Thursday, June 26, 2008

Chapter 13c: Setting the Trap

Within the darkening forest outside the palace walls General Faygen watched as the gate cracked open and thirteen people crept from the safety of the city walls. One of the individuals even looked to be a young woman, dressed in an outlandishly bright blouse.

A thousand years has passed and men are just as stupid as they ever were. Faygen thought to himself, shaking his head back and forth. He had heard the ringing of the church bell. He had seen the message from the city walls. The men in the palace desperately wanted to rescue the poor souls trapped in the temple, they only needed an opportunity. Faygen had given them that opportunity, pulling back the undead and giving the brave men of the palace the incentive they needed to attempt a rescue. It was almost too easy, unfair even. Those poor bastards think they are only dealing with the mindless undead. They are about to learn a hard lesson.

He watched the potential saviors as they crept down the road, swords drawn and arrows notched. They didn’t hold themselves like soldiers; bar room brawlers perhaps, but not soldiers. They had no formation and their steps radiated nervous energy, fear. Have men fallen so far since my day? Are they now cowardly and stupid? If this is the best they can do I will have the palace under my control by dawn. At least they had enough sense to send a few archers.

Faygen almost pitied them, especially the girl. She reminded him of a slightly older version of his own daughter, his sweet Eyliasa.

He couldn’t get distracted by such thoughts. He couldn’t allow himself to sympathize with the enemy. He didn’t want to think of them as the enemy though. He didn’t want to see himself as the bad guy, the evil one in the battle, but he couldn’t see himself as anything else. The people of this city had been destroyed by a great evil. An evil that he was helping, but what choice did he have. He couldn’t allow Eyliasa to be hurt again because of him. Not again.

The heroes faded from sight as darkness claimed the road and the forest. Faygen looked at the undead around him. The white disk of dead eyes stared back at him. All over the forest the dead eyes stared. Thousands of them, just far enough into the woods so that they couldn’t be seen from the palace walls, hidden almost in plain sight. They waited for his commands. They waited to feast. They wouldn’t have to wait much longer.

He turned, facing deeper into the wet forest, and gave his mental command. Wait! Stay here until I return.

He felt some resistance to the command. Singly they didn’t have much will, but in such large numbers their willpower became a force to be reckoned with. Luck fully his own willpower was up to the task, at least at this point. He didn’t know what would happen if he gave a command in the middle of a feeding frenzy. Hopefully by that time things would be under control and he could let these disgusting creatures go about their business.

He walked into the forest, the damp undergrowth soaking his britches. His body no longer generated any heat, so it didn’t give him chills, but it was damned uncomfortable none-the-less. He could feel his dry skin soaking up the moisture, wrinkling as dry skin pulled in the water like a sponge. He could also feel himself beginning to rot. His wet skin itched constantly, giving off a sour odor. Gasses built within him and he had to belch and fart every few minutes to ease the discomfort of bloating. He didn’t enjoy being one of the living dead.

Belching, he put these thoughts behind him. He had to beat the heroes to the temple in time to evacuate the undead. He couldn’t do it too early or the people in the temple would realize their jailers were gone and flee, but if the beat the heroes there by a few minutes everything would work out perfectly. He widened his stride and picked up speed.

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