ATCv1 #20 of 25

12 03 2008

Please note that posts in this category belong to the old, discontinued version and as such will not any updates nor corrections.

It was a ridiculously stereotypical scene. The bright sky darkened,
covered by huge black clouds that, of course, had appeared out of thin
air. Well, in fact clouds always appear out of thin air, but these
didn’t seem to care too much about anything. Daylight did the only
reasonable thing to do in such a situation and fled or, at least hid
very well. Nothing but looming darkness remained; that and the howl of
the storm that had come out of thin air as well. And of course it,
too, had done this as if it was the most unexpected thing for a storm
to do. The illumination to appreciate it in its full force, the
twisters stretching their hungry mouths towards the ground, sucking
and sweeping away whatever happened to be in their way, was
conveniently provided by lightning centered on the graveyard.
It was a far too stereotypical scene as the villagers would
have admitted if they hadn’t been busy being thrown through the air by
the storm, being smashed by whatever the storm was throwing around or
generally running away in panic.
Elias on the other hand would have hated it. Stereotypes are
exactly the thing a good teacher tries to get out of his student’s
minds to make them use that brain of theirs. There are not many good
teachers. Anyway, he was neither outside to witness the show in its
full glory, although listening to it gave him a pretty good idea of
what was going on, nor did he have to time to appreciate, or rather
despise, it. He had other problems and those were ridiculous enough on
their own.
There were the usual ways of getting rid of the undead. There
were the unusual ways of getting rid of them. And there were those you
have never heard of before. And of course Elias needed one of the
latter kind. He had tried decapitating, burning, cutting the heart out
and all the other things you’d rather not try out, but except for
making the priest look even worse and not exactly improving his odour
it had done nothing.
Hacking him to pieces had turned out to be even less helpful
than the other procedures; in fact it had just made the priest madder
with the bonus of now being able to move his hands independently.
Elias kicked the man’s hand back into the corner. It was really
unnerving to constantly have to stop them from trying to get at his
throat, but there was nothing he could do about it anymore.
‘Ouch.’ the head in the corner of the room commented.
Elias hesitated a moment, but then decided against replying to
the man’s newest attempt of getting his attention and turned back to
the tome of ancient wisdom he was trying to find the answer to his
problems in. Well, it was not exactly a tome and it contained not
necessarily wisdom as such and ancient is pretty much a question of
definition, but at least it was an old, and battered, booklet with
‘How To Kill The Death’ written on its cover. Strika had thought it
might come in handy. And although he hadn’t found anything really
helpful so far, Elias had found a lot of fun facts he absolutely
hadn’t wanted to know.
‘Hey, I’m talking to you.’
Some people just didn’t know when to stop.
‘Oh, shut up. Pretending you can feel pain will get us
nowhere.’
‘I say whatever I want, and there’s nothing you can do about
it.’
‘I could cut your tongue out.’
At least that seemed to work. Now where had he been?
‘If things go wrong…’ Elias recited. That had to be it. At
least it sounded like the perfect description of his current
situation.
‘Aha. Got you. I just need your dagger and… damn.’
Elias had searched the whole village for the dagger, but
hadn’t been able to find it. Which left only one conclusion: The girl
must have taken it with her.
However, Elias had no time to follow this train of thought for
in this moment the door burst open and presented Elias with a rather
unpleasant view. Standing outside and giving him the most horrible
grins you can imagine, mainly due to the fact that their faces as well
as the whole bodies were in different states of composition, was a
group of men, or women, or whatever they were. At this moment Elias
formed a resolution. He had never before been that certain of a thing.
He definitely wanted to be cremated.
‘Trouble?’ the voice from the corner asked self-satisfactory.
‘Nothing I can’t handle.’
Well, at least he hoped so. Slowly Elias unsheathed his sword,
took a deep breath, braced himself and then stormed towards the door.

Elias let the remains of his sword drop to the ground. He still
couldn’t believe he’d made it; his robes torn to shreds, his faithful
blade had been broken into pieces, but he lived.
Slowly he let himself drop onto his knees and pressed his face
hard into the snow, letting its cold numb the pain of the numerous
cuts and scratches his face was covered with. His armour had protected
the rest of his body, though he doubted it could have taken much more
without falling apart, but a helmet isn’t exactly low profile armour.
That should do; that had to do. Elias got up and took a small
bottle and a piece of wood out of the inside of his cuirass. Carefully
he placed the wood between his teeth, then uncorked the bottle and
poured the liquid over the wounds. His face distorted in pain and he
dropped onto his knees, but somehow, gathering all his strength, he
stopped himself from crying. He absolutely hated that stuff, but it
was either that or blood poisoning; the undead weren’t too much into
hygienics after all.

For half an hour Elias had been trying to track down the two girls,
but without success. Any tracks were gone, completely wiped out by new
snow. There was no way he was going to find them, but he had to keep
trying. The dagger was the only chance he had.
‘Looking for anything in particular?’
Elias knew the voice just too well; there was no doubt to who
the speaker was. Slowly he turned around, studying the tall man in
front of him. With his black cloak and hair he should have stuck out
in the snowy forest like, well, something black in the midst of white,
but he melted into the background. Not that he was transparent or
anything like that, he just blended in, like a tree or a shrub. In his
hands he was holding the dagger of the priest which he wordlessly
handed over to Elias.
‘The girls are save?’ Elias finally ended the silence.
The man gave him a nod.
‘Here,’ he added, offering Elias a sword, ‘you might need this
as well. Just in case.’
Elias took it. Back to business.

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