Sands and sorcery

Yüklə 16,93 Kb.
ölçüsü16,93 Kb.


A Diablo II fan-fic

Chapter 7

Danel didn’t know what those strange sounds were, but intuition told him that they weren’t good. The Tomb had been pleasantly unoccupied all the way down, and now the fact that these first sounds of life were detected scant seconds after the Cube had been taken from its resting place could not be coincidence.

“Form up!” He barked at his men. Instantly they filed up, before him. He turned to address the intruders, the group lead by this Arc. “Taking the Cube must have tripped some sort of magical alarm. They’ll be onto us, whatever they are. I suggest we suspend our hostilities a little further, until we reach the desert.”

Arc nodded. “Agreed. They are Horadric Guardians. Sentient magical creations wrought by the ancient Horadrim, they are powerful beings set to guard the Tomb of Baal. Most likely they have been corrupted by Diablo on his way through.”

Danel nodded. “Talk as we move.” They had no time to waste. If they were to get out they would have to get through before their enemy’s were in place to cut them off. The two groups set off at a run together.

Maiyan jogged up to join Arc and Danel, who lead in front. “From the sounds, there are at least five separate individuals. By the time they intercept us, they could have a hundred warriors with them.”

Danel missed a step. “What? How?”
“We’ve fought one before, beneath the streets of the desert city,” the Amazon explained. “Horadric Guardians are imbued with powerful magiks. They are powerful spellcasters, as powerful as any contemporary sorcerer. But they also have the power over the dead, able to raise skeletal warriors to aid them in battle.”

Danel cursed. Although he had been eager to get away without encountering these Guardians, he had not been to worried before, as he believed the numbers in their favor. But now he was filled with dread. A hundred skeletal warriors was a number that could instill fear in the stoutest heart.

The way back proved to be a lot shorter than the way in. Now that the path was known, there were no wrong turns made. Also the fact that now they were running, where before they were stalking silently and checking every corner closely, contributed to their speed.

They made it to the stairs within ten minutes, and encountered no resistance ascending to the second level. The shrieks had fallen silent, as though now that they knew of the danger, there was no more need for them.

As the party entered a large hall, approximately half way to the next set of stairs, silence reigned except for their loud footfalls. The tension was running high as each person tried to recall exactly where they heard the sounds coming from. Perhaps they had already made it past the origin of the sounds, and were clear all the way home. Or perhaps the sounds had been generated just around this next corner, and the undead were lying in wait.

The same thoughts, the same indecision and doubt was running through all their heads, but none would open their mouths to ask of another’s opinion.

Still they ran, through another great hall, filled with columns that seemed to house death in the shadows. They reached a four-way intersection. Just ahead, in the next hall lay the stairs up to the last level.

Suddenly, the silence was broken by a piercing scream. The scholar, Kaelin had turned, in time to see a rearing sword begin to descend towards his head. Diving forward, the blade whistled past him, missing by the narrowest of margins.

The soldier bringing up the rear, who had been running beside the scholar, jerked forward, blood erupting from his mouth as corner of an axe blade exploded out from his chest, the entire blade buried in his back.

Pandemonium erupted as skeletons poured from the shadows, in all directions. The distinctive twang of a bowstring rhythmically called out as arrows flew out, seemingly in all directions as Telindhra spun, picking out targets where her arrows were sorely needed.

Bellowing a huge warcry, Jorg leapt out, slamming his spiked mace into the head of the skeleton that had killed the rear soldier. This time, his right held a multiheaded flail, one he whirled in huge arcs, flinging skeletons from his path. The boldness of his cry and the tenacity of his attack bolstered the courage of the fighters around him and the leapt to his aid, blades slashing and stabbing methodically.

Jhana had coolly summoned her magic as though she were practicing with her grandmother, rather than facing off with death in a tomb. A leaping bolt of lightning leapt from her staff, leaping and bouncing from target to target. Now blackened skeletons collapsed in the wake of this travelling bolt, called a Chain Lightning by mages. Again and again she called forth this lightning, cindering skeleton after skeleton. To her left, was the quivering scholar Kaelin, who Jhana seemed to have taken into custody to care for, ordering him to stay at her side. To her right was the dangerous Amazon, hurling javelins imbued with lightning magic, to fly like lightning bolts. Between the two, their lightning was hewing large furrows in the ranks of the skeletons.

As one, they spied a hugely tall figure behind the ranks, shrouded in shadow. Nodding to each other, they summoned forth their magic and hurl bolt after bolt of powerful lightning at the figure. In the flashes of light, they recognized the shape of a Horadric Guardian, similar in appearance to the monster Radament.

The figure collapsed, the smoke of the unravelling magiks that gave it life billowing from its corpse.

The skeletons surrounding them fell, the magic that summoned them forth gone with the Guardian. But even before the warriors could catch their breath, the telltale creak of undead walking could be heard. Coming down the corridors, left and right, were masses of skeletons. This time, the Guardians that summoned them remained safely out of sight.

The only way was forward. Lead by Arc and Danel, the party leapt through the doorway into the next hall.

There before them, a score paces away, was the last staircase. But their hearts sank. For between them and the stairs were two Guardians, surrounded by more than two score skeletons.

With no time to lose, the party charged, with Arc and Danel leading. Arc reached in with practiced ease, submerging his consciousness in the sense of his chi, patterning it into another Aura of power. Taking on a white light, as though he shone with purity, his Aura pushed away at the undead, damaging them with his very presence.

Though the Aura was powerful, and gave them a much needed edge in battle, the Aura was not enough to ward away the undead. They surged in, regardless of Arc’s Aura, seeking to destroy the intruders that dared to steal a precious artifact.

Behind them the door burst open, skeletons rushing forward to catch them on all sides.

There was no way to go for the party but forward, and quickly. Their only chance was to break through the skeletons in front before the ones to the rear caught them.

Arc and Danel, both wielding their dueling swords in two hands, headed the charging party like a twin arrowhead. Ahead, the ranks of the skeletons parted slightly, weakened as the front skeletons stumbled from Arc’s Aura. Running side to side in perfect step, about three feet apart, the two crashed into the ranks, spinning and whirling as they ran, swords weaving and whirling in a graceful dance of destruction. Like two twin gods of death, the master swordsmen carved a path into the ranks of the skeletons. Off balance from the Aura stemming from the Paladin, the skeletons were as wheat falling before a plow.

Without slowing, the party penetrated and broke through the skeleton line, as the two took down one of the Guardians, one swordsman running past each side, blade lashing out to take down the monstrosity.

In their wake, pursuit faltered as Jhana left behind powerful fiery blazes in her footsteps.

Up the stairs they went, and behind the stairs were blazing with Jhana’s magic, halting any skeletons from pursuit.

“Hurry!” Jhana yelled. “The fires cannot burn much longer!”

The band of warriors hurtled out the door and into the sunlight. Ominously, the sounds of bone scraping sounded behind them as more skeletons came after them.

“The stone!” Jhana yelled.

Immediately Danel ordered his men to rolling the stone back into place. Leaning into the stone, he and three of his men laboriously rolled the stone back into place. Gasping for breathe, he let out a sigh of relief. By the time the skeletons rolled away the stone, they should have made their getaway.

He turned, and jerked back in surprise. Of the five strangers, all but Arc and the young sorceress, Jhana had disappeared. The Paladin and sorceress stood side by side, and behind them was a glowing blue oval of light, as tall as a man.

“Many thanks, Captain, and our regards.” The Paladin called out, and laughed in farewell, before disappearing into the oval. A second later the girl followed, with an insolent wave, in her hand clasped a piece of parchment.

Suddenly, Danel realized what had happened. He spun, searching for his scholar, Kaelin. There he was . . . buried waist deep in sand, next to his horse. He recalled the girl’s snarled command back in the Tomb, ordering Kaelin to stay by her side.

He hurried to his buried man. “She has the parchment!” He cried.

“What happened?” Danel asked him, patiently.

“Well, After that near miss in the tunnels back there, that girl said I should stick with her. Well, I’m no warrior, and she seemed to have a handle on things, so I did.” He shook his head. “Well, we got out here, and I headed to my horse, ready to make a quick getaway from here. Suddenly, as I got to it, a hand falls on my shoulder, and before I knew it I’d fallen into the ground!”

“Magic.” Danel commiserated.

“Then she reaches into my saddle pack and takes the parchment! The gall of her!” Kaelin grumped.

Danel kicked a lump of sand, thoroughly frustrated. “How in the Hells are we supposed to find the Staff and Headpiece then?”

“Of course, Captain, I have already memorized the parchment.” Kaelin said. “But still, now they too know how to reach them.”

Danel paused, surprised. Then he laughed. “Kaelin, old friend, I knew I chose the right man for this mission.” Then his face smoothed, and he said in seriousness. “Alright then. If it’s to be a race, then a race we’ll give them. Form up, men! We ride.”

“Umm, Captain?” Kaelin interjected.

“After we dig him up.” Danel amended sourly.

If you’ve enjoyed this story, visit

official homepage of the Arc deQuester chronicles
Yüklə 16,93 Kb.

Dostları ilə paylaş:

Verilənlər bazası müəlliflik hüququ ilə müdafiə olunur © 2024
rəhbərliyinə müraciət

    Ana səhifə