Friday, August 30, 2013

The Treasure of the Iron Range-09

Ken figured that The Necromancer would have a presence on the surface waiting for him, and he was right. As he approached the old mine, he saw many patrolling undead marching in close order. These pickets patrolled in concentric circles, starting a mile out, and alternating in direction. The sheer size of the undead presence told Ken that his taunt made its mark, and the more life-like behavior told him that one of those more dangerous minions likely monitored this presence so the big man didn’t need to do it all himself.

Ken sat in a tree, downwind, and watched. Stealth seemed the obvious approach; sneak in, get the leader, the cohesion collapses and then create plenty of chaos to inhibit recovery before moving on to the next phase. However, Ken didn’t want to seek out his target; instead, he wanted the target to come to him. That’s why Ken drew the sword and dropped down on the patrol passing beneath him, reducing it to blue-flamed ash piles within seconds. He ambushed patrol after patrol, destroying each in turn, and soon knowing that there was a gaping hole in the outer defenses that could not be ignored.

As Ken expected, the remaining security patrols flooded down his way, but they did not arrive in any manner that could contain him. He went from one to the next, his laughter getting louder as more of then burned to ash before him, and none of The Necromancer’s undead thralls could so much as get a touch on Ken. He kept on cutting them down and burning them to ash, knowing that soon his target had to appear to salvage the situation. By the time that one could see ash piles all about for a few hundred yards, Ken’s expectation got fulfilled.

The leader, arriving with a bodyguard of a score of corpse-men, was indeed life-like as Ken expected. So was his bodyguard, and all of them armed with crude clubs—likely debris picked up from around the mine’s entrance—that showed them as being a more significant threat. Yet, once they saw Ken and the sword in his hands, they showed fear. That fear meant hesitation, and hesitation gave Ken an opening so Ken attacked.

This was not Ken’s first time fighting the life-like legionnaires of The Necromancer, as he’d been part of a raid upon the Necropolis itself some years before and encountered such minions then, so he had a firm idea of what to expect from them. Before they could regain composure, Ken already struck down a quarter of their number. Even then, and with supernatural will imposing itself upon them to attack, they still could not wholly commit. This sliver of a difference was all that Ken needed to put them all down.

Ken soon had the leader at his mercy. Armless, legless, backed up against a tree- helpless now against a foe stronger than expected. Ken took off the leader’s head and said “You can’t stop me, Necromancer.”

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