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View Full Version : Short Story - The Necromancer (5500 words, gore, language)



Nosretap23
August 17th, 2014, 09:08 PM
The smell of rotten meat hung thick in the air. It sat there, like a heavy blanket, suffocating every breath, muffling every noise, stifling every movement. The thick aroma of death mixed with a deafening chorus of fluttering, a buzz of tiny wings gorging on bloated bodies, entrails, and coagulating blood. An angry squawk answered the buzzing and a black cloud of flies moved as a single entity, a creeping, black ghost, into the sky just long enough for a raven to move in, sink its black talons into bluing and yellowing skin, and jam its long beak into the softened, maggot-writhing meat of some dead, disfigured man. Another raven joined the first, and then another, and another, and another, until an army of scavenging, black birds replaced the flies. They squawked and yelled and snapped at one another, fighting over bits of morsels, pieces of purpling flesh.
One fool, perhaps a soldier gone mad, perhaps one of the fools that followed the army’s caravan—their minds never right, dulled and child-like—walked among the dead, shooing away birds and flies and picking at the possessions of the dead. Del Alzon peered around the corner of the overturned wagon, watching the man, waiting. He knew it was out there. Then he saw it, a movement through the mass of dead bodies, like a rolling wave of skin and rotten flesh.
The fool never saw it, never noticed it. He had bent low, picking at a copper bracelet left on an arm that no longer had an owner. The wave quickened, bodies rolled to the side, and something pulled the dull-minded man down. Del Alzon heard a quick scream, a gurgling sound like wine being swished around a man’s mouth, and then saw a haze of red, a misty, crimson cloud formed just above where the man stood.
“Was that it, sarg?”
Del Alzon put up a fist, silencing his soldier, and nodded his head.
“So what do we do, sergeant?”
“Yeah, sarg, do we wait?”
Corporal Torgen, Rodrim Torgen, proved a man Del Alzon could do without. He was loud. He was insolent. He was arrogant. But most of all, he asked questions. And he always asked questions that would get the other soldiers asking questions, especially Pût. Of course they couldn’t wait. The column would already be five miles ahead of them and this thing that blocked their way, this thing that fed on carrion, had a lifetime’s supply on one battlefield. And how was it that their column was already five miles ahead of them? How was it that they were stuck here, trapped by some unknown giant of a scavenger, waiting behind an overturned wagon? That’s right, because Corporal Torgen decided they couldn’t leave any of the enemy—backwards, barbaric Two Towners from Po and Bum-Nur that didn’t know their asshole from a hole in the ground—alive to flank them as they marched east, as if that could have ever happened. It took one battalion of Golgolithulian regulars—three companies of one hundred and forty-four men each—to utterly destroy three thousand backwards, bronze-weilding, untrained fools from Mek-Ba'Dune. What could thirty or forty of them left alive have done? So, out of sergeant Del Alzon’s dozen men who all happened to still be alive after an hour of fighting, only five remained—four killed in their idiotic fight with the Two Towners and three taken by the thing that slunk out on the battlefield. Corporal Torgen proved a man Del Alzon could do without.
Del Alzon shook his head. “No.”
“What do we do then, sarg?”
Del Alzon turned on Pût. His face felt hot. He could feel a tremble in his hands.
“We feed you to it and while its busy gagging on your bones, make our way to the rest of our company.”
Pût slid back, eyes wide. Del Alzon could see the young man’s lip quiver. If you hadn’t gotten any hair on your chin, you shouldn’t be able to use a spear and hold a shield. He actually liked the young private. He seemed a good lad. Never asked questions—unless Torgen was around—and always did what he was told without any complaining—unless Torgen was around. If he fed anyone to that thing out there, it would be Torgen.
Del Alzon peered back around the edge of the overturned wagon. The fool was gone. No movement. Nothing.
“We have to do something, sergeant. We can’t just sit here.”
Del Alzon gave the corporal a sidelong glance over his shoulder. Pût knelt just beind him, nodding his head. The other three—Diken, Kalil, and Hammer (aptly named for the huge, two-handed war hammer he carried into battle)—scooted back, away from Torgen.
Del nodded his head.
“The corporal’s right. We can’t just sit here.” He pointed to another wagon, half-burnt with the four horses that once pulled it still harnessed to their collars and traces, dead and piled on top of one another. “We make for there.”
He knew Torgen would object, or at least say something that might shake Pût’s confidence, if no one else’s, so before the corporal could say anything, Del Alzon ran. He didn’t wait to see if anyone followed, but the rattling of iron and scaled mail behind him told him they did follow. It took only moments to get there, to the burnt wagon. The smell struck Del Alzon hard, punching him in the face and he found himself gagging. He was used to death. He was used to rot. He was used to spilled intestines and dried blood and shit and piss. He wasn’t used to rotten horse meat and burned horse hair.
They all crouched, all six of them, as they had before and waited. They must’ve waited for half an hour, maybe more, when corporal Torgen inched forward, just behind the sergeant.
“So, what? Do we wait here, now, for hours?”
Del Alzon balled up his fist and began to turn when he saw it, from the corner of his eye. He saw bodies, piled next to each other, on top of each other, ripple and roll like an ocean’s wave. He pulled his broadsword, relishing the sound of steel against leather and wood. He straightened his conical helmet, making sure its buckle was tight. It always seemed to slip backwards, on his cloth coif, and he hated the nasal guard. It seemed to make him go cross-eyed. In fact, he hated wearing a helmet, but it had saved his life more than once, the three, deep dents—two along the left and one along the right side—testimony to that.
Del Alzon stepped out from behind the wagon, dropping to one knee. He surveyed the battlefield. The ripple of dead bodies had stopped, but he knew it was still out there. He scratched his cheek through his beard.
I should’ve shaved it when I had the chance, he thought. It’s hot and it stinks like blood.
He knew the thick, black bramble of hair that covered his face probably looked terrible on top of stinking, all matted with blood and sweat. No matter. Who knew when he would see a woman next and he certainly didn’t care what his men thought.
He took another step and dropped to the other knee.
“What are you doing?” Hammer asked.
“Fighting.”

****

Del Alzon crawled over the dead, sword out in front, left hand trying not to grab anything too wet, and armor of iron scales sliding easily over entrails and blood. He looked over his shoulder, just to make sure his men were there. They were. He looked forward and stopped. Something. He made a fist with his left hand.
A dead man sat straight up, his chest opened to the bone, ribs curling around exposed lungs like blackish-red talons. His tanned, Two Towner skin hung in tatters, like a torn shirt. His head lolled to the side, tongue lazily hanging out of his mouth, eyes sitting half-open. He shook. He body jerked violently, side to side. Del Alzon could hear the bones in his neck crack. He could see the head fall back, bending unnaturally, a collarbone poking through flesh.
The dead man’s arm shuddered. Del heard tearing. He heard a loud rip as the arm began to separate from the rest of the body, red, stringy tendrils of flesh still clinging to the head of the bone. The arm was gone. The body fell back to its resting place. The rolling, undulating wave of dead men stopped.
Del Alzon waved his hand forward and continued crawling, giving the place where the dead body had sat up a wide berth. He could hear the feeding. Tearing. Ripping. Breaking bones. Squishing. Growling. He had seen more battle, more death than most men had. More than any man should, Del often thought, but this, the sound of something, anything, eating men—dead or not—made his stomach knot and he felt like he might retch.
Del hadn’t remembered the battlefield being this big. They had crawled for several hours and, yet, were only half way across the wide, grassy plain bordered by a wide, dirt road winding along a narrow river on one side and three tall hills to the other. Perhaps it didn’t help that every few minutes Del Alzon would stop and listen, watch the horizon of bodies for movement, before motioning for his men to continue.
“It’ll be dark soon.” Corporal Torgen had been relatively quiet for most of their journey across the battlefield, but just in the last half hour, his complaining had picked up. “I’d rather not sleep with a bunch of dead men.”
“You’ll be sleeping with them permanently if you don’t shut your bloody mouth.” Del Alzon’s voice was a hissing whisper.
The body in front of Del moved, jittered and quivered, the booted foot shaking back and forth. Del Alzon had seen it before—a dead body move like that. After a man’s been killed, he might still flinch, his feet or his hands. He even saw a soldier lose his head and run about like a chicken whose head a butcher just chopped off. But that was moments, seconds, after dying. This fellow had been dead for over a day. Then, he heard a hiss, steam escaping a teakettle.
Del Alzon gripped his broadsword with both hands and rolled to his right. He heard another hiss and accompanied by the sound of a bear trap snapping shut. He pushed himself to a crouch. He saw Torgen and Pût scooting back, pushing themselves to their feet. Diken, Kalil, and Hammer too.
A lizard? Del thought. A giant lizard? Of all the things I thought could be out here, eating dead men, you weren’t one of them.
The lizard had to have been at least nine or ten feet from nose to tail, its tail being half its length. Its skin might have been grey, but so much gore covered its body, Del couldn’t tell. Its red, forked tongue flickered in and out and then it opened its mouth, releasing a long, angry, hiss. Then it snapped its mouth shut again, that iron-like sound ringing in Del Alzon’s ears again. Is stout legs bore that ended in five, long, black, curved claws. They glimmered in the failing sunlight and latched onto decaying flesh and tattered clothing as it pulled itself closer to Del Alzon’s five men.
Del tried to sneak behind the lizard, but it turned on him hard and lunged towards his left leg. Del Alzon kicked his leg back, lost his footing among the bodies, rolled back, and came back to his crouching position, sword held in both hands, ready.
I didn’t expect you to be that quick.
Another hiss. Its breath smelled of rotten flesh. A snap of iron-like jaws. Del Alzon stood to his full height. To most men, he looked formidable, he knew. Over six feet tall, broad shouldered and well-muscled, bushy black eyebrows, and a recent beard that sat almost black on his face. But to this creature, he simply looked like another meal. And he knew it. It snapped again. He swung, handle in both hands. A wide miss, his steel biting into dead flesh, releasing the putrid gasses that had built up in some fool’s belly in a reddish-green mist.
The lizard would have attacked Del again, but the pointed, steel head of a massive, two-handed war hammer crushed through bone and muscle and thudded into the ground, just inches from the creature’s hind leg. It turned and lunged. Del Alzon took the opportunity and lunged forward himself, but a thick, long, muscled tail caught him just behind the knees. He fell back, sword flying up, helmeted head smacking the ground. Pain crawled like a spider from the back of his head to the front. His vision went black, just for a moment, but in battle, a moment is life or death.
His eyes shot open to a purplish sky strewn with high, wispy clouds and a few orange fingers of setting sun dejectedly clinging to the day. Del Alzon rolled to his stomach, heard hissing and snapping and yelling and saw his sword, point stuck in the ground just a foot from his face. He stood and retrieved his blade and as he did, he saw another ripple, another undulation, another wave of bodies headed his way.
“There’s more of them?”
He heard Kalil yell and saw red stream from several, claw-shaped tears in his wool pants. The lizard’s tail flicked in front of him. He gripped his sword with a white knuckled grip, lifted it high over his head, and watched as steel severed scales and muscle and bone. The creature whipped its head around, knocking skinny Diken to the ground as it did. Blood spewed from the stump that was once its tail, spraying Del and then Throgen and Pût in the face as it turned to meet the sergeant. Del readied himself for a fight, one he would probably lose, as the reptile ran forward, but it was so focused on Del Alzon, it didn’t notice Hammer running, war hammer held high. It didn’t even seem to notice the pointed hammer head punching through its skull, squeezing its brains through cracked bone. It continued to hiss and snap and claw even as Hammer tilted his weapon back and forth, even as Diken and Pût stabbed it with spears and even as Thorgen ran his own iron blade into its heart.
“There are more,” Del Alzon said.
He turned and his men followed. He watched as the wave of dead bodies came towards them. He threw up a fist when it was just paces away. He motioned for a wedge, a triangular formation with him at the point and he knew his men complied, even Thorgen, without having to look. The wave stopped. An explosion of green light. Bodies and body parts flew through the air. A man stood where Del Alzon would have thought another giant lizard slinked.
He didn’t appear tall, nor broad shouldered. He wore a cloak that, when the light caught it just right, looked like the hide of a lizard or snake, grey and scaled. A low hanging cowl covered the man’s eyes, but in the fading day, Del Alzon could see a hooked nose, thin lips, and a pointed chin.
“You killed . . .” the man said, his breathing labored, him needing to pause between each couple of words, “my pet. I . . . loved Lydus . . . like he . . . was my . . . own son.”
“He shouldn’t have tried to eat us then.” Del Alzon felt tired. Tired of this place. Tired of the smell of death. Tired of Torgen questioning his every move. And he was already tired of this cloaked man’s voice.
The man lifted a hand, a staff that seemed to shimmer with every color of the rainbow and writhe as if it was alive. Del Alzon saw, however, on closer inspection, it was simply a tall, straight piece of wood with a brilliantly scaled viper, fat and as long as the staff, coiled around it, from head to foot. The viper’s scales, even in the low light, seemed to soak up any light they could and reflected them as a crystal might. The viper rested its head atop a black skull that adorned the top of the staff and, upon seeing the men, it opened a mouth of fangs and hissed, venom dripping to the ground and steaming as it did.
The sergeant could see those thin lips curl into a smile. Other than the smile, they didn’t move, but he heard sound come from them, a hissing sound, words jumbled together in some gibberish of a language. The man stepped forward, his cloak opening. Del Alzon could see he was naked under the cloak. His flesh was scarred in swirls and jagged, triangular designs and, where it wasn’t scarred, tattooed with black ink, also in swirls and jagged, triangular designs. From what the Golgolithulian could see, the man’s body was stained, dirty and caked with dirt. No. Not dirt. Dried blood. Covered, from head to toe, in dried, black blood.
“What do you want?” Del Alzon finally asked.
“I want . . . to drink . . . your blood. I want . . . to eat . . . your flesh. I want . . . to grind . . . your bones . . . into meal. I want . . . to feed . . . your brains . . . to my . . . other pets.”
Del Alzon heard Pût squeal behind him. He would’ve punched the young man in the face if he wasn’t eye to eye with some maniac covered in blood and desiring to eat his flesh. Never show fear, even if you’re pissing yourself under your armor. Never.
“No. I don’t think so. Not today.” Del took several steps forward.
“Yes. I . . . think so.”
Del Alzon charged the cloaked man. To the Shadow with him. He would split him in two and be back with the company by midnight. He looked over his shoulder. Pût and Torgen flanked him, left and right. The other three behind them. The cloaked man held his staff up, viper hissing, eye sockets of the blackened skull glowing a bright green. Del Alzon could hear the gibberish again and the man jerked his staff forward. The skull’s mouth, ever open in an eternal scream, glowed green as well and a ball of light—the same color—shot towards the soldiers. It looked like fire, crackling and spitting as it rushed towards them. Del stepped to the side and he didn’t feel heat, but cold, as the light whispered by his face. It struck Pût in the chest, right in the middle of his breastplate of iron scales.
Del Alzon had never heard a sound like that before. Pût’s scream sounded unnatural. Inhuman. Del shivered and felt goose pimples rise along his arms. The iron melted away, followed by the leather jerkin beneath. Next was Pût’s skin. It turned black before it melted away as if it were ice on a hot day. His sternum shattered, exploding outward in a thousand shards of bone, exposing his heart and lungs. His lungs popped like soapy bubbles and his heart shriveled up, as if someone had grabbed it and squeezed it until it was nothing but a small, bloody ball sitting in the young man’s chest. He fell to his knees. His eyes turned white and then they rolled back into his head, leaving bleeding, open sockets. The scream stopped and the solider slumped forward, still on his knees.
The cloaked man hissed, revealing teeth sharpened to points and a tongue cut down the middle so that it forked like his reptilian pets. He lifted his staff to the air. Lightening flashed overhead even though nothing more than wisps of cloud crept across the darkening sky. He hissed again. The ground shook and three bodies at his feet shuddered. They all three sat up, one nothing more than a skeleton with ligaments still connecting its bones together, one with only one arm, and another mostly intact. That same green light glowed in the sockets where their eyes once rested.
“Necromancer.” The accusation by Diken rang true in Del Alzon’s ears. He had never seen one, but heard of them. Magicians of death. They dabbled in the magic that crossed the line between this world and the next. In a world that looked unkindly on most wizards and magicians, most wizards and magicians looked unkindly on necromancers.
Del Alzon’s steel removed the one-armed corpse’s other arm. It still moved forward, biting at the sergeant until his sword removed its face at the jaw. After lifting his sword high with both hands and bringing it down upon the creature’s head, splitting it in two, he jabbed at the skeleton. His blade caught between the thing’s ribs and it grabbed the steel with one bony hand and swiped at him with the other. Hammer came to Del’s aid, his war hammer shattering the whole of the skeleton’s body.
Kalil jabbed at the last corpse. His spearhead drove deep into the creature’s belly, but the thing was already dead. It continued towards the soldier, traveling the whole length of the spear. Before Kalil could react, the corpse punched the man in the chest. The soldier’s hair, long and black, burst into greenish flames. He screamed as the pale skin of his face turned red, then black.
Kalil dropped to his knees. The corpse punched him again. His chest burst outward in green light and the rest of his body caught fire. He slumped to the side, screams now silent.
Hammer’s weapon snapped the creature’s back and it bent completely backwards. Diken drove his spear through the corpse’s chest, which in turn pierced its ass. He then drove the spear into the ground, leaving the thing stuck there, writhing and wriggling.
Del Alzon rushed the necromancer. He dodged another ball of green light and as he closed in on the wizard, his viper lurched forward. Some of its venom struck Del’s breastplate and he could feel its heat through the iron. He caught the viper’s neck as it struck at him. It was thick, too thick for the soldier to wrapped his whole fist around it. But he only needed to hold it there for a second. He brought his steel sword up hard and in a blur of blood, he removed head from body.
The necromancer screamed at that. He swung his staff at Del Alzon’s head. The soldier ducked. He brought his other hand up and, as he did, bones—ribs, leg bones, arm bones—thrust up from the ground like spikes. They missed as Del leapt to the side. The wizard formed a ball of red light in his hand and threw it at the sergeant. It missed as well and when the soldier looked back, he saw that it had struck the blade of Torgen’s iron sword. The metal glowed with the same red light just before it began to melt like warm butter. The corporal squealed and threw the handle to the ground.
Del Alzon heard the necromancer hissing another chant. He tried to swing his sword at the man’s neck, but it was as if an invisible shield surrounded him and his weapon simply bounced away just inches from the man’s neck. The sergeant dropped his shoulder and barreled into the wizard. He could feel a cold chill as he touched him. It shot through his arms and legs, made his teeth chatter, made his spine shiver. But the necromancer did stop chanting as he fell backwards.
They rolled in a ball until the wizard broke loose to stand. Del Alzon crouched and then came up hard, driving his helmet hard into the man’s face. As the tip of his iron cap hit the necromancer’s chin, the magician slapped both sides of the helm with his hands. Del saw yellowish sparks and felt as if his whole face had gone numb. He felt as if a huge block of ice had been tied to the back of his neck. He threw off his helmet and ripped his cloth coif off his head. The cloth turned to white dust when it hit the ground and the iron helm turned blue and shattered when it hit the ground.
“You are . . . no match . . . for me.” The necromancer’s words came in hissing chuckles. So sure.
I’ve never faced a necromancer, but I’ve faced some bloody terrible things before.
The wizard lifted his staff to the almost dark sky and two more corpses sat up. Del brought the heel of his boot to one’s face and it slumped back to the ground before it could even stand up. The other one stood. Del Alzon couldn’t tell what the corpse would’ve looked like in life under the stars and moon, but when the giant war hammer crushed the corpse’s head, he simply looked like dead meat.
The necromancer threw off his reptilian cloak, every muscle in his body tensed as he clenched his fists. His skin glowed blue, then orange, then red, then yellow, and finally green.
“This can’t be good.” Del saw the shadowy forms of the other two lizards close in on either side of the necromancer.
“Sergeant.” Del Alzon turned at Hammer’s voice. The giant of a man, a transplant to Golgolithul from the northern country of Nordeth, tossed the sergeant his broadsword. He grabbed the handle, spun, and as the necromancer looked to the sky, the green glow around him intensifying, Del Alzon brought the tip of his steel blade across the man’s neck. Blood didn’t spurt from the wound but, rather, a black, inky liquid—and it bubbled, frothing around the wound like boiling water.
The giant lizards burst into green flame. The sergeant saw other flames go up throughout the battlefield, half a dozen in all. The wizard’s staff, too, burst into unnatural flame. His head hung by bone and a bit of skin and muscle. He continued to chant, pulling his head up with one hand so he could see Del Alzon.
“Fool. Death is . . . just the . . . beginning.”
Del Alzon swung his blade again, severing bone and the last bit of muscle holding the head to its neck. The wizard’s body glowed not in a green light, but yellow, then white, and the moon and stars overhead seemed to brighten, casting a sickly, pallid light on the battlefield almost as bright as the sun. The head rolled to the ground and looked up at Del, smiling.
“Death is . . . just the beginning.”
It continued to chant and Del Alzon felt his stomach twist. He felt every muscle in his body seize. He crumpled to the ground and as the head of the necromancer somehow began to laugh while it still chanted its hissing gibberish, the rest of the dead mouths on the battlefield opened and joined in the laughter. Del Alzon’s jaws clenched. He thought his teeth would burst. He couldn’t open his eyes. His fists tightened so badly that his nails dug into the palms of his hands, drawing blood.
He retched and, as vomit collected in his mouth, he felt something crawl over his tongue. He finally opened his mouth, expelling its contents and, as he forced his eyes open, saw a large hairy spider crawl away from his bile. He felt his stomach twist again, felt his throat tighten, gagged, retched, and spewed another large, hairy spider.
By the heavens, I’m going to die choking on bloody spiders.
Tears filled his eyes from vomiting so much. The sound of laughter and chanting and hissing grew louder and louder, almost deafening. And then it stopped. Del Alzon’s body relaxed. He collapsed to the ground. The soldier looked up to see Hammer, his weapon stuck in the ground, covered in gore and bone, where the necromancer’s head used to be.

****

They marched for several hours, until Del Alzon’s legs simply could not take him any farther. His whole body felt weak. The death of the necromancer and the destruction of his head had not stopped the man’s vomiting. Every five or six minutes, the sergeant would bend forward, gag, and retch a large hairy spider. After the first dozen times, he had nothing more to heave, so he simply heaved blood and hairy spiders.
“A hell of a curse,” Del Alzon heard Hammer say to Diken.
Once, Del bit one in half and swallowed it, but that only made him gag even more.
Diken had built a large fire at the edge of a small copse of cedar. It seemed far enough away from the battlefield for Del’s comfort, and he could see signs of that their company had recently been by this way. It would do. They would rest, find a moment of peace, and be off before the sun rose the next morning. There would be no sleep, though. These parts of Antolika knew wild dogs, cougars, and wolves at the very least, hungry cannibals and goblin marauders at the worst.
Del felt another heave coming on. He turned to Torgen.
“Do you have that gretch?”
Gretch—a potent whiskey made from rye and sugar—that had a sickly, brown look to it and almost no smell. But just a sip burned the throat, lungs, stomach, and hole on the way out and just that one sip would put the largest man on his ass. Only the most experienced drinkers—truly, the serious drunks—drank gretch. It didn’t surprise Del Alzon that Rodrim Torgen carried a bottle of the stuff wherever he went.
Torgen nodded hesitantly, rifled through his haversack, and handed it to Del Alzon. The sergeant uncorked the bottle, put it to his mouth, and drank.
“Hey there,” Torgen yelled when Del Alzon didn’t stop after the first sip. “What’s wrong with you?”
Del Alzon’s cheeks felt numb, the world around him seemed to spin, and when he looked at Torgen, he saw two of the man.
“Bloody hell. I can’t stand one of you. Now there’s two?”

****

“Have any more come up?”
Del Alzon, his head pounding like a giant drum, shook his head. He could tell Hammer was going to ask another question, so the sergeant put up his hand.
“Boss, you gotta eat something,” Diken said.
Del shook his head again.
“That’s one bastard of a curse,” Torgen said with a laugh.
Del Alzon turned his head slowly, his gaze meeting Torgen’s.
“If they’re noting coming out the front, I’m just wondering if they’ll eventually come out the back. That’ll be a surprise, when you start shitting a colony of spiders.”
He had had enough. He gripped the handle of his steel broadsword and, before anyone could say anything, brought it down hard against the corporal’s shoulder. The steel cut through the man’s collarbone, sternum, and ribs. Torgen fell backward, dead.
The killing made Del’s head hurt even more, but he thought it was worth it.
Hammer stood. “Well, if you didn’t do it, sergeant, I would’ve eventually. I know you don’t feel good, but I’d rather not camp with a dead man. Had my fair share of dead men for at least a little while.”
“Aye,” Del Alzon said. He rubbed his eyes hard with the heels of his hands. “The company will be camped. We could probably meet up with them by sunrise.”
“Sounds good, boss.” Diken stood, tucking his thumbs into the front of his belt.
“Well then,” Del Alzon said, “let’s go.”

****

The sun had just poked over the eastern horizon. A wild dog pulled at the soft flesh of the soldier’s neck, growling as some of the meat wouldn’t give way. Most of the pack had already left, but he and his brother stayed behind to feast. Bad smell? Meat is meat.
A hiss escaped the body and it glimmered with a faint green glow. Its eyes opened. It grabbed the dog by its scruff and threw it. The beast must’ve flown a hundred feet. Its brother attacked, but the corpse’s fingers dug into its throat.
The corpse stood. Its eyes glowed the same green glimmer that surrounded its body. And a slow hiss escaped its mouth.
“Del Alzon, you will die.”