Prince Mamuwalde and His Unstoppable Zombie Army.
By Walter Attridge
Kaye, monk of the red horn mountain temple opened her eyes in the warm water she inspected her body. It was tight and muscular built up over years of training and fights. Her flesh that was soft and pink and alive. Kaye thought that odd she remembered something different, remembered cold withered pale flesh, that didn't bleed anymore when cut. But why should Kaye worry? She was in a peaceful bath Back in the red Horn temple.
In the temple one learned how to survive, how to draw strength from their body and from the universe itself, an energy called Ki, how to defeat any opponent even oneself. But they never taught you how to die; they taught you how to face death, how to not find fear in it and how to deal out death. But never how to die. Kaye learned that lesson in the mountains alone, all her friends dead behind her as she tried to make her way back down the narrow winding path. She remembered having two days worth of food and water, and knowing that the decent would take a week, and when she finally reached the valley ten days later...
Floating in that warm safe pool dreaming Kaye suddenly remembered that she was dead that she had been dead for a few years now. She was what the humans called a thinker zombie: A living corpse that still retained all its physical prowess, memories and intelligence, she, like all her kind was nearly indestructible even dismemberment only meant that the enemy now had a set of separate arms and legs crawling after them. Only complete and total cremation ensured that no single part could rise again to attack the living to feed on their fresh warm brains which thinkers craved in order to alleviate the pain brought on by decomposition. All that and there was no way for thinkers to sleep or dream...
The warmth faded from the water and Kaye felt a weight dragging her down suddenly the ocean was roaring as the fluid Kaye had been suspended in a moment ago fell away and the fluid and Kaye splashed onto an already damp cold earthen floor. The chamber she was in with high stone walls and no visible entrance or exit was lit with a strange florescence a pale sickly light that flickered at places and gave off a disconcerting buzzing noise. Inspecting herself Kaye saw that she was nude that much wasn't a dream but now she saw herself for what she was: Thin, drawn and gaunt her skin withered and blackened at the fingers toes, ears, cheeks and nose. Her arms came up to cover her dried sunken breasts and to obscure the rest, Kaye hated to look at her body as it was now.
"I hear there's a guy in the east who makes fake tits by stuffing bags of salt water under the skin" The voice was pained but familiar it belonged to one of Kaye's only remaining friends Black Alice, so named because of her wildly inappropriate sense of humor. "He says it's to help women feel better about them. But I think it's because guys just like big boobs, but hey what do I know? I'm not a doctor" having been embalmed soon after death, an alchemical process, not the same kind done in mortuaries, she had almost no decomposition and a once young beautiful body, now twisted by her sickness .Alice had kept secret who had done this, and added her accessories. Both forearms had a group of ten inch long nails rammed through them so that they resembled spiked clubs thicker spikes had been implanted at both elbows and her shoulders her right hand had barbed hooks at each finger and the left had a long chain bolted to it with the slack wrapped around her forearm, at the end of the chain was a palm sized spiked ball that could easily crack a skull with only two well placed hits. Her face, had more than a dozen small spikes, drilled and anchored in her skull, arranged along her forehead, chin, and cheeks, along with spikes running in rows along her scalp protruding up from her tangled mass of red hair.
"I got dumped out maybe an hour before you" Alice continued looking up to show what she meant. Kaye followed Alice seeing two heavy iron casks suspended from the ceiling each were dripping a viscous clear fluid that smelled strongly of alcohol. "I don't know how long we were in those things and I'm having trouble remembering how we got into them. I think we were unconscious" That was as far as either of them knew impossible. They never slept, never became fatigue, or exhausted, and though they felt pain from their injuries those same injuries had little effect beyond that.
"Where's Timothy, and Shanks?" Kaye asked thinking about their other companions. Timothy, a field hand who had spent his life working his father's farm in the mid western farmlands, he was fifteen when he became infected after dying of pneumonia. He was in many ways still that young nervous farmer though his hunger for brains had turned him into a vicious killer. Kaye had taken him on as an example of the unfairness that brought about all of their conditions, and had polarized Kaye into searching for a long desired cure for the infection.
Shanks referred to the creature they called Long-Shanks, a gender less mutated human from the subterranean maze known as the under dark. The creature had been part of a traveling freak show on the surface when he had died. In some misguided attempt to euthanasia the indestructible zombie its handlers had cut off its head and burned the head into ash. The body continued to function had taken on some kind of strange animalistic personality and was now the groups pet and friend. Both "women" assumed their friends must have escaped capture or they had been destroyed
It was then that a section of the wall shifted with a well oiled mechanical sound and an opening appeared, out of it walked what appeared to be a man. He was seemingly dark skinned like the native peoples of this land with the same thick cotton like hair of the natives. He was somewhat taller than the ladies and garbed in a filthy, once white lab coat stained with smears and, streaks of dried blood with a pair of red lensed goggles hanging about his neck with several other strange looking instruments.
"Greetings ladies" he began his voice deep and smooth "I am prince Mamuwalde and you are both..."
"where are our clothes" Kaye demanded still seated her legs drawn up and her body turned to the side so that only her bare back was exposed. She hated being naked and even more so in this ones presence there was a look in his eyes as he came in and regarded them. Black Alice noticed Kaye's embarrassment and stepped back to shield her further. The other woman had always been far more free with her showing her body and in truth Kaye understood why, Alice was young when she had died and whatever process had preserved her had managed to maintain her beauty, though it was now also twisted and bizarre. Both noticed his eyes came to linger on Alice and After a moment he answered
"Please I meant no disrespect it was simply a matter of not contaminating the suspension fluid that held you both safely. My servant has your leathers madame, and as to you young lady I regret that you clothes were mere tatters and I hope to offer you something more fitting as a way of apologizing for any offense I may have given either of you." With that a strange hairy bowlegged creature came out from behind the prince it had Kaye's leather armor, simple but expertly crafted to wear like a second skin.
"Thank you prince." taking Alice by the hand she started to collect the pieces of the armor and the underclothes that went with it. She watched his eyes, they never left Alice as she bent, naked to help Kaye with her chore. They had locked onto Alice's bare back which had had strips of flesh removed to form an intricate mural. Suddenly she was very worried for what his intent might be. Both women knelt down now arranging and attaching each piece of the armor. As they did Kaye's fingers moved along Alice's arm and chest, poking tapping and making the intricate motions of dark elf sign language.
"We're in trouble you know that right?" Kaye signed, Alice knowing the language just as well responded.
"Yeah I noticed. I never put anyone in armor before."
"Don't worry I could get in my kit blindfolded, just look like you're fumbling, to buy us time. And keep me covered I really can't stand him looking at me"Kaye was never more aware of how much she had deteriorated than standing there in a mirror comparison with her friend.
" you see the way he looks at you" Kaye signed and then gripped Alice's arm to emphasize that she was worried
" not the first time. I can handle it. Can you take him out" Kaye flexed an arm feeling comfortable.
"I could take out a small army of him that's not the point we have to play along,the way he looks at you...we may have to use it against him. Are you ready for that?"
" leave that to me. Ive still got the touch" with that Alice stood straight up her back to their host and then bent forward keeping her legs straight and slightly apart. The view would be impossible to miss. Kaye saw his eyes wide then signed "alright then you should have no problem with this one" the monk almost wanted to laugh but when she looked back at Alice her eyes were cold stones. Now in her armor, unobtrusive and simple looking leathers with simple greaves and pauldrons. She stretched for a moment and would have tried to look intimidating but instead Alice stepped forward with a shake of her hips and and a shimmy that made her breasts jiggle slightly. The prince's eyes widened for a moment and then he composed himself
"I see that you are both ready for me to continue. I must apologize for the method of your confinement but it was truly for you own good." Alice started taking the lead
"I don't doubt it honey" she purred "But I gotta warn you maybe you need some protection from us, you know what we are right.?" She started sauntering forward on bare feet implanted with iron balls to allow her to walk barefoot on any surface, and Kaye followed feeling strange like there was something they should be doing right now.
" That was what I was talking about." the prince began a smile coming to his face that was equal parts happiness and superiority. "Are you forgetting to do something, to say something, forgetting to say... crack my skull open, and eat my brains?" Both women stopped dead realizing that he was right.
The pain and hunger, the soul shattering pain and unrelenting ravenous hunger that drove them to grotesque and brutal acts of cannibalism wasn't there. Even under the best of circumstances, directly after feeding, when the pain was suppressed and they were caught in what could only be called orgasmic ecstasy, they would still have been unable to resist charging this man in a frothing frenzy and tearing him apart. A wave of confusion and nausea rolled over both of them. The fact that they had not noticed such a glaring loss was enough to unnerve them almost as much as the loss of the hunger.
"We, we, we're cured" Kaye whispered he mind starting to race. Alice had a different look on her face her hands came up and she was staring at them.
"Well that's a bit of a stretch I wouldn't say that you were cured more like, you have more control over yourselves" There was a twisted look of pride on his face. "This control is vital to my plans, and vital to your own obvious desire for a cure" Kaye tried to reign in her emotions she had let on too much
"Its not a total cure, I've had you both for weeks and in that time I made a breakthrough in a formula I've been testing. It successfully suppressed your hunger." Weeks... Kaye thought as a shudder ran through her but she could imagine what the next words out of his mouth would be and he could tell from the look in her eyes.
"yes its temporary thats why I had you sedated and locked up I wanted to let the formula soak in so that it has its maximum effect."
"Are you a wizard?" she asked, Kaye wondered the same thing with all this talk of formulas and effects and he looked crazy enough to be some fool necromancer trying to repeat the same mistakes of his order. At that question Mamuwalde smiled.
"I'll explain everything as we walk. I want to show you both around." He turned the locking mechanism and the door in the rock wall opened into a long tunnel, the hairy stunted servant waddled past them all and lit a glow stick, a dwarven device consisting of a tube with various fluids that when mixed together produced light. The tunnel had been cut out of the rock rather than naturally formed.
Moving quietly through the tunnel it soon opened into a tall wide open tower. There were four levels terminating in a large clear glass dome that showed the blue sky above. The walls were cut stone but everywhere vines and creepers had broken through and ivy was present along a full quarter of the tower. The air was humid and smelled of peat moss and dung. They had come out on the second level from the bottom and looking over an iron railing Kaye and Alice could see dozens of apparatuses and lab equipment littering the base floor below. Also moving about were more than two dozen of those stunted servants and another dozen of what appeared to be human. These though were collared and ragged looking moving about with a slow shambling walk. Prince Mamuwalde stopped at the railing.
"We are inside a portion of one of the largest mountains that bless my lands" he began "each level of this tower has tunnels that lead to other dwarven made structures, and those eventually lead back into the mountain and into the under dark. Most of the structures have been long since abandoned and I have little reason to open them up most of my work concerns the bottom level."
Kaye looked again over the railing "It looks like a wizards lab to me"
"No" Alice corrected "He 's an alchemist it all has to do with potions and machines and a little magic thrown in to tie it altogether." Mamuwalde smile and clapped his hands. Kaye looked at her friend and raised an eye brow the young woman simply shrugged "Its not my fault if all you see when you look at me are my great tits" Kaye just shook her head
"Not even that, No what I practice here is a new art called science. It was discovered by the dwarves and in my dealings with them I gained a basic understanding. But thanks to my own genius I have now surpassed them. Not even the greatest wizards or alchemists have been able to deal with the infection that has ravaged our world, and caused you both so much pain. With these new skills I can perfect my formula and eventually I will... with your help and others like you spread out and bring order to our pained world" Kaye heard every word but she was looking down at the humans milling about, she knew what they were and an idea came to her.
""And you would do thus for free?' Alice asked a knowing smile on her face.
"Well..." the prince began coyly "I would like to discuss the matter with you alone my lady while you choose a worthy dress to where" Alice smiled and turned to Kaye Without a word they both embraced and Kaye signed out on Kaye's back.
"I trust you to work this out but try to find out if he has anymore of our kind of infected hidden away. If he hasn't found Timothy or shanks don't give them away." Alice didn't respond she just turned and took the princes hand and they started off towards the third level as he left the prince called back.
"Feel free to explore my lab but try not to touch anything some of my experiments can be... dangerous" Kaye didn't dignify that with a response.
Leaving the love birds to their discussion, Kaye set to exploring the bottom level of the tower. Hairy stunted servants scattered at her approach. But the walker zombies, the mindless shambling cousins to the thinkers, far more numerous and extremely dangerous to humans when they formed their signature ravening, flesh eating hordes, made up the dozens of "humans" moving about the base. These wretches ignored Kaye as she moved about them. Even when she tried to take control of them, an ability thinkers possessed to varying degrees that gave varying degrees of control, they ignored her. Each was shaved bald and had a inch wide hole in the back of their skulls. It didn't take any skill at this so called science to know that was the culprit.
Near the edges of the base were several shrouded objects. All of them were very large almost eight feet tall and had a vaguely human outline under the shroud near the shrouds was a large table covered in blood and with various instruments strewn about all of those caked with gore. Near the instrument was a stained parchment rolled up. Unrolling it Kaye looked over the contents closed her eyes and sighed. "Why are these kinds of madmen so transparent?" she asked herself out loud. From above a large door slammed shut. And almost simultaneously there was the sound of a heavy shroud piling up on the ground and the sound of heavy leaden footsteps. Again she sighed Some of my experiments can be... dangerous the prince had said. Kaye managed to turn and face her attacker but was unable to stop the heavy armored fist that was coming at her
Prince Mamuwalde's quarters were simple but well maintained with various pieces of furniture and art from a dozen different cultures all arranged tastefully. Among the furniture was a wardrobe. This had a different dress from a different region, thick woolen dresses from the north, low blouses and high skirts of the cities, and the rainbow colored frilly dresses of the desert mesas, and of course the body wraps that adorned the princes own people. This last Alice chose wrapping herself in it causing several tears with her various spikes
"Well what do you think my prince?" Alice said twirling then bringing her hands to rest on her hips her forearm spike caught a little on the fabric. He approached and without hesitation brought his hands to her shoulders, and ran his fingers along the bare flesh weaving them among the piercings sometimes he would test one holding it between his fingers and seeing how they were anchored. Her flesh would feel cold to his hands her being at room temperature but the flesh would be soft and as pliant as any other woman's. She didn't register his warmth and his touch stirred nothing in her
"How did you know about alchemy you did not strike me as a woman of... higher education" he asked hands moving to her belly and teasing at her breasts which Alice made no attempt to stop, but he had enough class not to simply grope her.
"City born and bred, we call it the university of hard knocks" at that he laughed. "I started young in my 'profession' and I learned fast that there were doctors that specialized in the unique problems working girls faced. I got lucky and met a very special doctor. He helped me with a funerary problem" her mother had died she was also a prostitute and a customer had killed her but this man didn't need to know that " I needed to earn the money to bury her but had no way to keep her from rotting. But the mortician was a necropolitan" the prince nodded and Alice assumed he'd heard of the great morticians.
They were a race of creatures, caught between life and death, but not undead, who had existed from the times of the great war against the dark lords and though they were often dark and seemed sinister they never traded or made alliance with any of those necromancers and madmen. They had a great city called necropolis where they provided funeral rites and other services for the bereaved and they never turned away a customer taking only what the petitioner could pay. In the war of the last alliance the dark lord took vengeance on them destroying their great city and scattering the survivors to the fore winds
"The mortician was a refugee and had set up shop in the under city so that he would be left alone. When I came to him he agreed to help in exchange that I pay double the next time I needed him he explained some of what did and made sure that the body was ready for when I needed it. When I was twenty I ended up being bit and I went to him again hoping he would help me. He did he embalmed me using his alchemy I paid him and also had him do my piercings and a few of my scars and brands."
She was leaving out a great deal, how she had turned before coming to the necropolitan, how she had killed ten men and came to him for help and brought an angry mob down on the creature. They retreated and made their way through the under dark and came to the ruins of the necropolis where he finally, desperate and half mad from having been driven into hiding again, performed the embalming and piercings.
"But tell me my lady... why did you not take your friend to this mortician she seemed a handsome woman in life." Alice seemed to consider the question. They had met far from the ruins of necropolis but not so far that they couldn't have made it.
"I love Kaye as a sister, the only sister I ever had. I would go into the fire for her i mean it i would burn for her but I needed to keep that a secret Besides we are seeking a cure. Maybe we found it"
" There may not be a cure at least not in the way your friend means but I can provide more of my formula enough to make the hunger a forgotten memory. You showed trust in confiding your story to me Alice" the prince began turning Alice towards a curtain far to the rear of the room. There was a strong smell of burning incense and cloves wafting out. Now may I show you something and confide in you as well" taking his hand Alice started towards the curtain and the prince took back the initiative and led her through. Upon entering glow sticks all around the room activated and the room lit up in a bright flash. Alice raised an eyebrow when she saw what was inside.
Upon pure white linen bed was a female corpse she was nude and in an advanced state of decomposition the flesh blackened but still moist with ulcers of rot its hands were bound on its chest at the wrists with manacles the wrists were tethered to a collar around its neck, and the collar tied to the bed . Its forehead had a large drill hole in its skull and there were dried black blood stains in the center of the bed between its slightly spread legs. Braziers of incense were lit to either side and flowers were strewn over the body.
"did you think this would frighten me or disturb me? I think I have done far worse in the last year. And I honestly don't judge you
He pulled away and walked to a table near the front. There was a tinkle of diamonds on a chain and he returned his hands draping a luxuriously sparkling necklace around her neck. "As you can see there must be restraints and I had to destroy this one either that or I must pacify her like I have the others that toil in my lab. I have no desire to cause damage or destroy, but I have needs, Perhaps we can come to an arrangement"
"Yeah I know what kind of arrangement." Alice replied suddenly very angry where she had not intended to become so. "Nothing works down there you know. I don' t feel anything it doesn't get wet or warm, just cold dead meat, and you know what? I like it like that." Alice suddenly spun raking her clawed hand across the prince's face gouging out several deep furrows of bright crimson. He shrieked and fell back. " since I was ten I've had plenty of men and a fair amount of women pawing at me, climbing all over me and putting things inside me. Treating me like I was a piece of meat. That was how I spent my life I'll be damned if I'll spend my death as a whore." she was standing over him now the spiked ball in her left hand.
"The cure!" He gasped "kill me and you'll never get it." Kaye laughed dropped the ball out of her hand and began to swing it. "You'll never be able to make more. In the entire world only my genius could produce it."
" yeah I'll bet." Alice said coming on with the swinging ball and chain. "but the fact remains I'm not sucking your cock I'm not fucking you and I'm not playing the quiet submissive kept corpse. So I guess were just shit out of luck. Besides, I'd rather follow Kaye to a cure. She's more fun to hang around with than you." Now his fearful ruined face contorted in rage and he spat back.
"You won't have her for much longer slattern! By now my mutates will have brought her to heel and if you don't want her ripped limb from limb and used in my experiments you'll let me up and do as i say." This time Black Alice roared with laughter.
"It is HILARIOUS that you actually think that. Come on I thought you were supposed be smart." As if on cue there was a tremendous crash as though something huge had just smashed through the parlor. the prince's eyes went wide. Black Alice, her eyes cold the emotion drained from them as she came on. " I still don't feel the hunger still don't need to eat your brains. But I'm curious what it actually tastes and feels like." The prince was screaming as she came at him her mouth open
As Kaye lept over the mutates enormous fist with such grace she seemed to be moving in slow motion. Then when clear of that enemy as it stumbled and toppled over she began to spin her body building centrifugal force and slamming the same into the next mutate with both feet connecting with his bloated deformed chest. there was a wet splatter then a crunch and the thing exhaled as it went flying back. The third was coming on now at a run both hands raised to deliver a hammer blow. They were huge bloated monstrosities more than eight feet tall and humanoid with heavy iron frames along their arms legs and backs which had a large enclosed box that connected to the mutates skull via a network of heavy cables. Their hands had been drawn into fists with iron bands and at the knuckles were thick three pronged battering rams. They had been built from what looked like shambler zombies only packed with additional muscle and bone to increase strength and size and to protect their brains under misshapen layers of calcified flesh and bone.
The third and largest came on a dull moaning roar bursting through its rotted swollen mouth, its features almost unidentifiable as male. Kaye stayed low holding her ground and as the mutate brought both fists down together she slid forward to her left grabbed hold of both fists at the wrists and began to slide backwards twisting her hips, waist and shoulders to redirect all of the things momentum. The mutates charge had already thrown it off balance and it was suddenly dragged off its feet and swung in a whipping arc then released hurtling into the first mutate. This one, possibly a female, whip was struggling to get up after toppling over was nearly broken in half as its companion hit it square in the back heat first Both slumped to the stone floor the thrown mutate was still its skull split open and oozing brains, the female was spasming but unable to move Kaye realized Mamuwalde was trying to perfect the shamblers making them stronger, faster, and with a degree of the durability of thinkers but still able to terminate them by destroying the zombies' brain.
She had anticipated a trap, a quick way to eliminate the so called third wheel, in the prince's desire for Alice so she had already began building what Ki she could through breathing and meditation when the first mutate had attacked. It was a technique that was the foundation of her martial art and she had mastered it early on. The problem was that since becoming infected Kaye had not been able to muster even a tenth of what she had been capable of. What she had built up though was enough to, with one thunderous blow blast that mutate high into the air and send it crashing into the fourth level of the tower where it had been obliterated. That had released another three mutates and Kaye had no time to build another Ki blast.
The last standing mutate was staggering to its feet from where Kaye had kicked it, its head was lolling on a giggling mound of swollen fluid filled necrotic flesh. Charging, Kaye dodged a wild punch and climbed up onto the things chest she punched through the sack with her right hand and kept pushing till she hit bone and then held on. She then planted her right foot on its chest and then kicked her left foot under its chin and kicked and pulled at the same time. The spine snapped and the head ripped free and she threw it back to dangle behind the mutate connected to the rear cables. Its body, convulsing and spinning, was desperately trying to make sense of its injuries. Just then the last mutate that had had its spine snapped came up on Kaye ready to smash her down
As the blow fell there was a crash and a shower of broken glass. With a high gurgling shriek, what looked like a four armed spider, It had a human shape but with freakishly distorted proportions. Long arms with huge hands and long thin bulbous fingers. The entire torso was bent and twisted with a bulging curved spine and an abdomen so tiny that the ribs almost protruded through its scared and torn flesh. At the top of the torso where a head should have been was a distended neck stump its esophagus extending from the stump like a tongue. On its back was a humanoid male dressed in tattered and filthy farm clothes with a scarf around his neck and covering his rotted gray-green mottled flesh. Upon impact the farmer fell off and hit the ground with a sickening crack of broken bone. The four armed creature.
Long-shanks, Kaye recognized, began twisting the mutates neck with violent snapping turns and lurches of its body. There was the snap crackle pop of vertebrae breaking but the mutate was still up. Kaye took advantage of the chaos and charged at the grappled mutate but not to attack she rolled and gathered up the zombie that had fell as well, her friend timothy, and raced to get him out of the fighting. "Kaye!" he started but the monk dumped him behind some lab equipment and said
"I'm very happy to see you but I need you to stay right here" and with that she was off to help her other companion.
When breaking its neck didn't work Long-shanks changed tactics and wrapping all four appendages around the cables attached to the mutates head it pulled with all its might. The cables came loose with an explosive flash of electricity that threw long-shanks across the tower to land in a smoking heap.. Kaye stopped her charge for a moment fearing the worst, but her friend and pet popped up a second later burned and smoldering but seeming no less worse for wear. It was already charging the next enemy
Long-shanks was hopping and leaping at its enemy trying to avoid its wild flails Seeing an opening the zombie lept and gripped the mutates torso. As it landed Long-shanks gripped tight and began to convulse against the mutates face, its emaciated stomach expanding and contracting. Then with a gurgling whistle the thinker zombie began to spew a tight stream of putrid green stomach acid through its esophagus. The pressurized acid split the mutates head and body in half and dropped it stone dead on the laboratory floor.
Long-shanks immediately ran to Kaye going low to the ground and holding out one huge hand its bulbous finger splayed out palm up. The monk stepped forward and started signing on the palm of the outstretched hand. Having no brain it understood only the simplest of terms. Timothy came over nursing his broken arm. His face was far more decomposed than Kaye's but he was still able to smile through his torn and withered lips and Kaye patted him on the cheek. Both he and Long-shanks had obviously had their own adventures since they had been separated.
"A lot has happened Tim" Kaye began "How were we captured?' He explained that as they were traveling through the rain forest searching for the tomb of Vecna Alice had become caught in a net when Kaye went to help the same trap cunningly hidden and built to catch humanoids also snared her. A third trap would have gotten Long-shanks but the creature was too agile and it grabbed Timothy before he was caught. Before the women could be rescued though a group of mutates arrived and Long-shanks being a creature of instinct escaped with Timothy rather than fight. Eventually The farm hand managed to make the creature turn around and they had been tracking the mutates trying to find a way to rescue their friends eventually climbing the mountain and dropping in through the roof.
Black Alice arrived soon after all this was explained, Prince Mamuwalde in tow Even at a distance there was the smell of urine and feces pouring off him and the sleeve of his lab coat was torn with fresh blood staining it. Alice was just about to greet her friends and explain that she had bitten the prince thus ensuring he would need to help them find a cure to the infection before he grew sick, died and came back, most likely as a shambler. The last part she had been particularly proud of her self for. But this was not to be. Long-shanks shuddered and went into an attack posture. Kaye had even forgotten, and was surprised to see such a change in the creature then she knew what the problem was when Timothy sprinted past mouth foaming screaming:
"BRAIIINSSS!!!!" Kaye managed to tackle the boy before he went too far. Long-shanks though was on the prince in an instant slapping Alice aside and seizing the man by the head and lifting him squealing and thrashing into the air. Both women had a second to shout "No!!!" and then 'Shanks popped Mamuwalde's head like an over ripe fruit and started stuffing a handful of dripping gray and red tissue into its neck hole. Not being cruel Kaye let Timothy go and he bolted for the corpse. Long-shanks moved aside and the boy stuffed his face. Both women looked at each other shrugged and when they could grabbed a handful each and at least got something for all their trouble.
A search of the tower revealed a larger storage chamber with more storage tanks, a hundred or more all suspended from the ceiling as theirs had been. As they inspected the tanks and tried to find a way to open them there was a low weak banging coming from one. The seals seemed broken but the heavy iron clasps still intact meaning that the corpse inside had been trapped inside and conscious for, judging by the rust and dust, quite a long time. Kaye and Long-shanks were able to get the tank down and pry it open with a cloud of rancid gas and a scream of pain. From within a horror emerged
It was a tar-man a corpse whose flesh had turned into putrefied fat from being trapped in an enclosed humid environment. His flesh ran like black candle wax exposing bone all over and he dripped as he lurched staggering and swaying out of his prison. The smell was obscene even for creatures such as thinker zombies. With lidless eyes the tar-man looked about as if trying to understand who was in front of him and then her in a deep resonating tortured voice "brains?" Kaye stepped forward her face a mask of sympathy.
"There's nothing here we all have the hunger we'll find them, enough for everyone." for a second he seemed to respond but then he started to stagger a way each step looking like agony. Kaye stepped in front of him again "there's a cure we're trying to find it" at first it seemed like he would just push past her but he stopped and put a slimy black hand on her shoulder.
"No... Cure," when he took the hand away a layer of toxic fat sloughed off and ran down Kaye's front. "No... cure... no...crime. you... forget.... had family.... nothing now.... alone... want to burn..." the tar-man shoved her aside and continued on.
"So that's it!?" Kaye yelled at the zombie's back " after all you've been through you just wander back out there? To do what? Keep killing? Keep eating?" He kept staggering. Off his movements swaying and horrifically unsteady. "You wont burn yourself if you hadn't by now you won't find the heart to do it now. We deserve another chance!" Now it turned
"Don't... know ...me"
"So what?" Kaye came up and put her hands on the things shoulders they felt like mud and mucus."when was the last time you had a conversation? A friend? We need each other. We're more than just monsters or victims. We can have our lives back. Or if its been too long then we can have another chance."
"Why not?" Kaye said smiling "there are a lot of us here and when they wake I want them to see that they aren't alone that they have a chance and together we have the power to take what we want"
With the tar-man beside them they managed to get the other containers and thinkers inside free. By now the prince's formula had faded and the hunger and pain came back with a vengeance. Waves of nausea and pain rolled through Kaye as she laid out her plan to the other thinkers, each in as bad a way as her and in their desperation they all drew some comfort that they were not alone and that someone somewhere had taken that first step to bring them together. Some left, unwilling or unable to understand the concept of sharing, but that was who the were and they weren't needed. The ones who stayed and listened were all Kaye would ever need.
When a plan had been made based on maps found in Mamuwalde's quarters they all set out. An army of ravening cannibalistic undead desperate and insane searching for an insane last hope.