The Night Of The Lich

* The Night Of The Lich * The candle’s flame flickered across the cold stone walls of the black tower’s alchemy lab. The cold unyielding stench of death and ancient decay mixed with sulfur and paraffin filled the room, as a gaunt decaying hand scrawled inscriptions upon a large papyrus tome bound in black leather. Red glowing eyes stared out of vacant sockets like crimson coals in pitch, and a dun liquid seethed on the ridge of the sinews and bone of a decrepit jaw, like bile. Long mangled black hair angled away from the rim of an ancient gold and gem incrusted crown bolted into the skull of the Lich, his face twisted and decaying forever holding a gnarled scowl, twisted by hate, rage, and madness, part flesh part bone and sinew, and all utterly evil. He was dressed in tattered and decaying velvet robes of scarlet of a by gone era. The sable cloak draped over the oaken thrown with care, as the light burned low in the taper. Somewhere on a table something bubbled in a flask causing a pinkish smoke to seethe forth, all the wile the Lich scribbled, transcribing the ancient tome of Vicanuous. Somewhere a small gray mouse scuttled across the floor. Then suddenly, a loud thud sounded on the door. The Lich glanced up form his work, “Who dare’s disturb me?” rasped the Lich, his voice as hallow as a base drum. The door creaked open and a pale man in chainmail entered. “My Lord demands to know why he hasn’t heard from you about conquering the mighty kingdom of Calindale!” Markus was a dutiful emissary and though the mere sight or sound of this abomination of mankind shook him to the bone, and the stench of death was almost unbearable, he always obeyed his king. “Demands does he, take heed in your tone Lieutenant. I care not what his majesty demands, and such minor trifles are a waste of my time. Thus frail and pathic lord seek ye not my wrath, and scuttle henceforth to thy meager lord with this message. The Lord of the timeless abyss has set forth a series of events which shall in time bring forth the destruction of the kingdom of Calindale, and if the mind of the enfeebled king were only a smiget better then perhaps I would explain the structure of these set forth events; however, since this is not the case, I wouldn’t know how to simplify the world to his meager understanding. Know this, Knowledge is both a gift and a curse, so I shall spare thee the curse, for there are in fact greater things of import than a standing Castle. Go. Now, unto thy lord, and if ye seek the pains to trouble me again, I shall raise this keep and see that your king feeds the plague hounds with his very flesh!” Markus may have had orders to bring the decrepit old man to the thrown room and make him tell the king what his plans were for their enemies, however a wave of terror struck him to his very soul. Something Markus couldn’t quite grasp, a feeling, just something about that old man, maybe it was his eyes. At that moment he didn’t think anything could make the old man do anything. Those hollow rasping words burned in his mind, and all he wanted to do was to draw the blade at his side and silence that hideous thing forever. Almost without his own control he found himself bowing and quietly leaving the chamber. “Demands, does he.” The Lich muttered to himself, “How dare that miserable cur demand anything of me.” “Vashaca To Des Ka Vacnay!” A huge swirling green mist arose out of the corner of the chamber as a gaunt skull face with glowing red eyes looked out of the mist. The mist swirled and spun coalescing into the form of an armored Skeletal man in black plate armor. “My Liege!” Screeched the knight in an ear pearcing tone, as the knight dropped to one knee. “Kavain, go to the citadel of white walls seven leagues east of hear and terrorize the citadel. Kill the captain of the guard and return with a report of how strong the garrison is.” “As you wish My Liege!” The knight screeched and opened a black gate of nothingness behind him and backed through it, vanishing into nothingness then all was still, except for the pinkish smoke which still bubbled and writhed at the rear of the alchemy lab. The Lich went back to transcribing the arcane tome. Somewhere out on the plains the stars gleamed in the chill night air as a jet black wall arose six feet in height, and the Death Knight walked out. Kavain surveyed the surrounding terrain as crimson eyes stared out of a black helm. The Death Knight stood six feet tall and was now covered from head to toe in gothic embossed plate. The scenes of the dammed and dead everywhere. A crimson cape flowed from his shoulders, as a sable flamberdge hung from his back. Kavain’s eyes glared east toward the horizon the wind furled his cape as Kavain started chanting arcane words, “Rash Ka Va To Re Sha To Ka.” A fell wind descended from the crisp night air as a leathery flap of wings was heard in the distance. An ear piercing cry came down from the heavens like an eagle in a canyon, as the Shantank circled down from the sky. It was seven feet long with a wing span of nine feet, scaled with black and brown iridescent scales, which secreted a green slimy ooze. It’s black talons gripped the earth hard as it bellowed a shriek as its emerald eyes looked at the Death Knight, its black razor beak just inches from Kavain’s breast plate. Kavain mounted the Shantank as the spikes on the back of his leg armor dug into the Shantank’s hide. With a command it leaped into the air and headed eastward toward the horizon. All was quiet and peaceful as the men and women and children of Calindale slept under a crescent moon on a chill October night. The tower guards huddled near the watch fires for warmth. The sound of a rams horn from the southwest tower split the otherwise silent night. All eyes turned to the southwest and as the bell tower started to ring out the guards mustered out of the barracks into the court yard. Captain Tristen ran out of the barracks and scaled the southwest tower while girting his sword, bow and quiver. Tristen reached the top in moments his flaxen hair still dripping wet from the bath he had leapt out of. “What is it, who sounded the alarm?” “Sir Look!” Kessel exclaimed pointing toward a distant black speck crossing the stars, his face pale, the ram’s horn still gripped in his left hand. As Tristen Looked on in horror his worst fears were suddenly realized, for in that instant the commotion in the citadel had ceased and a distant shriek shattered the pale night sky, as the Shantank drew ever closer. Tristen quickly recovered his wits and called for the archers and ballistas to look sharp and fire as soon as it was in range. Then as the Shantank drew near a foul putrid wind slammed into the archers, some falling instantly incapacitated. Tristen had heard legends about Shantanks but had never faced one, and he almost retched at the stench of decay. He steadied his aim and released his first arrow just as an ear piercing shriek erupted from the Shantank’s throat and the nearest ballista team grabbed their ears in pain. The arrow struck the fell beast and shattered against its scales, as Tristen was drawing the second arrow he saw his worst nightmare come true, as he released. For the Shantank had indeed closed the distance quickly and arrows were bouncing thither and yon off it’s hide, and in that very moment Tristen could clearly see amidst a halo of florescent green light a black armor clad Death Knight ridding it. The Shantank flew over the wall as a wave of fear and terror struck the city guardsmen and it flew on toward the city proper. Slowly it swooped down over the city graveyard and perched a top a stone mosaleasum, the Tomb Of King Galen, and it bellowed forth a subsonic cry that shattered the stain glass windows in the church beyond. Kavain started chanting arcane words as the cry subsided. “Kravakian Do Re Sho Ta Me Cre Ex Eflamus Liberataum To Ta Mae!” The ground heaved and belched, earth crumbled and tome stones shattered as all throughout the graveyard skeletal remains and rotting corpses rose out of the ground. A full army of the dead arose before him and sank on their knees awaiting orders as a black cloaked armored Wraith strode out of the mosaleasum, to bow before Kavain and take command. Kavain looked gleefully at his army and cried aloud, “Here me my minions! This mighty fortress that once was yours has fallen to the retched scum from the west I have called you back to once again fight your sworn enemy and take back your beloved home. For so great is your love of this fortress that not even death has power over you, so rise up and kill your sworn enemy! Ha Ha...Ha...Ha” As Kavain was cackling his army of the dead exulted and turned towards the city as Tristen and the full garrison was heading toward the graveyard. “Demon of Hell I challenge thee!” Tristen shouted at the Death Knight. Kavain shouted a command at his army and cackled in glee. “Rodent of flesh, know you not who you challenge, I am Lord Kavain of the dark waists and I have slain twice as many of you flesh creatures as that stand before me.” Tristen stood fast his sword drawn as the pitch and sound of Kavain’s words worked on his mind. It took all his inner strength just to stand the unearthly sound of Kavain’s voice, which grated like talons scraping slate. Kavain noted the puny man’s strength and with a sharp kick the Shantank leapt into the air and flew over the army of the dead landing just ten yards from Tristen. “If death is your resolve then by all means come forth I would gladly add your carcass to my army.” Kavain laughed as he dismounted and drew his sable flamberdge. Tristen advanced his sword and shield at the ready saying, “Demon ye shall find that I Prince Tristen is not such easy prey, for I have won more battles than you could count!” Kavain cackled in glee, “Well then Prince join your lost King of old. Resitor Crew E Nom Oh To Ka Lesholu Ta!” As Kavain chanted a crimson and violet fire erupted around his Flamberdge, and a huge ten foot high wall of fire burst into existence around the two combatants. Tristen stood frozen for a moment in horror, for if this thing could summon up a wall of fire like that how could he defeat him. Kavain advanced and with a swing his flamberdge clove Tristen’s shield in half. Tristen rocked back with the force of the blow, his knees buckling slightly, as half of his shield fell away and half of it remained on his arm. He recovered quickly as he swung at the Death Knight cutting into Kavain’s left leg guards as the flamberdge struck again, destroying what remained of Tristen’s shield. Tristen backed away but Kavain steadily advanced upon him the leg wound not even noticed. The flamberdge struck again, and Tristen parried with his sword, the force of the blow throwing him to the ground. “Prepare yourself for death flesh creature!” Kavain shouted in glee. Tristen drew a dagger from his belt and threw it planting it in Kavain’s visor and quickly rose dashing at the Death Knight. With a mighty swing Tristen sliced deep into Kavain’s left arm. Cackling maniacally with great glee Kavain pulled his left arm free and swung as the Flamberdge clove down and in and caught Tristen’s sword snapping it like a twig as the flamberdge’s tip sunk into Tristen’s thigh. Tristen screamed as the fire from the blade seared his thigh. Kavain released his right hand from the hilt of his sword and pulled the dagger out of his visor casting it aside as blue flame shot out of the slit. Through his screams and through the intense heat Tristen managed to call out, “My God, What are you?” Kavain laughed, “The last thing you will ever see!” and he cut through Tristen’s leg and brought the flamberdge in a sweeping arc tacking Tristen’s head from his shoulders. Kavain walked back toward his waiting army and as he entered the wall of fire, the fire seeped into his wounds sealing them and repairing his armor, as he emerged from the fire the ring vanished, and the army of men looked on in horror at the body of their dead prince. Kavain remounted the Shantank and as he took to the air his army advanced across the field to meet the human army head on. Well this simple task is done Kavain thought to himself, and watched as his army of dead warriors waded in and slew the men of this frail citadel. Some of the living would flee in panic others would stand and fight and die. Kavain watched the battle from above for about an hour and then descended to the ground to chant and make the dead from the battle rise up and join his army, and as Kavain always liked being true to his word he even animated Tristen’s body to join his ever growing army of the dead. As the slaughter commenced, the men of Calindale putting up a valiant effort and fighting to the last man, no one noticed a small dark form slip out past the battlefield to the walls of the citadel and working his way through the bulkwork slipped unnoticed through the portcullis and out of the doomed citadel. Kavain’s eerie cackle, the cry of the Shantank and the sounds of battle filled the darkened chamber as the Lich watched with glee the images of war within his glowing two foot diameter crystal. Finally as dawn took the land nothing living, not even animal inhabited the mighty citadel of Calindale. The morning was deathly quiet and still as the scout surveyed the citadel, he couldn’t see any guards at the battlements, and he slipped back to his waiting horse. He road back to where King Farick and his army of ten thousand awaited. “Sire. it seems as if the citadel is deserted, none man the battlements.” “Then it is time to brake the siege, maybe Vacaine has finally come through. Order the army to advance.” The land was calm and tranquil no wind blew and no sound emanated. “Sire,” Queried the scout don’t you think it odd that no bird or cricket sings?” “Tis the sorcery of Vacaine, think on it as an omen of victory for we shall now concur the citadel.” But as the army approached the citadel of pale white walls, its drawbridge open, and it’s portcullis raised an ear piercing screech split the silence as the Shantank launched into the sky and an army of the dead some three hundred thousand strong mercilessly attacked. In his conjuring room the Lich opened a black portal and stepped into an empty chamber in another tower and began moving his conjuring room. Only the king and a token force of one hundred men escaped the battle field to return home. The king stormed up the stairs leading to the black tower and kicked the door in screaming “Vacaine! you have deceived me! you said that you would destroy the kingdom of Calindale foe me! What I got was my own death!” The Lich glared at the black haired blue eyed man saying, “I have destroyed the citadel of Calindale, as I promised, nothing living inhabits the citadel.” “I sent an army of ten thousand to take it this morning, they were annihilated by deathless warriors!” “As I said, nothing living inhabits the citadel. You fool did you really think I would just give you a castle, when in fact that castle has the space and resources I need for my research!” “Vacaine I swear by all the Gods, I’ll kill you for this!” The king drew his sword as the Lich cackled, “Who is Vacaine? That is not my name you fool! Re Ha Co So Leshe AA!” The king stopped suddenly his face turning pale the sword dropped from his grasp, and his mind going blank as drool formed on his lips as the Lich’s Feeblemind spell struck him with full force. “A mindless week pathetic fool you are King Farick, and thus will I let you ponder the error of your ways.” The King hearing his name suddenly remembered everything and as his mind twisted down insane corridors of a Lich betraying him and as he started to babble insane things of dark creatures in the night, his frail mind heard and understood the last word he ever would understand, as the Lich uttered , “Permanency “ and stepped through a black door closing it behind him, leaving Farick babbling, drooling, and screaming alone in a dark, desolate, baron, tower chamber.