The First Lich Lord - C.144


The gate to the compound flew off its hinges, propelled by a blast of eldritch magic fired from Mercy. I led the way, Mercy shaped into a lance. Abimelech went right and Abdon went left behind me.

I didnt know how many of the thirteen were with me as I charged straight for the front doors. Maxwells music had been speeding us up, and now that we were here, he began to change his tune. I felt surges of eldritch magic behind me as Othniel began to cast.

The front doors burst open with a single stomp of my mounts hooves, and we charged into the foyer. I leapt off Shadow and ran for the sweeping staircase up to the second floor. Shadow rampaged around the house spewing eldritch flames, the sound of combat from the grounds still raging outside.

Maxwell dashed through the broken open double doors just as I turned at the top of the stairs, followed by Abimelech and Shamgar. I caught sight of Gideon guarding the door as a skirmish took place with the guards of the compound and other members of the Dread Thirteen.

I didnt slow to wait for them, racing for the master bedroom, where I hoped I would find the mayor, his succubus, and Raven. I reshaped Mercy, splitting it into the two sickle form. Inside each arch of the sickle, I built power. In one hand, eldritch mana began to circle, and in the other, death mana.

I hit the door hard, my massive Lich strength blasting it off its hinges. Nobody was there. I whirled. Of course no one was here, why would they have taken her here even if this was where she attacked them.

Trying to quell my rising panic, Abimelech and Maxwell rushed into the room. f(r)eeweb(n)ovel

Shes not here, Maxwell pointed out.

Thank you, Captain Obvious, I snapped. There must be a basement. Its too clich not to be true.

But those are often hidden, how do we find it? Maxwell asked.

I bet the entrance is in here, I said. The first thing I did was check for the stupid obvious signs of some hidden panel in the room, scratches on the wall or a tilted picture. I saw nothing.

Abimelech raised her magical cannon and blew a hole in the wall. The explosion startled me, and I looked at her in surprise. I figured the best way to find something hidden was to break stuff until we did. Am I wrong? Do we care if this place is destroyed?

No, youre right, Im just stuck in old habits, I grumbled. She continued to blast the walls as I released my own torrent of eldritch attacks, not yet spending the magic in the sickles, which I let continue to build.

A hole blown through the wall next to a candleholder caused something to click and a trap door spring open, the rug on top of it sloughing and falling in. We didnt waste a moment. I didnt climb down the ladder, I just dropped down the hole. To my surprise, the fall was long enough that I felt my bones crack when I impacted. I winced at the pain, channeling death energy through my body to quickly restore the damage. Abimelech landed beside me, not appearing to have taken any damage. I hadnt realized they were that much stronger physically than I was.

You do as you want, Maxwell called down. Im not jumping, I dont like broken legs.

I glanced up and saw Maxwell rapidly descending the ladderhe was taking too long. Abimelech and I rushed forward, with me in the lead. She might be stronger than I was, but I was a little faster. I poured death energy through my body to further enhance my speed and strength, depleting my reserves.

We reached a branching hallway, and I hesitated on which way to take. Then I felt the magic, a mixture of corruption and blood magic that these accursed elves used. I darted down the path.

A heavy door blocked our way but an overcharge blast from Abimelechs canon shattered the lock and the door swung open. Rushing in, I saw the source of the blood magic and the three people I was looking for.

Raven was bound and gagged on an altar, her eyes misty and clearly under some kind of effect. She looked disheveled, her armor ripped and torn in different places, one of her big ears drooped to the side, and her short hair was all messed up and matted with blood.

The pale elf with the red eyes stood on the other side of the altar, wearing robes adorned with ritualistic symbols. Beside him the succubus stood. Her armor was black accented with red, and was quite scant, like your stereotypical fantasy world female armor. Admittedly it made more sense on her than most, since she was a succubus and her power was seduction.

I didnt bother trying to get names. A brief scan told me they were roughly equivalent to me in level. My stride didnt even break as I dropped the sickle with death mana in it and pointed a finger at him.

He was in the middle of casting some ritual, the blood magic swirling around his hands which held a dagger made of bone. Clenching my fist, I fired an eldritch blast from my gauntlet. He was outside the range it was effective at, but introducing the hard to control eldritch magic into his spell caused it to disrupt. A second blast assured that he would not be able to salvage whatever he was casting. I summoned my sickle back to my hand.

The succubus was rushing to intercept, but Abimelech intercepted her first. The succubus wielded a black scimitar, and it sparked as it clashed with Abimelechs sword. Activating another ability of my armor, I jumped forward with incredible speed. A blast of blood magic shattered the death barrier around me generated by my armor, but it wasnt enough force to halt my forward momentum.

I landed on the altar next to Raven, scythe already descending towards the blood elf. He scrambled and tossed the bone dagger into his offhand as he drew a blood red scimitar. My initial attack missed, but that wasnt the point. I was trying to get him away from Raven. Knowing she could take the blow, I shoved her off the altar back toward Abimelech with my leg and rushed after the blood elf.

I heard a startled yelp from Raven as she crashed off the altar onto the floor, I hoped whatever theyd done to mesmerize her had been broken. The magic in my sickles reached critical mass and I could not pass it any further. Still, I held off waiting for the right moment.

The blood elf was fast, faster than I was. Blood magic built within his sicklehe knew enough not to try and hit me with corruption at least. That had been a threat to me before, and it was still annoying, but I was strong enough now that my eldritch power overwhelmed corruption. Blood magic was a different story, it could hurt me if used in the right way.

In the reading I had done in the reliquary, I learned quite a bit about blood magic. Most blood magic fed off or used vitality of whoever it was used against. Blood magic practitioners use a combination of their own vitality and mana for their spells, which is why it was so potent. Judging from how the blood elf was reacting, he knew how to use his magic to hurt me.

So, the Lich has come to play, the blood elf hissed as we circled each other. This was the first practitioner of blood magic I had faced in a while. In that time I had learned how to offset the damage Id been receiving from blood magic.

You know, Im getting real sick of blood magic, I snarled back. I needed to be vigilant in this fight. When I had been hurt by blood magic before it was because I let it run in my body, it was the power more than anything that hurt me. The counter was simple, wherever the blood magic hit me I would flood with death energy. It wasnt so much a counter as a way to contain it. Inside my own body it would take very little of my death energy to do so.

It was so good of you to tell us what you were so I could prepare, though I did not expect your sneaky werecat to try and assassinate me. He snarled as he lunged.

The sudden burst of speed from the elf caught me by surprise. His scimitar came hammering down, and I blocked it with one sickle, but he diverted his daggers course, and I missed my block. The bone dagger slammed into the joint on my right hip. The elf hit with enough strength and speed and that the ritual dagger bit through the weak point. The magic pulsed into my body.

Swipes with my sickles drove him back, but the damage was troublesome. I had tried to contain the blood magic with death energy, but he had known or learned how to harm a Lich. Trying to feed off my vitality or drain it. Instead, it was more like a healing spell. Blood poured from my hip as parts of my body became full of life and vitality. The pain drove me to my knees. A Lichs body was not meant to bleed.

One of the interesting things about blood magic practitioners was that they had access to some of the most powerful healing abilities. Even more powerful than what priests could bring to bear. They didnt restore things like priests did, but if there was a shred of life left in a target, their healing magic could bring it back. He had essentially just healed me.

It disturbed me how easily hed done so. It had taken almost a quarter of my health. If he had landed that in my chest or neck it probably wouldve killed me. I rolled to the side, trying to recover and avoid his downward strike. Maxwell entered the room just then, his music giving me the speed to just barely stay ahead. The scimitar struck the stone, releasing a small burst of red magic.

Coming to my feet, I activated my armors speed ability to keep ahead of the elf. Another blow from his glowing dagger was something I wanted to avoid. I channeled power into my sickles, a different power, but what I hoped would end the fight.

I quit retreating and let the elf rush me, this time I was ready.

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