Friday, September 6, 2013

The Treasure of the Iron Range-10

The next step, as Ken saw it, was to make his way into the mine. Down there were certain to be more of The Necromancer’s undead thralls, including the last of the more intelligent leader thralls. Ken knew that he was expected, and this would not be nearly so easy to execute as his antics on the surface. He expected that he would find a more dangerous opposition down there, one that needed no light or fresh air, and the constricted corridors of the old mine made his mobility moot. This time it was a fight of might, not maneuver.

Ken’s expectations got met on the way down. A far more aggressive response met him early, and Ken in turn demonstrated that he knew how to handle a longsword in confined quarters. Once he saw that the sword’s flames didn’t burn him, or that the blade didn’t cut him, Ken laughed long at the enemies before him. As their severed limbs and torsos caught fire and burnt to ash—some falling down the shaft, reduced to ash before impact—Ken heard the dull roar of more of them awaiting him below, and the laughter grew louder. He felt no fear.

Ken came out of the shaft swinging, cleaving through the undead and rotting flesh and burning them to ash before they could get a withered claw on him. Fury uncommonly expressed energized his form, and he continued to laugh at the absurdity as he hewed through the undead horde as if they were so many bales of hay. When the horde attempted to flank him, he quickly hewed his way out and then resumed the assault. They tried and failed multiple times, so at last the leader compelled their retreat and Ken eagerly pursued them- cutting them down without mercy.

As he reached the very bottom of the mine, where the thralls worked anew at long-dead veins to create underground a ritual space around which they unearthed a massive sarcophagus of silver that shown as if it were reflecting a full moon on a cloudless night. Before him now stood a great and large abomination that once was an ordinary man, now distorted into a caricature formerly seen only in the fiction of the Old World. On its face Ken felt the great presence of The Necromancer pushing down upon him like a giant bearing down on his very soul.

Ken drew the sword, blue-white flame flaring in The Necromancer’s presence, high over his head as he readied to strike. The Necromancer, directly possessing his amalgamated thrall-gestalt, did not waste words and charged Ken. Ken severed an arm, but still got spun about and tumbled off his line. As the severed flame burned to ash, a new one grew in its place. Ken, seeing how this would go, drew deep into his inner strength; with uncanny speed, Ken dodged the monster and severed limb after limb until he sliced the thrall down to no flesh at all.

The sarcophagus cracked.

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