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The Battle for Kyhlo (Part Two of Three)   << Back

"For great justice!" Mordakai shouted, swinging his hammer toward another of his foes. The blow connected with the man's chest, knocking him to the ground. With the back swing, the mighty warrior crushed a second man's skull. With another powerful heave, Mordakai collapsed a third soldier's heavy chest plate, squeezing the life from the man inside.

The clash of metal on metal and the screams of pain began to blend, filling the air with the dark melody of war. With each passing refrain, another of the invaders fell to Mordakai's wrath.

There before the castle, knee deep in the dead, the warrior became lost in the rapture of battle. The lusty thrill of hand-to-hand combat filled his veins, steeling his limbs, turning his muscles into hardened iron. He was the Reaper of Ascalon, his hammer the scythe, his tarnished, blood-covered armor the flowing robes of Death himself. With each breath, he cut down the unworthy. With each swing he laid low the foes of King Adelbern. With each powerful stroke he cleansed the world of the tyrants who had come to his home to take that which belonged to him and to his guild.

A shout went up from the Zealots of Shiverpeak. Another wave of warriors swarmed toward the front gate of the castle. Mordakai braced himself, timing his swing to connect with the first unlucky Zealot to reach him. His blow came down hard, ringing out as it connected with his attacker's shield, then glancing away.

Mordakai tried to bring his weapon back up for another swing, but he was too slow. His attacker swung down with a razor-edged sword, slashing a huge gash in the warrior's arm. More Zealots bore down on him, and in an instant he was cut off from the rest of his guild mates. An axe hit his leg, and a hammer collided with the side of his helm. Spinning, disoriented, Mordakai gave ground, trying to regain his balance. He tried left, then right. Everywhere he went there were blades barring his path, biting into his flesh.

Surrounded, outnumbered ten to one, Mordakai went down on one knee. The world spun before his eyes. His hands, covered in his own blood, slipped from the hilt of his hammer. Then a loud thud echoed through his head as something heavy struck him from behind. In the next moment, the world went silent. Time seemed to stand still, and the big warrior fell backward, unable to hold himself up any longer.

"Mordakai!" From the walkway atop the castle, Burian watched the warrior disappear under the assault of nearly a dozen Zealots of Shiverpeak.

Stepping behind the protection of the crenellations, the monk closed his eyes, lowered his head, and began chanting a prayer to Dwayna. His words were smooth and mellifluous, a sharp contrast to the harsh clangs and screams below. Lifting his hands into the air, Burian finished his prayer.

"Breathe life back into the fallen. The miracle of rebirth…"

A flash of blue-white light surrounded Mordakai, and his body disappeared from the ground.

Mordakai coughed once then opened his eyes.

"You really should be more careful." Burian smiled as he looked down at him.

Mordakai pushed the monk aside and got to his feet. He'd been transported from the ground before the castle to the top of the crenellations by the monk's spell. "I suppose I should say thank you."

Burian nodded. "That would be nice."

Hammer in hand, the warrior headed down the steps to the portcullis guarding the front gate. He stopped, looking back up at the monk. "Perhaps I'll save my gratitude for after the battle." A smile flashed across his lips. "Keep me alive until then, and I'll say whatever you want."

- Continue to Part Three -

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