Zeke and Leila had no leads to finding the Eyes of Ashara, which prompted the red-haired woman to seek out the aid of an old acquaintance named Old Gray. Their journey lead them to the necropolis of Igstanpur, a city of the dead. Through the boulevards of tombstones and mausoleums, they arrived in an abandoned cathedral located within the district. Within the tattered and old chamber halls, the two met with Old Gray, an ancient guardian Igstanpuri spirit who took the form of a large wolf. Zeke learns more about his mysterious employer, Leila as Leilandra of Zehr, a descendant of the first royal family of Igstanpur. After a silent ritual Zeke found himself nursing an unconscious Leila.
Night descended upon the cathedral, silence permeated through the entire necropolis. Barely any stirrings from visitors, the occasional tombkeeper passed through a few mausoleums nearby but they only kept walking further away. Convenient, Zeke thought. Or was it because they wanted to avoid the cathedral all-together? He did not want to answer that question and decided to tend to the small fire he made several hours ago.
There was plenty of dried wood from the benches, he found some old blankets that were not moldy to lay Leila while she rested. She had remained unconscious since her ritual with Old Gray, Zeke could nothing but wait. Leila occasionally tossed and turned, muttering indistinguishable words. A dream, Zeke thought. The young man took another bite of dried meat from his travel pack, there was also some fruit that he managed to pilfer from a stall during their run. A reddish fruit with an orange center, it was pretty sweet did not leave a lot of mess either. Streaks of moonlight managed to peek through the stained glass, it was calm outside with very little clouds.
Then he heard something. A distinct sound.
His left eye became sore, there was a hint of magic in the area already but this was a greater ache. Something was approaching. Carefully, he retrieved his blade and unsheathed it. Leila was still unconscious, which made the cathedral, a less than desirable for a defensive position. There was place to move Leila that would be deemed safe, in hindsight the young man did not consider an ambush in essentially a large graveyard.
The sound drew closer. Short scraps against dirt and stone, inhuman growls.
The sound crept closer.
The sound began to encircle the cathedral. Faded shadows formed against the stained glass, humanoid in appearance but they were no longer of the mortal nature. A city of the dead, where the dead kept it shut. This was a poor place to have rested, Zeke thought. He would need his full arsenal against this menace, his metallic arm remained poised to strike along with his blade.
Zeke remained vigilant and calm, channeling his energy to detect whatever foul creatures dwelled here. Like ripples their foul resonance echoed against the infinite void, there were seven of them. Dark, tainted creatures. Zeke could feel their decayed stench, they were close now. The young warrior kept his eyes closed, focused on reading their presence. Like bait in a kill box, but unfortunately Zeke was ready for them.
Behind Zeke, a shadow crawled down one of the wooden column nearby, silently stalking its would-be prey. Half a moment passed and it lunged at the young man in his blind spot. A blinding flash of cloak and metal, the creature remained suspended within arm’s reach of Zeke. His metallic hand formed a tight grip over the creature’s throat as it thrashed violently to escape.
“You chose your prey poorly,” he sneered. His grip tightened, the sound of snapped vertebrae and a limp body were enough to satisfy him. He tossed the body to the side, the moonlight revealed a gray-skinned feral creature with a ravenous maw and diseased nails. Its form was gaunt and limber, dressed in the tattered apparel it wore in life.
The other six remaining creatures encircled Zeke, poised to strike. He brandished the longsword once more, using his metallic arm as his guard. Two of them rushed toward him, he parried one with the flat of his blade while driving the other away with his arm. A quick riposte slew one of them, but the other managed to stick its landing and avoid further injuries. Another struck Zeke from behind, it tore into the cloak but failed to pierce the leather armor underneath. One of the creatures managed to grapple onto Zeke to bite down but was swiftly met with a metallic fist. The sound of broken jaw and cracked skull sent the creature to the ground.
Zeke channeled the skills he learned from his past, lessons that bore much pain. The familiar sounds of screams and cries, of spells and incantations. Nothing remained from that broken past, only pain and hate. The hate returned and once more the young man became blazed and focused. A calm fell upon the cathedral, the creatures kept their encirclement, waiting for Zeke to lower his guard. All four lunged at him simultaneously, his eyes traced all four of their movements and positions. With perfect articulation, his body moved to dodge one, deflect two with blade and arm, and a swift heel kick to deter the last one.
Accessing multiple threats, a defense he acquired and mastered through many hardships. He hated to credit the man who turned him this way. It left a bitter taste.
Two daggers flew and struck one of the creatures in the head, turning catatonic. Leila was on one knee, half-dazed but definitely awake. One of them rushed towards her, which was met with a sudden grip from Zeke’s metallic arm. His grip tightened and broke the creatures forearm. It wailed in pain while another tried to flank Zeke from behind again, it met the tip of the longsword subsequently. The last one crept away into the shadows slowly and then darted off through a broken window.
Zeke walked over to the weary Leila, “you alright?”
“Hell of a wake-up.” She managed. A deep breath and she rose up to assess the hall. Her steps were slow and uneven but slowly they regained their stride.
“Did you get anything useful from that old wolf?” Zeke asked.
There was a pause while Leila bent over to retrieve the daggers from the creature’s skull. “Yes, I know where we need to go. I have a question for you if you don’t mind.”
Zeke remained silent and sheathed his blade back into its scabbard.
“I hope that you will keep the information you learned here discreet, no one needs to know about my lineage. Also I will answer any questions you have for me as well.” Leila did not turn to face Zeke, there was a hint of hesitation in her voice.
“A job is a job, anything outside of it is irrelevant and does not concern the job. All matters concerning the job, those should be disclosed if and when it would be necessary. The only things I need to know are who is my employer, what the job entails, and any hazards or dangers during the job’s completion. That’s all. Anything else, well that’s unimportant.” Zeke replied, there was no sense trying to flower his words here.
Leila breathed a sigh and half-turned to the young man, her purple eyes softened and the moonlight seemed to glow against her crimson hair. “Thank you, for trusting me.”
“It’s not a matter of trust, it’s a matter of agreement.” Zeke corrected.
Leila smiled and went over to gather her belongings, Zeke followed suit.
“The next part is going to be dangerous, you sure you wish to continue further? I can pay you for your troubles up till now.” Leila calmed proposed.
“I was asked to finish the job from a mutual friend, he warned that there was be considerable amount of danger. So far, I’ve mostly ran this entire time of my employment.” He commented.
Leila gave a soft chuckle. It had been a while since she laughed genuinely, even if it was a soft one. After the two finished packing, they left the cathedral under the moonlight and out of the necropolis. Their next destination, Leila warned was filled with danger, the true hunt had finally begun.
Alright guys! Thanks for reading along on this installment! Find out what happens next time on our next post. What will Leila and Zeke find? Where could the Eyes of Ashara be? Please like, comment, and share. If you want to stay updated in our antics and fun, please follow us on Facebook and Twitter. We also have an Instagram for behind-the-scenes pics and board game fun. We also have a donate button and an Amazon store page for your D&D product needs, a little comes back our way to help run the site. Thanks again and we’ll see you all soon!