He awoke again in the evening, feeling better rested, but very hungry. Lt. Ailill gave him a quick check-up, and once he had agreed the half-dragon was well, a young aide led him to a small table, then quickly brought a hearty meal. Garkhen ate quickly, feeling himself reviving.
Once he had finished, Ailill came in and inspected him more thoroughly. Finally, after several minutes of questions, exercises, and so forth, the elf reluctantly agreed that he was well.
“I’m quite surprised you recovered so quickly, Private,” he said, “But I suppose I should expect no less, given your heritage.”
Garkhen nodded. “I owe… much to my parentage, though there are some aspects of it I would not have chosen.”
For a moment, Lt. Ailill seemed like he would say something about this… but then the moment passed. It took yet another moment for him to say, “Private, you’re well enough to report for duty. I suspect your squad will be glad to see you.”
They were, indeed. Sgt. Gerim smiled when he saw the armored half-dragon approaching.
“Private Garkhen! I didn’t know you’d be able to make it in time for tonight.”
“I was not certain I would, either,” Garkhen replied, “But it seems I have recovered from last night’s exertions.”
The Sergeant waited for Garkhen to take his place with his fellow soldiers, then said, “We were just reviewing our orders. We’ve received word that we might be sallying tonight, if the Rebels are as good as their word and attack the undead after nightfall. Until that happens, we will be manning our posts on the wall.”
“If the order comes to sally, we will join up with the rest of the Company at that gate,” he pointed to the east, “With all possible speed. We will march out and take our place in formation. And we will kill whoever’s been raising these corpses.”
That brought ragged cheer from the squad. The thought of striking back, after the grinding battle of the last nights, was certainly an attractive thought.
There was a lighter mood amongst the assembled soldiers at their evening meal. Talk of what they would do to those responsible for the undead army that night filled the air. Garkhen felt rather… odd, around so much talk of violence. While he could clearly see the necessity here, yet he still shrank from the thought of actually raising a weapon against another living being. The walking dead, those he could destroy. It was a mercy, a release from the terrible magics that held them bound to this life—if even there was anything vaguely sentient in the animated corpses. But even a necromancer was another man.
He strove to push such thoughts aside as he took up his accustomed position on the wall. Again the undead army advanced as night fell, and again he had to hold his wards against their initial barrage of destructive magics. It was not so intense as the night before, as if the attackers had exhausted themselves as thoroughly as the defenders. Whatever the reason, Garkhen was glad enough to not be facing such an assault again.
And then, when night had fully fallen, a sudden light appeared in the distance, beyond the throngs of walking dead around the walls. A flame, with a dark shape behind it. Garkhen peered at the sight, wondering. Was it a fire-breathing dragon, flying low and burning those on the ground?
Then he noticed something else. Where it had before been a clear evening, without a cloud in the sky, now the stars above them were steadily disappearing behind an expanding blackness. The magical assault faltered, as if their foes were also noticing and wondering at the meaning of these things.
And then, the skies began to rain fire.
Oh, look, a rain of fire. No big deal. Happens all the time, right?