The Black Blade and the Flesh Mountain

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Fantasy Realm

An undead hoard crashes against the gates of Earth City. A young woman and her sword answer the challenge.

The battle beneath her was in full swing. The humans of earth city engaged the undead horde at their games. The massive claws of werewolves shredded armor and rent shields. Feral zombies shambled into the lines of human warriors, threatening to overwhelm them if not for the arcing lighting cast by the mages on the wall and the curtain of arrows from the archers beside them. Even with these reprieves, waves of mindless ferals trickled through, pushing into the humans ranks. The werewolves prevented the warriors from forming ranks by dropping into the back lines ripping, tearing and biting their way through those attempting to reinforce the front line before launching themselves back into the trees, away from the thrusting spears. The archers and magi too preoccupied by staving off the masses of zombies to deal with the beasts.

 

From her perch in the boughs of a tree overhanging the wall Alsin drew the string of Borin’s bow to her cheek. A deep breath in, feeling the heavy dwarven arrow resting on her finger. A slow exhale, training her eyes on her target, a massive beast that had just crashed into a warrior, crushing her beneath it. With one massive bite it took near the entirety of her neck leaving her head attached by small strip of skin. As a group of three warriors closed in on it, spears leading, it launched itself back into the boughs of the trees. The arrow flew. The beasts body hung limp, pinned to a massive branch by its head. Another arrow slid from its enchanted quiver. A deep breath in as she shakily drew the bowstring to her cheek. Draw on his strength, Yfandris whispered inside her head. Not yet, she replied. A deep breath out as she trained her eyes on her next target, another werewolf. It was flying through the air toward another poor soul on the ground. She lined up her shot with where it would land. As it approached the ground its direction of travel changed suddenly, its body crumpling beneath a blow and sailing several feet before slamming into the ground in a broken heap. Where it should have landed stood Tyr Trohtnon.

 

The mountain of a man was an imposing figure, even among the gory chaos. A shadow appeared behind Tyr and materialized into a elven vampire. Before Alsin could take aim at the creature a spike of ice slammed into its head and it crumpled to the ground dead. Five ferals bore down on Tyr. He struck two down with an arcing swing of his ax and Ryhan, who had moved to his side, put down the other three with a stream of flame from his hand. Though Ryhan was young, his mastery of elemental magic surpassed even the masters of the university. It was often said that when he and his brothers were together, they were nigh invincible. Witnessing displays like that, Alsin could almost believe it. A feral minotaur charged its way through the front lines, impaling one warrior on its twisting horns and sending three others flying as it barreled toward Ryhan and Tyr. Alsin planted two of her heavy arrows in the beast, one in its leg and one in its rib cage but they didn’t even slow it down.

 

Tyr saw the feral minotaur rushing toward Ryhan and himself, horns down, aiming to skewer them. He shoved his oblivious brother out of the way leaving him only a narrow gap to side step the stampeding beast as flew past them. Tyr’s ax, not quite clearing the beasts path, was knocked from his hand and sent flying. “Keep it busy!” Ryhan shouted rolling to his knees and popping the cork out of a water skin he had lashed to his belt. Ryhan had made himself a target and the minotaur turned to line itself up with him. It dug its hooves into the ground, legs tensing, preparing to charge. Tyrs fist slammed into its muzzle with a loud crack. Something had broken, though whether it was the beasts maw or Tyrs knuckles one couldn’t know. A second blow connected with the minotaurs ribs, a hollow thud sounding out over the din of roaring battle. The beast launched a massive arm into a back handed swing which Tyr ducked under. Tyr came up in front of the beast and planted another blow in the center of the minotaurs throat, staggering it.

 

Ryhan had emptied his water skin into the dirt and had gathered up a rather large ball of mud about as wide as his chest. Steam began to billow from the mud ball as Ryhan heated it. The steam quickly turned to smoke as the ball of dirt dried out and burst into flames. Ryhan lifted the flaming flaming ball. It shrank to about half its original size as the flames sputtered out and the dirt began to liquefy into a ball of roiling magma. “Move!” Ryhan shouted as he brought the ball of magma over his head with both hands and hurled it at the minotaur. Tyr ducked just before the ball of super heated dirt flew over his head and slammed into the minotaurs chest. The ball busted like a water balloon covering the beasts entire upper half and even splattering some molten material over the creatures shoulders. It fell to its knees as what was left of its rotting flesh and bones liquefied beneath the molten material. Tyr rolled to the side as the beast fell forward splattering fetid blood and rapidly cooling molten dirt across the ground. Tyr pushed himself to his feet, admiring his little brothers handy work. “Nice,” he said with a nod of approval. Ryhan blew on the barrel of his finger gun and shot his brother a cheesy grin. Tyrs face fell, “and you just ruined it,” he said turning to find his ax. “What?” Ryhan asked, following Tyr.

 

Alsin rolled her eyes, just barely resisting the urge to slam her face into her palm. Idiot, Yfandris whispered in her head. That’s when she saw it. Half hidden by the shadows of the trees a massive minotaur stood on a small hill overlooking the chaotic battle beneath him as armor clad zombie foot soldiers maneuvered around him, pushing forward to join the battle. The massive war hammer it held in its right hand was twice as tall as the zombies moving past it and it may as well have tied on of the zombies to the end of a haft as big as the head of the mighty weapon was. For all that, the hammer only came up to the massive creatures chest; And she had thought Tyr was imposing. I want it, Yfandris whispered.

“Why?” she asked, “We already have Borin’s strength. Even a beast that size couldn’t hope to match the might of the giant dwarf who lifted a mountain.”

I don’t want his strength. I was his ability to consume.

As if on cue the great beast leaned back, submerging its head in shadow. Its bright red of its eyes radiated out from the darkness. “Huh. Vampiric minotaur. Don’t see that every day.”

A rare specimen indeed. We will have it.

 

Alsin began walking toward the tip of the branch, her mind reaching out into the Aether focusing on the black gem set into Yfandris’ blade. The gem created a lead within the Aether, like an incorporeal strand of silk, leading her consciousness to that which she sought. She found El in an instant, its consciousness followed hers back to her world. El’s frigid detachment surrounded her like the biting chill of a cold winter morning, emotional neutrality. It was a comforting feeling that she loved from the first time she felt it and it instantly settled her nerves as she stepped off the end of the branch and plummeted toward the ground some 80 feet below. She felt a moment of weightlessness as the ground rose to meet her and her eyes found the ground next to the melted minotaur. The black smoke surrounded her. She stepped from the smoke now standing next to the half melted beast and making her way toward the mountain of flesh that she would soon cut down. As Alsin made it to the front lines the fighting ground to a halt around her as all the feral zombies and zombie foot soldiers turned their attention to her. The human warriors didn’t exploit the lapse in the zombies aggression, all to happy to accept a moments respite for their exhausted sword arms.

 

Keep walking, Yfandris whispered. Alsin wasn’t sure if that was a good idea but she continued on without hesitation. As she approached the zombies stepped out of her way, clearing as path through their ranks as she walked. What the hell? She thought.

It is my father’s power that binds their souls to their decaying vessels, they would not dare stand in our way, Yfandris answered, its pride clearly showing.

Alsin made her way through the ranks of the zombies, each one staring at her as she climbed the hill to her quarry. She stopped at the top of the hill and the zombies all moved away from her and the minotaur creating an oval shaped clearing. The massive minotaur looked around at his soldiers with a hint of confusion but that vanished quickly as it turned its attentions to Alsin. “Bold,” was all it said as it gripped its war hammer. Alsin reached to the small of her back, beneath her cloak, and gripped Yfandris’ hilt. Familiar pain shot through her body as Yfandris’ blade slide from beneath her skin. Yfandris’ blade wasn’t actually physically beneath her skin it just felt like it. In reality Yfandris’ utilized her blood to created a small portal to the little pocket of existence it called its home. Alsin felt like she was pulling out a spear that had been lodged between her skin and the muscle of her back, but it was a pain she was well accustomed to.

 

Yfandris was a black bladed elven long sword with a silver guard and a grip wrapped in purple leather. Every inch of the blade was etched with archaic looking runes and had two gems inlaid in the base of the blade just above the guard. One black, one white with gray marbling. Alsin focused on the white gem, calling forth Borin. Borins consciousness joined Els in surrounding her but Borin was the polar opposite of El. Borin brought rage, raw unfiltered, indirect rage. The white gem began to glow. The giant minotaur made the first move. With one massive step it closed the distance between them and brought his hammer down at the top of Alsins head. She brought Yfandris up and with Borin’s strength, caught the massive hammer, stopping the blow dead, even if her feet did sink an inch or into in the ground. She pushed the hammer away and brought her blade across the minotaurs arm cutting it deeply. This only seemed to piss it off though as it back handed her with enough force to take her off her feet and send her crashing to the ground a few feet away.

 

Again the titan closed the distance between them with a single step and brought its hammer down on Alsin. She vanished in a cloud of black smoke a fraction of a second before the hammer flattened her and reappeared in the behind the slashing Yfandris deep into its back as she came down to the ground. This strike was enough to draw an agonized roar from the beast as its blood splattered the ground. A mighty mule kick aimed for Alsins gut caught only black smoke. Alsin was in front of the beast again, driving Yfandris into its gut before vanishing again only to appear beside the mountain of flesh. Coldrend had her tell though. Alsin had to look at where she wanted to teleport. He threw another back hand, watching the little she-witch’s eyes. The black smoke formed and he dropped his hammer, his hand shot out towards where Alsin had been looking and caught her by the neck. Coldrend lifted her off the ground and yanked Yfandris from her hand, tossing it to the side. She tried to grab his wrist but it was so wide she couldn’t manage a grip. Panic set in as Alsin felt her strength fade. What’s happening? Why do I feel so weak?

He is consuming your life force, Yfandris whispered.

Alsins feet kicked and her body writhed as she tried frantically to free herself.

 

Just as her vision started to go black, a cold sense of calm enveloped her. El cleared her thoughts and quelled her fear. Fight. Alsin willed Yfandris to her and the soft leather of its grip filled her hand. She summoned all of Borins strength and hacked into Coldrends arm. The blade caught on the bone so she jerked it free and swung again. This time Yfandris cut through and Alsin hit the ground hard with Coldrends hand still gripping her neck. Alsin pulled the massive hand off her neck, coughing and gasping for breath. Holding his loincloth between his knees Coldrend ripped a strip free and tied it was tight as he could around his arm, below his shoulder. He just needed to slow the bleeding long enough to finish the girl. By the time he finished his tourniquet Alsin had caught her breath and was back on her feet. She charged him, sword raised for a thrust and the black smoke began to surround her. He followed her eyes and began to reach for where she would be when he felt the blade push up, under his sternum and bury itself in his heart. He looked down at the black blade buried in his chest. She had never teleported. Coldrend looked down at her, eyes wide with shock, “damn,” was all he said before he sank to his knees and slumped over her blade.

 

Alsin pulled Yfandris from Coldrends chest and prepared to be swarmed by the zombies surrounding her. With Coldrend dead though, it didn’t take much for Yfandris to convince the zombies to abandon the siege and leave. When the zombies began retreating the werewolves and vampires realized that with the bulk of their forces retreating, there was no hope of taking the city so the began to retreat as well. The human warriors and archers chased the undead into the forest, killing those they could catch. With the battle over Alsin turned her attention to her prize, cutting out Coldrends heart. She made her way back to home and placed Coldrends heart in a bowl in an altar in the back room of her cottage. After a short ritual and a long incantation, Alsin held black candle sporting a blue flame. She placed the flame against the heart and it took immediately, engulfing the large lump of flesh and quickly reducing it to fine ash. Alsin put on a black metal glove that sat on the far side of the altar and poured the ash into her hand. With another incantation Alsin squeezed the ashes as tight as she could and held it. After a few moments she opened her hand and in it she held a dark red gem.

 

Please, Yfandris whispered softly in her head. She looked over at the blade on her kitchen table then back at the dark red gem in her hand. Please, give it to me. We worked so hard for it, Yfandris cooed. Alsin nodded. She walked over to the table and slowly lowered the gem to the blade. As the gem got close to the blade the metal separated, creating a perfect hole for the gem to sit in. Once she had seated the gem the closed around it, sealing it in place. Alsin took off the gauntlet and picked up Yfandris, admiring its new adornment. She focused on the red gem as her mind reached out into the Aether, following the lead created by the gem. She found Coldrend in an instant, his consciousness followed hers back to her world. Coldrends presence enveloped her. Her eyes glowed red and she couldn’t feel anything anymore. Nothing, except the Hunger.


Submitted: January 08, 2021

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