Shield of Sherpos Chapter 11 Prose in Zodiak | World Anvil
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Shield of Sherpos Chapter 11


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The sun was not even risen, the sky only had the light purple glow. The promise of the first light just a couple of minutes away. Not that Audery cared about that, today was the day that she would leave the city behind for her first job. Mister Albury was a very patient man, and he had already met Emrys, to her regret. She really wanted to leave him behind, just this once. But he would have none of it, and that probably meant that this attempt to get out of the manor early would be a waste of time. But she needed to try it. She placed her short sword in its scabbard on her hip and the bow with quiver on her back. And once again looked around, she had taken up Terence's offer and had moved from the Adventure's guild headquarters to the Mildenhall Manor. And her room was almost to her liking, she had the dark blue bedding she had asked for. The painting of her, made by Mister Albury, was hanging above the fire place. There were two giant vases, probably from the time Lady Mildenhall was still alive, in two opposite corners of the room. The flowers, she had failed to identify which ones, filled the room with a pleasant smell. Mister Kelner had promised her that when she was away, that he would take care of the carpet and curtains. But she had to see what he was able to do, it was already a huge improvement of the empty shell it once was. She opened slowly the door and walked on her toes through the hallway. She knew that her room was in a separate wing, but still. Emrys was so burned on joining her, that she wouldn't leave anything to chance. Of course, that was, until she saw him. Leaning against the front door, arms folded, one eyebrow cocked. He was handsome, only not as handsome as his older brother.   "Where do, you think, you were going?" he asked. Her shoulders sank, her head dipped too and a groan of frustration left her lips. "Do you mean, that you were seriously believing that this form of deception would work? I was not born yesterday, and even if I was. Do you really think that I would be able to catch a wink? This is my first paying job, that is not funded by my brother." That was part of the reason she wanted to leave him behind. He was skilled with the sword, she was not able to deny that. But this would be his first time, and bringing rookies like him along would invite risks. Risks she didn't want to face, when the client was coming with them. But she knew that talking to him would be of no use. He was burned on coming with her, and she needed to thigh him down to prevent that from happening. And maybe nock him out when she was add it. Breaking his trust, that from his brother, and maybe burn some other ships in the process. Maybe taking him along, was the lesser of two evils. She hated that this the case, she hated the fact that she needed to trust him not to panic when facing a servant of Dakara, and most likely some undead. Only the question of which type of undead, was open for debate.   "There is no way, in Huibin, that I can change your mind, is there?" she already knew the answer to that question, but it didn't hurt to ask it. He slowly shook his head, the response she expected. Another groan of frustration left her lips. "I needed to raise the price, of babysitting you before your brother went to bed." Emrys opened his mouth to protest, she knew that he didn't like that she saw this as babysitting, but she was not able to use another term for it. "Fine," she groaned. "But do not say that I didn't warn you."   "I would never say that," Emrys said. "Not out loud at least," which was fair in her mind. She went over to him, pushed him out of the way. Which went rather easy, a bit too easy. But she didn't want to comment about it.   *****   Mister Albury was already waiting for them, and their trip through the forest went without too much difficulty. According to the painter, the servant of Dakara was spotted near the Londosa trail, which in Audery's case was just a strange name. But to Emrys it was a well known location, so he had made himself useful and pointed them in the right direction. Maybe taken him with them was not such a bad idea after all, not that she would tell him this piece of information. He didn't need to know this, otherwise he would rub it in her face. Which would annoy her more and more. The only thing that annoyed her at this point was that Emrys's warning about camping inside the Faded forest rung truth. But also here he had made himself use full, by collecting fire wood and berries, while she hunted for meat. Something she didn't except him to do on his own, she had expected to tell him to do such things. He even knows how to make the fire, what a pleasant surprise. And that was not with a health dose of sarcasm.   "I will take the first watch," he said and stood up, grabbed his great sword.   "Do not look at the fire, from time to time." She said, and he motioned towards her that he would and sighed deeply. She looked towards him, and then spotted someone hiding inside the thicket. Audery stood up and walked to where Emrys was standing. "Who do you think that is? Friend or foe?"   "Friend," Emrys sighed, at first she was confused. Why in Huibin's name would he react like this, if this was a friend, what was the harm. But then she spotted the friend. And it was Terence.   "What the Huibin!" She yelled, "Terence, what are you doing here!" Terence came out of hiding, his head dipped in the deepest low. Apparently not happy that he was being caught, by her.   "He is making sure, that we are safe." Emrys replied for him. "Something he promised me he wouldn't do." She looked at Emrys, who was visibly angry, and so was she. She didn't need a babysitter.   "Terence, I will say this only once, so listen carefully. Leave," she said and pointed towards the direction they came from. "I already have one Mildenhall brother to worry about," Emrys wanted to interject, but she raised her hand to stop him. "I do not want to worry about another one of you. Go back home, and we talk when I come back." Terence wanted to say something, but she pointed once again into the same direction. How was he thinking that this was up for debate? She had made herself clear, and he had promised to respect that. He lowered his head once again, turned and walked away. It didn't take her long to hear the hooves of a horse galloping away. She sat down at the fire, burning with rage. How could he do this to her?   "He was just being worried," Emrys said, and he sat down next to her. She didn't tell him that he should keep watch, she was too angry and didn't trust her words. "He was engaged five years ago, he was not in love with her. But he respected her," she was surprised.   "Where is the lady now?" She asked. Terence was not the type of guy that eats from both plates. At least, she hoped that he was not.   "She got killed by goblin's. She was on her way back to Spheros, from the capital when it happened. He only recently got over her death, to be fair to say. You are helping him to get over it. Only something in him changed after it happened, he became paranoid that something would happen to another person close to him. And I didn't help matters, when I decided to become an Adventure. So he controlled my jobs and shadowed me while I was doing them. Helping me when I needed him, and that was a lot. But a month ago, I wanted to prove him and myself that I could do something on my own, and that is how you came into the picture." Emrys sighed once again. "I am telling you this, so that you understand what drove him to do this. Not that it is something you should forgive him for," she looked at him.   "What do you mean," she already knew the answer when she asked it. Terence was not following Emrys, he was following her. "But I am not that girl, what was her name?"   "Sophia, Sophia Frid. You have met her mother, Lady Frid. She was not in love with my brother. She in fact hated the colour blue, if you want to believe it. Sophia hated everything about Spheros, she hated the fact that my brother loved the city more than her. I overheard their last conversation, and it will hunt me to this day." He sighed. "It is time for that first watch, I was talking about." He once again got up and took his position. Audery looked at his back and shook his head. Terence didn't love the girl, but he was willing to marry her, no questions asked. This all thighs back into what Russel had told her a couple of days ago. Love was rare, for people like Terence and her. And that engagement was maybe not that different, as hers with the old Lord Posner. She would only know for sure when she asked Terence, and she would ask him as soon as they were back in Spheros. And she would make it clear to him that she was not Sophia. She looked into the eyes of the painter, who slowly nodded.   "It might be best if you get some shut-eye," he said. "Tomorrow will be an eventful day. Of that, I am sure." She knew that he was right, and she lay down. Her dreams took her to Terence, who was still riding through the forest on his way back to Spheros.   ********   There were no surprises whatsoever when Audery woke up, except from the fact that the painter was standing watch. She had asked Emrys why this was, and he simply replied that the painter was insisting on it.   "He said that we needed all the rest. A servant of Dakara wouldn't be a simple walk in the park, or something like that." She knew that the painter was right about that. A servant of Dakara was on his or her own, not dangerous. But the same couldn't be said over the company they kept and the god they serve. It was pretty common knowledge that the God of the undead, was not a very nice god to deal with. In some legends, it is even said that Dakara tricked Huibin into an agreement that allowed the servants to use the citizens of Huibin. That it was Dakara, not Huibin, that put the conciseness of using such magic in place. And by the time the God of the dead knew what was going on, it was already too late. This all of course was settled in legends, and was not stated by one of the Gods themselves. But none of them had come to correct it, so either they didn't care or it was the truth. They worked together to break up the camp and moved on. The forest was silent, deadly silent. There were no animals, big or small, roaming around. No birds that sung their songs in the trees, not even the buzzing sound of the insects. She had almost the urge to say something, anything to break the silence. Something she suspected was on anybodies mind. Slowly, she opened her mouth, but mister Albury placed his finger before his and pointed them with his free one towards a clearing. At first glance, she would have said that this looked like a normal clearing. Just a place that had no trees or other type of plants. But then she saw it, or rather him. The man, if someone can call him that, was wearing a dark red robe. There were black and red clouds circling around him. O fuck, that was what she wanted to say. The servant of Dakara was about to transform into something, something that was more dangerous than anything she has ever faced.    "Emrys, hold your ground. We are going to see something horrible,"she whispered. She didn't want to draw attention towards them. Mister Albury slowly moved towards the shrouds, where he could hide and work his magic. Emrys nodded slowly and moved towards the other side of the clearing. She also moved closer and saw that there was something not right with this clearing. It was a perfect circle, something that those not happen naturally. This servant has worked his magic to even shape the forest to his will. That might also be the reason to why there were no animals around. The smoke slowly covered the man's body, he started to scream. It was a scream that would hunt her for a very long time, a scream out of pure agony. The shape inside the could was started to change, and she was glad that her view was obscured. Otherwise, she would nightmares about this, even when a decade has passed. The smoke cleared, as if a none existing breath blow it away. Another thing that was not natural, there was not even a gust of wind. But that was not something she needed to be worried about. That was left of the servant of Dakara, was a completely different story. It was a large head, with tentacles instead of a body. The eyes were like small buttons, his mouth was however not that small and filled with razor sharp teeth. She was able to hear it hiss, their main form of communication.   "What in Huibin's name is that?" she was able to hear Emrys, so he was not far away as she originally thought. Or the clearing was not as big.   "That Emrys is a Ghast, be careful the first two tentacles, those contain poison." She replied, she didn't hear a reply, but that was not needed. She had to believe that he got the message, she slowly stepped out of the thicket and aimed her bow towards the creature. Mister Albury wanted to have them stall this fight as long as possible. But one thing was clear, this Ghast was not allow seeing another day. She stepped forward, aimed her bow and let her arrow fly. It hit its mark and got stuck inside the fleshy part of the head. A not so pleasant smell, started to penetrate her noise. It was almost made her gag. Emrys leapt out of his hiding spot and swung both his swords towards the creature. Black, malodour blood was pouring out of the cuts. It was a nice attack, and it would have being perfect if he had jumped out of the way of those first two tentacles. It stuck his left arm, and it started to hang besides his body. Not even able to let go of his sword. Audery chock a new arrow and let it fly, it hit his mark. Pulling the attention from Emrys, only for Emrys to strike again and slicing it half. Two humps of flesh fall upon the ground. Audery almost could hear Mister Albury curse, it hadn't last long enough for him to paint. She was about to say something to Emrys about that, he had turned this job into a failure. The very thing she was afraid of, he would do, but she needed to give him credit where it was due. He ended the creature quickly and without taking too much damage. She wanted to say all of this, but then she heard something. And from the corner of her eyes she saw some movement. Emrys also spotted the thread.   "Oh, look how lovely. A parting gift from the servant of Dakara." Emrys said, his voice dripping with sarcasm. The first ghoul, that was the reanimated corps of a young woman, ran towards Audery. Her hands with long nails stretched out. But Audery stepped to the side, making it ran past her. Audery dropped her bow and grabbed her sword. Swinging it towards the female ghoul, the creature started to curse, loudly. Emrys in the meantime went over to the other ghoul, who was a male dressed in an armour of Spheros's guard. With his one sword arm, he was able to cut off one of the arms. The male ghoul wanted to strike, only with the arm that was cut off. The female ghoul turned, and her claws sunk into Audery's flesh. Ghouls are known to have the same kind of poison as Ghast's, but she was not feeling its effects. Audery chopped off the woman's head, but the corpse kept on coming. Emrys did the same thing to the dead guard, the head started to curse. Only his ghoul tried to attack, but the nails are not able to scratch the service of his armour.   "Alright, I have everything I need!" Mister Albury screamed from his hiding spot. Audery shared a brief glance with Emrys, and the both of them pierced through both ghouls hearts. He had more trouble than she had, because of the ghouls armour. Sweat streamed off her brow and back.   "Let's burn the bodies, all three of them, so that no other servant of Dakara can use them for their sick gain." She said, Emrys nodded and once again he was the one that gathered wood while she stood guard. Slowly the forest started to come a live, the wind started to blow, the soft buzzing sound of insects carried on the wind. Birds were singing their song, and animals could be heard in the thicket. As if nature noticed that the thing that made it unnatural was gone, and this place was safe once more.

This will be the last chapter posted like this, do you want to read the rest of the story, check the link down here.

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Cover image: by KELLEPICS


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