Monday, March 14, 2011

Army of One: The Trials of Torment

This entry into the Army of One contest was written by Christopher Brind. He can also be found on twitter under @brindy.

A dark and sombre mood came up on me. As I looked down at the decapitated head of my foe lying at my feet, and the sea of bones and necrotic flesh from the army of skeletal and zombie undead he had raised to face me, I wondered how it could come to this, but more desperately, I wondered what I would do next now that it was all over.

The adrenaline was starting to wear off and Tardak’s eyes were still glaring at me. I kicked the head and as it rolled I away I slumped backwards collapsing in to a heap on the floor. My own wounds were severe, but unlike Tardak, I knew I would survive. Once I got my breath back I would call upon my lord Pelor’s gracious healing and leave this field of horror.

I suppose the journey to this point started many years ago. I was lucky enough to be brought up in a monastery by some wise old clerics who were able to see through my Tiefling heritage and bring out the good buried in me, deep within. As I grew, they taught me about their god Pelor, how to defend myself, and how to defend others. Looking back it was inevitable that I would eventually become a paladin, a force for good in Pelor’s name, though I won’t deny that below the surface the battle against my inherited nature struggles on.

The clerics educated me in many things, but always gave particular attention to Tardak, the necromancer I have just slain. It was only recently I discovered what they had neglected to tell me, but I do not resent them for keeping that secret, it would have made my journey all the more difficult.

About a week ago, my colleagues and I received word of a town being overwhelmed by undead activity. The story had all the hallmarks of Tardak’s dirty work, so we set off post-haste. When we arrived our worst fears were confirmed. The local watch were fighting a losing battle against a horde of undead skeletons, but their controller was no-where to be seen. The sky was an unholy grimness of grey cloud, the hair of the elven ranger Glar was blown almost horizontal wind. Jardin, my dwarven warrior friend made some comment, hoping not to have to fight in the rain... again.

We joined the thick of the battle hoping to take the pressure off the watch. The skeletons had flooded in to the town, but we fought them back, bones shattering under our holy righteousness. Jardin and Glar soon got bogged down, but I pushed forward towards the general direction that the skeletons seemed to be reinforcing from. Through the town and up in to the hills, as I pushed forward the skeletons began to thin out. I breached the top of the hill and there he was, Tardak. Face to face for the first time, my inner rage started bubble over as I thought of all the evil Tardak had done over the years.

My life’s work, tracking down this mad necromantic Tiefling, an irony that did not escape me, was close to completion. I bellowed his name as a group of skeletons assaulted me, but they fell like water as my shield crushed them and my sword shattered their skulls.

I saw his eyes flair and on the wind I began to hear the necromantic mumbling of a spell being cast. I fought through another group of skeletons and behind them an army of zombies rose from beneath the ground. Tardak must have been bring the bodies of the dead here for decades, but why? What was so special about this town?

Groups of skeletons and zombies flooded past me, and continued the assault on my friends and the watch in the town below, but yet more were rising from the ground. I pushed forward destroying the undead filth as I went, Tardak mere meters away from me, and yet more skeletons and zombies raised from the ground. The onslaught was becoming over-bearing and I felt my gut drop as I began to realise that I was being over-powered. But just as I was about to lose hope, a ray of sun shone through the dirty grey skies above and reminded me of an ancient angel, who also fought a battle under similar circumstances. I yelled the angel’s name and stood straight and to full height. The sound of the name destroyed some of the skeletons and zombies nearby, their bones collapsing or rotten fleshing exploding.

It was the break I needed and I thanked Pelor for the inspriation, breaking through the throng I reached Tardak and he had nowhere to go surrounded by his own army of death with no way to escape. Our eyes locked,

“Son, we could have been a force this world had never before se...”

I brought my sword down from a high attack angle and sliced through the neck and shoulder, decapitating him before any more of his lies could escape his lips. Around me the army of undead warriors disintegrated, returning to the ground, to their natural state of death. The sky began to clear and the wind dropped off almost instantly, in the distance I could hear the cheers of the watch and my friends. I knew our work was done.

I’ve had many trials in my life, but no trial is more taxing than having to face and defeat your own father. My name is Torment and this is the end of my trials... I hope.

(Torment, Level 5 Tiefling Paladin)

No comments:

Post a Comment