This is a continuation of the Mortis Custos Part 23 by @lex-zaiya.
To start at the beginning of the story please see the links provided at the end of this post!
Viewer discretion is advised due to gory violence! Undead! Swords! Death! Beware!
Adiran looked over his shoulder suddenly, his eyes narrowed. "I forgot about that part. You are not going to like it and Magna will like it even less."
Mortis simply regarded him impassively.
Adiran felt very judged. "I was stupid in the beginning. I found out later that there are... Alternatives."
Mortis was silent again for a while. "You are right."
"I do not like what you are implying." The knight said. "And yet I slay things with my sword and unmake all manner of things. I am not blameless either."
"The ghouls are gone!" Derric yelled from the back of Magna's horse.
"Yes. They cannot follow us here." Adiran called back. "Mellmor said he would take them on patrol and make sure we are not followed."
Derric looked a bit sad at this but did not object any further.
"We need to make camp for the rest of the night." Adiran said. "We need daylight to handle the swamps, plus our Kingdom of the Night friends are no longer here to run escort."
"Agreed." Mortis said and swung down from his horse.
Magna and Derric also dismounted and the little wild boy took a second or two to run around a bit, stretching his legs. He did so on all fours and then on his legs only. It was as though he could not quite decide what exatly he wanted to do.
Magna glumly set up her camp duties and had a stew going over a camp fire not long afterwards. Adiran had set up the tents. The mage had looked left and right at the rest of the party and the surrounding grove at the edge of the swamps.
With a flick of his fingers, he muttered something under his breath and the tents began setting themselves up before him.
Meanwhile Mortis tended to the horses. He would not eat with them and he would not set up a bedroll. The knight had not slept with them last knight but Magna had been too stunned to take note of it.
"Magna." A voice said.
"Yes?" She replied and looked around at Adiran.
"What?" The mage said, surprised.
"You called me." She explained.
"I did not. Must be something in the air or something."
"Right." She said and sighed. She was fairly sure that it had been her uncle that had spoken to her. She ate her food silently while Derric ate his portion as though it might run away from him. The Mage took his time and began talking to Mortis about all sorts of things.
She did not really listen to what they were talking about. She just could not stop thinking about her dreams as well as the wave of tiredness that washed over her.
She excused herself and climbed into her bedroll in the tent. Soon enough Derric joined her and cuddles up behind the small of her back. Magna could not even protest or say anything. It was kind of like having a puppy.
She closed her eyes and drifted to sleep.
She was walking through the halls of the Castle once again.
Everything looked alright, there was none of the bloodstains and signs of horror in the corridors when she had last been at home. It was actually only two days past but to her it felt like weeks had passed.
It seemed to be late afternoon, the sun shiningly warmly though the windows. Then suddenly it was night time.
"Magna!" She heard a pleading voice calling.
She began walking in the direction the voice had come from.
There was a strange feeling in the air. It was not a hum, it was not constant. It was more like a shiver. As she walked towards the voice, her legs felt almost numb and cold. She did not recognize the corridor that she was in. Things were slightly different.
Some of the windows and floors lacked the scuffmarks of age, as though they were brand new. Yet there were doors and tapestries that she remembered full of color that hung rotten and threadbare against the walls. Some things were the same, some things were different. There were no people, it was eerie quiet.
"Magna! Help me!" The voice cried. All of a sudden, the voice was far more familiar. It was as though something had punched her in the gut. "Hurry! I do not have much time!"
She began running towards the voice, things looked more recognizable in this direction. "Adrian!" She yelled.
She mustered up all her strength to run. Something was following her, creeping along the walls, like oily blackness it slid and floated. She instinctively drew her sword... with her left hand. A light shone from the sword and the oily darkness shrunk back from the light. It was almost ablaze with power and purity.
She could run faster now. She had to get to Adrian. She...
Magna bolted up straight in her bedroll so quickly, she was nearly all the way on her feet before she even knew where she was. She continued forward with the momentum and it carried her to a standing position in the middle of camp.
Beside her rolled a feral ball of snarling growls till Derric stopped, sniffing and listening in the darkness.
"You are... crazy." He grumbled and slunk off to bed without a further word.
She stood there in the darkness for a minute, also just taking in the sights and sounds of the night around her. The voice was gone, the feeling in the darkness was gone. The sword was also gone. It had felt so real, she had touched it, it had been in her hand.
"Impressive." A voice said suddenly.
She gave out a stifled yell and jumped away from the voice and her back slammed into something hard. She turned around and saw a figure holding a sword in it's hand, the silhouette was threatening in the darkness. She smelt... rot... This thing was not... living... it would eat... it would rend flesh...
Another scent, like spice wafted past her nose and a orange light bloomed in the center of the camp.
"Magna, are you alright?" Adiran asked behind her.
She whipped her head between the mage and the other figure, who was not illuminated. It was just Mortis.
"I am... OK." She said finally.
"It's quite impressive how quickly you can get up and rush out. If we are ever under attack at night, that will be helpful." Adiran said and then chuckled.
"Indeed. Yet for now you must reserve your strength." Mortis added somberly. He did not seem like the kind of person who would be tearing and biting someone anymore. She shivered, must be all the memories of the undead coming back to her.
"Right." She said and headed back to her tent.
They were up again a few hours later just as the sun was coming up over the horizon.
Adiran nodded. "Everyone stay behind me. There are sinkholes in these swamps but the Nightmare can see through them so we have to trust her to find a way."
Your turn @lex-zaiya!
Here is an explanation of Chain Stories and the current Chainstory Library
Mortis Custos Parts:
|by @lex-zaiya||by @zakludick|
|Part 1||Part 2|
|Part 3||Part 4|
|Part 5||Part 6|
|Part 7||Part 8|
|Part 9||Part 10|
|Part 11||Part 12|
|Part 13||Part 14|
|Part 15||Part 16|
|Part 17||Part 18|
|Part 19||Part 20|
|Part 21||Part 22|
|Part 23||You are here!|
The Reader List
If you would like to be tagged in every episode of Mortis Custos, leave us a comment and get added in, miss nothing!
@weone, @merenludick, @clairemobey, @shopnilhasan, @therneau, @blitzzzz, @pravesho, @joetunex, @captainquack22, @irisworld, @braaiboy, @sketchygamerguy, @fuego-oscuro, @felt.buzz, @dibblers.dabs, @beeber, @brittandjosie, @tamacvet, @thinkrdotexe, @alonicus, @joetunex, @stdd, @uop, @luizeba, @cryptoniusrex, @agreste, @itzchemaya