tagRomanceA Perilous Journey Ch. 09

A Perilous Journey Ch. 09


The Ahlissan Chronicles

~ Novella 2 ~

A Perilous Journey

~ 9 ~

No Mercy

The three rescuers were just above the hobgoblin raiding party as they watched the leader, Wulfgut open a large wooden chest with iron bindings. As Lord Brion looked down he was dismayed to not see Eryca in their presence. He had missed her! He cursed himself under his breath and judging by the steel swords that Wulfgut was admiring in the chest he had missed her by mere minutes. Looking up into the distance he could see the squat castle wall with its' central pyramidal structure and thereby guessed where Eryca was. That was fine with him; he would exact his revenge on this vermin before moving into the wizards' stronghold and saving his betrothed. The black armored knight formulated his plan and then turned to his companions.

"I've counted about twenty to twenty-five of them, Aizantius I want you to stay up here and cover us with volleys of your magik arrows or whatever other attack spells that you may have. Astinos you and I will mount a cavalry charge into their midst while they are unaware." The two older men watched their Lords' eyes narrow and turn a clear cold ice blue. "I want none of this scum left alive."

As Brion walked over to Armageddon and unstrapped his helmet and shield from his saddle, Astinos and Aizantius exchanged fearful glances. Although they had both fought many battles with their young Lord neither had ever seen him this angry before. None of them cared for humanoid raiders but this was the first time Brion had ever been so adamant about slaughtering every single goblinoid.

"Paragon" Brion called to his old teacher "come we have sword work that needs doing."

The priest nodded and moved to his own mount and readied his own helmet and shield. Then he watched as Brion, his face hidden behind his horned helm, nodded at the mage.

"When we round the bend and enter their midst begin your attack old friend."

"Yes, my Lord." Said the mage as he reached into his pouches of spell components and removed a bit of sulfur and bat guano. He quickly rolled the bit of hardened green powder up in the guano and readied the words of his spell in his mind.

Brion and Astinos rode back down the hill and out on to the trail about a hundred yards from where the goblinoids were resting and celebrating. Drawing his sword and hefting his shield, Brion turned to nod at Astinos, who indicated that he was ready.

"This is for Lady Eryca my friend." Brion said to Armageddon as he dug in his spurs and urged the great black destrier into an instant gallop. The two mounted riders raced down the trail and around the bend in a cloud of black, silver and blue.

The hobgoblins at the rear of the column turned at the sound of what they thought to be hoof beats, as the green skinned creatures looked at each other in confusion a great black horse and rider charged into their ranks. The dark riders' sword was swinging to and fro relieving the goblinoids of their heads. Those that managed to avoid being beheaded had their skulls smashed in by another rider robed in blue who wielded a great mace.

The hobgoblins and goblins at the head of the column heard Wulfgut shout to draw their weapons but upon hearing a great boom they looked up to see a great rain of green fire fall over them. The rain of blazing jade fire landed all around them and instantly set them aflame as if they had been drenched in lantern oil. What goblinoids or wargs were not burnt to cinders were run through or smashed by the sword and mace of the two riders.

Wulfgut reached into the iron-bound chest and drew out a large two-handed sword; as soon as he did the black rider came at him through a wall of malachite colored flames. The riders' horsed reared onto its' hind legs and hit the large hobgoblin square in the chest with its' spiked shoes, knocking Wulfgut backwards. The rider slid from his saddle and came straight at the large humanoid. Wulfgut raised his sword and looking at the horned helmet he could swear the human warrior had azure flames where his eyes should be.

Drawing up his courage Wulfgut hefted and swung the over-sized blade which the warrior deflected with his shield and then stabbed the hobgoblin, slicing into his liver. Brion stared into the hobgoblins' beady red-eyes as rich dark blood flowed down his blade, he quickly pulled it free and with a sweeping motion severed Wulfgut's sword arm above the elbow. The red-eyed hobgoblin Warchief fell to his knees in agony; this warrior had crippled him in the blink of an eye. As he tasted his own blood in his mouth the last things Wulfgut heard were the black knight's angry roar and the hum of his sword as it cut through the air. Brion then watched as Wulfgut's head rolled away from his body.

Brion turned away without another thought and walked back down the goblinoid column dispatching hobgoblins, goblins and wargs as they lay burning or injured. He felt no pity or remorse as he slew the filthy creatures for what they had done to his beloved, first kidnapping and holding her and then finally bringing her to this god forsaken place. When the slaughter was finished the three friends gathered their horses and headed toward the squat pyramidal citadel in the distance.

* * *

Night had fully fallen by the time they reached the outer curtain wall of the old castle, using a rope and hook from Brion's saddlebags they easily scaled the wall and dropped into the courtyard below. As they surveyed the courtyard it initially appeared empty but the longer they watched they could see faint shadows moving in the dim light of the moon. They appeared to be shadows or more appropriately shades, half forgotten ghosts with no corporeal form acting out their last actions before death. Some were fleeing from unseen terrors while others battled and fell to invisible things only to reappear across the courtyard to battle and fall again.

"Paragon" whispered Brion "this looks to be something for your expertise. Are they undead or something else entirely?"

The older cleric surveyed the various shades and their actions carefully before answering.

"It would appear that they are imprinted memories or perhaps actual ghosts reliving their final moments before death. I doubt that they even see us or take any notice of the living at all. I think if we simply pass between them towards the base of the pyramid and leave them unmolested we should be fine."

"Poor bastards, trapped in a terrible half-death" muttered Aizantius behind them.

"Yes, it would seem so." Said Lord Brion rising from where he had been crouched in the shadows. "Let us proceed straight toward the pyramid, draw no weapons and shed no light to disturb these poor creatures. Let us not add to their eternal torment."

Staying in a tight group the three men quickly and quietly began to cross the open space between the wall and the pyramid. As they drew closer to the structure it loomed larger above them, it was a four-sided pyramid that was wider at the base then it was tall. When they were almost upon it Astinos pointed out a stone arched doorway at the base of the pyramid, nodding in agreement they angled toward it. Arriving at the door they noticed the mantle and side posts were inscribed with strange flowing script.

"Aizan is this language of magik in written form?" asked Brion as he studied the symbols.

Aizantius examined the symbols running his fingertips over the surface, tracing the lines.

"No it is not. It seems to be a very ancient form of Baklunish. I say ancient because I recognize many of the letters but not enough to read it" said the bearded mage as he continued examining the writing.

"Regardless if it is a welcome or a warning, we must enter." Brion said determinedly.

Taking one last look around the courtyard at the many shades fading in and out of sight the three rescuers stepped through the doorway into the darkness beyond.

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