Chronicles of Draezoln

Tales of the world of Draezoln

Monthly Archives: October 2013

Chapter 9-3

But then the rumors started. Someone had been let in the front gates. A small group of emissaries from the Rebel forces, if what was said could be believed. Garkhen himself, overhearing the conversation as he had his evening meal, did not know what to make of it. It seemed speculation was rampant over what it could mean. Were they delivering an ultimatum, revealing their alliance with these dark forces? Were they proposing an alliance against an unexpected (and very dangerous) third side in the war? Or were they here for something else entirely?

Garkhen was not sure he even believed anyone had come, much less some of the rumors about the group. But then a messenger from Captain Telarnen arrived, ordering Garkhen to come meet with him. He could feel the eyes of all present on him as he followed the messenger out of the hall they had claimed for their mess.

It wasn’t far to where the Captain awaited Garkhen. The messenger lead him to a door, knocked on it, and spoke briefly with a guard. Then he was let in. The half-dragon saw several of the Loyalist officers he recognized, as well as many he did not. In one corner of the room, a small, mismatched group sat. They looked to Garkhen rather like ‘Irregulars’–the term he had learned for adventurers in military employ.

All in the room were focused on a semi-transparent robed man standing in the middle of the room. At first Garkhen thought him some sort of spirit, but he soon realized the truth of the matter—it was a magical sending, an image of a man who was actually some distance away, speaking through means of spells.

“Clearly, we have no way of proving to you that we have no affiliation with these undead abominations,” the sending was saying, “But I can say this: our strike on their rear will be quite… visible. It will be clear before you sortie that we are not betraying you.”

One of the Loyalist generals snorted derisively. “Well I suppose we’ll just wait for that proof to make our move, then.”

The guard who had let Garkhen in quietly steered him to Cpt. Telarnen’s side. The Captain saw his soldier approach, and leaned over to speak with him.

“Rebel emissaries,” he nodded at the odd group in the corner. “They have put us in contact with their generals via this wizard.”

Garkhen nodded, to show he understood, then whispered a question. “Why have you asked for me, sir?”

The sending was speaking again. “That would be acceptable, yes. But our attack will be much more effective if your troops are prepared to sally when we strike.”

Captain Telarnen took a moment to listen… or perhaps to think. “I thought that your… unique perspective might be useful in this situation. Tell me if anything occurs to you.”

“Yes, sir.”

The Ferdunan Grand General’s voice cut through the room. “Then we will be prepared tomorrow night. But our soldiers will not move from our walls until we have seen this proof you promise.”

The sending nodded, then seemed to stare off into space. After a moment, he looked back at the Grand General. “Then it is agreed. You will again grant our messengers safe passage?”

“Of course,” he replied, seeming almost insulted at the suggestion he might do something else.

“Then we are agreed,” The sending said. “If you must change the plan, your mages should be able to get a sending to us, but we suspect there may be some amongst those controlling the undead who might well be able to intercept these messages. It would be best if we were not to depend upon sendings.”

And with that, the sending disappeared. Captain Telarnen sighed quietly and turned to Garkhen.

“I suppose I called you too late. Unless you have something you wish to say, Private?”

Garkhen shook his head slightly. “No, sir.”

“Then return to your unit. And keep this quiet for the time being. It’s best not to spread tales until they must be known.”

********

So, Garkhen finds out something about the Rebel forces. But are they telling the truth? Or are they actually in league with the undead horde? Tune in next week to find out! 😀

Chapter 9-2

Despite sleeping away much of the day, Garkhen hardly felt rested when he finally arose. The eyes of his fellow soldiers told a similar tale about their feelings. A hearty meal helped somewhat with their fatigue, however, and drills forced them into wakefulness.

The undead assaulted again at the fall of night. The battle was as terrible as the night before. While the defenders were now better prepared, yet there was something… terrifying about their mindless relentlessness. And while the Loyalist forces suffered few casualties, yet it seemed they were hardly reducing the size of the host before them.

Garkhen was more conservative in his use of priestly magic and draconic breath during the battle. He healed only when necessary to save lives, and used his lightning breath only once, near dawn. Yet he found himself as exhausted as before. His squad seemed to be suffering similarly. Perhaps, for all that the dead seemed to be attacking them ineffectually, they would win through grinding fatigue.

Two more days and nights passed similarly. The third day, the mood amongst the defenders was gloomy. Many men had deserted the first night, with a steady trickle over the last several days, and those remaining were feeling the strain. These were not men who had marched from their homes anticipating facing the undead and whatever fell wizards had animated them. Many could not face such horrors. Those who stayed… recognized that the horrors would soon reach their homes if they were not stopped here.

*****

Next week’s post will hopefully be longer, since I actually *don’t* have a paper due next week.

Chapter 9-1

Chapter 9: Long Night

The rest of that night passed in a haze of exhaustion. Garkhen could only remember a vague, faceless stream of undead, climbing up ladders to meet his mace. Every now and again they managed to throw one of the heavy ladders down, but always another took its place.

And yet, for all of their exhaustion, their lines held. The walking dead gained no foothold upon the walls, and their arrows and the spells of the hooded ones found few weaknesses in their armor. There would be much work for healers that day, yes, but little work for gravediggers, save for reburying the corpses of those whose eternal slumber had been disturbed.

The tide of the dead ebbed before the sun’s first rays. By the time the sun rose, the army of undead were already miles distant, camped to the west of the walls. But the keenest-eyed among their lookouts could make out another army to the north—the Rebel forces had made camp some miles from the city. Rumors flowed faster than the river. Were they waiting for their undead allies to grind the Loyalists down before retaking Garnot? Were they simply waiting to see what happened? Were they as surprised by the appearance of this army of walking dead as the Loyalists?

Other rumors spoke of what their forces might do. Would they try to strike at the undead during the daytime hours? Would messengers be sent to the Rebel army? But these things held little interest for Garkhen at the time. As soon as Sgt. Gerim dismissed him, he stumbled his way to his quarters and collapsed into a deep, dreamless sleep.

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Sorry for the late post. I had a group project to work on over the weekend, so most of my writing was going towards that.

Chapter 8-8

“Private Garkhen!” Garkhen looked over at the source of the shout, and saw Sgt. Gerim running up to the wall. “Let’s get this off of here!”

He had sheathed his sword, and set his hand to the top of the ladder as he reached the wall. Garkhen saw what he wanted, slid his mace into its belt loop, and stepped forward.

“Now heave!”

With all his might, Garkhen pushed, digging the blunt claws of his feet into a seam in the wall for more traction. Slowly, the ladder started to tip back. Straining against the weight, Garkhen heaved with all his might. The ladder lurched outward, hung for an agonizing moment, and then steadily tipped further back, dropping into the dark sea of undead beyond with a great crash.

“Didn’t… think… we could… actually… do it,” the Sergeant gasped. “Guess that… dragon blood’s… good for… something… Private.”

Garkhen nodded at the grinning, gasping human, his own slight smile hidden by his helmet. Said helmet then saved him from another arrow. Sgt. Gerim brought up his shield, and Garkhen did likewise, as more arrows came raining down. Somewhere off to his left, Garkhen heard a cry of pain. He turned to look, arrows still rattling off his shield. One of the archers had not gotten to cover quickly enough, and lay on the ground with an arrow protruding from his chest. Another soldier crouched over him with a shield, protecting them both, but the wound was likely fatal.

Impulsively, Garkhen rushed over, trusting to his shield and armor to defend him from the arrows. With his free hand he grasped his symbol of Bahamut, chanting a spell-prayer. He reached the fallen man just as he finished it, and touched the now glowing symbol to the wound. As it began to close, Garkhen wrenched the arrow out. The flow of blood quickly stopped as his healing magic took hold.

Once he was certain the man would live, Garkhen stood… and nearly fainted from exhaustion. That had been a wearying spell. He had to remember to conserve his energy if he was going to last through the night. Two more ladders crashed against the wall, and Garkhen forced himself to go to the nearest and smash the skeleton which was just reaching the top of the wall.

******

Another short post. Sorry.