Shadows of Night

Shadows of Night

A Chapter by Eddie Davis
"

Aurei and her friends began the battle for control of the Necromancer's Airship

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54.

Shadows of Night

 

 

It was upon them almost at once, a terrible blackness, that attacked.   Its claws knocked Aurei, Eleazar and Haroldris from their feet, while Zeatt, Thorm and Lute jumped back, just barely in time.   Neal had a bow out and sent an arrow into the monster, but it sailed completely through it like empty air.

Aurei jumped to her feet, her body burning from where the shadowy talons had passed, though her armor shown no damage.   Eleazar too seemed hurt by the rake of the demon’s claws, though his armor too was free of damage.  

 

Haroldris was already on his feet, his flaming sword swinging at the creature, though his strikes seemed to not contact anything.

“Light!”   Zeatt screamed to them all, “It is susceptible to light!”

The shadow fiend’s claws raked over the King again, sending him down.   Aurei and Eleazar leapt up and charged the monster together.  

Its talons slashed at them again, but Eleazar blocked with Valere and the demon winced in pain.   Aurei brought Egregie at the creature and though it zipped through it as if it weren’t there, the creature staggered backwards in pain as her sword passed through it.

Suddenly from behind them came a ball of light that shot past them and exploded into the Shadow Demon, blinding everyone for an instant, and for a moment dispelling the darkness that covered the whole of the ship.

It was Rori, still standing on the deck of the Autumn Maid, using her Wand of Illumination.   Eleazar and Aurei moved in, swinging their swords in union at the beast’s legs and torso.   It staggered back, but clawed at them both, sending horrible burning pain through them.   Haroldris now joined them; slashing and stabbing with his sword, though all their blows seemed to fall into empty air.   Vinth and Thorm also joined them, as did Zeatt, swinging her twin-headed flail at the monster.  

Suddenly it vanished, its magic dispelled, but no sooner had the thing disappeared then through the ranks of the undead who were surrounding their still unseen master, swarmed something that seemed like it belonged in a nightmare.

It flowed like water, though it moved like the wind, a mass of grayish things, small beings with a few somewhat larger, distorted, deformed, and sinister, flying toward them and around them.   The flood of the things swarmed over them, tiny hands and teeth, wings and limbs, hitting, pinching, biting, slapping, grabbing from all sides.   They were engulfed in a moment and immediately were battling for their very lives.

Aurei had her Drow sword wrenched from her hand as a thousand little hands scratched and punched her.   Pixie-like laughter filled their ears as the creatures covered them.   Zeatt tried to cast a spell of warding, but was unable to do anything but protect her face from the claws and teeth.   Thorm, Pectros and Neal swung frantically at the creatures, and though they killed several, there were seemingly countless more to take their places.   Lute grabbed from the air many of them, crushing them to death with his huge hands, but their sharp teeth and claws were making his skin a mosaic of wounds.  

 

Rori tried to use the Wand of Illumination against them but with little effect.   They swarmed around her and lifted her up into the air, biting and scratching, only to then drop her on the deck of the other airship, devoid of her wands.

Vinth and Haroldris shielded their heads and tried to advance forward, seeking to find and destroy the one who had summoned their attacker.   They too were pulled off their feet, though they were not carried far into the air before they were dropped back to the deck.  

 

Eleazar waved his greatsword all around and the creatures seemed to fly out of the way of the enchanted blade, but it wasn’t enough to fend them off, and he too was overwhelmed with a thousand tiny wounds.

 

But it was Sir Alvis who came to the rescue.   Perhaps it was his Vampire minion status, but the creatures did not seem to even notice him at all.   He raised his Ice sword and sent forth the icy wind directly across the deck of the Necromancer Guild’s craft.   The wind threw everyone forward, sliding on a sheet of ice across the deck against the far railing.  

Both his friends and their foes tumbled across in the hurricane winds, but thankfully the swarm of fae creatures did as well, blown off the other side of the airship where they vanished.  

Only one being was not moved by the gale, a gaunt, average sized human shape with gray wrinkled skin that seemed extremely thin; so thin that the skull beneath it showed through.   He had no nose, only the socket where the nose had once been, and his lips were long gone too, revealing a sneering, hideous face, with large, silver glowing orbs where his eyes had been.  He wore rich grey and black robes and carried a staff with a green orb set into its head that pulsed.  

 

The Lich looked at Alvis and his mouth twisted into what was intended to be a smile.

“Good, good.”  He said; floating over the forms sprawled out on the deck a few feet beneath him.   “Played well, Sir Alvis.   You have killed Thantus and regrettably, your Vampire master is not here right now.   Therefore you will be destroyed."

The fiend snapped a skeletal hand in the Knight’s Direction and a ball of blue lightning shot across the deck then over to the Autumn Maid where it slammed into Sir Alvis, knocking him to the deck with a crack of thunder.   But it wasn’t a typical lightning bolt spell, for the electricity arced back across to the Necromancer ship.

It slammed into one of the prone undead forms, electrifying it, then to another, then another and two more, before arcing into Thorm, then to Lute, Zeatt, Neal, a zombie, Haroldris, Aurei, Eleazar, Vinth then Pectros, before it went through three more undead.  Then the electricity dissipated.   Aurei felt nothing, her magic resistance cancelling out the effect, and, surprisingly, Eleazar, sprawled out next to her on the deck, also seemed unaffected, due to some protection offered by his sword.

For the rest, though, the spell sent electricity coursing through them.   When it ended, all were stunned, but Neal and Vinth seemed seriously injured, and Thorm’s form jerked and twisted violently.  

Instinctively Aurei crawled quickly over to him, laying hands on him, “Be healed in Yesh’s name.”

The spasm stopped and he seemed to breathe easier, but Aurei looked up to see the Lich leering at her.

“Foolish, Duchess.   You should have played dead.”   He flicked his bony finger at her and a bolt of energy shot out at her.   The bolt hit her square in the chest, but dissipated to the shock of the Lich.

 

“What?!” It hissed as she jumped to her feet and charged forward.   She was not alone.   Eleazar was up and moving, and Haroldris, Lute and Zeatt were beginning to recover from the stunning effect of the chain lightning.

But for the time being it would be them against the horrid Lich.

The creature raised his hand again; about to cast another spell at them, but Eleazar brought his Holy sword down on the arm of the Lich, cutting deeply.   Aurei’s own sword missed as the Lich jerked back from his wound.  

The Lich swung his staff at Eleazar, but the half-Drow dodged out of the way. 

Again Eleazar swung his great sword, cutting deeply into the upper arm of the hand holding the staff.   The blow knocked the staff from his hand.    Aurei’s Drow sword contacted with the Lich’s torso, but it didn’t seem to faze him.    

The Lich hissed at Eleazar, lunging forward to slap at his head.   He jerked backwards, but the Lich’s hand caught his chin.   Immediately the half-Drow dropped to the ground, his limbs rigid with paralysis. 

 

Aurei slammed Egregie down hard on the Lich’s exposed head as he loomed over the fallen Paladin.

The blow contacted with his neck, slicing deep and sending yellow flames around his head.   He went down, on top of Eleazar, deeply injured, but not dead.

She was raising her sword to strike him again when Zeatt and Lute arrived.   The Half-Ogre pulled the Lich’s body from Eleazar’s paralyzed form as Zeatt rushed over to him.

Haroldris was right behind them and rushed over to the Lich, frantically looking him over as his silver eyes opened and he began to slowly regain his senses.

“His phylactery!   Where is it?!   It contains his soul, if we can destroy it…”

“His staff?” Aurei pointed at the green pulsing gem set into the head of his staff that was laying on the deck nearby.    The undead closest to them were already getting to their feet as the King ran over to the staff and brought his great sword down full force on the green gem.   It shattered, releasing a blinding flash of green light and the Lich’s body went limp.

 

 

“What happened to Laz?!”  Aurei asked her Aunt as she monitored the shuffling undead that were now moving toward them.

“Paralysis; a Lich’s touch does this.   Protect me while I heal him.”  

 

Without waiting for Aurei’s reply, she began chanting a healing spell.

Aurei reached down and scooped up Eleazar’s great sword.   She was surprised how light the large sword felt, but that of course was due to her amplified strength.   

A ghoul tried to jump her from behind.   She swung the great sword one-handed, cutting the creature in half.   Though she had no trouble with the weight of the blade, the size of the weapon made it difficult to maneuver it quickly single-handedly.  

With her own longsword, she impaled a slow moving zombie that stumbled toward Zeatt.    Most of the remaining undead held back since witnessing their master’s destruction.   Lute took up his great axe and stood with his back to her, guarding her rear flank, while the King battled back a pair of Wights.  

“Who’s hurt?”  She asked Lute without turning away from watching the undead.

“Vinth and Neal are still down.   Thorm is unconscious, but he’s breathing.    Pectros is checking on the Sorceress-girl.”

“What about Sir Alvis?” She asked, expecting the worst.

“He’s getting up over on the Autumn Maid.”

“Really?”  She risked a glance, surprised at the news.   It was true, the Knight Commander turned Vampire Minion was standing now on rather wobbly legs, his hair standing straight out from the effects of taking the first ball of lightning.

“Incredible.”  Aurei said before a Ghast crashed into her.   She kicked it off, her amplified strength sending the undead thing tumbling end-over-end several feet to land at Lute’s feet.   It let out a hiss an instant before the Half-Ogre’s axe chopped its chest cavity in half.

 

She heard Zeatt’s spell end, so she glanced back anxiously.   The sight of Eleazar sitting up flooded her heart with relief.   Haroldris had finished off the two Wights and backed up to join Lute and her.

“It’s getting lighter;   I think that phylactery was also the Lich’s Orb of Night.” The King said, looking around.

Now Aurei sensed it too, the darkness was fading away almost like nighttime just before dawn.

“Have we won?”   She asked the King, though she knew for certain they had not seen all of the undead on the ship.

“No, I am certain of that.    Their master is dead, but the Vampire Lord that Sir Alvis told us about will be lurking somewhere below, I imagine.”

“With Alis and Aeric.”   She added, sickened at the thought, “We’ve got to find them.”

“I don’t know if that is possible now, Aurei.   We were hit hard by the Lich and no doubt the Vampire Lord will have more of his number surrounding him.”

“We can’t leave them!”

“No, certainly not; but we have to be careful or we all will suffer their fate.”

“So what do we do, then?”   She asked as Eleazar joined them.   She handed him his sword, touching his hand with a slight squeeze which he returned with a weary smile.

“Are you hale, Earl Coldburn?” Haroldris asked the Elf knight.

“I am fit enough to fight, Your Highness.” 

“But how many others are likewise?”   Haroldris asked.   The light was increasing rapidly now, and most of the undead were scurrying toward one of the four entrances to the hold.

“Let them go!”  Haroldris yelled to Lute, Zeatt and Pectros.   They complied and a few moments passed until the darkness spell cast over the ship and countryside beneath completely dissipated, flooding the ship in early afternoon sunlight.   They were left alone on the deck and without another word they all gathered in the center where the King stood.  

 

Sir Alvis joined them, looking very weary, but whole.   Rori too seemed shaken, but aside from a multitude of scratches, was alright, and she found one of her wands - the Wand of Illumination- amidst the dead on the deck.    Eleazar, Alvis and Haroldris laid hands on Neal, Thorm and Vinth and they regained consciousness, though all three were certainly not fit enough for any further battles.  

 

Pectros was injured but had his usual determined look in his eyes that told them he would definitely not want to miss out on any sort of revenge on the undead.   

 

Lute seemed very set on destroying the undead on the ship, as did Zeatt, though she advised caution.   That left Aurei, who was equally determined to kill every undead thing that got in their way to rescue Alis and Aeric.

“How are you?”   Eleazar asked her, and the tone of his voice told her of some concern.

“I feel okay… it’s crazy, but it almost feels like I was clawed by that Shadow Demon.”

“You were.”   Eleazar assured her, “As I was.   The claws of the demon are of shadow and leave no visible mark on the flesh.   But you can feel them and they will not respond to magical healing.   Only several days of rest will restore a person after their attack.”

“You can’t go down into a vampire infested hole while still injured!”   Zeatt exclaimed to both of them.

“We’re going.”   Aurei answered for both of them, knowing with certainty that Eleazar shared her determination.

“We need to plan this out.”  Haroldris said, motioning for them to sit on the deck, “The undead will leave us alone now that the sunlight has reclaimed the ship.   But that won’t last any longer then the sun does.   We don’t dare tow this ship back to Westmark, for if any of the Vampires were to escape our grasp…”

“So what were they doing?”   Neal asked from where he sat weakly, “Were they dropping off more undead, or picking up the Vampires that attacked Westmark yesterday?”

“I would say picking them up.”   Sir Alvis answered, “Perhaps they hoped to interrogate Alis and Aeric about our defenses, or even send them back to us as full-fledged Vampires.”

“If they aren’t already full-fledged Vampires.”   Aurei commented, anxiously.

“Aurei, that is a possibility.   It is also something we need to remember; our friends may be controlled by the Vampire Lord that bit them.   They won’t be able to resist his commands.   Believe me; I know this to be true.”   Alvis shivered, “I thank Yesh that the one that bit me is not among them, or I too would be their pawn against you.”

 

“We can’t kill them.”  Aurei said to all those around her, “Remember that; they are alive, just being controlled by their master.   We capture and subdue them if at all possible.”

“I’d suggest that Neal, Vinth and Thorm join the crew on the Autumn Maid, while we go into the hold.    If we were to get into trouble, they may have to rescue us.”   The King said, noting the three men’s frustrated expressions.

“So we sit on our duffs while ye are riskin’ your lives?  ‘Tis hard to do, sire.”   Thorm shook his head, shamed of his own weakness.

“I know, Thorm, but there is no sense in risking our injured in this endeavor.   If they targeted the three of you - and they usually do target the injured- then you, Neal or Vinth could be turned into weapons against us.    For both of our sakes, you had best stay behind.”

“Well if that is the case, then I won’t need these.”   Neal took off his gauntlets, handing them to Zeatt, “Ma’am, I’d be honored if you’d wear them to give you greater strength to beat the evil out of any of those worthless maggots.”

Zeatt took the gauntlets with a nod, “I will indeed gladly wear them, thank you Neal.”

 

***

 

They spent some time using the healing potions they had brought with them and preparing for what they knew would be their deadliest test.    Neal, Vinth and Thorm reluctantly returned to the Autumn Maid, and the King gave Captain Tarron very specific orders about keeping the ship out of the hands of any vampires if they were unsuccessful.  

They would remain moored to the larger ship until almost twilight, and if they did not emerge victorious from the hold of the huge ship by then, the crew was to sever the mooring lines and return to Westmark.  

It was Alvis’ idea to release the twin Fire Elementals imprisoned 25 feet above them in a pair of control rings.   The Knight Commander even had the means to free them; his ice sword.   They all stood back as Alvis released the hurricane-like arctic blast directly at the two rings high above them.   The icy blast engulfed them for nearly a minute and they were afraid his plan would fail, when finally, slowly; they faded away, leaving the two huge controlling rings encased in ice.

 

“Now they won’t be able to take the ship far if we fail.”   He told his companions.   They debated whether it would be safe to have him join them, but it was decided that his skill at arms would justify the risk.

“Other Vampire Lords cannot control the Minions made by another Lord?”   Aurei verified, and he nodded.  

“So if we kill Alis and Aeric’s lord, they will be free from his control?”

“Yes, though they will not be free from the effects of the vampirism.”

“We’ll deal with one problem at a time.” She patted Sir Alvis’ hand, “And we will free you too… eventually.”

He smiled slightly with a nod and they turned to other topics.

 

An hour later they were ready for the descent.   Each wore their Holy Symbols around their necks.    Aurei had brought several of the Muddy Boot’s Lighting sticks, and these she gave to Pectros and Lute.

 

They selected one of the four doorways that led down into the bowels of the ship.   Aurei and Eleazar led the way, with King Haroldris and Zeatt taking up the rear flank.

 

Aurei didn’t know exactly what to expect, having never been below deck on one of the Necromancer Guild’s vessels.   They were assaulted first by the most horrid smell imaginable.   It was the smell of death, as if they had stepped into a slaughter house on a hot day.  

 

Gagging from the odor as they checked each room on the topmost level, they found that most of the quarters housed many of the undead they had encountered on deck, though the majority was clearly set up for zombies, ghasts or ghouls.

Amazingly, the whole upper level was free of anything living or undead.   

“They’ll be on the lowest level, in the darkest area.” Alvis assured them, and nobody doubted him.

The next two levels seemed set aside for less odorous undead, but these too were uninhabited.  

They came upon a thick wood door, reinforced with iron and as soon as they neared it, an overwhelming sense of evil swept over them.  

“The lowest level.”   Eleazar told the others in a whisper that only made it more sinister in the artificial light cast by their swords and light sticks.

“They’re down there.”   Aurei added, but everyone could feel it too.  

“There won’t be any light and only a narrow path for escape.   Stay as close together as you can; let them come to you; don’t engage them as they may try to isolate you.   Don’t look into their eyes.    They may appear as animals or even a mist.” Eleazar instructed them.  

 

“Remember that to fully destroy them, their heads must be cut off and a stake through their hearts.  The Vampire Lord will certainly use magic and he will probably be expecting us, and Alis and Aeric are probably in here too.”

“Everybody ready?”  Aurei asked, nervous but anxious to get the dreaded, deadly encounter over with immediately.  

They all nodded each taking a deep breath.

“Here we go.”  Eleazar said, as he opened the door.

 

 



© 2014 Eddie Davis


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"...but their sharp teeth and claws were making his skin a mosaic of wounds." I love this; the imagery of this sentence is wonderful.

Posted 10 Years Ago


Eddie Davis

10 Years Ago

Thank you, Elina

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Added on December 19, 2013
Last Updated on May 12, 2014
Tags: Drow, Elf, Knight, Undead, Vampire, Lich, Necromancer, zombie, magic, wizard, Paladin, Ogre, Dwarf, Good versus Evil, Adventure, Fantasy

The Chronicles of Aurei Book 2: The Knights of Northmarch


Author

Eddie Davis
Eddie Davis

Springfield, MO



About
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