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Series: Stranger Aeons
Name: Ways of Death
Owner: SolZen321
Zombiejiger
Previous Episode: Prologue
Next Episode: Chaos Theory

Premise Edit

A Death Knight versus the Angel of Death, a clash of necromantic powers between masters of the grave.

CharactersEdit

  • Z: The Angeloid of Death
  • Elrik the Death Dealer: A Death Knight

The Battle Edit

The warrior wandered upon his dead stead. He wore dark armor, and his eyes were crimson coals burning in the dark. His face was hidden behind a horned dark purple helmet, his skin on his bare muscular arms was a strange grey, and his armor sported the face of the anguished and brazen skulls. His cape was black and his weapons of arms, were the axe he bore in one hand, the ornate sword he had sheathed and the ornate shield on his back.

He walked through the dark forests beneath the moonlit night, weary of spirit and looking for somewhere to go. The was a time when he rode with a roar in his throat and passion in his chest. Now that time was gone.

So dour was his tone that he did not notice the mist upon the ground, nor the gravestone, among the trees, nor the fence he passed. It was until he found himself in a mist hugged graveyard, until the night sky, that he realized something was wrong. This place, beneath the moonlight, strangely enough did not give him a sense of comfort.

"Welcome..." said a whispering, yet audible voice. Out of the mist he arose, the dark, hooded angeloid holding two Kopesh with his arms crossed. "I have been expecting you death knight." The Knight smirked, a challenge, a battle. He had heard of creatures like this, but never one with so deathly an appearance.

"Ah, a heavenly being, I dare say I am blessed, blessed with a good fight, your head, your wings will make wonderful trophies!"

"Others made similar claims."

"I doubt you have faced any like me immortal."

"I have, good sir Elrik, I have faced many Death Knights, many warriors empowered by death, many liches, and many zombies, vampires and undead of all sorts. They no longer flout the call of the grave, and neither will you."

"Ha, you think of yourself to highly, you think you can bring death to the deathless?"

"Where do you think your companions have gone?" Elrik's tone turned from amusement to shock and revelation, to anger.

"Then I will avenge them!" He charged on his horse as Z stood still. Then without warning he moved like a wisp of ghostly fire giving off mist. He dove off to the side and came back, flipping over the back the horse, and burying his blades into its backside, to toss steed and rider into the gravestones, shattering them.

Elrik got up but his horse struggled to move. He eyed it and turned back to Z, who was gone. The sudden silence made his turn back around as he no longer heard the scratch of hooves on rocks. Z pulled his blade down out of the dead creature's neck and it was 'dead'. It was no longer 'undead', it was just a corpse, animated by no will, nor force, just cold and lifeless as it should be. Z said nothing, just crossed his arms again.

"You will pay for that!" said Elrik.

"So many have said. Come." Elrik roared and slammed the blunt top of his axe into the ground, radiating a black energy that shined out and saturated the ground between him and Z. Reaper did nothing but watch, as skeletal arms shot out of the ground, one which grabbed him, only to be cut apart. Skeletons arms with armor and weapons as dark their bones, rose up out of the ground. A red light glowed in their skull and in their ribcages the energy that animated them. "You throw the dead at me? Me...? Who sit upon a throne of corpses?"

"I fear not death, reaper! Slay him!" Z moved as a whisp, moving nimbly like a humming bird before suddenly returned to full form to slash a skeleton. He did this over and over again, and with each blow the light of magic that animated them was gone and they fell on the ground as ashes, bones, armor and weapons all of them.

Elrik swung at him, and Z caught the blade in the bends his own before redirecting it above his head behind him, before counter swinging at Elrik, who leaned back, but was left open to Z's back kick to his gut, which sent him flying through gravestones and into a crypt smashing it open and the coffin inside. Elrik was more than certain now, that if he were still, alive, or as he put it 'mundane' he would be dead. The sound of his internal necromancy putting his bones back in place, the sound of the cracking and popping told him how many times a mortal man would've died over and over from that kick.

It took a moment for him to get up and he saw the occupant of the coffin, a skeleton in strangely well preserved purple robes and a golden girdle, with a silver crown encrusted with rubies. He turned his attention to Z who was now in the air, with his wings spread wide, and arms crossed.

From his wings fell mist, and within it orbs of light, whisps that swam through the mist, pulling it with them as they spread across the graveyard, going down into the ground and into the crypts. One found its way into the crypt Elrik resided in.

Seconds later there was an explosion that sent him flying and skidding across the ground. He got up and looked back to see that the corpse now stood up, with a greenish blue glow and ribbons of energy animating it and a staff in its hand, a wizard's staff. All around the graveyard more rose, more deceased nobles, warriors, wizards, and maybe the odd cleric, some in fine robes, others in ornate armor, there was one in plate armor with an Egyptian style to it, armed with a sword, whose blade had electricity arcing up and down it length.

"You slaughtered us, for our necromancy, yet here you are wielding it with such vigor!"

"What was shared was not meant for your kind, mortal, and all you have done with it is bring devastation to your world. I defend the balance, and it calls for your head."

"Are you not going to try and 'make me see reason'?"

"I would rather not waste my time."

"Then we are in agreement, have at thee!" said Elrik as he charged the numerous skeletons with axe held tight in both hands. There was a sense of joy in this battle as Z disappeared down in the mist. One skeleton pointed their staff at him, and Elrik found himself cast backwards into more gravestones. Afterwards, several skeletons in armor and bladed weapons jumped after him, only to be swatted away and scattered by the swing of his axe.

Elrik got up and roared, casting out a beastly carrion call that made the skeletons quiver in their bones.

Battle Part 2 Edit

"You seem lively for a dead thing..." said Z's voice. It came from all around, from every collection of bones that waked.

"Hah, tricks...?" shouted Elrik "But for once I think I like them, finally a battle worthy of me...!"

"If battle, if struggle, if the testing of your mettle was paramount to you warrior, then why did you change...?"

"What...?" said Elrik, a quiver was in his voice, of nervousness. He gritted his teeth and reclaimed the fire in his heart as he stood up. "I was a knight to a lord, and I followed him, even onto death!"

"Yes, the blood king, I heard of him. A friend of mine will soon deal with the likes of him."

"Hah, he is strong, you cheap trick conjurer will not avail you against him!"

"You would be surprised, but if he is so strong, would the battle you seek not be there...?" Elrik charged, his blade glowing black to fight back the bolts and pulses of magic thrown his way. He swung his axe into a spell caster.

"What knight..." he swung again taking down an armored skeleton "what true proper knight, turns his blade against his lord and king? I may be clad in black, but do not mistake me for a black knight!" He moved for a skeleton with a lopsided crown upon his head, looking down as if unaware he had risen. Elrik charged and swung, and caught off-guard. The skeleton was suddenly very alert, and the swing of his sword, deflected Elrik's axe into ground before another short swing forced him off from his blade, less he loose his hands. The kingly skeleton put his blade between the elbow of the axe and swung up, casting it into the air.

It came down and out of the mist came Z's hand to grab it by the handle. The rest of him rose out of the mist and he examined the weapon. As he held it, as his fingers touched it, Elrik heard a faint, but sharp squeaking noise, that became a screech, the weapon was screaming in pain.

"Eldritch..." was all Z said before he grabbed it with both hands and then twisted and snapped it. There was a pulse of black energy that knocked back everyone around Z, or made them stumble. The darkness came with a deafening scream of silence before the noises of the night, the crickets, and the gushing wind, came back with full force, like a resurgent foe.

Elrik fell to his knees, he felt that in his bones, every bone, each of them felt like they had cracked. It was a searing, almost unbearable pain, that hit him all at once. Now it became clear to him, how it was he slaughtered the other Death Knights, his claim no longer seem far-fetched. A Death Knight was undead, but they were not the mindless zombies and skeletons their magic called up, they were bound body and soul to the necromantic energies within their cursed weapons. Fortunately Elrik had two, an axe and a sword, both providing him with undeath to keep his soul bound to his dead flesh and his cadaver aware and mobile.

"You will pay for that!" shouted Elrik "I will shatter your bones and drink you blood from your skull!"

"My bones...?" Z replied as if confused "My bones are fashioned from the weight of time, my blood is the clarion call, my flesh is decay cast in the shape of mist and my heart is a well of darkness."

"You think that scares me?" Elrik drew his sword, a black blade with runes with an eerie glow and a black aura around it.

"You body is flesh, sinew and bone, your blood is the magic of your weapons and your heart is a mortal heart kept alive by black heresy. This is no contest." Elrik roared and lunged forward, jumping into the air to swing, while Z stayed still in place. The kingly skeleton came from the side, spinning and using the momentum to deliver a powerful strike to Elrik. Though he blocked with his own sword, Elrik was sent skidding onto the ground by a clang like thunder.

Elrik got up and cut down the two skeletons that gathered upon him, common soldiers from the look of it. He looked to the dead king, who stood before Z. Z crossed his arms and began to sink back into the ground.

"Coward, face me!"

"Child, you prayed for a worthy foe, an epic battle, not an impossible task."

"You think I'm afraid of death?!" Elrik blocked a shockwave from a mage, before running at them, only for them to disappear into the mist. He looked around, all the others were fading away collapsing into the mist and were just gone.

"No, I think you're afraid of how you go. You wish to go with a roar in your throat and weapon in hand, but now you're this immortal, unnatural thing. You cannot have you glorious end. Is that not why you left your lord...?" Elrik growled, until he saw that the dead king was still around. The mist gathered around his old bones and take a form like flesh. The skeleton now looked like an older man, with a mane of head and facial hair. His skin was a deathly grey with a green ectoplasmic shine to it as he stood up straight, looking like a hero out of an old tale. "Rejoice and count your blessings, I give you one last chance to fall in glorious combat."

"Hah!" Elrik shouted with pompous amusement "So be it, have at thee!" Elrik leapt at the dead king, and swung down at him. The king raised his sword and blocked with it angling down to the side, diverting his blow away from him and into the ground. He immediately got up and swung, only for is sword to run into his shield. Elrik pushed, but the outward swing of the king's blade sent him stumbling to the side, and made him open to a slash across the back. It stung, it was a sharp pain that would've made lesser men, mortal men, seize up in pain. He swung back only for his blade to be deflected by the shield, and he was left open to a kick to the back that sent him flying forward, face first into the mist and the dirt.

Elrik got up, confounded, confused, he could not understand how this had been happening. He got up and growled, but the old king simply responded by going into a fighting stance. He feinted, but the old king did not, he was clearly reading his movements, his body language, this dead king was relaxed. Elrik pondered, was it because he was already dead, that the fear of death was gone, or was there something more, something, he did not understand. Regardless, this old man did not fight like anyone he met before, be they knight, or peasant. There was no roar, no shout of valor and courage, there was just cold precision, surgical blows, diffusing and leaving impotent his fire and combat prowess. "What's wrong old man, have you no spirit?" Elirk laughed at his mock, but the dead king did not respond he just stared. "Well, are you a ghost, or just an illusion, a cheap trick, that creatures fights through, well?!" Elrik shouted and the old king's face came alive with emotion drive. It was like a flash, the old man raised his sword, and dashed forward, thrusting his sword forward while Elrik moved to make a counter.

Elrik swung his blade, and it met upon the shield of the old king, while the old king's blade tip, had found its target in Elrik's shoulder, with the shoulder blade and the ball met. He turned the stab into a swing, and there was a spray of black red ichor, that landed on his shield, as Elrik howled out in pain as his left arm hung on to his body by simply a bit of flesh and some skin.

Elrik stumbled backwards, falling to his knees and looking at his ruined arm. His shoulder boiled with hellish pain from the wound he just received.

"How, how can I loose like this, against a mute old fool, who."

"With Sol I must agree..." said Z's voice "Brute force is often useless against true skill." Elrik roared, and lunged at the dead king, who moved to counter him. Elrik rammed him with his shoulder, only to be stabbed through the back of the neck and through his throat. In response, he jammed his into the side of his opponent, who grimaced in pain.

Elrik pulled out his sword, and the main fell to the ground lifeless. The illusion of his life scattered as mist, which came back a tide and washed over him, causing the skeleton and its garments to disappear. In his place arose Z, wings of mist unfurling to reveal himself.

"Now, now you show up coward, now you appear to cut me down!" Elrik growled. He was broken, wounded, and that king's blade left a burning sensation that confounded the dark powers of his weapon, as they attempted to repair him. Z's head tilted to the side, as if confused, but truly he was simply amused. "Well, end it then, end it coward, but I know will fight you inch and foot for my life!"

"You are undead, you have not had a life for many years."

"I am a Knight of King Magnus, out searching for his enemies, his-"

"His 'enemies' are the poor peasants whose blood you drain to keep him and his queen alive. You have not fought warriors for a long time, you have raided and pillaged like a common bandit, protected by the dark powers that animate you, you have not been a 'knight', a 'true and proper' knight, for a long time now." Elrik growled.

"I am a man of honor!"

"You were, and for that reason did I try to give you an honorable end. Were it a truly fair contest, were you both alive, the old king would have slain you, you know this, you know that as long as you are what you are, you can never fight honorably again."

"There is always you..."

"No contest." Elrik roared and charged forward, his left arm dangling from his side. Z did nothing, but conjured his blades as Elrik came in for the kill. The Death Knight plunged his sword into Z's chest, and for a few seconds, was happy, he was glad in his seeming victory, that was until he felt it. His blade was eroding, melting, rusting away inside this being's body and the same sensation he felt in his own bones. He was about to draw it out, when Z's blade was plunged into the side of his body, going under the ribcage and into organs in his chest, long dead and useless, but now burning with with unbearable pain that echoed through out his body, leaving him paralyzed. Z hoisted him up via this blade and brought him to face level as the angeloid stood on the ground. "No, contest..."

Elrik now realized that Z dwarfed him in high, now that he was on his feet, and he understood now. With how easily Z destroyed his black weapon, how easily he resisted their touch, how his very flesh was eroding them, it was now wonder he cut down all the other Death Knights without his knowledge.

Z hung his other blade from his waist, grabbed Elrik's and with his other arm and blade, chucked him away, sending him skidding across the ground and through gravestones. Dazzed, stunned, Elrik was helpless to watch Z remove the blade, as if all but the hand that held it, was ghostly. Under the bright silver moonlight, he could see it, the blade the edges, melted away, as if they were boiling away. Z tossed it into the air, and slammed his two blade together. They immediately turned into a scyth, with a blade sharing the same C shape as its components.

Elrik's blade came down and Z swung through it, shattering it into a black burst of energy. Immediately Elrik screamed in pain, as his flesh began to bubble and boil, and rot as it turned back. Chunks of his body burst open into black bile that quickly evaporated with a sickening smell. Z opened is wing, and a misty presence appeared from Elrik's body. It was pulled and yanked by the presence of Z's open wing, condensing into a humanoid form that was crawling and trying in vain not to be taken, but in the end it disappeared into Z's ethereal plumage. Elrik's body was now just a blackened skeleton cracking and coming undone and would soon be nothing but ash and rusty pieces of armor.

Z turned and left, taking with him the mist, the gravestones, pristine and broken, the cypts, everything, leaving behind a dense dark forest were Elirk's remains would lurk.

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