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Shade of Black

Shade of Black

A Chapter by Eddie Davis
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Aurei, Sophia, Zeatt, Eleaazar and Khord discover something unknown before

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33.

Shade of Black

 

The next morning, Sophia’s voice had recovered enough to begin teleporting the Senators back to their residences.   Aurei and Eleazar, along with Zeatt and Khord, waited for her aboard the Autumn Maid.   Rori was kept asleep with a spell, so she could have some time to recover and give them time enough to learn the truth about what happened.

 

While they waited, Zeatt caught up with the news of what had been going on with Sophia and Khord since the last time she had seen them.   She questioned her adopted son in typical motherly fashion, much to Aurei and Eleazar’s amusement as they listened quietly from the other side of the room.

Khord seemed very comfortable talking to her, but very reserved when the questions turned somewhat more personal.  

Aurei guessed it was his attempt to protect Sophia and to hide the fact that he and his adopted sister were intimate.   Little did he imagine that Zeatt already knew they were lovers.   But she didn’t tell him about her knowledge as she sensed he’d be so uncomfortable around her that he would never look at her as his mother again.

 

“… and I’m thrilled to say that the leaves from the tree really worked, Khord!”  She was finishing telling him about the Faesidhe leaf tea cure for her addiction to Dart’loxinchu.

“That’s wonderful, mother.”  He smiled.

“I assume Sophia is still smoking as heavily as ever?”

Khord nodded, wrinkling his nose, “Yes, but I seriously doubt she’d even consider trying your cure.   She enjoys it too much, which I certainly can’t understand.  She smokes everywhere!   This is probably the longest time she’s gone without Dart’loxinchu in as long of a time as I can remember.” 

“She smoked at work, though Drake wasn’t at all pleased at that, she smokes out in the field when we are retrieving some magic item, she even smokes in bed, which she knows drives me crazy… uh, b-because it stinks up her room, I mean.”

The tall Drow man fell quickly silent, mortified that he had nearly revealed their sleeping arrangement in his passionate rant about her heavy addiction to Dart’loxinchu.

 

Zeatt just smiled and nodded, pretending she hadn’t caught his slip, but shooting Aurei a quick look and a wink.

“Well, try to convince her to give it up, dear, and I’ll do the same; though if I say anything she’ll resent it, of course.”

“Maybe not, mother; she’s beginning to see things differently, I think.   Now with both Drake and Kinzer gone, I don’t know what will happen to us.   The other Watchers weren’t too fond of us.   It was Drake that persuaded them to overlook a lot of things.”

“So she is a rebel even around the Watchers?”  Zeatt asked her adopted son.

 

“I’m not a rebel, mother!”  Sophia said suddenly from behind them, causing all of them to jump.   She walked to them with a frown on her face, “So what have you been doing while I was working?   Talking about me?”

“Sophia, we were not talking about you!”  Zeatt protested.

“Well what would you call it, mother?   Digging for information?”  She rolled her eyes in exasperation and promptly changed the subject, “All the old men have been taken home.   I’d suggest we check out the Sanyala estate while it is still sunny outside; just in case.”

 

The idea seemed logical to the other four Drow and so bidding the others aboard the ship goodbye, they gathered around the girl and held hands as she began chanting the teleportation spell.

 

***

 

The room into which they teleported was pitch black.   Even on a bright spring day, it seemed like the depths of a moonless night.   Something wasn’t right.   Aurei now certainly felt it as her eyesight quickly adjusted to the darkness.   She glanced around cautiously, her red glowing eyes one of five sets that surveyed the room.  

 

The air seemed stagnant here; hot, musty and mixed with a strong hint of human body odor that only helped to reinforce the tomb-like air in the room.   Why didn’t I notice this when we were here yesterday, Aurei asked herself as she scanned the dark room.

 

Eleazar touched her arm and without a sound she looked over at him.   With his eyes, he directed her to the far end of the room, where something lurked.   She didn’t see it, nor did she hear it, but she sensed it.   It was something alien, but undead too and it knew they were in the room with it. 

“We need light.” Khord whispered; his words seeming somehow extremely loud in the stillness.

“Something’s in here with us.” Sophia’s voice was filled with fear and she clutched her staff tightly, unconsciously moving closer to her mother while Khord hurried over to the tightly shuttered windows in hopes of pouring light into the dark room.

Zeatt had just begun chanting a protection spell upon them when the things in the room attacked.

 

They came out of nowhere, screeching like enraged eagles, four humanoid forms, but radiating no heat that any of them could detect.   They were upon them before they could prepare, knocking Zeatt and Sophia down as they leapt on top of them with their hands clawing for their faces.  

 

Aurei also had one of the shadowy figures attack her, flinging her across the Senator’s bed.   She kicked the form as it dove at her on the bed, and her kick sent the thing tumbling backwards.   She had Egregie out of its scabbard in an instant and she thought of bright light, which the holy sword produced at once, blinding everyone in the bedroom as white light shattered the inky blackness.   

 

But she didn’t wait, knowing that the advantage from the brilliant light would not last long.  She swung the sword without sight, allowing her memory of where her opponent had been moments before, to guide her aim.

 

Her aim was true and the shadowy formed yelped in pain.    Again she swung blindly, closing her eyes so she would not be tempted to fight the brilliant after-image during her attack.

Once again her swing found its mark and the creature gave a very human scream that made Aurei cringe.   Opening her eyes, she could see how the others were faring with their opponents.

Eleazar was very experienced in fighting without sight, and had already dispatched his foe, which lay sprawled on the floor. 

 

Zeatt was still battling her attacker, defending her face from the thing’s claws, though both were equally as blind in the brilliant white light radiating from Egregie.

 

Sophia was suffering terribly, as her adversary was atop of her, raking her face with long claws.

 

Though her vision had not yet cleared completely, Aurei moved at once to her cousin, ripping the form of a wild looking dark haired girl off of Sophia with her supernaturally enhanced strength.  The girl growled like a dog and lunged at her, but her sword sliced through her deep and sent her to the ground dead.  

Eleazar was already pulling Zeatt’s attacker from her and she was another dark haired, wild eyed person, who growled and bit at Eleazar until Aurei ended her attacks with a sword thrust.

But before they could check on Zeatt and Sophia, their attention was drawn to the battle close to the still shuttered window.   Khord was facing something totally different than the crazed humans that attacked the others.

 

It was human-like in form, but in the glaring light from Aurei’s sword all they could see was its pure black form.   It gave off no reflection, but it wasn’t like the skin of a Drow, for there was no hair, no features - nothing but jet black darkness covering it, as if night itself had wrapped tightly around a human form. 

 

Khord was a master swordsman and despite the brilliant light blinding him, he had struck the black figure, stabbing it deeply with both of his swords.   But as they watched, the darkness around the figure seemed to leak out of it onto Khord’s twin swords.   He pulled them backwards as the figure fell forward, but the blackness flowed quickly up the sword blades, even after he had pulled the swords free from the form.  

 

Khord stepped back quickly, but the darkness moved even quicker and before he could throw down his blades, the blackness had flowed up his arms.   He cried out in alarm, his swords falling from his hands.   Aurei and Eleazar raced over to him, while Zeatt and Sophia were still getting to their feet.

 

“Don’t touch me!” Khord warned as they reached him, “It transfers quickly!  It’s cold, so very cold!”

The shadow flowed all over his body now, like a dye saturating cloth.   He backed away from them, wide-eyed as the darkness reached his face and engulfed it in an instant.

“Yesh!”  Aurei exclaimed in horror, “We’ve got to help him!”

Eleazar grabbed her arm as she reached out to the tall Drow.

“Wait!   It will envelop you, too!  Look!”  He gestured at the figure that had attacked Khord, which now lay motionless, crumpled against the floor.   The shadow had left him, revealing the corpse of a skinny, pale-faced young man.  It resembled the dried up husk of a piece of fruit.

 

“What can we do to help him?”   Aurei asked frantically, as Zeatt and Sophia joined them.

Sophia, her face covered in blood from the claws of her attacker, screamed in fright as she saw Khord engulfed by the darkness.   Zeatt grabbed her daughter, pulling her back to keep her from touching him.

 

 

Suddenly Khord - or the thing covering him- bolted forward, as if it meant to escape.   Aurei and Eleazar jumped out of its way, but Zeatt and her hysterical daughter were caught off guard and fell over a chair in the room as they tried to move out of the thing’s way.   Down they tumbled in a heap and the thing that controlled Khord stopped and reached down for them.

Zeatt attempted to turn it by Yesh’s name, but it did not pause.   Unable to get to her Rod of Flailing or crawl out of range, Zeatt wildly grabbed something out of her cloak pocket and threw it at the head of the black figure that had engulfed her adopted son.

 

It was a vial of holy water, and it shattered against its head.   The dark figure jerked backwards in great pain, and for a few moments the top of Khord’s head was revealed before the darkness again flowed over it.

 

“Holy water!” Zeatt yelled out, and thankfully her meaning was clear to Eleazar and Aurei.   As the thing enveloping Khord moved backwards, still stunned from the dousing of water, the two Paladins quickly pulled small holy water flasks from pockets in their cloaks.

The creature spun to meet them, but they didn’t rush, letting it advance before they flung the Holy water.   It wasn’t a large amount, but their throws had distributed it over more of the black form, causing it to immediately develop holes where the form of Khord could be seen underneath.  

“It’s not enough!”  Aurei yelled to her aunt.

 

Zeatt was already chanting a spell as the thing tried to escape them.   They didn’t dare engage it, but by holding their empty holy water vials, they were able to bluff it back until Zeatt finished her spell, which she cast upon Khord.   He was covered in a pink glow for a second and then the darkness began shriveling up quickly from him.

 

“I just cast a blessing spell on him.”  Zeatt explained as the darkness retreated until it finally disappeared, sending Khord to his knees, gasping for air and cold to the touch.

 

Sophia pushed past them all, running to him, “Khord!   Oh, no, you’re so cold!   No!”  She desperately hugged him, as if trying to pass her warmth to him.

“Mamma, help him!” She pitifully begged Zeatt, her voice hinting at a terrified girl rather than the self-assured Sorceress.   Zeatt looked more than a little concerned and helpless, kneeling beside her bleeding daughter, who cradled the unconscious Khord.

 

Immediately the bishop of Yesh began chanting a healing spell and Eleazar laid hands on him while Zeatt chanted.

Yet neither action seemed to completely restore the man, though he did open his eyes and look rather bewildered at all the attention being lavished upon him.

 

“Your eyes!”  Sophia gasped when she glanced down at him.

They all looked down at him, and at once saw what surprised Sophia.   Though his eyes still shined bright red in the dim light (as Aurei had sheathed her sword, restoring the light in the room to normal), the whites of his eyes were a gray color, nearly the same shade as Eleazar’s skin.

 

“What’s going on?  What’s wrong with my eyes?”  He asked, and then he noticed Sophia’s terribly scratched face, “Yesh!  Sophie, what happened to you?!”  He tried to sit up, but Sophia pushed him back down.

“Don’t worry about me, they’re just scratches.   You were engulfed by that… thing!”

He unconsciously shivered at the memory, but stayed centered on Sophia’s injuries, “I’m alright; you however need healed.”   He looked over at the Paladins and Aurei quickly touched her cousin’s head and prayed for healing upon her.  

The terrible wounds disappeared, leaving the Drow girl’s beautiful face, still showing deep concern for Khord.

 

“Thanks.” She mumbled to Aurei and then looked over to her mother.   “Mother, what would cause the whites of his eyes to turn gray?”

“I have heard of something like this… somewhere.   I read about it in the accounts of the Bishop Ohallem’s battles with the undead, but there were so many stories, I don’t remember what exactly causes it.   The book was in my library; if it is still there and we can get to it, perhaps we can find out.”

“Well, we are in town, so that shouldn’t be difficult.” Eleazar replied, and then looking down at Khord, “Can you stand up?”

Khord got to his feet normally, “I feel okay; just somewhat cold, but even that is not too bad.”

Sophia stood up and turned his face to her so she could scrutinize his face closely, “Your eyes are different, Khord.   The whites of them are definitely gray in color.   Can you see clearly?”

The Drow looked around the dim room, “Yes, in fact, I think I can see even clearer than I could earlier.”

Sophia pulled her hair back from her ear and leaned down, pressing that ear against his chest for a few moments, then smiling, “Well, you have a heartbeat, so you’re not undead.”

“I’m certainly glad for that!” He smiled at her, “I do feel rather cool though, like it was winter outside.”

 

Sophia glanced over at Eleazar, Aurei and especially at her mother for a moment, then with a deep breath, turned back to Khord, gently took his chin in her hand then leaned in and kissed him passionately on the lips.

 

Khord tried to pull back in alarm, his eyes wide as he fearfully glanced over toward Zeatt.   The Drow Matron just stood there, the hint of a smile showing as she watched her adopted son’s fearful look.

Ending the kiss, Sophia grinned, “Well, his lips are warm.”   She turned to her Mom with a determined look, “Mother, I have something to tell you.   Khord and I-“

 

Zeatt held up her hand, “Yes, Sophia, I know about that.”

“You do?” She glanced over to Khord, suspecting he’d confessed.

Zeatt laughed, “Don’t worry; Khord didn’t say anything; how could he have; I have hardly seen you for a year.”

Sophia was dumbfounded, but managed to stammer, “Then how’d you know?”

Zeatt’s eyebrows arched, “I am your mother; I know my children.”

Khord shifted uncomfortably, looking as if he could simply melt into the floor.  Zeatt noticed his discomfort and she went up to him and took his hand, “Khord, don’t look so tormented.  I wish you had both just been open with me and not just assumed that I’d act like a monster.   You both need to make your relationship official and sanctified through marriage.”  

She quickly shot a glance to her daughter, anticipating a strong negative reaction from her rebellious child.   She surprised her with a shrug.

“Well, he hasn’t asked me, so…”

Khord opened his mouth but Sophia held up a finger, stopping him, “-And he had better think up a more romantic way to ask me then standing in a dark, creepy room filled with corpses!”

Zeatt chuckled, but looked at her adopted son’s eyes closely, “I think we can leave the relationship issues for another time; I’d like to find that book so we can see what has happened to Khord.”

 

They all whole-heartedly agreed with her idea, mainly to end the awkwardness in the room.   But before they did, they looked at the wild eyed humans that had also attacked them.  Three were very young; probably teenaged or somewhat younger.   The fourth, which had clawed at Sophia, was a middle-aged woman who resembled the younger ones so much they assumed she was their mother.  

The skinny corpse that had been covered by the black shadow also resembled the other four, though he seemed slightly older than the teenaged corpses.

“I’ll bet this is Rori’s family.”  Aurei theorized, anguished at the possibility.

“Rori does resemble some of them.”  Zeatt agreed grimly, “But I don’t want to share this with her when we return.  The girl has experienced too much grief.”

They all agreed and pulled the bodies together into a pile in the middle of the room.  

“How horrible.”  Aurei thought out loud as they left the room.

“We’ll have to figure out what to do with the bodies, but first let’s see if we can help Khord.”   Zeatt suggested, and a moment later Sophia was chanting a teleportation spell to take them to her mother’s estate across town.

 

 



© 2014 Eddie Davis


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This was yet another excellent chapter! You had me on the edge of my seat; wonderfully done.

Posted 10 Years Ago


Eddie Davis

10 Years Ago

Thank you, Elina, you are most kind.

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Added on January 30, 2014
Last Updated on April 19, 2014
Tags: Drow, Elf, Undead, Shadow, Shade, good versus evil, fantasy, adventure, relationships

The Chronicles of Aurei Book 3: Bane of the Necromancers


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