Thursday, September 4, 2008

Chapter 20d: Fight in the Dark

Between gritted teeth, Wellan whispered, "Be...ready to run."

He stepped away, to the left, between her and the wolfhound, walking until he stood just within the edge of the flickering light. He faced the undead, eyes closed and lips pressed tight. He raised his hands high to his sides, reminding Rachelle of a human sacrifice. She had only a second to wonder what the man was doing before having to shift her focus back to the battle at hand.

Ignoring the old man, the wolfhound launched itself at Rachelle, water spraying from his fur as he loped across the pitted floor.

Piet Lithor spun to face the beast, his sword aimed at the creature's heart. The animal stopped and began pacing back and forth before the priest like a caged tiger.

To her right the undead sloshed through the water, but they no longer advanced towards the group. Instead they lumbered in Wellan's direction, crossing just behind the enraged wolfhound. As they advanced he stepped backward, drawing them away, pulling them from the small party of survivors. His eyes remained squeezed shut and his lips trembled as though he silently mumbled in an infernal language. She sensed a bond between Wellan and the undead as if he were a shepherd calling in his flock. Like good sheep the congregated toward him.

The wolfhound lunged at the Piet. He stumbled backward, bringing his sword down on the creatures shoulder before falling to his back on the rough stone. The beast roared and twisted away. The smell of burnt meat filled the air from the creature's smoldering wound.

With hatred and rage in its eyes the beast launched himself at the priest again, a berserker bloodlust over riding its sense of self preservation. Before it could sink its teeth into the Piet Rachelle sent a blast of energy slammed into the beast and sent it flying into the darkness with a howl of rage and pain.

Dropping her hands to her side, Rachelle reached down to help the priest to his feet. Her eyes stayed on Wellan and the undead who stumbled toward him.

The old wizard backed away from the exit as the ghouls crowded around him, running their limp hands over his arms, face and shoulders. They reminded Rachelle of religious fanatics, worshipper's in the presence of a messiah. His arms quivered and shook, lips turned up in a snarl. His eyes squeezed down to cracked slotted shadows. An internal war took place in the old man, one that Rachelle couldn't begin to imagine.

As he reaches the edge of the shadow, undead falling over themselves to reach him, his hoarse scream tore through the chamber. "Run! I...can't...fight it any...Longerrrrrrrr."

Piet Lithor grabbed her arm and pulled her to the water logged exit. Survivors splashed in the water all around her, running for the exit.

Wellan's eyes opened wide, his mouth followed. The dead suddenly lost interest in him, turning to the survivors, sensing warm flesh. Within moments the old man became lost in a mass of grey flesh and tattered clothing.

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