Dal Riata Short Story Chapter Five – Everybody dies.

“Have at thee!”

The head of a skeletal guard was pulverized into millions of shards under the impact of Tarathorn’s mighty shield, as his battle cry rang across the murky vaults.

Roaring inferno fired from Sinder’s finger tips into the undead, and dozens of them charred in an instant.

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For every undead that fell, ten more charged forward among the rotted ranks to clash against the heroic wardens. The undead surged forward with ever increasing numbers, stopping the wardens at the ancient stone bridge.

Dancer rained arrows onto the menacing mass of dead flesh, and looked ahead towards the central platform with great worry. “Zee, scout ahead and see what Clan Active is up to. We do not want to kill the undead army for them while they are helping themselves to the loot of the boss!”

Although they were winning battles, Dancer could not help but felt that they were losing the war.

“Aye!” Zeeshan looked up at Dancer, and squinted he eyes to find a safe spot to leap onto.

In a yellow blur, Zeeshan had already shadowstruck a target that had unfortunately strayed a little too far towards the edge of the platform. The zombie had its head cleanly removed by Zeeshan’s purple glowing blades before his padded boots even landed on the ancient stone floor.

Zeeshan scanned around the platform, and only saw frozen bodies lying around the Necromancer.

Two black robed acolytes moved towards Zeeshan with unnatural speed, and caught him by surprise. His two purple glowing daggers shot up to parry a skeletal arm coming down wickedly towards him. He could feel hear a sickening crack as another slammed hard against his side. He rolled skillfully to break his fall, but the acolytes were already upon him again before he could even stand on his feet.

A barrage of arrows tore into the chest of the acolytes, and sent them sprawling several feet away. Zeeshan looked up, and saw Alok appearing out of concealment at the other end of the platform, where it was joined by another bridge.

“We have to warn the rest! Before –” Alok shouted, and then paused as the hands of the Necromancer began to dance amidst glowing green runes.

“Before wha–” Zeeshan was in mid question as Alok grabbed him by the waist and leapt off the platform, while his other arm had a grappling hook already in mid swing.

A bright light shot across the platform, towards the bridge where the wardens were gathered. The zombies and skeletons who were minding their own business, whatever businesses rotting carcasses conducted in their free time, which naturally is abundant, and happened in the way of the cone of cold, froze and shattered instantly.

Dancer shielded his eyes, as chilling screams assaulted his ears. When he opened his eyes, he saw that Tarathorn, along with a third of the wardens, had frozen in place.

Zeeshan gripped onto the edge of the platform, and questioned if he was hallucinating : the Necromancer had grew twice his size.

“Yes, he saps power from the victims of his ice magic.” Alok muttered, staring expressionless at the bodies lying at the Necromancer’s feet.

Without missing a beat, the Necromancer began chanting again. Behind him, undead continued to rise from the glow green bone piles.


Slurgrim stared at the mayhem with disbelief. The siege against the Necromancer had gone horribly wrong; the wardens were falling too fast; they had charged in blindly and disorganized. At this rate, the Necromancer will be marching the heroes back towards Castle Farcrag as his undead army!

Once his master have vanquished the last of Dal Riata’s heroes, he would then have no more need of Slurgrim alive. Something had to be done.

Green magic glowed around Slurgrim as he prepared his final betrayal to his undead master.


Something had to be done. Xavier thought.

His fellow wardens were falling around him.

The Necromancer wielded far more powerful magic than they could imagine. His ice magic was laced with chaos and death magics; the druids’ wards could do little against the onslaught.

Xavier reached into the deepest recesses of the source that powered the magic of his Exalted Dragonlord armor, and tried to connect with it.

He always had the theory that the ancient texts were referring to this particular divination method, but he had always been forbidden to try it.

Xavier knew he was relying entirely on intuition. Chaos and divine magic had a very thin line, and crossing it had always proved fatal. He mumbled a prayer and channeled his blue magic inwards.

Xavier fumbled in the blue darkness for a while, and a green light engulfed his world.

The light spoke.

“Child. You are the first to have reached me since the time of the six.”

Xavier bit his lip, he shivered uncontrollably, as knew he was in the presence of a god.

“Lord Nuada!” Xavier fell to his knees.

“I know your intentions. My wardens have all but fallen. However, in time the balance will return.”

“The necromancer will destroy Castle Farcrag!” Xavier defended.

“Yes. That too is balance.”

“Why did you charge us with the defense of Dal Riata then?”

“Crom would have destroyed the balance.”

“We…. Your wardens are dying!”

“You were drunk with the power of my boon.”

“We need your help; the Necromancer is too strong, my lord. Not one of us could stand against him. Our numbers meant nothing.”

There was silence, a silence that was deafening to Xavier. The emptiness around him began to crush him.

His companions were dying!

“Have we no merit?” Xavier implored.

Silence.

“Have we no merit at all!?!” Xavier shouted in desperation.

Silence…. And then the voice returned.

“Yes, indeed you do.”

There was another moment of silence, Xavier felt as if he was placed on an edge of a waterfall. Life and death hung on a delicate balance.

“Very well child, let the boon work as one. Let there be….”

Deafening pause.

“…Unity.”

And the light was gone.


*to be continued.

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