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deadcasketburied

Something of worth.

35 posts in this topic

Ezekiel’s cunning intervention saved Camila’s life, the young noble spared the horrifying fate of those that fell prey to the mountain’s ruthless dangers. Weakened by the overuse of her underdeveloped powers, the girl remained slumped over the hard ground, the slow and shallow movement of her chest the only sign she had not succumbed to death. Her benevolent guardians recuperated enough strength to resume their protective stance over the girl, enveloping her in a warm aura that prevented frostbite from taking her fingers and toes. Soothingly, the spirits murmured sweet words of encouragement to Camila, attempting to resurrect her from the slumber that had taken her and made her vulnerable. Their potential in battle was directly linked to Camila, and with the girl out of commission, they were forced to play the role of spectators in the battle unfolding before them. Ezekiel’s impressive fortitude kept the enemies at bay, though they could see his steps faltered here and there, his brute strength just as lethal as before, but far less accurate and tainted with a touch of desperation. They witnessed the breach of his defenses, watched him struggle to keep his stance, and gasped in horror; he was about to meet his end, and unless they could rouse the sleeping girl and somehow convince her to flee, she would soon follow.

Just as Ezekiel prepared his last stand, Camila regained consciousness. Her eyelids fluttered open, though her body refused to obey her commands and move. From where she laid, she could see the horde of undead, with the giant towering over them, approaching Ezekiel with the intent to tear him apart and end his days on earth. Her lips parted open, a weak and pitiful whimper the only sound she could muster as the beasts raised their weapons against her beloved, seconds away from separating them forever. Though her spirits implored her to close her eyes, Camila refused to listen; if this was the last time she was to see him with air in his lungs, so be it. She gave her throat another chance to vocalize, and this time succeeded in forming the one word that meant to her the most.

“Eze…kiel…”

It was then that she saw it, the bright flash of light that emitted from his sword and momentarily blinded all within viewing distance, its power pulsing all throughout the mountain and awakening something new within Camila. She blinked several times over, the gigantic sword Ezekiel carried seemingly joined by two others, one the brilliant colors of gemstones and rainbows and the other a clear and sharp alabaster. The hilts of the swords were held by two people, a pretty woman with a lovely smile and a man that hid his eyes behind sunglasses. Just as they had come, the individuals and their swords disappeared, leaving behind only Ezekiel and his magnificent sword, still surrounded by dreads. Somehow, Camila felt rejuvenated after the unexpected occurrence and vision, the girl up on her feet and her mind actively flinging undead creatures off the side of the cliff.

“Ezekiel!” She called out to him, and following the advice of her guardians, dared not come any closer to him. She could assist him from where she stood, removed from imminent danger but still within range to be useful.

“I’m here…! I can help you!”

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Ezekiel thrust his luminous sword high above his head, defiant. A column of light erupted from the space all around him, ceasing the onslaught. The flare's pressure and winds shattered the horde’s blades into fragments; its heat seared their armor in a blinding radiance and cooked what little flesh and sinew clung to their bones until it was charred blacker than night and more brittle than chalk.

They reeled back with the strength of the rider’s ascension, vulnerable and exposed. Ezekiel’s amber eyes were on fire, two beacons of light that burned brightly against the white-grey flurry of snow. Taking his sword in both hands once again, he set to the task of culling the mountain valley.

Cortana cut through armor, bone, and ornament without resistance. The undead fell in scores around the rider with each and every stroke of his blade, his enemies utterly torn asunder by the weapon’s superlative might.

Still, they rallied. Those that managed to evade the swipe and swing of his sword and work themselves close enough to the warrior did so with purpose. They drove forward with their broken weaponry, their clawed hands, their fanged teeth, and their spiked armor to end him. One jabbed a sword fragment into his thigh, but it did not pierce. The light flared where a wound should be, burning away the rusted steel.

Ezekiel reached out and crushed the dreg’s skull with a bare hand.

A sentinel quickly followed with a swoop of its broken sword, still almost half the length of a grown man’s arm. It shattered, further, against the rider’s light-covered shoulder. He grabbed the snarling creature by its throat not a second later, and with a surge of heat and radiance, turned it to ash. He was moving thereafter, cutting, crushing, and burning his way toward the lumbering hulk that comprised the horde’s backline.

The giant groaned as it hoisted the bloodied axe in its hands high, the gesture almost lazy. Yet it drove the weapon down with frightening speed and strength. More than was necessary to cleave the small light of a man before it. And yet, Ezekiel stood his ground.

Bracing Cortana with a hand at her hilt and the other at her blade, there was a deafening thunder of steel against steel as Ezekiel checked the blow. More still, he turned it aside. The giant staggered off to the left, its axe dragging across the snow and rock. Sliding his blade-holding hand down to grip the pommel as well, the rider turned, raised his sword high, and brought it cutting out across the giant’s wrists, severing both hands.

Black blood spewed across the snow, staining it like ink.

With another smooth spin of his body, Ezekiel whipped Cortana out at the giant’s legs, cutting it at the knees. More of the creature’s tar-like ichor rained down as it toppled over onto its back, maimed and quartered. The rider climbed its chest with two massive strides, cutting a gruesome wound along its ribs before he swept Cortana across its throat and detached the head. He looked away just as two of the dreg’s closed in on Camila, so eager to lend herself to their cause.

Ezekiel moved to intervene, but the light faded—collapsed back into the sword, its name once again scratched from view. Pain flared in his side, and the rider fell to a bended knee. “Camila!” he bellowed, clawing at the snow as he fought to stand. “The dagger. Use the dagger!”

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Camila maintained her relentless psychic range attacks, flinging dreads off the edge of the mountain, their numbers slowly dwindling down to change the outcome of the battle from fatal to hopeful. She ignored the pulsing headache that came from the overuse of her abilities, her overzealous desire to aid the rider pushing her to limits she could have never dreamed of ever exploring. Despite her best efforts, her youth and inexperience left her without much stamina, and the intensity of her powers decreased from disposing of tens of enemies at once to one or two, if she focused hard enough. She sank to her knees once more, exhausted, defenseless, and worst of all—useless.

The spirits that guarded and encouraged the young noble begged her to move to higher ground, where she was less likely to be struck by a fiend or similar creature, but Camila would heard none of it. She was confident that she could continue her onslaught soon enough, but feared her attack range would be limited if she moved any farther away from the battle; thus, she chose to remain dangerously close, with only the dagger Ezekiel had given her as her primary source of protection.

Her guardians vibrated around her, informing her of the impending danger heading straight to her in the form of two ragged and decaying dread monstrosities. One was closer than the other, and the two were slow and quickly fallen apart, having barely survived one of Cortana’s sweeping attacks. Nevertheless, they sensed her life, envied it, and were driven by instinct to try and extinguish it. Her protective barrier would hold for a short amount of time, her spirits explained, perhaps long enough for Ezekiel to reach her and save her, but that was the extent of their ability to help.

Driven by the instinct to survive, Camila took to her feet, dagger clasp tightly in both hands. She recalled the brief lesson she had received about how to use the weapon, readied herself to strike for the throat, decapitating the monsters and ending their suffering once and for all. The first dread reached her, its only arm reaching to grab her, which was blocked by the invisible aura that protected her. She took the opportunity to strike, awkwardly but forcefully slashing the dagger across the neck of the bread, instantly killing it and releasing its soul to the next world. She used the same strategy on the other enemy, this time her attack much more cleaner but just as effective at ending the creature’s existence.

The momentum caused by her very first experience with close combat gave her enough energy to move forward quickly towards Ezekiel, her eyes full of tears the closer she got, until she reached him and collapsed right into his battered arms. “You’re okay….you’re hurt…bleeding…but alive…” She knew he hurt and that her touch likely worsen his symptoms, but she could not bear to let him go. “Please, how can I help? Ezekiel, I need you.”

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Ezekiel remained on bended knee as the young girl threw herself into his arms, and he leaned all the harder on his sword to support the additional weight. The pain in his side was burning, a wildfire that scorched up to his shoulder, down to his knee, and smoked the breath from his lungs. The rider’s armor was slick with blood, his attire wet and heavy with it.

“There’s no need to worry,” he lied. The injury was more severe than he was willing to admit, if only for the girl’s sake. “I’ve lived through much worse than this, Camila. I’ll be fine, I promise. I have all the materials we’ll need to patch me up in the satchel. We just need to find some shelter, before the cold claims us.” Ezekiel smiled and brushed the side of his face against hers. “Come, help me to my feet.”

With the aid of both his trusted companion and the sword in his hand, they managed to raise the hulking rider to his feet. Their pace across the battlefield was slow, measured. More than once, his strength failed and weakened knees collapsed beneath his frame. And always, the noble was there to catch him, to break his fall even if it meant being thrown to the snow covered earth alongside him. They would laugh ruefully, lightening the grave peril of their reality, and stand together.

Their journey was one of length, ending when they found themselves situated beneath the generous shelf of a ridge overlooking the northern grounds of the valley. Set with its back against the wind, the small conclave provided excellent shelter. Ezekiel was quick to sit, the sturdiness of a stone at his back a comfort in these pained moments. He tugged the satchel over his head, the movement bringing him to grunt in discomfort, and set it at Camila’s feet.

Ezekiel chuckled weakly at the look on her face. “No, I haven’t forgotten. I know that you’re a healer, but that won’t work on me. You’ll likely pass out from exhaustion long before you’ve even managed to stop the bleeding.” He pointed at the satchel. “You’ll need to make a fire first.” It had been one of the first things he taught her. “Then, heat your dagger—you still have it, right? Ah, good. Heat the blade. You’re going to have to press it to the wound and cauterize it. It’s going to smell horrible – burning flesh always does.”

With no time to waste, Ezekiel set to removing his plate, mail, and leather. “After that’s finished, apply the ointment—yes, that one. You’ll likely need to stitch it closed.” Grabbing his blood soaked tunic, he lifted it aside, revealing the gruesome opening in his dark side. “Yes, you’ll need to stitch it closed. Just… do the best you can. Then apply the bandages, and you’re done.”

Closing his eyes, the rider leaned his head back against the rocks. “I’ll try not to pass out.”

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Camila listened to Ezekiel’s instructions, swiftly took action. The cavern, a much needed reprieve from the biting cold of the mountain, offered the remains of dried leaves and debris as well as loose stones that could be used to form a nest to contain the fire. The young noble, though fatigued and certain to fall into dream should she dare to close her eyes, gathered all of the items and arranged them near the wounded warrior, where she took a match from the satchel and brought a small fire to life. Despite the dire circumstances, Camila could not help the crack of her lips as the fire brighten and warmed the room, pleased to have mastered the skill she learned a few days ago.

 “I can see you better now, Ezekiel.” She commented as the fire gained strength, promised to hold its flame for them. She could see the signs of battle all over his body, his blood the currency paid for their victory. Camila held the dagger to the flame, watched the blade turn bright red, cleansed from disease and ready to seal Ezekiel’s wound. She positioned herself beside him, placed her free hand on his knee as a sign of support for them both. “Ready?” She did not wait for an answer, pressing the hot blade to his flesh and searing it close.  The potent smell emitting from the sealing wound threatened to empty the contents of her stomach, but she did not flinch, stayed firm and in control until the task was done. “I’m sorry,” she murmured meekly, her ointment-covered fingertips lightly brushing against his tender flesh. She reached into the satchel for a needle and a bit of thread, passing the slender metal tool over the flame in preparation for the next step. Though she had received a lady’s training in stitching, Camila had never picked up on the intricacies of neat work, and feared her clumsy fingers would likely create a lasting scar on his body.

“I will try my best…” Working from what little she remembered, back when she lived the pampered life of a noble’s daughter, Camila pierced Ezekiel’s skin with the needle, driving it across the other side of the wound to penetrate that side as well, drawing the two ends together with a firm tug. She continued the process, in a zig zag motion, until there was no more flesh that needed the rough treatment. She examined her work as she applied the bandages to finalize the ordeal, the bleeding stopped and the healing process hopefully underway. Once done, Camila dared to lift her tired eyes to meet Ezekiel’s dark ones, one of her free hands pressed against his cheek. “I am so happy that you are okay. I wish….if you’d let me, I can try to heal. The wound is closed, but I’m afraid I may not have been as neat. Please, allow me to try.”

She meant to begin the ritual that would transform her energy into a healing aura, but with Ezekiel’s life no longer in danger, all that kept her sitting upright evaporated, the young noble falling over from her knees to rest her head on the warrior’s lap. “I can…try…in just a second.” She mumbled, her eyes barely open. “Ezekiel? Don’t go anywhere.”

Edited by deadcasketburied
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