Mordant's wraithMature

Dackson reacted first, running forward and swinging his scimitar in a low cut at the wraith, turning his body as he did so to pull aside and avoid the revenant's chill grasp.  The cold iron of the scimitar seemed to catch on something unseen in the air, and a rent appeared in the wraith's body, a darker opening in the darkness shaped from the air.  The wraith howled again and slowed its approach, its hooded head turning blindly from side to side, trying to sense its opponent with inhuman abilities.  Dackson sliced again, the scimitar once more finding purchase somehow and tearing another hole into the wraith.

An arrow whistled through the air, the white feathers showing its path clearly even in the gloom, but it punched through the wraith and carried on through leaving no trace of its passing.  Molaan cursed softly; his arrows were effective against the solidity of enchanted bone, but the insubstantial nature of the wraith, the dark sorcery that bound emotions into a delicate, vengeful fabric rendered his arrows all but useless.

Dackson jinked left and then right and swung the scimitar again, this time missing as the wraith seemed to fold in on itself to avoid the blade, and then inflate again afterwards.  It surged forwards and Dackson had to jump backwards to dodge.

"Is this one to be all mine, too?" he cried.  He parried the wraith's lunge stepping to the side to allow it to overextend, and bounded past it.  The scimitar flashed in the torchlight and struck the middle of the wraith's back.  It howled, rippling as though caught in a wind only it could feel.

Molaan pulled the skeleton's mace from his pack, setting his bow down carefully on top of the pack.  The head was cold iron, that should prove effective.  Waiting until the wraith turned, still hunting Dackson, he moved stealthily in and swung.  The mace ripped along the back of the wraith throwing off small silver sparks and leaving thick gouges in its substance.  It turned abruptly, rotating about its central axis like no human or animal could and suddenly it was face to face with Molaan.  Molaan stared, transfixed by the realisation that the wraith had an actual face inside the hood.  The wraith's mouth opened ready to scream, and then Dackson slammed into Molaan's side knocking him to the floor and out of the way.  Dackson collapsed on top of him as the wraith screamed, echoes of rage bouncing off the walls of the sepulchre causing dust to fall from the walls and ceiling.

"The wraith's scream can chill your soul," said Dackson, pulling himself to his feet.

"I know that!" snapped Molaan, also coming back to his feet.  "Watch your own back, I have mine."

The battle lasted barely a minute longer; as Dackson caught the wraith's attention with a neat feint Molaan swung the mace through its head and it exploded into a cloud of dust.  Two soft pinging sounds could be heard as the two men waited for the dust to clear.

"What happened there, Molaan?  You stood in front of the wraith and stopped moving.  I thought I was the one with the longing for death?"  Dackson couldn't quite keep the sour edge from his voice.

"I... I recognised him."  Molaan shrugged.  "I saw inside the hood of the wraith and I recognised him.  It was Mordant."

"Rubbish.  Wraiths aren't people, Molaan.  Only people are people.  Didn't you just try to tell me the same about that skeleton we fought?"

"It was Mordant, Dack, I saw his face as clearly as I can see yours now."

Dackson stirred himself, and kicked through the dust on the floor, looking for the source of the earlier pinging noise.  He seemed to be thinking.  Finally he stopped kicking, and looked at Molaan again.

"Why would Mordant be here?  He fell in the battle of Schwermut three months ago.  That's five hundred leagues from here."

"I know not, Dack, but I know what I saw."

Dack kicked again and something pinged.  He bent down, and grubbed in the dust, finally standing back up again and staring down at something held in his palm.

"Mayhap I believe you," he said, holding his hand towards Molaan.  In his palm were two wrought silver crests each the size of Dackson's thumb.  Each crest was inscribed with a pair of crows.  "These are the crests from his gauntlets."

The End

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