Written by the lovely Ceil, an excerpt from the (still in progress) Riders writing project of the last night of the Zombiepocalypse – and (I promise) the last zombie stuff you’ll see around here. This was before Aely and Phileas had actually joined with the Riders, but both spent most of the night keeping the Pig and Whistle from being overrun. I’ll try to post a link to the whole thing once everyone finishes adding to it!
Her foot was throbbing, but Aelflaed couldn’t spare a moment to worry over it, the undead were pressing too hard. She’d lost sight of any of the other defenders at the door. From her vantage point at the top of the stairs she could see the tide of the Scourge boiling up the lane, some from the Trade District, others out of Cutthroat Alley. Booming in a steady rhythm was the sound of rifles, echoed by the battle-cries and cursing of many of the Wildfire Riders.
She leaned back against the rough plaster and wood wall, letting the pub help support her body, taking the pressure from her foot. There was a circle of fallen bodies around her, all lying still and most without a single mark, though any one with the sense to know could easily tell they’d been felled by holy magic, strong and pure.
To her left, a zombie came lunging over the small barricade of the dead. Her shield was heavy, but she lifted it anyway, slamming the ghoul back. It stumbled and Aelflaed raised her hammer. Instead of letting it fall, she pointed it at the zombie and a blinding flash of golden light exploded from her palm and raced along the haft, then head, of the weapon. It burst upon the ghoul and set it screaming loud enough to hurt her ears. Without moving, the paladin shook her head and murmured a prayer. The screaming stopped and the ghoul toppled atop the others.
However, in the silence left behind, a new scream erupted, a human scream, from inside the pub. Aelflaed recognized a woman’s voice and without thinking of the pain throbbing through her left foot, she lurched through the doorway, left momentarily open as a surge of the dead had swept the other defenders into the street.
The first thing to greet Aelflaed inside the Pig was another scream and the sight of a skeleton over six feet tall bearing down on Elly Langston while her father and brother rushed from the bar with old swords in their hands. The skeleton gave off a noticeable wave of heat, fierce and bringing with it the scent of burning corpses. When Reese and David Langston got close, they fell back a step in surprise at the heat. Aelflaed reacted far more quickly, half running and half stumbling around the corner and past the railing, shouting the first thing to come to her head.
“Hey! Hey, y’ wanker!” She hollered, throwing a hand towards the skeleton. Her words weren’t nearly as effective as the flash of holy light that hit the skeleton and caused it to turn towards the paladin. The flameshocker’s empty eye sockets stared at the paladin, cinders burning in the depths of it’s skull. Aelflaed gripped her hammer and shield in readiness.
Behind the skeleton, Elly Langston cowered and shuddered against the staircase, her green skirt torn and her face filled with fear. She moaned wordlessly with terror, until a surprisingly gentle hand gripped her arm firmly and pulled her to her feet. Neither Elly, Reese, David nor Aelflaed had seen Phileas enter the room, but there he was, a dagger on each hip and his hood thrown back to offer Elly a smile. The girl was too scared to do anything but rise with him.
“Dinna worry now, lass, I go’ yeh,” he said, stepping between Elly and the flameshocker’s back. His hands went to his daggers and his eyes went to Aelflaed. She was already grinning at him.
That was the last time the Langstons saw any Scourge inside the Pig n’ Whistle.
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- Population Disparity (34)
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