The cleaver narrowly missed slicing my ear clean off as I sidestepped the swing from the undead ghoul. Already being entangled in a battle for my life with a skeleton carrying a rapier, I hadn't noticed the ghoul lunging for me until the last moment. Circling back towards the direction I had dogged the ghoul from, I was able to create some distance between my two undead adversaries. Fatigue began to set in slightly, however, my adrenaline from almost getting decapitated with the cleaver kept me alert.
The ghoul looked menacing, it must have not been very attractive in its former life, for it was hideous. In the distance, behind my attackers, a dozen or so zombies started sprouting from the grave. Knowing that I had to act quickly, I fainted left towards the ghoul, then changing my direction quickly, I moved right, swinging my sword arcing down where it connected hard on the skeleton's collar bone and shoulder. Bones cracked and shattered completely while it reared back in whatever pain it could feel being undead.
The skeleton tried to raise its sword arm but could not. Sensing the ghoul's move I immediately dropped to the ground and rolled backward just as the ghoul dove towards my head. When the ghoul was directly over me I thrust upward with. My blade struck home and impaled its stomach. His momentum took my blade crashing to the ground with him.
The skeleton assessed his damage and must have switched his rapier to his other hand because he tried to deliver a desperate overhand death stroke with his intact arm. Rolling on the ground desperately, I dodged the swing easily sweeping the skeleton to the ground with my leg. Earlier I had noticed small boulders scattered throughout this particular graveyard. Grabbing the closest one to me I rushed towards the wounded skeleton, raised the boulder over my head and smashed it down hard crushing his skull against the damp hard packed ground.
Walking over to the now dead ghoul, I put my foot on his chest and dislodged my blade, which was glowing red from the magical fire enchantment that was placed on it. The Zombies in the distance were now sluggishly walking in my direction dragging their feet mindlessly bumping into gravestones along the way.
Why do I keep doing this? I thought. It's futile really. The chances of me finding the fiend are very slim.
Yet here I was at another graveyard at midnight, living on nothing but sorrow and vengeance. The zombies that were in the distance now inched closer about twenty paces away. I could have easily evaded them, and continued on my search, but I couldn't bring myself to abandon the small town nearby that they would eventually descend upon and plague. Especially the attractive maiden bartender who kept me humble with those enchanting hazel eyes.
My tattoos on my right arm began moving to charge. The flames began dancing up and down my entire arm. The zombies were now ten paces away, knees knocked in, dragging their bodies closer to me. Channeling my energy towards my left hand I began reciting a spell. When I finished ten-foot flames erupted from my hand like a continuous fireball engulfing and incinerating the zombies into ash.
Sighing, I sheathed my sword on my back and continued on searching for the hidden tomb. Looking towards the full moon I noticed an unusually large amount of bats circling the center of the graveyard. Making my way to the center, I discovered a fantastic tomb engulfed with beautiful artwork of stone. The patterns looked ancient and possibly elvish. They lead to each corner of the structure, which housed its own stone statue of a beautiful woman wearing a gown. The artwork was exquisite, the detail of the women was amazing, looking as if they were flesh and blood.
Centered in the middle of the structure a large door sat made of dark stone that looked daunting. Trying not to get excited from all of my past failures, I cautiously moved toward the entrance of the tomb. Running my hands along the door, I was searching for a lever or a trigger of some kind that would open the door.
My hand discovered something. Slowly the door began to move, dust and dirt filled the air as the darkness of the chamber began to open up slowly into emptiness. The bats above began swirling together while moving directly towards the ground. I had suspected such, having experienced this one other time in my travels, I knew what was coming and it wouldn’t be friendly.
Here we go. I quickly started reciting a different spell, the tattoos of ice formations on my other arm started moving around like a blizzard, the icy storms moving up and down my entire arm. The bats materialized into a large, hairy, half bat, half man, with wings protruding from its back. The beast’s beady red eyes glaring down at me, it hissed and lunged forward.
Anticipating its speed, I quickly sidestepped while pulling my other sword out, this one glowing blue from the ice enchantment, and sliced the beast in the mid-section. Searing frozen ice vapor drifted above the foot long wound I delivered. My right hand was now charged completely. The beast must have sensed this and in an instant, he was airborne pulling high up into the sky. It circled in a large long pattern, then began its dive directly towards me gaining major speed.
I could attempt to freeze it, however, I thought that a risky task to score a hit and I didn't want to waste a spell and further deplete my magical supply. Instead, pulling out my handheld crossbow from under my sleeveless cloak, I let fly an exploding arrow that connected perfectly with the beasts right wing blowing it completely off. It crashed fantastically to the ground to my left as I watched it nearly miss me and go end over end stopping twenty or so paces away.
It was hurt and I was on top of it quickly knowing very well these types ability to regenerate. Wounded, the beast snarled and hissed as it showed me its fangs. Discharging my spell, frozen ice bursts that formed into gushing frozen streams came out from my right hand freezing the demonic beast’s arms, legs and head to the ground. Its chest exposed, I pulled a wooden stake out from my belt and drove into the center of its chest with all my might. Blood squirted from the impact. The beast squirmed and jerked in its final death thralls then lay there motionless dead.
At that moment fatigue really began setting in. The journey through the country to this particular graveyard was long and grueling. The past year was a blur of emotions and battles tracking the killer to hopefully this very spot. Even though I made it into the small town a day prior to this full moon, I didn't get much sleep between the flirtatious bar maiden and preparing my spells for tonight. I whispered words to a vitality spell, almost instantly I could feel my strength and confidence began to surge back inside of me. That left me with only a few spells left. Hopefully, I wouldn't need more.
The entrance to the tomb was wide open now. I hadn't noticed until I got close that one of the statues was gone. Having an idea of what was coming I spoke a spell of resistance strengthening my will power and fortitude while allowing me to discern the truth at a higher level. Descending the stairs into the tomb with both swords glowing, one blue and one red, my suspicions were answered, when I saw a beautiful woman lounging on a dais in the candlelight.
“Hello, brave hunter.”
I stared into her hazel eyes, which was a mistake I figured out too late. My spell helped me to resist, otherwise, I would have been lost in her trance forever. Never breaking her stare, she gracefully got down from the dais and moved seductively towards me. With every ounce of my being, I fought to break our embrace, sweat bedded off of my brow and finally, I was able to avert my eyes.
I could hear others descending the stairs to the tomb, I knew I was in over my head when I saw the other three statued woman, now appearing to be flesh and blood, slowly making their way into the tomb. Covering my eyes, I rattled off one of my final spells, a spell of hardening. I could feel it take effect instantly. My skin now hard as tough leather.
Not waiting another second I stabbed my ice enchanted sword into the first woman just as she reached for me. She shrieked grabbing her ice cauterized stomach and fled quickly out of the tomb. The other three women weren’t as lucky. In turn, they each tried to sink there fangs into my flesh only to meet tough resistance that their fangs could not penetrate. I took each one of them out in turn slashing and clubbing them until they were heaps on the floor of the tomb. Not taking any chances, I staked each one in the heart.
I hadn’t noticed before, but there was a secret room attached to the back of the tomb behind the dais. Entering it I found a coffin. Throwing off the lid I wasn’t surprised when I found it empty. This wasn’t the first time my trail ended this way, however, I did find something that interested me greatly, turning I began walking briskly back towards the town.
Cleaning myself up at the horse troth outside the tavern I wiped the blood off of my arms and face. Disregarding my soiled cloak, I threw it down and gave a gold coin to the beggar outside for his torn foul-smelling one. Looking good as new, I made my way into the tavern and took an empty stool. The attractive maiden from earlier saw that I was back and made her way quickly my way.
“Back so soon?” She said.
I said, “I had to come back I wanted to see you again.”
She replied, “Well I’m glad you did.” While wiping down the bar right in front of me.
“Did you find what you came here for?”
I couldn’t believe I had noticed earlier. You see I never forget a pair of eyes, human or undead.
“Oh, I found much more,” I said reaching for my belt.
“In fact I brought something back for you, a departing gift,”
“Oh, you shouldn’t have.” She replied.
“It’s the least I could do”, I said burying the wooden stake deep into her heart. At first, the patrons of the tavern were mortified, jumping back off of the chairs they sat on.
But when the attractive bar maiden transformed in front of their very eyes into the ugly bloodsucking fiend that she was, they gasped looking at me in amazement.
“That’s for killing my wife, go back to the nine hells from which you came.”
I suspected something wary from this maiden when I first laid eyes on her. I couldn’t place it at the time being so fatigued and exhausted. When I opened the lid of the coffin to my surprise I found a rare coin from a distant land. The peculiar thing was, that the night before at the tavern I left my coin bag in the room upstairs.
Being in the tired state that I was I didn’t want to climb the stairs to my room to fetch the bag to pay my large tab. Instead, I reached into my pocket and paid with an identical coin. Putting the two together and remembering those seductive hazel eyes, I knew she was the fiend who I had been tracking. The fiend whose empty tomb I found. The fiend who murdered my wife!