Table of Contents
The zombie strode forwards, its arms rising. As it swung a nearly-skeletal arm, Blake leapt upwards, his cloak billowing behind him. Reaching underneath, he produced a pair of golden knives, throwing them as he flipped upside-down, and then rolled as he landed to avoid another monster, the first zombie falling behind him. He shook his head. â€œThis is ridiculous.â€
A third zombie raised its axe to strike at him, and then paused, staring stupidly at the remnant of its arm before collapsing to the ground. Tysa slid from the shadows, nodding with a sour expression. â€œI agree. And I hate fighting the undead â€“ my dress is ruined.â€ She gestured at her bloodstained garment, before easily ducking underneath a swung sword and slipping back into the darkness. Blake took advantage of the pause to draw two more knives, sending them through the heads of two zombies.
â€œWell, we donâ€™t have much choice â€“ we have to keep these things away from those two.â€ With a grimace, he leapt back into the fray.
Sharron considered the two, gathering necrotic Essence around her as she turned her attention in another direction. As she raised her arms, gold and purple spiralled around her, and as she brought her arms down hard it rained into the earth. Once more, zombies slowed and stumbled, staggering as their Essence was shredded from within, and she turned her attention back to the main threat, confidant that the two mysterious newcomers could handle the enemy army now. The Shard of Devastation was a far greater threat.
Across the square, Terrek and the deathknight that concerned Sharron so much were locked in combat, swords clashing in a harmony of blows. Terrekâ€™s sword flashed with golden sparks as he drove the deathknight back, only to be forced back in turn. The deathknight laughed. â€œHonestly, boy. Youâ€™re good, Iâ€™ll grant you. But youâ€™re not me.â€ He brought his daiklave around in a two-handed swing, and Terrek stumbled backwards again, his brow furrowing in concentration as the blow slammed home. His armour took the brunt of the blow, but he heard a crack from his ribs that did not sound pleasant, and he narrowed his eyes in focus.
â€œYou are nothing. You are an errand-boy.â€ Terrek grinned suddenly, and took a deep breath, stabbing forwards with a flare of golden light. Across the square, Blake paused to stare and nearly got stabbed by a pursuing zombie â€“ only a last-moment leap backwards saved him from serious injury. As Terrek lunged, trails of golden Essence followed his sword, lashing out to hold the Shard still as the attack hammered home. Caught off-guard, the Shard raised his defenses as best he could, but was unprepared for the fury of the assault. The sword slid home, slashing across Shardâ€™s chest. For a moment, Terrek could not see any effect, but then a line of blood began running out from beneath Shardâ€™s glorious soulsteel, and he knew the attack had left its mark.
However, he had also left himself open. Terrek gathered his defenses as the deathknight returned the attack, but his movements were slow, and he could feel his strength ebbing away. His eyes narrowed, but he was unable to react quickly enough, and the Shard laughed joyously as his own attack hammered home with far more force than Terrekâ€™s. The soldier was thrown backwards, cobblestones cracking as he landed, his breath knocked out of him by the force of the landing. The deathknight strode forwards with a savage grin. â€œErrand boy? This bitch stole our masterâ€™s secrets, and we will not rest until she is brought to justice. You lived understanding nothing, and you will die understanding nothing.â€ He raised his daiklave for the final blow.
Sharronâ€™s spell caught him completely off-guard. Silver and black, it surrounded the deathknight, and for a moment his anima flared white as true unholy power twisted his Essence beyond what he had ever imagined. The deathknight screamed in agony, grounding his sword in a desperate attempt to stay on his feet, as his entire being was pulled through the Void. Spinning, blood dripping from his lips and his eyes unfocused, he charged towards the necromancer with a bellow of rage.
Sharronâ€™s anima was blazing around her, and a golden point-within-a-circle shone on her forehead. She raised her spear to meet the oncoming deathknight, and he knocked it from her grasp with a contemptuous gesture, shattering it in midair with a second mighty swing of his sword. â€œYou miserable brat! You do not have the right to those spells!â€
He opened his mouth to say something else, and stopped in surprise. He looked down at the arrowhead jutting out from the front of his neck, as another spurt of blood cascaded down his chest. Sharron thought she heard a sigh of pleasure from the soulsteel as blood cast it into relief. Shard started to turn, his sword fell from his grip, and he collapsed to the street. Around him, the last of the zombies fell as well.
Everyone turned to see the newcomer approaching, her golden bow the only hint of light on her. Sharron and Blake were still flaring, and Terrek, lying on the ground, tried to push himself up to see the woman stride past without looking at him. His eyes widened as he got his first look at her.
â€œThank you.â€ Sharronâ€™s voice was shaky, as she glanced at the shattered remains of her weapon. â€œWithout youâ€¦â€
The woman cut her off, looking across the square. â€œMarcaeus Blake?â€ Her attention was fixed on the man, and he raised an eyebrow.
â€œThat I am, Madam, and much thanks for the help, but Iâ€™m afraid you have the advantage of me.â€
â€œMy name is Stalking Spider. I am here to kill you.â€ Her voice didnâ€™t change its timbre, and Blakeâ€™s eyes widened. He laughed uneasily.
â€œYouâ€™re joking, right?â€
The arrow was launched before anyone could react. Blake leapt upwards, feeling it part the air between his legs as he jumped. He landed on an overturned fruit-cart with a faint whistle of surprise.
â€œNo.â€ Stalking Spider notched another arrow and fired.
And for a note, Void Essence Mirror is a brutal, cruel spell.