Blood and Lies (pt. 10)

Part ten in the Blood and Lies series
Part One: Blood and Lies (pt. 1)
Part Two: Blood and Lies (pt. 2)
Part Three: Blood and Lies (pt. 3)
Part Four: Blood and Lies (pt. 4)
Part Five: Blood and Lies (pt. 5)
Part Six: Blood and Lies (pt. 6)
Part Seven: Blood and Lies (pt. 7)
Part Eight: Blood and Lies (pt. 8)
Part Nine: Blood and Lies (pt. 9)


He awakens in an empty place. The first moment of self in an eternity of agony. Wondering if this was death Telfor welcomes the relief from that agony if this is indeed the afterlife promised. In all directions surrounding him there is nothing. It is not truly dark here, there is simply no light. Nor air, space, or even time. Lost in a hollow abyss with nothing but himself.
He closes his eyes, but nothing changes. He sighs without breathing and thinks of home. His hoped one of the others would take care of his family. The thought of dying without seeing his daughter finish growing up, of leaving his wife to raise her alone. If he this is death, if this boundless void is all there is. Failing his family is the one that will haunt him.
Suddenly in that place where light, space and time do not exist, there was a voice. Creaking like the gallows it whispers his name. The only sound in a place that has never and will never hear another, his voice beckons him. He doesn’t know how, for he has no body, but somehow the grey soldier reaches out and grasps the words and clings to them. The hope that they can bring him back to his family providing the strength.
He is dragged towards existence through gates of horn and bone inlaid with ancient text in the language that had died before the first child was born. His lifeline from the empty place begins to take form as a shadow given flesh, a dark thing made of magic. A pinprick of light forms and expands to grow and consume him, thrusting him back into the agony despite his pleas.

Somewhere a bell tolls. Telfor’s eyes burst open as the world erupts back into existence for him radiating outwards from his body. The pain that had previously destroyed him remains, but a pale echo of what it had been. Survivable.
His breathing is shallow and erratic, his skin was clammy but cold. He could feel himself trembling with a weakness and frailty that was terrifying. He felt as though a soft breeze would tear him apart and cast his soul adrift once more. With all his effort his fingers and toes barely succeeded in twitching, then curling. He notices an oppressive stench, like rotting flesh and smoke.
There are people talking around him. His head is muddled and he can’t quite understand them, all bar one is familiar. The old village couple, Jacob and Aria, he remembers now. They had been escorting a prisoner, an ambush by an mass of undead drove them to a village not on the map in the black forest. A monster had attacked, he had fought it but that is all he can remember.

“Don’t push yourself,” the fog in his mind finally parting to allow the words meaning to reach him, the unfamiliar voice had spoken. It was a woman’s voice, but there was something wrong about it, “You were mostly dead. It will take some time for your body and soul to realign properly, and the poison is still working through your system. Rest a while longer, you and your large friend are going to be fine.”

He tries to reply, to ask what happened but words are impossible. Trying to control his mouth feels like trying to walk using his lungs. He notices that everything has gone dark before he realises that his eyes had slipped closed. Overcome with weariness he slipped into unconsciousness once more. A pained sleep, but a deep, healing sleep.

***

“Do you think I could have done anything differently that might have saved her?”

The Revenant’s half voiced question passes his ragged throat to break the respectful quiet of the village square. Rubin looks down at his friends grief stricken state. The scholar knew he wasn’t suited to this kind of role, he didn’t know how to comfort a mourning friend. All he knew was that he had to say something, “You did what you could”

“Aye,” The scout states flatly. Neither of them speak again for a long time. The villagers have begun the work of disposing of the monstrous corpse, one had kindly provided a sheet to cover Verumalleus.

Oliver was helping as best he could without his magic, still hot from the shame of his helplessness during the battle. He understood logically that the bracelet wasn’t the fault of his captors, that the ones truly at fault were in the capital, but it was difficult not to resent them for their role in his persecution and endangerment.

Inside the house Vahkragg and Telfor slept under the care of the necromancer. Jacob knows that the outsiders are still in shock following the battle with the Anathema and dealing with the thought of losing three of their companions. He also understands that eventually they will recover and they will have questions that demand answers. Questions about Zsófia, about the Anathema, and of his decision to keep what he knew about them a secret.
For now he has to care for the two patients and Zsófia as she lay exhausted by her own magic and is recovering beside the others. Among the bounty hunters, the ruby scholar had come from the university. They were taught to hate necromancers with the same zeal as were the disciples of Atyx. If he should choose to return and follow through on his training by murdering the unconscious necromancer, Jacob doubts that he would be able to stop him.

In the village square, Pan’s grief had turned inside of himself to a place his friend could not recognise or understand. Unable to help any further, Rubin struggles with the problem of the necromancer’s presence here. He had been taught at the university to abhor necromancy and to report cases of its practice if not outright destroy it. He knew the law and understood why necromancy was such a reviled discipline. He also recognised the incantation Zsófia had been chanting, and from experience he recognised the voice that had come from her that was not her own.

Author: Zairron

I'm writing to build a habit, practice, and be creative.

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