The Sun Door Part 31
by Joe Solmo
I looked into the book for the kid but didn’t see him right away. Feeling self-conscious with everyone looking at me for answers, I whispered into the book. “Skrat, are you there?” There was no response, but I could just make out the sound of some kind of mumbling somewhere I couldn’t see. I looked up at the group of people waiting for me.
“Let us press on,” Drejnin spoke in his deep baritone. Being the natural leader, the rest of the group gathered their possessions and got ready. The door leading out of the room beckoned to us. I just wanted to get this over at this point. Room after room of evil, each one tougher than the last. I was growing a little tired of it.
“Skrat, it’s time for you to earn your keep,” I whispered into the book. A moment later the mage popped into view. He seemed agitated.
“You know there is tons of knowledge here, not just about the cemetery. So much to learn. What do you need help with now?” the young mage said agitated.
“You know, by helping me you are helping your brothers too, right?” I asked the little shit.
“No surprise there, my brothers holding me back,” Skrat said. After a few seconds he seemed to catch himself and shook his head. “I am sorry Marsh. You wish to know what you will be facing next?”
“Yeah, kid,” I said wondering how smart Skrat actually was.
“Ok, give me a second. It looks like the next hall is occupied. A minute and I can tell you the nature of the beast, so to speak.”
I gave the mage some time as we stood around the chamber waiting for the next challenge. I looked at Dead-Eye, we haven’t had a chance to talk recently. He gave me a wink and raised his crossbow in my direction. He whispered a ‘pew’ sound and then smiled. That sarcastic bastard!
“Marsh, you ready?” the mage’s voice came through the pages.
“Yeah, I am here,” I said.
“Ok I got some info on the next evil. His name is Lukka Straygos. At one-time he was a paladin who never saw a loss in battle. He began to think it was his talent and not his patron who instilled the power in him. He turned his back on his God and tried to continue his undefeated record. His final battle found his army slain to the man and he awoke here in his chamber, guarding the Graveyard and the Portal it contains. My guess is beyond that door lies…”
“Zombie paladins…” Serius said as he peeked through the door. A long sword’s blade just missed his head as he ducked back in. It took both him and Drejnin to get the door closed.
“Technically not zombies, more like undead anti-paladins. They have powers. Like our new paladin friend, but twisted,” Skrat said.
“That sounds so much better,” I quipped. Everyone gave me the stink eye. I guess my genius is just too much for them, it’s probably mentally draining. I sort of feel bad for the guys.
“Marsh?” I looked up and saw Drejnin looking at me.
“Yeah?” I asked.
“Did Skrat tell you how to defeat them?” Serius asked as he peeped over my shoulder into the magical book.
“One second guys. It looks like their unlife is sustained from the negative energy. An equal or greater amount of positive energy should cancel it out. Send Marsh out,” Skrat said.
“Oh, we have a comedian now, do we?” I said but dropped my indignation when I saw the smiles on everyone’s faces. Maybe I wasn’t the ray of sunshine I thought I was.
“There is no more positive energy than a Paladin, right. I think we need to send Jarris out there,” Hall said. “Or at least to lead the way.”
“I agree young man. I shall lead the way, with the power of my god by my side I can not fail! Weebly should follow close behind. Marsh, take up the rear,” the Paladin said. I just nodded and gave in. It’s probably safer in the back, anyway.
Once everyone was ready to run into certain death, we lined up in what we thought of as a line of positivity from most to least. I poked Dead-Eye in the back and told him at least he couldn’t shoot me from this position.
“Is that a challenge? I could try a bank shot…”
“Are you guys coming?” We looked up and saw that the door was open and half of our line was already out of the room. We caught up to them just past the door and saw the open sky above, still night. Seems like we have been here forever. Jarris and Weebly were pushing back a dozen or so of those undead bastards with their positivity or whatever.
They had them pinned at the other end of the walkway. I couldn’t make them out behind the light given off by Jarris’s flame sword. I nearly tripped over a corpse on the ground. It must have been the one that was waiting by the door. I looked at the corpse and turned the book towards it so Skrat could see. The body still wore plate armor, tarnished, pitted and dirty. No knight or paladin would let their armor get this bad. Their sense of pride wouldn’t let them. Did they only exist not to protect this hall, or did they retain their minds?
“Marsh, what’s that insignia on the breastplate?” Skrat asked. I looked down at the armor part in question.
“Looks like a lion and an eagle had a baby,” I said in response.
“You mean a griffon?” Skrat asked from the book.
“Yeah, I guess, I don’t know,” I answered.
“The griffon was the insignia of Straygos. His castle was on the side of Mount Paetre, where it is said griffons had an aerie at one point in time.”
“You know kid, I really don’t care. Just tell us how to get past all this,” I snapped at the young mage.
“How do you think I feel. All the knowledge in the universe here, and I’m stuck giving history lessons to you guys. I would like nothing more than to open these tomes learn more spells. There is such power in the pages of these books,” Skrat said.
“You are young yet. There is plenty of time for that later,” I said and dismissed the kids wants.
A loud scream caught my attention, and I looked up in time to see Jarris’s sword slide out of one of the undead’s ribcages. The hatred on the monster’s face faded to an almost peaceful look before it dropped to the ground, lifeless. Unlifeless I guess would be a better term. Maybe I have a future as a linguist. I can make up words and tell people what they mean.
Skrat disappeared from the book, so I took the opportunity to pay attention to what was happening in front of me. The group of positivity were dispatching the fallen warriors. The little dwarf was jabbing a small knife from between Jarris’s legs, and the rest of the group were keeping them from escaping.
After the last one fell to the ground everyone looked at me again. Skrat still hadn’t returned to the book. The kid was spending more and more time away from us. He must have found something really interesting there in the library. I nodded to Drejnin and he nodded back and placed his large hand on the door leading to the next horror we had to face. With a yank the old rusted hinges moaned their displeasure but gave way, opening into a room of darkness. You would think these undead would have come up with another trick besides the old room full of darkness one. I watched as one by one, my companions disappeared into the room beyond the door.
“Wait for me!” I yelled and ran into the room.
Inside the room it wasn’t dark. It must have just been a trick of this evil. It was a large chamber. The largest room so far and too impossibly large to be in the cemetery. I turned around and saw that the door was covered in blackness. Like the darkness was a curtain that hid this evil from the world.
Torches lined the walls on both sides in alcoves. Down the center of the room rain a blue carpet, that lead to a raised dais. On the dais sat a large throne, and on that throne sat a large man. The man was dressed in armor, polished so well the torchlight reflected in the metal. A large griffon adorned the chest piece. Not the tarnished version that we saw outside, but with full color and grandeur. The man sat with a long sword across his lap. A big two-handed bastard with a heavy blade.
“You wish an audience?” the man spoke, raising his head. Drejnin took a step forward.
“I do. I am Drejnin. A Dreymorian seeking the moon door. I wish to return home,” Drejnin said.
“The prodigal prince wants to go home? I am sorry I can not let that happen. No one can pass this chamber without beating me in one-on-one combat. I am sorry, but you must know that I am the greatest swordsman that ever lived. Perhaps you have heard of me. I am Lukka Straygos,” the man said.
“Nope,” Drejnin replied. “I don’t really pay attention to the squires.”
Lukka’s face contorted in rage. “Squire? Squire!” You just sealed your fate, Dreymorian. Even your people can not match my skill,” Lukka’s said and leapt to his feet, sword in one big meaty hand.
I looked at the group of us standing there. I wondered what would happen when the fighting began. If this guy is as good he and Skrat said he was, what would we do if Drejnin started to lose? Would we break the one-on-one rule and come to his aid? I bet Serius would find a way to get himself involved for sure, but I wonder about the brothers. I am sure Zeeg has a great sense of honor, but the rest I wasn’t sur of.
Drejnin drew his own sword and moved farther down the hall. He stopped about halfway down and saluted Lukka with a salute I have seen duelists use before. The anti-paladin walked closer and stopped about twenty paces from Drejnin.
“Your friends will not interfere,” he said and waved his hand in front of him. Suddenly we were wrapped in some kind of magic and I couldn’t move. I looked down into the book which I still head up in a reading position. I didn’t see the young mage anywhere.
“Hey, Skrat. We sure could use your help,” I said into the book. I had to strain to move my jaw to talk. I couldn’t move my head, but I could move my eyes. I saw that Dead-Eye and the rest were also frozen in front of me. There was nothing we could do but wait for either the fight to be over, or for Skrat to come up with a solution. Where was that little shit anyway?
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