The Sun Door Part 24
by Joe Solmo
It didn’t take long for us to spot the cemetery through the thinning forest; it rested on top of one of the rolling hills that dominated this area. I shuddered when I first looked upon it, as the sun seemed to hide behind clouds at that exact moment, making the world seem dimmer. All of us paused and looked up at the iron wrought gates and fence that surrounded the graveyard, and the vague buildings we could see hiding behind it from here.
The place definitely had a creepy feeling to it, even from this distance, and I could tell I wasn’t the only one that thought so. Weebly and Dead-Eye both checked their weapons, as if to make sure they were still there. Who knew what kind of bullshit we were going to have to face in there. I think my recent hang back and let the others do the fighting tactic might be best during this little adventure as well. So far it has worked out well for me, except for getting repeatedly shot. I guess I need to hang back a little more, preferably behind Dead-Eye.
I could hear Skrat’s voice talking from farther up with his brothers and since we had stopped for a minute I crowded them to hear what he had to say. “The gates are guarded by two very deadly beings, stone golems. They won’t allow anyone to enter the graveyard without a special amulet given only by Lodrum himself. You guys are gonna have to defeat these things to gain access. The fence is too tall to jump. Don’t worry brothers, just send Moose in. Those golems should crack from his hammer smashing into them. Magic works too, and I am sure the dontu can come up with something to help as well,” the mage said.
“I can distract them with my super good looks,” I said peeking over Zeeg’s shoulder into the enchanted book.
“Won’t hold their attention long,” Sreg said slapping me on the back. I thought I was the comedian of the group, damnit.
“Other than blunt weapons, what else can beat stone?” I asked.
“Paper?” Sreg said. Ok now I know he was trying to replace me as comic relief of our little company. It looked like I was going to have to fight for my title.
“Throw Skrat’s book at em,” I said.
“Or we can make a dwarf-a-pault, Weebly seems heavy for his height,” Sreg suggested. Seriously when the hell did this guy get such a sense of humor.
“Seriously I am going to hide behind Moose,” I said and shifted my pack on my shoulder. From here I couldn’t tell if those stone golems where what I was seeing, or if it was just a statue. I have never seen a golem before, but I have heard about them. Animated with magic, they really only serve one purpose in all the stories I could recall. They were deadly guardians of magical places who used any means necessary to protect their charges. I never thought I would see one, let alone fight two of the bastards. I’d rather it was a pack of those demon dogs of Drejnin’s wife, at least those you could slide a blade into.
Before I realized it, everyone started up the hill towards the cemetery. I was last in line as the sun dipped behind the stone fence surrounding the place of the dead. Darkness was upon us, perfect timing to enter an unholy place. The closer we got to the place the faster the paladin, Jarris seemed to move. It was as if he was pulled towards the evil that dwelled behind those gates. I hope his fanatical bullshittery doesn’t get us killed.
As we approached the entrance to the place, time seemed to freeze, even the wind died as we approached. Now there was no mistaking the giant stone statues, one on each side of the iron gates. Each one was over ten feet tall and held a mean looking crescent bladed axe. We were thirty feet from them and nothing moved. I glanced back down the hill we had just walked up and saw the darkness creep over the land as the last of the sun sunk. Hall and Myder both lit torches.
The paladin took a step in front of our group and drew his blade, which burst into fire the second it cleared the scabbard. I wondered if the holy prick ever burnt himself on it. Man, sometimes I can be a real asshole. Cautiously Jarris took another step towards the gate, holding his weapon before him. With a suddenness that could only be created from magic, the heads on the statues swiveled towards the paladin. The grating of stone on stone rang out in the fading light, the only sound we heard since all of us held our collective breath.
“Foul creatures, hear me!” Jarris shouted as he took another step closer. “I am a Holy Warrior of Varlis his light shines through me! His righteousness burns away the darkness! My weapon is his weapon, and in his name I condemn you to death,” he said.
“That crazy fucker is going to get himself killed,” I said.
The bodies of the statues swiveled underneath the heads which remains perfectly still. Both of the golems raised their axes in front of them and took a step in front of the gate, barring the paladin’s way. “I don’t think your crap is working,” I yelled with encouragement.
“Can I smash em yet?” Moose said hefting his large weapon in his hand.
“Not yet, wait until they attack,” Zeeg said to his brother, never taking his eyes off the magical creatures. Everyone was starting to get tense, even the paladin seemed unsure if he was going to take another step. Drejnin drew his new weapon, blue lightening crackled along its sharp blade. The Dreymorian stood next to the paladin now, his stoic stare passing from one golem to the next. His hand twitched on the hilt, he arms tensed. I watched all this from the relative safety of the back of the pack, right next to Myder.
The sound of granite on granite filled the hill as the golem’s faces scanned the threat in front of them. With courage I don’t think I could have mustered, the paladin took another step closer, Drejnin matching that step. The granite golems raised their axes with a surprising amount of dexterity and as one they advanced on our group. Drejnin and the paladin, Jarris, charged towards the golems. Zeeg wasn’t too far behind them, which worked out well for them since he arrived just in time to block a swing from one of those gigantic crescent bladed axes that was swinging towards Drejnin. The Dreymorian’s fast reflexes allowed him to dodge behind the shield just in time.
As the magic words escaped the lips of the eldest Gazi brother, the force field activated and gave better protection. Both Drejnin and Jarris used it to their advantage, popping out only long enough for a quick swing or two. Dead-Eye fired a few bolts at them and actually hit once, but it bounced harmlessly from their stone body. The bow of Sreg though was a different story. It fired arrows made of magic and even though they didn’t stick in the stone bodies, it was leaving dark spots where they hit.
Not being able to sit still anymore, Moose charged past the protection of his brother’s shield and swung that hammer as its magic came to life. He struck one of the golems in the ribs which set the magical automaton off balance. No one was in a position to capitalize on it though, damn.
In the back of my mind I could hear Skrat yelling at us, telling us what to do, then I realized it wasn’t in the back of my mind at all it was the book, Zeeg had dropped it when he charged, so I quickly grabbed it and opened the cover. A perturbed Mage looked up at my face from the pages. “What the hell is going on there?” he yelled out.
“Fighting the gate guards, I replied and turned the book so that Skrat could see what was happening.
“If only I was there I could dispatch of them. If you can break the heads the spell should be broken,” he said.
“Aim for the heads Moose,” I yelled at the giant. He swung again, this time connecting with a shoulder as the golem turned away from his blow. Serius was now climbing up the back of one of them after turning his limbs into some kind of spikes that could stab into stone. The black from Sreg’s arrows were spreading across the bodies. I noticed that was where Serius was climbing; the arrows must have made the stone soft.
Another axe swing just missed Drejnin as he barely managed to get his weapon up in time to deflect the swing. What strength the man must have! What power it must take to change the trajectory on a swing from a few thousand pounds of stone. I was in awe all over again with the Dreymorian.
Jarris jumped out from behind the shield and swung his flaming sword at the thigh of one of the golems. Sreg had hit it there several times with his magical arrows and it was covered in black. His holy weapon sliced about three quarters of the way into the stone leg. It took a little effort for the paladin to withdraw his blade.
Seeing what Jarris had done, Moose swung his hammer at the same leg, which broke the limb off from the heavy stone body. The golem fell over crashing hard into the ground. I could feel the impact from where I was staring and doing nothing to help. Serius and Drejnin had the other preoccupied so together this Paladin of the White Cathedral of Varlis and Moose started to take the downed golem apart. Myder and Weebly rushed over to help hold down its arms as Moose struck it in the face with his hammer. Blue lightening crackled as hammer met stone and split its carved face into several pieces. At once the body stopped moving and was animated no more.
Drejnin was fairing pretty well against his golem. Serius was playing peek-a-boo with it and it was swinging wildly. Drejnin dodged left and right all the time striking in the weakened exposed black spots left from the magical arrows. Since the first one was dead, the rest of them charged over to help.
With a wild back swing, the axe collided with Myder sending him flying through the air, Hall was already on his way to him before the dust cloud settled. Jarris struck the right knee of the creature, sending his flaming blade several inches in, while Moose tried to find an opening to swing for the face. The golem struck the shield with his axe and lost his grip on the large weapon. It fell from his hands with a clang on the stone of his fallen brethren. Drejnin struck the golem in the chest with his sword chipping a hunk of stone out of it.
The creature swung its large stone hands at them in frustration, which would have struck the paladin, but Moose dropped his hammer and grabbed the stone fist with both of his. A struggle of strength followed. Serius wrapped his hands around the head of the golem and twisted with everything he had, I could see the strain on his face, but he couldn’t budge it. Moose’s muscles bulged in his arms and he started to sweat from the force of the relentless automaton. “Hurry,” he said to them.
A second later, Drejnin managed to slice through the knee of the golem dropping him like the last one had gone down. Moose fell over from the weight suddenly bearing down on him, but managed to roll out of the way. The paladin stabbed his fiery blade through the creature’s face, finishing the thing off. Everyone took a moment to catch their breaths before anyone spoke, even Skrat was speechless.
“Are all the fights going to be this tough?” I asked the book.
Skrat’s voice filtered out from the pages. “That was just the gate guards. The actual guardians inside are a lot tougher,” he said. Zeeg approached me and held his hand out, I went to place the book in it and he shook his head.
“You hold on to it, Marsh. I will need my hands free to use my shield,” the eldest brother said and shook my hand. “I am going to trust you with my baby brother, and don’t you take that lightly. You did well last time in the library,” he finished.
“It is indeed an honor, and I shant disappoint,” I said in what I thought was a humble voice, but the look Zeeg gave me it was hard to tell if it was received that way.
“How come Marsh gets the easy job?” Dead-Eye complained.
“Because they need your expert marksmanship,” I quipped.
“Quiet or I will shoot you again, you ass,” he said pulling out his flask.
“Children, if you’re done…” Hall said and pointed over to where Myder lay on the ground. I had forgotten about him and felt bad about it.
“Is he going to live?” I asked walking over to Myder who didn’t seem like he was breathing.
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