Chapter 3: Birthday?
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---D-Day+59, Daroine 3rd---

County of Spaov Blana


Fangs snap closed as they pass his face.

An upward thrust spear stabs deep into the warg's throat as it leaps by

The giant airborne wolf's own momentum rips the spear back out.  Taking much of its throat with it.

A grin appears on a vaguely human face.

~Stupid dog.  I have no throat for you to tear.~


A deep guttural battlecry next to him, interrupted.  Turned into a gurgling death.

~Gyberg, pay attention!~

The ex-paladin frowns and sighs as he slashes to the side.  Cutting down another orc.  Emelina is pissed.  Been in a foul mood ever since 'she' started showing up.

Emelina's armor gets all sweaty, impressive for someone who can't sweat anymore, whenever she is near the One.  Terribly jealous of Lady Edelys and the oracles Margo and Ferra. 

She's been quite the bitch since the competition for the sword girl slot went up by one.  And still hasn't found a breather good enough, in her opinion, to present to the One.


Her large blade of ink and shadow chops down.  Splitting the primitive helm of an orc.  With force so great that it also splits the skull in it, and does not stop until reaching the belly.

Blood and bits of flesh, organs, and brain explode upward.

Yeah, not a happy woman.

A swath of orcs to Gyberg's right collapse covered in sores and puss from a priest's dark curse.

A shadow knight in front of him succumbs to the blows of dozens of orcs.  Gyberg knows they are in trouble. 

Days ago, thousands of orcs appeared in the frontier between Granya, Thurl, and Tourin.  Coming out of the barbarian lands to the northeast.  But it doesn't take a professor to figure out who is behind this.


They may be getting ready to invade Tourin again.  If they are?  Makes sense to send a horde of orcs, gobs, ogres and trolls, along the kingdom's flank.  Trying to thin out the frontline with a flanking threat.

But the inquisitor says the demons are still fighting each other.  Could this just be a raid?  A migration?  Leave that to the brains to figure out.

As another knight falls, Gyberg reminds himself that 'wild' orcs should be no where near this well armed nor supported.

Gyberg and Emelina are leading a 'spoiler' as the One calls it.  Supposed to keep the orcs off balance and guessing.  The main force is still in route.  The shadow priests can't keep up with all the damage they are taking.

Reforming requires a lot of mana so that has to wait for the oracles or the One.

Two dozen living shadows started this skirmish and there are only a handful left.

Gyberg laughs to himself.  Yeah, 'dying' isn't fun even as an unholy undead abomination.  But compared to that first time?  Easier than guarding a guard.

When the main force arrives, it will be a few hundred undead against thousands of heavily armed orcs.  With goblins, trolls, and ogres mixed in?  Plus plenty of wargs and shamans?  Yeah, probably won't be the first time he dies today.

Sweeps his spear left to turn a half dozen goblins into a dozen parts of gobs.

Slide thru to protect Emelina's back from an overeager orc zerker.  The spearhead transmitting that familiar twitch down the shaft, when it severs the spine.

~Going to be a long day.~

Grumbles the shadow paladin as an ogre's club swings down from above.


?...  I'm not re-dead again?  Ah.  'She' is here.

Where the ogre stood is now a crater.  The air above filled with drops of blood and bits of flesh.  Before the remains even touch the ground, ogre smasher is running through the crush of orcs and gobs.  Slicing, stabbing, and chopping.

In each hand is a smoking dagger too long to be a dagger but too short to be a sword.  She's covered head to toe in black cloth.  Tied with ribbon here and there.  Black smoke seems to linger around her.

Lady Hitomi Chigusa, the Shadow Mistress.

Two days ago she appeared during the One's morning combat training.  And then again for the afternoon magic training.  Acting even clingier than the midget elf, Dean Frost.  Showed up the next day too.

For the speakers among the ranks?  Wariness.  The aquecian heroes spy is infamous for her skill with infiltration, manipulation, and assassination.  Can a dragon really shed its scales?

According to Emelina and Valaine's daughters?  The answer is a clear 'no.'  For everyone else?  The answer is, at best, 'maybe.'

And if she is an enemy?  Does kill the One?  Even Frazur is involved in the wards and traps setup to preserve the One.  In one form or another.  More a matter of preparing for the betrayal than wondering if there will be one.

Of course all the living around the One are suspect.  Especially the dark elf and that strange Beast religion she's spreading.  As a former Paladin of Metia?  Gyberg has plenty of memories left about how unpredictable fanatics can be.

The chaotic and desperate living cannot know the comfort and order of death.

With the breathing room provided by Lady Chigusa.  Emelina and Gyberg get the room to use their long weapons to the fullest.  Cutting down dozens more. 

But they are still outnumbered thousands to one.  And the press of bodies soon returns.  Pushing even the Shadow Mistress back.

Of course if she is here?  The One cannot be too far behind.

The sky dims as something dragon shaped blocks the sun causing many living to lookup in confusion.  What did the One call this?  Oh, yes, superhero landing.

Hehe...  The One's memory is not perfect, but what he remembers is very entertaining.

A hurtling black object comes diving downward.


An explosion of earth, lighting, and fire, several levels higher than Lady Chigusa's.  Goes off in the center of the horde.  Bits and pieces of hundreds of orcs, gobs, trolls, and ogres, reaches even Gyberg on the horde's edge.

The rest of the living shadow and spirit brigades arrive and instantly launch themselves into the horde.  A wave of shade and blade washing over a shore of flesh and steel.

Following the One's entrance, dozens more fall from the sky.  These simply crash into the ground.  But soon put themselves back together.  Hacking and stabbing at the enemy.  The skeletal legion's assault as started.

~That looks fun.~

*slam* *crunchcrunchcrunchcrunchcrunch*

The world's first shadow dragon throws itself at the earth.  But instead of making a crater?  It rolls across the masses of gobs and orcs.  Killing hundreds more.

"[Inferno of Death]"

Signals the arrival of the One's wives as a line of blue flame cast by Lady Ushinua stretches deep thru the host's flank.  Dozens of overpowered elemental and dark spells rip thru the thousands.  Brushing aside the shamans efforts to resist or fight back.

Gyberg could feel the ambient mana building.  Charging.

~Any time now.~


A wave of undeath ripples across the masses.  Those who have died, or are near death, are irresistibly compelled to embrace the gift of unlife and serve their new god.  Struggling, rising, and killing those they fought alongside just moments or minutes before.

The roar of the living.  The howl of the cursed.  Meet over and over.  But whereas the unliving fall and rise again?  Those clinging to breath who fall?  Remain fallen.  Until they too feel the gift's call.

"How nice of them to bring new recruits to me."

The rush of hundreds of memories, most of them disgusting, is unpleasant.  Can ignore them but I need to know where these guys came from.  No thanks.  Don't need to see all the women you've raped.  You've broken.  No, it really isn't a competition.

The odor trifecta of blood, piss, and shit, is in full effect.  That feeling of nostalgia again.

Start walking towards where the hardest fighting is happening.  That should be where all the memories tell me the chief is.  See many strings being pulled.  Weapons from one source.  Allies from another.  Supplies from still another.

But none showing where the orders came from.

Frankie would be proud.  Shit, Frankie might be to blame.  Over a dozen dwarf, elf, and human villages have been reduced to ruins.  Even a couple of forts.

Well Rottbow begged for help and since my guys don't need rest?  We were the ones who could react the fastest.  Could really do without the peanut gallery though.

Here he is.


Ahead I see the final bastion of orcs.  The rest of the battle is already mopping up.  Threaten me with just thousands?  Ha!  You're gonna need a bigger horde.  Much bigger.  Their chief.  That big guy.  He should have the memories I need.


Is he challenging me?  Ugh.  I'm too old for this shit.  Just need your soul, dumbass.  Bring him to me.

The line of heavily armored orcs, shamans, and the chief himself, are quickly overrun by their former comrades.  The biggest of the lot soon dragged before me by dozens of his former kin.

"[Shadow Rise]"


Give me your mind, asshole.


Well, this is new.

Know this is a memory but its unusually, clear.  This room is bigger than my Grand Hall.  Massive columns line the sides and huge banners with evil looking designs hang from them.  Oh, its like that room in the Lich anime.

Now that's a giant fucking throne.

On the ground next to me is the chief, kowtowing.  In front of us is a big chair with a small guy on it.  Correction.  The guy looks taller than me.  Just looks small on such a huge throne.

His armor looks like mine but red instead of black.  And curved where I have straight lines.  No helmet too and would swear he's an elf, if it wasn't for the horns.

Okay, so his armor really doesn't look like mine.

Interesting.  This is only partially a memory.  Its also a spell.  Can feel the mana.

"Remarkable, the reports are drastically underestimating you."  Yep, elfy is talking to me.

"So this is a trap?"

"Ha.  It should be but, no.  This won't begin to work against you.  I will try to make a better trap next time."  Elfy certainly is confident.  Hey.  Don't wink at me.

"You went thru all this trouble.  Might as well start your monologue and get it over with."

"Are you sure?  I went thru a great deal of trouble to make this sliver for you."  Elfy is getting on my nerves.


"Oh well then.  Ahem.  Salutations, Lich King Jon.  First.  I recommend you come up with a better name.  Lich King Jon?  Not intimidating enough.  I recommend something like Lich King Draxzal or maybe Lich King Tzaelkon.  Rolls off the tongue far better."  Ego much, Elfy?

"You know?  I've got a harem to fuck.  So if we could move this along?  Would really appreciate it."

"They are great are they not?  I love women competing for my attentions."  Really getting on my nerves.


"Fine.  But I would like to compare notes with you sometime.  Harem kings are a dying breed these days.  Ahem, once again.  I am the Demon King of Drasritor, Gazrakix.  And I bring you a gift.  This horde."

"Say what now?"

"Haha.  You must have felt how something was off.  A well armed force of thousands this far away from supply?  This isolated?  Too strong to be raiders.  Too weak to be an invasion.  But also not a migration."  Smug elfy is gonna be dead elfy.


"So you are the strong, silent, and brooding, type.  Well, of course most of the horde is fodder but there are hundreds worth keeping.  And you are going to need them.  The tourinese will start killing each other again.  Long before we demons get another chance too."

Of course elfy's heard of the brewing civil war.

"But its not my birthday."  Is it? 

How would I even calculate it?  Did this horde come with a gift receipt?  Just asking.  Not like I'm going to return it or anything.  And then use the cash to buy something that's not, you know, crap.

Elfy's eyes narrow.

"You really do not like following the script.  Do you."  A sigh.  "I am sending you this gift because I am not your enemy.  Both demons and undead oppose the mandate.  And this horde is not the only gift I bring."

"..."  Look at an imaginary watch on my wrist.

"Rude and crude?  Such talent you have."  Very dead elfy.  "You want to protect your son but don't know where to start.  The Fallen Labyrinth of Qrephine.  At the bottom of that dungeon is a clue to who your real enemy is."

"Ugh.  You could just tell me."

"Well I am not entirely sure myself.  The bottom of that dungeon is the best my sorcerers have come up with so far.  Oh, and if you want more gifts?  I happen to know a succubi or three who are very interested in joining your harem."

"..."  Yeah, like that's not a trap.

"Just putting it out there.  If you wait to long they will come too you.  Even man-eaters are shy, compared to succubi."


Possible yippee.  Haven't done it with a demon hottie yet so as long as I don't die?  Might give her a dip.

"Oh, seems this sliver's mana is about out.  Well, watch your back.  Especially around the ones who love you.  They can be the most treacherous of them a-al-all..."

"You are so much worse than we feared."


Oh, its knight chick.  Yeah, some insisted on tagging along so I had to get creative.  Sticking the dynamic duo on dark chargers or skeletal horses for hours at twenty miles per hour?  Not good for civies.

And 20mph because that's what my skellies marching speed tops out at.  Of course that beats the shit out of the ten to forty miles a day living armies manage.

Didn't put them on Frazur because I didn't want to.  And also needed space for my 'undeath from above' skellies experiment.  It succeeded, hooray science, but had to re-raise them and it fucked up a lot of their gear.

So, it also failed.  Boo science.

Solution?  The cadillac of undead transportion.  The skeletal carriage.  Why skeletal you ask?  Well that's because its sort of made out of bones.  Now its got regular materiel inside.  Or, you know, that would be super gross.

Even went the extra mile on shock absorbers because a lot of this trip would be off road.  Personally?  I count it as a success.  Yeah they are a little shaky on their feet afterward.  But no one bit off their own tongue.  This time, I mean, hooray science!

Of course some road on horses.  But Lili, Clari, the dynamic duo, ex-patchy, knight chick, plus a couple of White Roses and Black Harts?  All rode in my caddy.  Yep, its even bigger than the wagon I used going to Colrac.

All of them, except Lili and Clari of course, seem a bit shocked at the scene.  Though I'm kinda torn on which part is the problem.  The smell? The ruined earth with gore sprinkles and corpse piles?  All the dead folks that are, well, not?

Kind of a few options to choose from.  Maybe include an all of the above?  For the multiple-choice survey question.

Well if anything breaks the dynamic duo's infatuation?  This will be it.


Why are you running at me?  Why are you smiling?  Shouldn't you be disgusted?  What is wrong with this planet!

"Amazing!" "Fantastic!" "Lich King returned!" "Our lord!" "Our savior!" "Take us!"

Okay.  Isabeau and Ymanie wearing bright dresses?  Bad fashion choice for this now muddy and bloody turf.  Yeah, not sure that will wash out.  Maybe, I can make an undead washing machine?

Yep.  Its a Tide Ad.

Angelles, Isabeau Manel (female, human, tourinese)

  • Third Princess
    • Kingdom of Tourin
  • Youngest daughter of King Arter III Angelles
  • "Princess," "Heinie-ness," "Dynamic Duo"

Baramont, Ymanie (female, human, tourinese)

  • Viscountess of Baramont
    • Title-less
    • Duchy of Lathouc
  • Youngest daughter of Duke Gautier Baramont
  • Younger sister of Emeric Baramont
  • "Princess," "Heinie-ness," "Dynamic Duo"

Barton, Edelys (female, human, tourinese)

  • Wife of Jon Barton
    • 1st Wife
    • Blacksky Coil Ring
  • Pregnant
    • Father, Jon Barton
    • 46 days, 5+ eight-weeks, 1+ twelve-month
  • Formerly Gilend, Edelys
  • 6'2", 22 years
    • rectangular body, rectangle face, large athletic breasts, small square butt
    • hazel eyes, short curly red hair, fair skin.
  • Viscountess of Lianlaf
    • Lions Keep
  • Former Baroness of Gilend
  • Magic
    • Fire (int)
  • Melee
    • Long Sword (adv)
    • Lance (adv)
  • Knight Vice Captain
    • Black Hart
  • "Red," "Edel," "Knight-wife," "Fire Lady"

Barton, Lilias (female, human, tourinese)

  • Wife of Jon Barton
    • 1st Concubine
    • Blacksky Coil Ring
  • Formerly Sothea, Lilias
    • Formerly Gilend, Lilias
  • 5'8", 31 years
    • bottom hourglass body, triangle face, large bell shape breasts, large square butt
    • hazel eyes, long straight brown hair, fair skin
  • Lady of Sothea
    • Title-less
  • "Lili," "Mrs Milf"

Barton, Ushinua (female, elf-human, tourinese)

  • Wife of Jon Barton
    • 2nd Wife
    • Blacksky Coil Ring
  • Reborn
    • Formerly Angelles, Avalina Faphyri
  • 5'0", 18 years
    • hourglass body, heart face, large round breasts, large round butt
    • purple eyes, straight long white hair, dark grey skin, long swept out ears
  • Lady of Lianlaf
    • Title-less
  • Magic
    • Dark (adv), Water (int), Air (bsc)
  • Melee
    • Dagger (bsc), Wand (bsc)
  • "Ushi," "Frankie," "Priest-wife," "Dark Lady"

Black Hart

  • Militant Tourinese Order of Knights
  • Sponsored by House Lianlaf
  • Protects eastern frontier of Tourin
  • "Black and greens"

Emelina (living shadow (female, human, tourinese))

  • Shadow Paladin
    • Former Paladin
      • Universal Church of Metia
  • Melee
    • Great Sword (adv)
  • Magic
    • Dark (bsc)

Ferra (living shadow (female, human, tourinese))

  • Shadow Oracle
    • Former Oracle
      • Universal Church of Metia
  • Melee
    • Staff (bsc)
  • Magic
    • Dark (adv)
    • Fire (int)
  • Half Dead
    • Human
      • Simone Barton
  • "Fer," "Sim-Fer"

Gazrakix (male, demon, drasritorn)

  • Demon-Elf
  • Demon King
    • Drasritor
  • "Elfy"

Gyberg (living shadow (male, human, tourinese))

  • Shadow Paladin
    • Former Paladin
      • Universal Church of Metia
  • Melee
    • Spear (adv)
  • Magic
    • Earth (bsc)

Jouveral, Matylda (female, human, tourinese)

  • Royal Knight Vice Captain
    • Order of the White Rose
  • Mistress of Duke Theovald Airnett
  • "Knight chick"

Labrait, Tomas (male, human, tourinese)

  • Marshal
    • Lions Keep
  • Retainer of House Lianlaf
  • Knight Captain
    • Black Hart
  • Restored
    • Right Eye
  • "Patchy," "Ex-patchy"

Margo (living shadow (female, human, tourinese))

  • Shadow Oracle
    • Former Oracle
      • Universal Church of Metia
  • Melee
    • Staff (bsc)
  • Magic
    • Dark (adv)
    • Earth (int)
  • Half Dead
    • Human
      • Odaline Barton
  • "Oda," "Oda-Mar"

White Rose

  • Chivalric Tourinese Order of Knights
  • Sponsored by House Angelles
  • Protects the Kingdom of Tourin
  • The only "royal" knights of Tourin.
  • "White and golds"