Season of New Life
Year of 5339, Reign of the Patriarch Gerin II
After the Destruction of Highcloud Citadel
The immense Airship slowly lifted away from the burning city. The rotor blades picking up more speed as the wind turned against them. On the main deck around sixty people lay on the floor, stood around or held loved ones as the Airship flew higher into the night sky. One young boy stood apart from the others as he watched the burning city move further away. His hands held onto the metal bar around the deck wall. His head was covered in a dirty brown hood which was attached to a filth ridden cloak which was tightly wrapped around him. The cold air blasted against his small figure as the spitting rain bite into his face and legs. A man came to stand next to the boy. He was dressed in damaged battle armour and carried a heavy spear in his left hand. His face was hidden by his dented metal helmet. The man placed a hand on the boys shoulder to comfort him. The boy lowered his head as a single tear dropped onto the wooden deck of the Airship.
- - -
“The Human race is full of anger and malice. Their grief over the loss of thousands of their sons, daughters, mothers and fathers have moulded them into a hard, cold and revenge driven race.” The speaker stood in black metallic armour his hands spread across the table. With his face hidden by a black hood and several scraps of metal attached to his rotten flesh. His voice was dry. As he spoke the saliva in his mouth dripped slowly from his broken jaw. “Even though we almost have them defeated we cannot let our guard slip.” He stopped speaking to wipe a large clot of spit from his chin and wiped it on his ancient, ragged cloak. All the while his left eye scanning the room moving on its own accord. The room was dimly lit. Several shafts of light penetrated the broken ceiling of the ancient building. The Necromancers of Tirith disliked the light and lived out their miserable lives in the shadows of the ruined city of Kerrith. However the Necromancer could see the room perfectly. It was a wide circular chamber which was crumbled and ruined. The doorway to his left was shattered and the great windows were boarded up with rotten wood and metal scraps. The room was undecorated, save for the single large rotten table in the centre of the room and the few chairs that were repaired with metal and rope.
“General Kharn.” The speaker stood upright and looked towards the man sat opposite him.
“Yes” Another large clot of spit welled in his chin before dripping onto the floor.
“What is your point? We all know what you tell us to be true. My last attack against Merth Citadel cost me over four hundred soldiers and ten Necromancers. My scouts reported that the Humans had lost only six.”
“Your soldiers, General Merik, are usually made from several different body parts and badly constructed. It was a good thing you lost those Necromancers. They were shit at their job.” The woman to Merik’s left was slouched in her chair to the side of the table. Her long arms folded across her legs as she coughed up dark red blood. “Skeletons are far superior to Zombies and Hands.” She gave Merik a clod hard stare from under her mask. Her dark soulless eyes penetrated the darkness perfectly. Merik stood from his chair. His eyes light up with a crimson fire as he reached for his sword.
“MERIK!” shouted a fourth member. Merik turned to look at the man who was stood in the darkest corner of the room. As he spoke he slowly moved towards the table. “Severa was only making a point. You do create thousands of weak Zombies to overwhelm. They cannot be expected to overrun a well defended Citadel, especially not Merth.” The newcomer stopped as he reached the three.
“Trying to defend Severa will not work Tryast. My armies may well be weak but they are Legion. You three could not stand against me and expect to win.”
“This is my point” Kharn rasped. “We are turning on one another. The Lich King would laugh at us if he could see us now. The Necromancers fighting and squabbling amongst themselves.” He wiped his chin again. “We have fallen from his favour after the destruction of his favourite ruin.” Merik laughed. It was a cold and lifeless laugh which echoed listlessly through the empty corridors of the ruin.
“So the Humans destroyed the ruin of Akator. They know how to play the game and they play it very well.” Kharn, Tryast and Severa watched Merik closely as he walked to the shattered doorway.
“Where are you dragging your rotten backside?” Severa demanded. Merik turned to look at them in turn.
“Wouldn’t you like to know”
Kerrith, stronghold of the Necromancers, once a city of beauty and learning which, after the start of the war, was destroyed by the Vampire Lord Draegor and his daemon army. Merik walked down a long corridor admiring the remains of battle that littered the floor and walls. The blood and flesh no longer existed as the siege was over two hundred years ago. Yet the skeletons and weapons were strewn over the floor. The scars remained on the walls as daemons clashed with Human warriors. Merik imagined the battle as it had been so long ago. Daemons were a terrifying race which only the Vampire Lords used in battle. Before Humanity was defeated, they had created Knightly Orders whose sole aim was to wipe the daemon race from Terra’s surface. “Oh the irony” he thought to himself. As he reached the end of the corridor he was greeted by an immense doorway which was guarded by several elite guards. They were tall, armour less, warriors who could rip a man apart in an instance. These were Black Hands. Merik was proud of himself for even creating them in the first place. Tryast had always urged them to have some form of elite soldiers to match the Human Knights “or the Lich Kings Phantom Berserkers”. Merik smiled to himself as he strode past the well assembled corpses. Out in the open he pulled his hood further over his face as the sun had been blotted out by the black clouds which held control over Kerrith. As he reached the bottom of a flight of ruined stairs he was met by the sight of his army. Within the immense courtyard his army waited over two hundred thousand strong. He watched with great pride as his soldiers stood waiting for him to return. They all craved his presence. All zombies were attracted to the most powerful source of magik and the one they had been created from, was now stood ahead of them. He spotted very few Necromancers as they walked towards him.
“Master.” Came a voice from behind him. He turned to greet the newcomer. It was a Necromancer who had been wounded terribly in the last attack. His leg had been severed from his body and now he had a new leg. Yet it was too small compared to his other leg so he walked at an angle and seemed to have trouble walking in a straight line.
“Yes my child?” Merik smiled and embraced the man.
“We are ready to march on your command Great One.” The man bowed his head. Merik nodded and turned back to his army.
“To Merth Citadel my brothers and sisters.” He commanded.
“Master, are we to attack the Citadel?” the same Necromancer asked
“No we are not. We are going to lay siege. If they do not surrender they will die from disease. Or devoured by thier own dead.”
- - -
The Airship fleet passed over the remains of a large town where the passengers and crew saw signs of the undead skulking within the ruined buildings. The small boy was still stood at his position at the back of the last Airship. His hood still covered his face as he watched the wilderness pass by under the ship. A shout called from the front of the vessel as the ship altered course. The boy looked up and squinted at the horizon. He could still see the pillar of black smoke which rose from his home. Anger welled up inside him. He held onto the metal bar as hard as he could to stop himself from jumping overboard. “No” he thought to himself. “I will destroy them all”. With that last thought he swung his entire body over the side of the vessel. Behind him came the screams of the women on the deck, as two soldiers who stood nearby tried to grab the boy before he fell to his death. Yet they were not fast enough. The boy fell from the ship and hurtled to the ground. “MAN OVERBOARD!” one of the soldiers bellowed.
Opening his eyes, he looked around. A movement to his left caught his attention. A ravaged body entered the barn. It walked meekly over to where he lay in the ancient hay. Its head was turned in an awkward position whilst its left arm had been severed just above the elbow. As it was only an arms length away he could hear the clicking noise in its vile open throat. The thing stopped as it looked down at him. The thing’s mouth began to water as it relished in the joy at finding a sleeping soul to devour. He kept his eyes closed and his movements frozen. Just before the thing reached towards his pulsing heart, he man kicked hard into the things ankle. It screeched as its leg was shattered and it fell to the floor. He quickly got up turned to face the injured zombie and stamped hard onto its frail skull. The bone shattered under his heavy boot. As soon as the thing screeched the rest of the undead in the ruined town now began to converge slowly on the barn. The undead could only walk, especially these, as they had been starved from the souls of the living for far too long. Looking around the barn he found a hefty log leaning against the barn doors. Testing its weight, he gave it a swing, nodded, then burst from the barn to do battle with the weak and starved undead outside.