and Aurei was only just now regaining her senses.   Coughing violently, she managed to croak out, “We’ve got to get out of here.”

He nodded and helped her stand.   Thantus was just standing there holding the blade aloft, admiring it as it continued to glow.   Now the entire sword seemed to glow hot orange and it looked as if the Death Knight’s gauntlets and the metal on his sword arm were taking on an orange hue as well.

“How wonderful!” he said pleased, and looking down at them, smiled horribly, “It makes all metal extremely hot, but does not affect me at all.”  

The Death Knight grabbed up another Great Sword off the rack by its scabbard and turned to Sir Alvis, who stood there swaying, lost in his frozen scream.

“Alvis, take this sword; ‘Helke’ which means ‘Ice’; the opposite of this one.   Take it and go subdue - or kill- the Duchess while I try Urwa out on Sir Eleazar before the smoke overwhelms them.”   He tossed the sword to Alvis, who somehow caught it without moving his head or changing his ‘frozen’ expression.   The green collar around his neck flashed a brilliant green for a moment and then, somewhat hesitantly, he drew the sword.   It looked as if a clear piece of ice made up its blade; ice with a slightly blue tint.   The room had been growing uncomfortably hot from the burning cases and smoke, but as soon as Alvis drew the sword, the temperature dropped some, and moisture droplets formed in the air from where it conflicted with the fire and heat.  

For an instant, the tortured knight held the sword aloft with both hands, though his frozen face did not even look at it.   Then he turned and with a very quick shambling run, charged at Aurei and Eleazar, who were trying to back toward the door.

Seeing him move, Thantus also burst forward, leaping high into the air and down in front of them with his Great Sword raised to strike.   His entire arm glowed orange now and the effect was spreading to his chest armor, but they had no time to wonder about this, for Thantus and Alvis pounced upon them right then.

Eleazar had his own great sword up in a flash, just in time to meet with the Death Knight’s blow.    The impact drove the Elf down, but he fended away the blow, only to barely parry another cut a moment later.   Then came another overhead cut, followed by side swipes and chops.   The half-Drow kept them all at bay, working hard to breathe in the thick smoke of the room.   With each impact upon his sword, he sensed his own sword heating up, thought not as quickly or as powerfully as Thantus’ great sword, which glowed almost white with heat.  

The air was stiflingly hot and he found his head beginning to spin from the loss of oxygen.   Still he frantically fended off the unholy knight, knowing he wouldn’t last long.

© 2014 Eddie Davis

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Added on November 29, 2013
Last Updated on May 28, 2014
Tags: Drow, Elf, Fantasy, Adventure, Undead, Death Knight, airship, necromancer, magix, knight, paladin

The Chronicles of Aurei Book 2: The Knights of Northmarch


Eddie Davis
Eddie Davis

Springfield, MO

I'm a fantasy and science-fiction writer that enjoys sharing my tales with everyone. Three trilogies are offered here, all taking place in the same fantasy world of Synomenia. Other books and stor.. more..

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A Chapter by Eddie Davis

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A Chapter by Eddie Davis