Journey of the Messenger Cycle 1 Part 3c

Journey of the Messenger Cycle 1 Part 3c

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The undead came at them in a rush of white bone and glinting weapons. The roaring fire behind their position, between the house and the stables, offered a fair amount a light, though their shadows were cast forward and the flickering illumination caused their silhouettes to dance across the narrow space where Ijah and the half-men had chosen to stand their ground.

Ijah stepped forward to meet the rush and to give herself room away from the other two to use her weapon effectively. Behind them the horses pronounced their discomfort with loud whinnies and snorts. The majority of the skeletons seemed to converge directly towards their position, though just before they came to the obstacles a few along either flank of their column peeled off to either side. Ijah raised her sword, holding it so that she would be striking with the back edge of the blade, most of which was not sharpened.

The first few skeletons leapt over the obstacles, Ijah swung, her blade connected with two of them, the first shattered and fell to pieces, the second lost most of its ribs and was slammed into the nearby wall from the force of her swing. An arrow whistled past her head. As she reversed her stroke she shouted to the men behind her, “They’re coming around the sides!”

She smashed another one of the undead and stepped back as they kept rushing into the narrow space. Some had fallen over the blockade and others were tripped up by those floundering at the obstacle. Still, others came in over the first ones. Another arrow flashed past, very close, the head of the leading skeleton shattered but others just trampled over it.

Ijah had time for one last offensive swing, taking a couple more of them down, then she was faced with a rapidly advancing wall of skeletons all trying to stab her. Not one of them swung their weapons, spears and swords thrust forward. Ijah stepped back another pace, and despite her best efforts, a couple of the attackers landed hits. She took a superficial cut along her leg from a spear and the tip of a blade poked her in the shoulder. She stepped back another pace and swept her sword back and forth, knocking away most of the attacks, “Fall back! To the house!”

She continued to defend, stepping back again and again. She came to the end of the corridor between the buildings. As she swept her blade side to side she noticed the messenger fellow waiting by the corner of the house with a ready staff. She switched her grip, stepped to the corner of the barn and ducked low to sweep her blade across the legs of her foes. Almost at the same time the half-man came around the corner and swung the full length of the staff into the wall of undead. Again he swung as she rolled back from the thrusting blades.

Ijah came to her feet, her ally kept swinging his staff as fast as he could, bones were flying everywhere. She risked a glance around and stepped back.

Bow-guy had swapped his weapon for a large sword and called out as he ran towards a column of skeletons coming around the opposite corner of the house, “BigNose! To me!”

Ijah noticed another group of undead advancing around the corner of the barn, “They’ve flanked us! To the house!” She moved to intercept the leading element of the second flanking group. Interestingly they were angling directly towards the big guy, she took the leading two down with a single swing of her sword.

A big horse ran past the far side of the fire, Ijah attacked again and again shattering a couple more of the skeletons and knocking an arm off a third. The messenger called out from where he was holding the passage between the building, “We need to fall back!”

The skeletons that Ijah had been fighting veered away from her, she backed towards the house’s entry. The others were doing likewise. Ijah watched with interest as the column of skeletons she had been fighting diverted around the fireplace and ran directly towards the cousin. Near the far corner of the house the big horse was kicking and bucking, skeletons exploded and bones rained down.

The three of them had converged to the area in front of the door, she shouted to the men, “Get inside!”

First one, then the other backed into the building. Ijah focused on defending herself and again noted that many of the skeletons were intent on the big fellow, which likely saved her life as the undead converged from three directions, nearly cutting her off from the door. One of the men grabbed her and dragged her back into the house, she received a glancing blow to the forearm and struck her head on the low lintel. She saw the horse run through the skeletons that were accumulating at the door. The messenger smashed a couple of them as they tried to slip past him into the house.

“They’re after you,” Ijah stated as the big guy held her steady for a moment, “Unhand me and stand opposite of the door. We’ll take either side.”


The three of them took their positions, Ijah smashed another skeleton, there was no sign of the horse out front. She could only see the undead crowding at the door. For the next little while she and the messenger took turns smashing skeletons, if one managed to slip past them then the other fellow took care of it. There was a sudden lull in the forced ingress, Ijah risked a glance. She saw the skeletons milling around and repositioning themselves, there were two with shields coming to the door.

She glanced to her companion, “Shields! I’ll keep them busy, you take out their legs.”


When she heard the first skeleton clatter to the door, kicking loose and broken bones of its fallen companions ahead of it, Ijah leaned forward slightly and thrust her sword at its head. The messenger ducked down and smashed one of its legs. The undead toppled over and the shield bearer behind it pushed forward. Again she thrust high and he swept low, the second one clattered to the ground. Ijah knocked the head off one that tried to get up again.

“That was easy.”

She nodded and said, “Sure was, there’s a lot less of them out front.”

Less of them there might have been, but they still pressed forward, trying to get through the door. Their fallen comrades were a serious obstacle, many of them tripped and stumbled trying to come through the entry, Ijah and the messenger had a much easier time taking them out. It looked like they might survive this after all.

“They’re inside! The windows!”

Of course they were. Ijah backed from the door and looked around. She saw the big guy smash a skeleton that was standing up to face him, another was crawling through the window and yet another came into the main room from the smaller adjacent room. She stepped forward, amazed as the skeleton she closed with ignored her and tried to stab the big man in the back. She knocked its attack aside and smashed it to pieces. A glance into the second room showed that more had already gained entry, despite the high position of the windows. They were still crawling through.

“I’ll cover here, you’ve the door.”


Ijah held the doorway to the smaller room, they came at her one at a time. While this was much easier than facing them as a horde she knew she was tiring and she had taken a few injuries. She had no idea how many they had… re-killed… but she knew this had to end soon. Yet, other than stand there killing them as they came at her she could not think of anything that would save them from their own exhaustion.

From outside she heard BogWalker shouting, “Come on, Horse, along the side there. Giddy-up!” The horse whinnied in response and another horse answered her.

“You there, come down!” There was a thudding crash near the window of the smaller room, the skeleton that had been climbing through fell forward, just the upper part of it.

“Oh, hello other horse! Who are you?” There was another thump against the wall.

Ijah killed the two skeletons remaining in the smaller room, she watched the window for others. She could still hear Berri shouting outside of the house.

“There’s a bunch of Horse, giddy-up!” That was followed by the sound of skeletons being trampled and smashed out front.

Inside they fought on until there were no more undead trying to kill them. As they were doing so, BogWalker rode around the building a couple times, shouting as she and Horse destroyed skeletons.

The men stepped back from both door and window, in the dim light Ijah could not tell how injured they were. The big guy slapped a meaty hand onto Ijah’s shoulder and gave a squeeze, “Many thanks sword-sister, I owe you a life debt. My name is Flint.”

Ijah shrugged off the hand and replied, “I’m Ijah.”

The man she met at the earth-machine smiled, “I’m Walker, pleasure to meet you again. I think we might all owe your companion a life debt. Shall we see if she’s alright?”

Ijah nodded, too tired to comment.


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