Detta är resultaet av en engelskauppgift i skolan. Gjordes under extrem tidspress och skribenten ifråga (jag) hade inte sovit på ett dygn.
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It was a silent, dark night. It was early autumn, and therefore a cold breeze was sweeping through the air. Some night birds were crying somewhere in the darkness, but as already said everything else quiet.
But all this moonless darkness was interrupted by a small light that seemed to be coming from a telylight, an enchanted lantern. It had a steady, bluish light and its glow was followed by a small group of men, all dressed in dark capes that effectively melted into the dark. They were five to the number, and four of them were armed with short axes and hacks. On their backs they were carrying big backpacks. The fifth of them had only a long black staff made out of wood and short dagger dangling from his leather belt. He had his hood pulled all over his face and were completely hidden.
This small group was going in silence, as if they did not want to disturb the peaceful autumn night. They followed a small dirt-road through small forests consisting of hunched and bent old trees and small bushes that had lost almost all their leaves. They looked like skeletons, these trees and bushes, like bones that were trying to reach the wanderers in the night, and the wind that moved their branches made the scenes even more ghastly.
“I hate this.” Said a quit voice. “Brr, no but really, master Eitan, why do have to do this at night”
The answer was low and amused chuckle. The man with the covered face looked over his shoulder at the man who had spoke.
“Why?” he asked. “Because the purpose is to scary you, isn’t that obvious?”
“Yes, yes, very funny.” Answered Derek and tried to make his voice sound more confident. But actually, he where not confident at all. His face was white as good southern marble. “But seriously, master, why do we have to do this at night?”
Master Eitan sighed under beneath his hood.
“Don’t care, about it Derek. Your job is to shut your mouth and do as I tell you. You are not paid to ask questions, have you forgotten it?”
He made a short pause before speaking again. Meanwhile he held up the magical lantern higher and seemed to look for traces on the ground.
“But if you really have to know, Derek, then I can tell you. It is only in the night that you can approach the graveyards, and actually get something for the effort.”
“But still, it is creepy.” Said Derek and blew on his hands to keep them warm. “Oh, if just I could have stayed in the barracks… It where this amazing bellydancers who should perform this evening. I wish I could see them.”
“Well, then you will miss them, boy. But you will have some entertainment with us too. It is not every night you get to visit an infected necropolis.”
“Yeah, right. As if someone would want to do that.” Derek said gruffly.
Master Eitan chuckled again and speeded up his steps.
“Then you can imagine that it is you precious barracks, if that might get you more comfortable. And actually, I don’t give a shit about if you hate it, if you are scared, if you want to see some sluttish bellydancers. We have work to do, and it is all that should matter for you if you wish to keep you throat and body intact.”
“Yes, thank you for the encouragement.” Derek said sarcastically. “I fell much better now, master.”
“You’re welcome.” Was the short answer. “And by the way, we are already there.”
The party stopped before a massive gate made of solely dark iron. The surfaces were covered in black runes that appeared as shadows in the light of the lantern.
“Now shut your mouth Derek. The working begins now.” Master Eitan came closer to the wall massive gates and put his hands on them.
Derek looked very unpleased with that thought, but he obeyed orders and said nothing.
Master Eitan stood still for a long time, with his hands pressed against the cold iron, mumbling quit words. With them he activated the spells that where bound inside the gates.
At last a loud and metallic click sounded in the air, and the massive gates slide open with a deep creaky noise. Master Eitan raised the lantern again and begun to walk forward again, right into the deep shadows that lurked behind the gates. The group followed him closely, as if they were scared to fall to long behind the sorcerer. And indeed, they had a reason to be worried.
“Mark, close the gates.” Said Eitan and made a gesture towards the man that was in the end of the group. “We don’t want anyone to get in here, do we? Or get out?”
The man sighed and hurried himself to touch the iron walls with his hand. They immediately slammed together, and sealed the whole group in the darkness.
“Very well.” Eitan said and continued forward. “We will be there in maybe a half an hour, if no one of you don’t get lost and eaten. Eh, Derek? I am talking with you too, you know.”
“Sure.” Replied Derek and put his hand on the heavy axe he was carrying in the belt.
The group went deeper and deeper into the darkness with Eitan as the guide. In the light of the enchanted lantern the men could see organized lines of heavy bricks of lead and steel that was lying on the ground. Each one of them was marked with a number and some runes.
Derek shuddered. This was really ghastly. In the blue light he could see dozens of these plates of lead with numbers. 1000. 1034. 1567. 2031.
It had to be thousands of graves here. Many thousands of graves with no other marks that a simple number. The bricks and the light made strange shadows play. They reminded of people, of terrible demons, and of many other things. It was like they were watching the humans who dared to enter their realm in the middle of the night. The wind blew cold and biting over the Dark Necropolis.
The Necropolis was a place distant from the main cities and villages of the Genorthian Empire. The ruling mages and the Queen did not want to have such a dangerous and unpleasant thing as the Necropolis around the cities. There were many reasons for that.
The layer between the usual reality and the dark depths of the Spectrum where very thin at some places. Genorthia was one of them, here the border sometimes disappeared and the dark fluids of Ash and Spectrum could creep into this part of the World. It was the source of the power of the mages. They were affected of it and used its power to bend pieces of the world to their will. And it was also a curse.
Ash was like poison. It could be hiding in a body for a long time, for decades sometimes. And then it could weaken and kill the infected one. And there was no cure for it, nothing could stop it. It could sneak through steel, stone and even lead. It was invisible for the eye, so no one could know when it was infecting him.
Some gained great power from the influence, just to die slowly many years later. Some died fast, and without any pain, without changing. And all the dead, they were put into the Dark Necropolises.
The places were isolated by magic spells and by the metals that had atleast a small chance to stop the spreading of the Ash. The graveyards were forsaken, dangerous, deadly.
Derek shuddered again. He wished that he did not have to do this, every day he was afraid that he would be chosen to escort a necromancer to a graveyard to repair the spells that had been damaged and drive back those deadly spirits and shadows that could be lurking.
“And halt. We are there.” Master Eitan stopped and so did the group. “Now take you stuff and get ready to work.”
They were standing beside an unusual big tombstone, made of almost black iron. Derek estimated that the metal might be having the weight of 5000 kilos. It was far more than usual, even here at the Necropolis.
“So, here is the plan.” Said Eitan and turned to the men. His voice was cold and precise. “Two of you help me to remove the tombstone. The other two, you stay on guard. If you need to know what we are doing, we are plundering the grave.”
“What? It is crazy!” said one of the soldiers frightened. “Why shall we tempt the evil of the Necropolis?!”
“Because, it is order from the Queen, Rélon. The Silver General, before he escaped from Genorthia hide a lot of his artifacts, when he was not able to take them with him. We have located one of his armors in this Necropolis, right here.”
“And we shall risk our lives for it?!”
“Boy, the armor is worth more than you, your family and the next twenty generations of it. Even more, and you have no idea how much gold and lives it cost to forge it. So you better do as I tell you, or you will have to choose between feeling the wrath of me, and the guardians.”
Rélon look even more terrified, and so did all the other men. No one wanted to trigger the spells that were bound in the Necropolis.
“What are you looking at, you idiots? Begin the work!” snarled Eitan and raised his staff.
Derek and one of the other men took their hacks and started bending in the small cracks in the metal, in the attempt to trigger the machinery that held the brick in place. The other two soldiers raised their axes and looker nervous around. Eitan started to point his staff at the dark metal and mumble more spells, spells what should unlock the locks and raise the enchanted steel.
A few minutes passed by. Everything was silent except the scraping from the hacks and the quiet spells of Eitan the Necromancer. More minutes, and nothing happened.
“Come on, we are almost there, I can sense it.” Muttered Eitan and touched the cold steel.
And everyone heard the click when the mechanism was activated.
“Good! Now let’s try to open it!” said Eitan excited. “Hurry!”
And that second a terrifying howl raised from the darkness. The hair on the soldiers head stood up, someone gave away a scared squeak and soiled his pants.
The terrible cry was filled with of agony and rage, and it was followed by crashing sounds when the bricks from the tombs were removed by an invisible hand.
“OH HOLY LIGHTGOD! WE ARE DOOMED!” yelled someone in anguish.
From the dark came the ones who had been imprisoned in the gloomy tombs of the Necropolis. It was walking corpses, corpses from the ones who had meet death after being infected by Ash. It was not humans, neither half-humans nor non-humans. This were the dead, they were brought to movement by the dark Spectrum. And they had only one task, the task that the Silver General had given them when he hid his artifact in the Necropolis: to kill anyone who dared to touch it.
The dead were partly skeletons, partly they were corpses with the flesh intact. Sometimes the rotting did not work as it should in the infested and poisoned ground and they looked like the ones they once were.
It was nightmarish. The dead charging with hungry howls the fools that dared to enter their kingdom.
“Just keep on working!” yelled Eitan angry at Derek and the other solider. “We will make it, if only you do as I SAY!”
But they did not listen. They dragged their weapons and cried in horror when the undead came for them from the dark. Eitan swore and started mumbling his spells even faster, to get the brick to raise and move away. But the corpses did not hesitate.
Derek was terrified. He had never been so scared in all his life. This was a nightmare, but a real one. That one that could hurt you.
He swung his ax and it hit the closest undead in the neck. The bones cracked and the head flew off with the jaws still chewing and grinding. The body stood still for a couple of seconds and then it fell to the ground. But they undead was all around them now. Their bony claws reached for the living and their teeth tried to rip of the living flesh. The soldiers fought with the strength of men that is fueled by fear and the knowledge of that there is nowhere to run. Their axes and swords sliced of the limbs what fell to the ground, but the dead were still attacking. They were dead; they had no feelings like pain or mercy anymore. Nothing. They were just infected by the dark Ash, and the spell that ordered them to kill the ones who tried to get the Silver Generals armor. And that they should do. At any cost.
One of the soldiers yelled in agony and fear and fell backwards. One undead had managed to put his teeth deep inside his neck, and fresh red blood was pumping out of the wound that immediately became infected by ash. He was swarmed by the corpses and the ripped him literary apart in a matter of seconds. Blood sprinkled in the air, pieces of red flesh and intestines were ripped out of the still screaming body. His death did not come directly; he was still experiencing the pain and fear when his mortal carcass was destroyed.
When this was happening, Eitan was still working with his spells, and now the heavy brick started to move. Slowly, but it still moved. He did not react to the slaughter; he was completely consumed by his work.
Derek fought fiercely, knowing that one miss and one undead will get the grip around him. And then he would be turned into gory pieces of meat on the ground. He hit and sliced with his axe, decapitating the undead and shed them to the ground. But more and more advanced on him and his comrades from all sides, they seemed to ignore Eitan completely. Maybe it was the challenge to kill the armed ones first that drove them to that decision.
The solider Mark gasped for air and then he became silent. His head was ripped off by undeads clawlike hands in a bloody fountain and even before the body hit the ground it was attacked from all sides by the merciless dead.
Derek cried out in terror when he saw it happen.
A loud rumbling sound came from the big tomb, and the brick on top of it moved to the side and a cloud of dark smoke and ash flew up and covered the whole scene with smolder. Derek was coughed convulsively when the smoke came down into his lungs. He could not see because his eyes hurt as if they were burning. But he still tired to defend himself from the undead horde, which did not seem to take any damage from the smoke. But on the other hand, they did not breathe, and their eyes were dead and dark. They smelled the human flesh, the spell that had ordered them to defend the armor were showing them their way.
Eitan stand up over the open tomb, holding an ancient breastplate of dark iron in his hand. Sparkles of energy shone from his hands, when he was taking in the demonic power that the Silver General had hidden in the armor.
The undead did not stop their assault. But it was like a wall had appeared between them and Eitan the Necromancer. They tried to reach him, but their hands were only grasping air.
“We will die because of you!” Derek shouted while cutting of the leg of one undead. His arm was covered by a dark slimy substance that was slowly burning through his clothing like acid.
“It does not matter, boy. You and your friends have served your purpose, and this artifact is again in the hands of the Queen. Know that you death will be of great value.”
“You treacherous beast!”
Derek wanted to reach for Eitan, to kill hi m with his own hands, but in the same second the solider behind him fell to the ground with his hand and leg bitten off. His scream where horrible, and it did not die for a long time, even when he was torn apart.
Derek screamed as well. One undead grasped for his back and started to pull in his cloth with an incredible strength. Derek cries out of surprise and turned around to take the head of the attacker. But another one put his teeth in his leg, and the pain was irresistible.
Derek fell to the ground. The horde was over him, like wolves over an injured sheep. But these wolves were dead, a horrible stench rose from their rotting bodies. He tried to fight, to resist them. A claw sliced up his belly, and two other started to dig for his guts. The pain was nightmarish, but he did not die. And the fear was even worse.
He felt how his bones started to crack, how his living flesh were torn to shreds.
WHY DID HE NOT DIE?!
His arm broke with a high snap and an undead raised it in the air, like if he was triumphing.
Derek cried in agony, fear and hate.
Sharp, almost razor-sharp teeth bit him in the neck, and a second later it was open. Red blood pumped out, and the last off Derek’s powers were gone. Before the dark of the horde closed in completely on him and the pain disappeared, he saw Eitan.
The Necromancer went away with his back turned. He was not even concerned about the undead. And from his lips, Eitan could hear song.