§hard had been walking in the forest for days, waiting to reach the next town the old dirt road went through. The last town he had visited had been hostile towards him, after having been attacked by a large group of bandits. It was a little town, and had few warriors capable of fighting the bandits, so suffered many casualties. When they had seen §hard walking into town, with his sword strapped to his back, they thought he was another one of the bandits and he had to flee into the forest. He had managed to go around the town and find where the road continued, and had been following it for days. He had only another week's work of rations left, and the last river was near the town. He would have to find more water soon.
Then §hard saw a sign up ahead. It read, 'Huntsville, one day's walk ahead'. He sighed. Hopefully he'll find work, food, and water in this next town. He was sure that he would be catching up with /\/ecronis soon, and he would need supplies to last him on his walk home after killing the vile necromancer.
It was nearly sunset the next day when he reached Huntsville. The town had a large wooden fence around it, probably to keep out wild animals. When he reached the gate, he found the nearby guardhouse empty. The gate was partially opened, too. §hard entered the village and then fell over and retched. The scene was horrifying. There were mangled corpses scattered everywhere, some hanging off of lantern-posts and store signs, others lying on rooftops, and more just lying on the ground. Many corpses were missing limbs, and those limbs were scattered on the ground. Huge pools of blood covered the ground, and blood and innards covered the buildings. It was ghastly and horrific. §hard went back near the guardhouse and looked inside, seeing several pieces of the guard's corpse littering the floor. He had to force the bile back down his throat. He walked around the ghost town, looking for any signs of life, but found none.
Near the rear entrance, where the road continued out of the town, §hard heard a scraping noise. He slowly approached the rear gate. Then he heard a much louder scraping sound coming from behind him and to the sides, and a sad, painful moaning. He turned around, and found himself surrounded by zombies. He saw a few ghouls and skeletal creatures in the back ranks of the zombies. They clawed at him, trying to rake off his flesh to devour it. He dodged their swipes and avoided their chilling grasps. He drew his sword and began to hack them apart. One zombie after another fell, then just as §hard thought he could pull off a spell, a ghoul leapt at him from behind the zombies. It tackled him and knocked him to the ground, and was drooling over him. §hard held back the urge to retch, and tried to shake off the cold of the ghoul's touch. It slowly lowered its head to take a bite out of §hard's face, but §hard kicked it off of him just in time. It crashed into a pair of zombies, knocking them to the ground, then rebounded and lunged at the Sword Mage again. §hard was ready, and tapped a ruby upon the broad side of his blade. It glimmered, and mana flowed forth from the spellsword, forming a small ball of flames, which shot forth at the ghoul and then exploded on impact, consuming the undead beast with flames. It quickly disintegrated in the roaring blaze, its dried, dead flesh sizzling away in moments. But the other undead advanced. §hard cut down a few more zombies and another ghoul, but found himself outnumbered. He spun around and dashed for the gate, quickly unlatching it and running out onto the road. He turned around again and glanced at the undead before him. They advanced on him again, the ghouls and skeletons moving in ahead of the slower zombies this time, wanting his flesh for their own. §hard shuddered at what their thoughts must be and how he must seem like a walking meal to them. Then he steeled himself and tapped a yellow topaz upon his blade, and mana flowed from it onto his form. His muscles grew and rippled, and he grew another foot larger. His skin became nearly as tough as stone, and his strength tripled. Then he tapped another gem on his sword, a quartz. Mana surged down his blade and leapt forth in a lightning bolt at the undead. A ghoul fell, and a couple zombies were set ablaze, but nothing more. They weren't as easily destroyed as the living. §hard took the offensive and charged them. With his increased strength, he wielded his greatsword in one hand and used it to chop zombies and ghouls to pieces, while using his free hand to grab skeletons and zombies and hurling them against the wooden fence. A few of the older and more brittle skeletons shattered on impact, but most just stood up and advanced again. It was tough fighting an enemy that was already dead. §hard finished off the last of the zombies as his strength began to fade away and return to normal. He held his greatsword in both hands now and began to pant. There were still a handful of ghouls and skeletons left. §hard began to wonder, 'If I can't defeat a few dozen weak, mindless undead without passing out, how am I supposed to combat /\/ecronis and the hordes of undead that he probably has prepared?', and despaired. The ghouls leapt at him and the skeletons charged. He shook off his despair and swung his sword at the first ghoul, cutting it in two across its midsection. It collapsed to the ground in two pieces, and another ghoul leapt at him in its place. He quickly brought his sword up and tried to leap back, but stumbled and fell on his back. The ghoul landed on him, impaling itself on his greatsword but not caring. It thrashed and clawed at him, and he tapped the topaz again, regaining the benefit of collossal strength and grabbing the ghoul around waist and hurling it off of him. Then he noticed the upper body of the last ghoul still animated and clawing at his legs. That must be what tripped him. He swung his sword down upon it and clove its upper body in two again. The ghoul stopped flailing and §hard assumed it was finally, truly dead. He leapt to his feet in time to be rammed by another ghoul. He fell backwards again, but this time, reached out and grabbed the ghoul by the shoulders. When he landed on his back, he kicked out with his leg and with his arms grasping its shoulders, he hurled it behind him. He got up again and picked up his sword again, then began to hack down the last few ghouls. The two ghouls he had thrown were headed towards him again, and the skeletons just reaching him, wielding the limbs of fallen ghouls and zombies as clubs. He began to hack at them, shattering them bone by bone with the sheer force of his blows with the enchanted spellsword. Still, they battered him and clawed at him. He began to feel his limbs become to feel unresponsive, and quickly began to back away. He tapped the ruby several times and aimed tiny fireballs several of the remaining undead. A few still remained, and his spellsword was all but empty on mana. He charged the remaining undead and smashed them, chopped them to pieces, and beat them into oblivion. When the last one had fallen, he felt his strength spell fading and the paralyzing affects of the ghouls' touches overtaking him. He barely managed to tap the diamond on his sword before falling unconscious.
§hard awoke the next morning, and feeling was returning to his limbs. Luckily nothing had attacked him while he lay paralyzed and unconscious. The healing spell from the diamond on his blade had healed most of his injuries as well.
When §hard had the strength to begin walking again, he paused for a moment to ponder his sitaution. He couldn't very well take revenge on /\/ecronis if this small band of undead had nearly defeated him. Indead, in the battle with /\/ecronis, he wouldn't just be facing a horde of undead, but the terrible spells of the necromancer himself. He knew no countermagic or anything, and had only a single minor healing spell imbued within the diamond inlaid upon his spellsword. He would have to take a break from his quest to seek out teachers, masters of swordplay and masters of magic, to become better and to better prepare for his battle with /\/ecronis. And he was getting so close, too. For surely this village of the dead the work of /\/ecronis, and the undead that had remained behind had been minions of the necromancer. /\/ecronis couldn't be far. But now §hard would have to deviate from his quest to find and slay /\/ecronis, in order to partake in further training so that he may stand a chance against the necromancer.
~ /\/\ist Phantom ~
§hard, Sword Mage
Traug, Troll Mage
/\/ecronis, Lord of Undead
Hee. It's like Resident Evil, just midieval. Hee. That rhymed.
The fact that Huntsville is where they execute Texas criminals have anything to do with your choice of names for a city of the dead?
Huh? I had no idea. I haven't played Resident Evil, and I live in Michigan so don't know anything about Texas. I just made up the post on a whim after noticing that I hadn't posted as §hard for a while. I named the town Hunstville just because my brain was too weary to come up with something better at the time. I do that alot. :) I'm going through something like writer's block, where I just can't think of anything to post for my characters and my imagination just doesn't want to work. My brain's sleeping on the job. :)
~ /\/\ist Phantom ~