The metallic clicking of our armor broke the silence of that eerie night as we patroled the cobbled streets in search of a rumored undead on the loose. I squeezed the handle of my sheeted sword firmly; I have uncaringly patrolled towns surrounding the capital countless times, but that night we had a sacred guest with us, a priest in a long red robe with a hallowed yellow phoenix sewn on it. His presence gave legitimacy to our mission, and I could not calm the rapid beats of my heart.

The platoon's lieutenant raised his closed fist and we all immediately halted. Light rain poured on us, damping our cloaks. The only sources of light we had was the moonlight above us, the priest's lit incense staff behind me, and a faint brazier fire ahead of us. We look ed around timidly. To the left, a small hilltop with a dry leafless tree loomed over, and to the right a broken and abandoned building. The priest moved his mouth, muttering something so low I could not hear. The lieutenant tilted his head, as if trying to listen to something, but all we heard was the singing of a cicada in the distance. The wet leather in my armor made me somehow even more uneasy. At last satisfied, he lowered his hand, and we all let some of our tension go.

As we took our first steps forward, a preternatural voice penetrated our minds, speaking senseless words, coming from all directions in the dark street. My bones chilled and my hair stood on end. Our leader drew his sword, and we unsheathed ours instinctively in response. "Protect the priest!" he screamed, as we turned our backs to the wall.

Some of the soldiers turned rapidly left and right, cloak flapping, futilely trying to find the source of the voice that echoed in our heads. I took a deep breath to focus while holding my bastard sword with both hands. As I turned to the side, the ground vibrated and dust blew forward from a hole in the wall just beside me, where a hulking arm punched through. Soldiers moved away to confront the surprise attack, but the one in front of me was taken by the head and smashed onto the wall by a hand the size of his face before we could act. His head got half flattened on the wall. The priest ran towards the hill, waving his staff before him.

I speedily raised my sword to strike at the grey-skinned arm protruding from the wall. I was about to lash at it when the entire wall bursted forth. Stone fragments flew across the street, and a large chunk of the cobbled wall pnned me to the ground as it fell.

From the crack in the wall dashed out a monstrous barbarian, an unnaturally muscular beast of a man almost twice our size. Its uncovered chest showed putrid skin, with a broken rib poking out and patches of sinew all over. It had a mangled back and a flayed head, and from his hollow eye sockets and toothless mouth emanated purple fires. In its right hand, the behemoth dragged a weapon just as menacing, a pole with the top half of a giant's skull pierced at the end. The soldiers covered their faces from the blast of stone and dust, and one of them did not recover in time to dodge a mighty overhead strike from the beast's crude mace. His body was folded in two as his face kissed the street's stones, which shattered and burried further under the impact.

"Spread out and draw its attention!" yelled the lieutenant. The world seemed to shake and my vision was blurry. I attempted to stand, but I could not move my legs under the broken wall. I stretched my arm towards a fellow soldier and yelled for help, but he did not react, looking dumbfounded at the crushed patrolman.

Raging wrathfully, the undead fiend pulled its weapon from the ground and swinged it wildly around. A soldier luckily avoided the hit by throwing himself back. I had to do something! I screamed as loud as I could at the man beside me, and finally he responded, flinching at me. He ran to my feet and pulled away a large chunk of rubble over my knee. Motioning to others, more came to my aid. As they gathered around me, the monster looked at us.

"Quickly! Pull him out, now! Liiiiift!"

But from under their legs I saw the running creature sprinting towards us. I thought to myself there was not enough time, I was going to die.

They managed to pull the rubble enough to yank me out... right before the skull mace flied in, launching three of them in the air. Blood sputtered on my helmet and eyes.

In the distance, I could hear the priest chanting loudly. I tried to stand once more, with the help of a surviving fighter. The monster seemed to admire the havoc, bellowing at the rest of our platoon, and as it did that our lieutenant ran from behind and plunged his sword at the back of the creature.

Unfazed, the revenant swung back his arm and threw the officer to the ground. The undead closed his hand up high and smashed it against the ground, which the lieutenant only dodged by little rolling to the side. Not missing a moment, the undead clenched the officer's cape under its fist and flinched the man to the other side of the street, throwing him at the parapet by the priest's feet. He bendsed back as he hit the corner and slid down to the ground, unconscious.

I could not assess the lieutenant's health, but we had to draw the creature's attention from him. I tried to run to the left, but my left leg gave in. I had an injury I couldn't feel, and I fell again on my hands and knees. The man who aided me ran in the opposite direction, over the rubble that held me down. In the distance, I saw the priest waving his staff in the air. I had heard about the power of the "crimsons", but they all sounded like fanciful stories, as the undead once did. I can only hope the lives lost are going to be worth for something.

They cannot have died in vain, I had to act.

Five others remained standing. They formed circles around the revenant, and only now are they in position to harass it. We had to gain time. We could not kill that thing, but we had to provoke it. "Sting it when it ain't looking!" I cried from afar.

It ran at one of them with the arms spread. It embraced the man, who slashed at the chest of the revenant to no avail, and had his spine crushed by the brute's two imposing arms pressing him. Two other soldiers jumped at its back, thrusting their swords, and though their blades plunged into the bare back of the living carcass, the revenant merely dropped the body and swiveled its weapon in an arc, killing the two men instantly.

The last two were set side by side in front of the undead. The red priest looked at the sky with his arms and staff outstretched in a beseeching pose. I had to join the fight, but I couldn't get up... there was blood seeping through the gaps in my armor. My leg plate was bent inwards. I had no strength to stand.

Resigned, the soldiers got poised to strike, determined to buy as much time as necessary. Their seeming eagerness only motivated the barbarian to attack. It dashed forward, dragging the mace's skull on the ground, grinding and lifting rock, and in an upwards motion, launched one of the men into the air. He fell without a sound on top of a distant building's roof, surely dead already.

Facing the last man, the revenant swung its left fist in the air attempting to catch him. The soldier evaded and eluded the undead in swift motions, opening wounds that did not bleed in its arm. When it looked like that the man found an opening to plunge his sword on the monster's face, he committed... only to have his arm caught by the revenant, who dropped its weapon. The soldier's arm was then ripped from his torso, and as he staggered back, he was beaten with his own arm to the ground, over and over again. As I watched the man's body being mauled, I heard an inexplicably wicked laugh. The undead, who raged throughout the massacre like the wild beast it was, showed for the first time a human emotion in the cruelty of its act, repeatedly whipping the mutilated arm on a lifeless body.

My arms shook and I could not feel my lower body. All I felt was cold. I looked at this horrendous scene and couldn't think of anything but how that thing was going to kill me.

And then I saw movement. The pebbles, they were trembling. The rocks were... floating? The priest! He was on one knee, praying. His prayers were being heeded! I could not let the monster break his concentration! I threw myself to the nearest rock I found. I held it in my hand and instinctively flung it at the beast.

It hitted its very head.

The revenant immediately stopped its senseless mauling. It turned to face me. I took off my helmet, brandishing my sword on my left hand, even lying as I was, and screamed curses at the foul creature.

Death itself stared back at me. The revenant walked slowly towards me, eye sockets burning in indigo flames.

The barbarian reached me. There was nothing I could do then. I resigned myself to my death.
It grabbed me by my head, lifting me up. My body lolled without strength in the air.

The revenant slowly pressed its hand, smashing my head.

"Et excitavit somnium vidisse se dicat et deiectionem mundate!" cried the priest.

Reality shifted. I could see the palm of its dead hand clearly as it became white. I could hear the sound of my heart beating as if it was a giant war drum, I could listen to the blood flowing in my body as if it was a running river. The light rain drops seemed like thundering boulders falling from the sky as they hit the ground. The weight of my hanging body which dragged me down now felt like it was lifting me up onto the sky.

The undead released me, and I fell to the ground on my back. Hitting the cobblestones provoked a numbing earthquake in my mind, but the world outside was unaffected by it. Night had turned day, the stars were black, and the darkness between them had become whiter than the sun. What madness was that?

It turned to the priest for the first time, now. It seemed that the monster had recognized a threat previously unaccounted for.

I could only stare dumbfounded by the state of the world as the hulking brute ran towards the priest. And then...


The mace of the giant's skull shattered in a blinding light, and in the suddenness of that blast the world was colored again. From within its former shell, various orbs of green essence flowed freely. They floated in streams of hues that painted the street with their glow. The orbs moved ferociously in whirlwinds that flew into the undead as it ran, penetrating its putrid flesh, forming holes that burned its very soul.

The revenant writhed anguishly as the many streams of green light poured into it, but its agony was not put to an end until it ignited in a green flame that consumed the unlife out of its core, and its body slowly disintegrated into ash.

Now having enacted revenge over their apparent imprisonment, these beings of light flew out into the distance, no longer to be seen by us.

Silence reigned again.

I breathed a sigh of relief, though still shaken about the transpired events, and let myself lie down.

Only three us of survived that encounter, though I am not sure I or the lieutenant will ever be able to fight again. Many lives were sacrificed to stop that creature, and many died saving me. Given the power of that monster, however, it is sadly true to say that the cost was worth it.

And I am afflicted by the loss of my fellow soldiers, yes... but I also feel blessed, blessed for having been touched by the influence of a true god. Even while I was passed out, I could still feel it in my dreams.

I will never doubt the power of the crimson cult again.
Very nice!! A few things stuck out to me. Why are cicadas making noise at night? They are diurnal, and it's really rare for them to be active at night. You could possibly twist it in a way that the moonlight is so bright it confuses their senses, but otherwise mentioning them doesn't really serve a purpose.

Also the character using the word "ain't" made me do a double-take. But overall I enjoyed reading :)
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Some cicadas are nocturnal, especially in tropical environments like Brazil, which is where I took inspiration from. :p

These abbreviations are more contemporary, yes, and I have pointed that out in other threads, but it also makes it approachable. Writers should focus on striking a good balance, and I believe the story will be better by removing it, so thanks for pointing it out. I will make a change to it.

I'm glad you liked it. :)
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Some cicadas are nocturnal, especially in tropical environments like Brazil, which is where I took inspiration from. :p

These abbreviations are more contemporary, yes, and I have pointed that out in other threads, but it also makes it approachable. Writers should focus on striking a good balance, and I believe the story will be better by removing it, so thanks for pointing it out. I will make a change to it.

I'm glad you liked it. :)
Oh I had no idea there were nocturnal cicadas, TMYT! It would make sense for them to be in Malorum too... ;)