Depheant Makepeace - Tales of a young man

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Post by Admin on Wed May 17, 2017 10:30 pm

*** Valiant, chivalrous, honorable, loyalty... knight ***

One month later...

He looked out over the valley on his left, at where the luscious green grass had been replaced and overrun by a sea of polished armor and unsheathed weapons glistening in the light of the setting sun. Gold, white and blue swallow-tailed pennants -embellishing practically every lance- snapped in the wind as the breeze overhead grew stronger. All the way -from the east to the west side of the mountain flank- riders had been lining up for what would be the main clash. Behind them, legions of soldiers supplemented with recruited civilians marching in phalanx, moved into their position. They would form the last line of defence against the unholy invaders raised by forbidden magic.

He squinted at the other side of the valley, now shrouded in a dark cloud that oozed an aura of malice. It felt as if these lands were about to face their coming doom. Everyone in the hastily raised army could sense it, cutthroats and paladins alike. Even the shoulders of his war-horse shivered. “Steady… steady…” he murmured, gently patting the flank as he calmed the steed.
All eyes constantly drifted between the smaller wispy clouds that like tendrils of black smoke floated daintily back and forth,... and the standard bearers at the front, the ones who would raise their flags to initiate the attack.

The ones in the middle forming the vanguard all wore full armor and white cloaks emblazoned with a rising sun, and they had a bright sixpointed sun on their chest glinting in the light, all as symbols of a new day. He glanced at the woman on the horse next to him, the only person he thus far had been able to communicate rather well with, even if that had been merely with hand signs. Savanah had explained him those magnificent riders were knights of dawn, something like the bringers of light in this world, whose prayers to the god of ‘New Life’ consisted of birth, vitality and renewal among a few other things.

They were flanked by knights with blue shields, wearing tabards of white linen emblazoned in blue with the symbol of a balanced scale placed upon the head of a massive warhammer. Their eyes peered at the scene in front of them through narrow slits in very menacing visages. From what he understood they were the knights that represented the god of ‘justice and revenge’, and they seemed primarily concerned with the punishment of those doing wrong. On the right, and closer to him was another main unit of which the riders featured the symbol of a gauntlet held upright. According to Savanah they represented ‘duty and loyalty’.

Together those would be the shock troops, delivering crucial blows to the enemy force while a cluster of ballista’s and catapults would provide missile support for these mounted troops. Archers and sharpshooters wouldn’t be useful anyways and they only had found a handful of adventurers who were lurking here and there between the rocks with epic longbows and crossbows.

Depheant looked over at the other side of the valley where the landscape was still shrouded in a murky darkness, its dimensions expanding by the minute. He… and everyone else here could sense the power building up within, and when a sudden discharge of electricity from the cloud had everyone step back, the energy hissing and crackling in the air between them, he could hear the people murmuring.

He still didn’t understand a word of what these people were saying but this time he could pretty much guess. What were they waiting for, why didn’t they attack before it was too late? It was only logical. As long as you had no true sight on what you exactly would be attacking, it was better to hold. But what if ‘it’ was indeed growing more powerful as they waited? What if this darkness would grow and grow until this entire world was deprived of light?

And then came the answer. There was a shimmering disturbance in the cloud, pretty much like heatwaves rising up from a roof on a hot summer day. Shapes began to emerge at the edge of the cloud, like as ‘things’ that were being put together. The use of foul magic itched many’s skin and more murmuring rose up from their ranks. The shapes were amorphous, shifting, changing, gathering ‘material’ from whatever the darkness provided, and eventually flashed to completion with violent purple outbursts of raw energy. Before them stood an army of assembled parts … parts of long deceased life forms.

Depheant arched a brow as this was the greatest resurrection he ever had witnessed, the sight of what was being summoned enough to make the average person’s teeth shatter. A shimmering crowd of Undead pulsed on the opposite mountain’s flank, their distorted shapes screaming, their numbers so great that the shock of the sight stole his breath for a moment.

Just below them, officers barked out orders the moment this dark sea of bodies came running down the mountain, speeding up rapidly and swarming out towards their flanks. Catapults and ballistas discharged boulders and enermous javelins, the impact having bones shattered and rotten flesh crushed. But it was insufficient to stop the huge advancing surge of undead bodies.

Goosebumps rose on his arms when the standard bearers raised their flags and the knights, loyal to their cause, seemingly unfrightened began their charge. Huge armored horses leaped forward with manes and tails streaming. The animals tossed their heads proudly as if they were conscious of the power of their hoofs, which caused the earth to shake. Lance tips glistened as they were dipped, those long weapons being readied to cut deeply into the thick ranks of undead.

The mercenary group Depheant was with, started to move as well, forming with other groups the second wave with shorter and mostly blunt weapons. Savanah carried her staff while he drew his large blade. As they rode forward he witnessed how the gallant army of knights closed in on the undead. For a moment the skeletons and zombies looked so helpless and defenceless, their appearance so unlike these mighty armored riders which now rammed frontally into the swarming mass of corpses at top cat speed.

With lion courage, banner after banner, rank after rank, lance after glittering lance sank into the army of the dark, striking the unholy enemy like a thunder hammer with all its might. Lances punctured the enemy, the first sounds of wooden poles and bones snapping was so powerful that Depheant could feel it in his own body. He trembled lightly at this seemingly ceaseless crash of splintering wood and metal cutting upon bones…

He was baffled all the more to see that the undead force just seemed to choke it up and poured in their nummers to harass the brave knights from behind. It had worked… at least in a way. The Undead on the flanks turned around to hurl themselves upon the riders who still were cutting a nice lane towards the top of the mountain. But all escape for these fantastic steel-clad riders was cut off...

Depheant sat firm in his saddle as they closed in on the scene, and while their own charge perhaps wasn’t as heroic as the knights’s of this world, it was not less important. They were appointed to release the pressure on the knights and that is exactly what he did. His huge blade cut a wide arc in the Undead forces and even if his efforts weren’t enough to even the odds, he would do what he always had dreamt of…

In the middle of the swarming mass he unleashed a powerful inspirational magic that helped him and his allies to surpass their limitations. The Undead screamed in his direction but he could only grin in return as he changed his unit into an even better cavalry. The walking bones and sacks of flesh never retreated, but instead found themselves cut down, their numbers falling like long grass before a merciless scythe.

Meanwhile, on the top of the mountain where the cloud slowly had started to dissolve, no one noticed three dark riders… seemingly relaxed awaiting the ‘arrival’ of the knights...

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Post by Admin on Wed May 17, 2017 10:33 pm

*** The Blight ***

The blonde bard shoved his blade deep into a huge zombie’s mouth, probably delivering a fatal blow. Just to make sure he pulled his weapon back and had the tip swipe inwards, striking the unholy thing in the neck, using the built up momentum to exert more force on the flesh and slicing it off in a spray of blood. There was some sort of reflexive shiver going through the walking corpse before its mace -which had smashed several of his squad- dropped harmlessly onto the slippery trampled earth. The headless body flopped down onto the ground and the head rolled down the mountainside, the grungy discolored hair picking up dirt and tiny stones as it went.

Depheant, turning his horse’s face uphill, blew some hair aside and his eyes danced with glee in the direction at where the battle was the fiercest. It was as if this fight was giving life to his spirit, a weird kind of excitement -which was only slightly tinged with fear- pulsing through his frame. Behind him, a snapped command from Black Garius, the leader of the mercenaries Depheant was part of, called the backup unit into formation again. The blonde bard nodded, and as he move back in line, the mercenaries continued their way up the slope. They ploughed through the ranks of undead like madmen on a horseback, cutting themselves a way towards the knights.

At some point Depheant didn’t pay attention anymore to the numerous distorted facial features. He just fought, his silvery blade with sure and intent aim lashing out like the long and pointed tongue of a viper in a gradually growing darkness that had started surrounding them from all sides. With a lightning thrust he pierced a zombie that tried to climb on Savanah’s horse, the thing gasping as cold metal ripped over its ribs. He jerked his blade back just as Savanah quickly punched its head with the smooth end of her ‘stick’, splitting the skull. Ghastly fingernails scratched harmlessly down the horse’s flank as the boney being slid down and disappeared under trampling hooves.

Thank you, she signed quickly with her fingers and Depheant only nodded once. Then, he turned to look up the hill, trying to peer in the dephts of this dark cloud. They, and the knights were outnumbered and slowly getting surrounded, that was for sure. But several of these undead proved no match for them and Depheant expected they could actually win this. He mumbled a tune that created a gust of wind, and the clouds were tossed apart momentarily. For a moment, everyone fighting around him could see their adversaries more clearly and blows were dealt more efficiently. And that is when he perceived ‘them’... on an adjacent, higher mountain peak. And that is also when he began to question the wisdom of their own tactics...

Three dark riders -holding cruel looking weapons- sat calmy in their saddle, seemingly unperturbed to the enormity of what had unfolded below them and thus far hadn’t involved themselves in the slaughter. They radiated evil in much the same way that the blazing fire of a funeral pyre radiated heat. They were like a beacon to the paladins of this world. It seemed that the knights had noticed them too now as at least fifty riders in two units lowered their lances and made a charge along the length of the rocky trail, their heels digging deep into the flanks of their snorting steeds as they were spurred to gallop. Why, he didn’t know, but his call shuddered through the twilight setting, rising above the sounds of battle even for just a fraction.


People all around turned to look in the direction of the foreign bard whose magically enhanced voice had muted out every other sound for a second or so, before following his gaze uphill. A sudden dread froze the blood in even the bravest of hearts. The dark rider in the middle had slowly started to raise both his arms and his shadow was spreading like a foul stain over the surface of the mountain, swelling horribly in size when the shadows of both other riders joined his. The shadow was unnaturally black and flowed like a stream of molten rock down the mountain in their direction, dark and twisted shapes swirling in its thick inky depths.

The knights, like champions of this realm, noble souls who dedicated their lives to any evil tainting their lands, single-minded and stubbornly continued their charge, ready to do what they were destined to do. Depheant marvelled a moment at these sacred servants willing to demonstrate the power of their gods, adhering to their steel-clad laws of morality and discipline, and ready to bring about a future more brightly than the current one. For a moment he wished he had been with them… wishing he was one of them, becoming a beacon and an example for all those people who were watching. He wished all that even though he knew they were about to get killed. And it was not because he didn’t have faith in their abilities...

The moment both cavalry units made contact with the shadow stuff oozing from the dark riders, it was like as if they rode off a cliff and fell in the substance, disappearing from sight. Soldiers, mercenaries and friends all around with their faces flecked in blood, reacted in shock. When realizing with horror that fifty of their bravest paladins and other knights had failed in their task, some started to run around and run away. More followed when the black ‘nectar’ came down in their direction, and everywhere it touched dead bodies, the expanding oily liquid seemed to solidify in the shape of armored bodies.

Black, ironclad shapes with glowing eyes staring through narrow slits in their direction slowly rose up from the substance. Depheant could hear his heart pounding in his ears, and he sensed pure dread sweeping over him to the point of dizziness. He didn’t hear the piercing screams all around, nor the order to retreat. Instead, he thought about his father, and then about his best friend Zachary. If he died here... in this place… would he see them again? For a moment the blonde young man sat there frozen like a statue on his horse, and if it hadn’t been for Savanah freeing him from that sharp, clenching feeling… he probably would have found out about it. He also would feel the smack of her pole staff against his head for a wee while longer. But later on... he bet he would be eternally grateful to her...

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Post by Admin on Wed May 17, 2017 10:36 pm

*** On the run ***

Behind them the newly risen creatures shambled forward, their mouths lolling open in brainless snarls. There was no sign of the knights and by the looks of it they considered them lost. All they did now was fleeing uphill where the remaining officers gathered and fiercely discussed on what to do next. The mercenaries under Black Garius’s banner grumbled under their breath as they watched the unholy things at the foot of the mountain trudging through the mud in their direction. Not waiting for orders, the men willing to fight lined up over the entire mountain flank. Eventually Garius and his mercenaries did the same thing as the Undead horde started to close in on them.

The Undead were flocking around everywhere and even more seemed to enter from the opposite end of the valley. It dawned on Depheant that they were getting completely surrounded by ravenous Undead. Giving orders now was a waste of time. Under a leaden sky, the dark, sinister army of bones and rotten flesh clashed once more with the humans. There was no signal really this time and everyone just started to attack. Hacking and shopping with their blades and maces, every person soon fought for his own life.

Savanah wielded her staff and with precision smashed several skulls, ramming the metal end into the brains to finish the job. With the girl’s face and clothes covered in blood and tiny body parts, Savanah no longer looked like a duelist, but rather an experienced undead slayer. Undead bodies started to pile around them and soon they had to dismount in order to move more freely. The people fought like lions, and more and more got seperated from each other.

Depheant lodged a knife into a skull, but couldn’t remove it after. He gritted his teeth when another giant undead thing stumbled forward, launching itself straight at him with only rotting teeth and a foul breath as weapon. The stench was overpowering when the zombie’s mouth drew near. The bard gagged but managed to dodge the attack and half of his scim sunk in the creature’s neck, almost but not completely decapitating the zombie. The haunting blue lights in its eyes flickered a moment as it turned and shambled forward another step in his direction. Savanah hit its skull from behind with a sickening thud, and then the things’s lights went out completely before it fell forward on the ground where it twitched one last time before laying still.

Go, Savanah signed with her fingers, motioning to the top of the mountain.

Depheant frowned but shook his head, signing back. Where to?

To the snowfields.

Depheant shook his head lightly as his fingers move rapidly. But what about all these people?

They’re lost and have to save themselves.

Depheant looked around and indeed had to accept the fact this battle was lost. There weren’t any people in charge anymore either as they were either dead or fighting for their lives, just like them. The Undead horde pressed on again, using their numbers to simply overwhelm the living by shuffling up the sloop. There was still a fair number of people fighting back left, but they were getting tired by the minute. For every human there were at least ten walking bodies. Another skeleton attacked them, attempting to plunge its fingers in Savanah’s stomach. But the girl danced quickly to the side while Deph’s blade cut off its head.

He nodded to her. Alright, let’s go.

Depheant attempted to shout for the others but noticed the extreme fatigue was getting to him as well as to his magic. He looked one last time over the mountain flank and saw the Undead were getting through everywhere. He watched in horror how they swarmed over the people like a boiling mass, their numbers sending survivor after survivor fleeing up the mountain. All hope to win this battle from the Undead herd faded.

He turned around and started to run, trying to keep up with the lightfooted girl who was also less armored than him and headed in the direction of the snow-covered slope in the distance...

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Post by Admin on Wed May 17, 2017 10:40 pm

*** Escaped ***

He flipped his cloak’s hood over the fur cap after another big gust of wind came hurling over the snow-covered mountain plain. His ears were practically freezing off, his gloved hands red. Following the lightweight girl wasn’t easy, and even as he stepped in her sunken foot prints, he did from time to time sink into the snow all the way up to his knees. The fact they had had to leave their horses behind down at the cliff wasn’t doing any good either as they moved way more slowly than before. But their steeds had been exhausted, and Depheant didn’t want to risk breaking a neck when one of the animals collapsed. The cold and the angle of the snow covered slope weren’t their only problems. His stomach growled. They were running out of provisions as well.

Savanah was kind of a miracle. She didn’t complain about anything. Not that she would verbally as she had taken a vow of silence for religious reasons. At least from what Depheant understood. She rarely to never motioned to stop, and she was the type of woman Depheant could only admire. His eyelashes were almost freezing together, but he looked up into the driving snow and saw the vague outline of Savanah’s body, the sight getting drastically limited by the impending snowstorm. This was getting too dangerous. Not only was no cloak thick enough to keep out the icy wind, they could fall into a crevasse at any time now.

Gently the bard jerked at the rope connecting them and Savanah stopped, waiting for him to catch up.

His fingers were almost too numbed to tell her what was up. We have to look for shelter, the storm is getting worse.

The girl nodded in agreement and then signed back. Dig.


When storms are raging, we build a small snow cave. She motioned him to a rock protuding from the snow, and out of the wind she got on her knees and started to dig a hole on the steep slope.

By the time the wind was driving the snow horizontally, their little shelter was ready. It was constructed so that it had a narrow entrance tunnel that gave access to a lower main space.

Savanah was the first to crawl into the small pipe. Depheant quickly followed her and got out of the sharp howling wind. In their little snow cave the wind was silenced like a scolded dog. But there wasn’t much room and Depheant found Savanah slightly pressing into his body as they were laying down. She wrapped an arm around him and signed with her free hand.

Keep warm… sleep…

It sure was a good thing his cheeks were already so red from the cold…

The next day Depheant woke up and noticed the girl next to him was gone. A bright light shone through the ice crystals at the entrance of their hole, reflecting in such a way it was like as if he was surrounded by a thousand suns. Carefully, Depheant crawled out and for a moment felt like a snow rabbit abandoning its safe nest, curiously to explore the world.

Immediately he noticed all was quiet, hardly even a breeze between the rocks. First, there was sparkling light everywhere, but when his eyes finally adapted to the exposure of excessive light, he was stunned mute by the view. Bright yellow snow was contrasting with the beautiful blue hues of an enormous persistent body of dense ice that rose majestically up out of the land before him. White, fresh water cascaded down a series of protuding rocks into a bluish river of slow-moving ice, stripping away the overnight snowfall and revealing the older layers of what had to be a very ancient glacier.

The sight was so stunning that he believed it could heal a soul, and finding peace down here would not even be that hard. However, it did not much to stop the aching loneliness that had kept pushing and pushing at him in this strange world, a world of which he was now convinced it was not his. Here, up in the mountains, he was in a place that was capable of putting his mind at ease for a few, but he was so lonely he wanted to cry.

The sudden hand on his back had him startled, and when he turned his head he saw it was the girl standing behind him with a freshly caught salmon. She offered him a mild smile before her fingers signed and she motioned to the spectacle in front of them.

You like?

Depheant nodded. Quickly the bard wiped his eyes, and by offering Savanah a smile he acted as if it had been just the sight or the cold air that triggered the watery discharge there...

Depheant Makepeace - Tales of a young man - Page 4 2ivlee

(Author's note : those last parts were written end of 2016. Some day I will continue to tell what happened. TBC!)


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