Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Ravens, pt Six

“Fall back!” Heinrich shouted in broken German, the unofficial language of code for the village hidden in the hills of Pennsylvania.
Instantly Steven and David fell back, allowing the dead to press through the three foot gap, stumbling over the mound of still corpses beneath their bloodied feet and into the blades and maces of the two men, plus Michael. Heinrich moved around the melee to the other shelf, putting his good shoulder against the shaking wall of wood and boxes to better stabilize the leaning tower keeping the hungry dead at bay.

“Fight, cripple!” Heinrich ordered from his vantage point, shouting above the rising moans of the angered cadavers, ordering his men to focus on crippling the dead instead of destroying them, a far easier task. He smiled grimly as he watched their aim shift from the upper body to legs and arms, stomping on the bodies as they fell at their steel-toed boots.
For minutes the waves of undead continued to pour through the choke point, turning from a tumultuous torrent to a steady stream. As that stream began to slow to a trickle, Heinrich’s hopes began to rise: perhaps they could keep this up?
“Enter, sweep?” Michael called out in his own harsh German, looking over his shoulder at Heinrich for confirmation to go through and try to clean up the remaining dead, as well as their master.
“Steven and David left, Michael and I right, backs to the wall.” Heinrich commanded, moving from the now still shelf up to Michael’s side, sinking his sickle into the skull of an emaciated woman with a massive gouge in her throat. Putting a boot to her chest he pulled his weapon free with a sick thunk! and moved to pass through the gap, Michael hot on his heels.
He immediately knew the Necromancer was angry as he ducked beneath a lobbed ball of green fire, Michael spinning his claymore expertly to block the offending spellfire harmlessly against cold iron. The Necromancer stood, face a mask of rage and anger, both hands alight with unholy flames as his bathrobe swirled about him to an unseen wind. A small cadre of zombies, all unaltered, milled around him in a loose circle, gazing out with blank stares at Heinrich and the others as they filed over the blood-slickened mound.
“I’ll peel the very flesh from your bones you sniveling bastards!” He roared, hands flaring brighter as he brought them high over his head.
“Duck and cover!” Heinrich shouted in English, running to the left against the shelves crouched low, a flicker of movement from his side telling him Steven and David were doing the same on the right side.
A splash of spellfire erupted at Heinrich’s feet, no heat radiating from the burst of flames. Heinrich deftly hopped over the smoldering mark before turning his back to the wall where the shelves ended, twirling his sickle in preparation, before beginning to move down the wall, closer to his target.
The zombies, either on some unspoken command or of their own volition, broke their silent vigil and began letting out grunts and groans as they shambled forwards, splitting into two groups as they both went after the halved team. Michael moved forward, swinging his claymore into the side of a rotund, shirtless man with the sound of a watermelon bursting against pavement, wedging his blade into the upper body of the restless dead. Heaving with all his might, he moved the dead a foot to the right, just in time to catch a blast of spellfire to the back.
The upper body of the undead immediately began to shrivel and blacken, the flowing black blood from the wound around the blade slowly turning into a fine powder. The withering dead let out a piteous shriek as its skin began to crackle and flake beneath the strange effects of the spell, it’s eyes melting into white ash within their own sockets. The flames were quickly spreading over the body, forcing Michael to rip his blade free from the body, ducking and rolling to the side as the body fell over limply, another blast of spellfire flying wild over his head as he dodged.
Steven and David busily hacked and smashed their way through the undead charging them, so Heinrich moved to keep the Necromancer’s focus on his side of the room. Righting himself and standing tall, he quickly gauged how far away the man was before, with a moments aim and thought, through the weighted sickle at the enraged sorcerer. Whistling through the air, it flew off its mark and only winged him, slicing deep into his thigh as it grazed his leg. Still, the wound began to quickly darken his faded jeans with a deep crimson as blood flowed from him like water from a fountain.
The Necromancer howled in agony, both hands quickly extinguishing as they went to his leg, pressing over the bloody gash to try and stem the steady flow. Heinrich smiled in victory as he pulled his second sickle from its loop on his belt, wincing partially as his motion bent his broken arm at an odd angle.
He shook his head, fighting against the dizziness the painkillers had brought on, moving a step back to put some distance between himself and the approaching undead, a long armed bearded man covered in tattoos and bites. Taking a moment to clear his head, he stepped forward and front kicked the zombie in its chest, tossing it backwards into an awkward pile of grey skin and black blood. The zombie, undeterred from its goal, began to slowly crawl towards Heinrich, at least until its head was stomped in by his heavy boot.
The Necromancer, just now noticing how close Steven and David were to him, raised his bloody hands high into the air, flames once again erupting and casting a dire glow over the area. It was pitiful compared to the earlier blaze he had been able to create, but still formidable enough for Steven and David to split up even further, moving to flank the Necromancer while dealing with his remaining bodyguards.
The few undead that remained were paired against Michael, and were having a rough time handling him. Moving between targets with practiced ease, he slashed and hacked away at their limbs, removing rotting hands from wrists before cutting at their knees, sending them toppling to the ground. From there, handless and without a means to move well, they merely flapped against the cool linoleum helplessly, gouts of coagulated rot pouring from their wounds.
Dashing forward, Heinrich hopped onto one of the corpses, sliding across the floor silently on a board of writhing flesh and bubbling, seeping wounds, skating closer to the Necromancer.
The man spun wildly, eyeing Steven and David, his eyes growing almost bulbous as Heinrich hopped off of the torso and onto its still moaning head with a sickening crunch! He could tell he wasn’t in a good position, and the panic in his eyes was almost palpable. Slowly, he lowered his hands, the flames dying down as he did so. Holding his hands out, palms pointed at the floor, he cocked his head to the side, giving Heinrich a lopsided grin.
“Got me, I suppose.” He said with a sigh. “Parlay?”

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