A Dark God Arises

The Ghost Knight

Leaving Rothelar behind at the temple to pray to his goddess, Fiona and Dreyhan scouted ahead to see if they could find any discernible trail of the man who fled.

They slogged through the water for quite some time, the dampness of the surrounding swamp having completely soaked through every layer they wore. Ahead of them, they could make out random bursts of light which briefly illuminated the fog around them. The trees they were walking through disappeared and they emerged onto a massive clearing. Lighting danced across the barren earth, strange in that there was no following concussion of thunder. In the random stoccato of light, Dreyhan was able to make out dark patches dotting the landscape as far as he could see. Closer inspection revealed them to be deep holes, the bottom of each containing various scraps of decayed clothing and the occasional piece of rusty armor. They both were confused by what the holes might represent until it dawned on Fiona; they were empty graves.

Shocked by the revelation, Dreyhan stared into the distance trying to make sense of everything until the lighting revealed what appeared to be a large statue on the far end of the field. He pointed to it then led the way across the field toward it. As they got closer, they saw from its armaments that it was a soldier of Bysyth raising its sword in victory. “This must be the battlefield we were looking for,” Dreyhan commented. They continued toward the statue, and as they got closer, they saw it had been covered in strange symbols drawn with blood and various bits of viscera. The only time they had seen or heard of this type of defacement had been in conjunction with powerful magic to raise the dead.

A bolt of lighting struck nearby, and they spotted a figure kneeling at the base of the statue. Sensing their presence, the figure slowly rose to its feet. It turned to face them, pulling the tip of its sword free from the earth. While the armor it wore was solid enough, the gaps in the armor and the space within the helmet revealed a green, ghostly figure. In a harsh voice it greeted them, “You two are not welcome here. Yet you will be fine additions to my master’s army.” Pointing its blood-stained sword at them, he chuckled darkly.

Fiona immediately darted toward the figure, trying to stab him with her rapier, but his blade swiftly met hers and parried it to one side. Dreyhan threw himself in the opening, claws outstretched. One hand caught the figure, pulling off a section of armor, but the figure twisted with the wolfan’s momentum, throwing Dreyhan off balance. The bloody sword followed quickly behind and sliced deeply into Dreyhan’s back.

Fiona thrust her blade into the gap Dreyhan had made in the ghost’s armor. While the blade met no resistance, the figure swung to face the gnome, a scowl on its wispy face. Moving faster than expected, it reached out and grabbed her wrist, sending waves of frigid pain up her arm. Dreyhan’s back was aflame from the slash, but the training he received at the abbey had taught him how to ignore it. He focused past the pain and kicked solidly at the back of the figure’s knees. The blow caused the foe to stumble, losing its grip on Fiona’s wrist. As soon as he let go, the chill left her, and she swung her bongo over her shoulder and slammed her fist hard upon the leather stretched over it. For the first time, despite the continual lighting strikes, thunder boomed across the forsaken battlefield. The concussive force threw the ghostly figure away from her, and it scrambled to maintain its balance.

Dreyhan saw the armor crack from the force of the shockwave and he drove the heel of his hand into the breastplate, cracking it even further. The wolfan’s blow rocked the figure back, but a firmly planted foot restored its balance and it swung its sword at Dreyhan, who arched his back to avoid the deathly blade. Cold air brushed across his face in the wake of the blood-coated steel. Fiona left her bongo and charged into the frey, slashing at the figure with her rapier, each slash slicing away pieces of its armor. As it spun to face her onslaught, Dreyhan continued his arching movement and struck out with a foot before completing his backflip. The figure fell to the ground, and the brief moments it took him to get back to his feet gave Fiona the chance to quaff a healing potion.

Dreyhan threw a right-hook at the figure, but it deftly dodged the blow and clamped a vise-like hand upon his shoulder. What felt like ice daggers drove deep into the wolfan, and with a pain-filled cry, he twisted free. The figure opened its ghostly maw and let loose an ear-piercing howl. Dreyhan steeled himself against the horrific sound, but Fiona did not have the training he did, and pure terror shone on her face. She tentatively stabbed at the figure, but it easily batted aside her blade. It pulled back its blade, preparing to skewer the gnome, and in that moment, Dreyhan swung both his fists into the creature’s back, splitting apart its breastplate.

Fiona and Dreyhan caught a glimpse of the ghostly body before green energy exploded and the rest of the armor fell to the ground where it quickly dissolved into rust. They watched as the wave of energy shot out over the battlefield and into the forest beyond. The fog disappeared in its passing and the darkness gave way to mid-day light. The swampy water started disappearing, soaking once more into the ground.

They both blinked against the harsh sunlight and took in their surroundings. Birds began chirping and they saw the road emerging from the water. The shadow of the statue was upon them, a memorial to the slaughter that had taken place decades before. Fiona and Dreyhan worked together to clean the blood and guts off the statue before preparing for their return journey. Dreyhan draped his cloak over the sword and carried it with them. Despite the cloak, cold power emanated from the blade and he had to alter his grip frequently to keep his hands from freezing.

They met up with Rothelar at the temple and made their way back to the village. The townspeople congratulated them on their victory and threw a feast in their honor. The next morning, the company of four returned to Bysynth having completed their quest.

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