The First Lich Lord - C.160


A pile of bones and flesh lay before me, prepared by my necromancers and already flooded death mana. I cast a simple undead construct, and the bones and small amounts of flesh were picked up, infused together. A humanoid shape took form. The bones created a powerful and thick skeletal structure. Then the flesh was added, muscle building in strategic places to allow for rapid and powerful movements. There was no extra flesh added.

Each of the limbs had two extra joints. Its arms were long, hanging down to its knees, and ended in hands with wicked bladed claws on the end of each finger. The blades had been made, not out of bone, but the enamel of teeth. The legs were also long, but thin, meant for running. Each of the feet also had wicked bladed claws, though smaller than what was on the hands. On the bottom of each foot was extra padding so that the feet would fall silently.

The torso was not much more than a place for the limbs to connect with powerful joints. The head was small, only big enough for two black eyes to be situated in it. It was designed to be able to turn 360 degrees like an owl.

The construct spell ended. Though I hadnt used all of the material available, the construct before me was what I wanted. I stepped forward and picked my construct up by its neck, there was no animation to it. Through the connection in my hand, I poured death energy into it. Huge amounts flooded into the creation.

I let the tier 1 death energy flood the creation, not controlling it. It would strengthen the body in every meaningful way. There were no delicate magical constructs I needed to avoid damaging other than the eyes, but keeping the energy away from them was simple. I began to pour tier 2 energy into it, focusing a point of that potent energy into each hand and turning the enamel blades into black blades as sharp as obsidian.

Each of the arms and legs were further refined by the tier 2 energy, the explosive power of the muscles around the joints amplified. When I was done, I used a total of ten points, I only had one left. I would need to refine more soon.


Shadows clung to me as I hung from the edge of the wall. The bobbing light of the torch coming closer. My clawed hands were hidden in the shadow of the crenelation as I held the slender body of my creation tight against the wall.

I forced myself not to clinch when the guard stopped only a few meters away from where I hung. He yawned, the shift nearly over. The sky was just barely beginning to lighten with the approach of the sun. We had timed it just so. The fort we were attacking was relatively small as far as forts went, but it was positioned on one of the major passes leading onto the plateau.

The narrow break in the cliff wall that it guarded made the fort a hard nut to crack if taken in a straight attack. It was designed to be defended from either direction. There was a single, smaller wall farther down the pass and a thicker wall farther than that with a moat running in front of it. This was repeated on the other side. The size of the fort was limited due to the narrowness of the pass. To me, and I wouldnt be surprised if this was true, it looked like some beam of magic plowed the pass open in the distant past.

The road ran straight through, the main structures of the fort on either side of it. The guard moved again, passing by where I hung.

I pulled myself up behind the unsuspecting guard. Though my movement was silent, and sound was further dampened by magic from Raven, I mustve made some kind of sound. The guard turned, but before he could let out a cry of alarm, my razor-sharp claws slashed across his throat. As he staggered back, clutching at the ragged wound, his cry of alarm caught in a gurgle, I grabbed the hand holding the torch, yanking it free.

I hoped no one had heard. No alarms were raised, and I continued the patrol route she had been walking. No doubt the torch had bobbed a little, but unless someone had been watching at the time, no one would have known.

From my back, I cut free a coiled rope. One end had a loop, and creating a slipknot, I tossed the rope over the side of the wall. Within a few moments, Jepthen and Ehud joined me on the wall. A torch approached but I did not worry. The two of them stayed back enough to be hidden in the shadows, also further cloaked by Ravens magic. Ehud picked up the body of the guard. Raven appeared out of the darkness carrying the torch. We met and stopped for a moment, like we often had seen the guards do.

The tower is clear, Raven said.

Raven handed her torch to Jepthen, who continued in the direction Raven had been walking. There was a brief moment where the four of us were visible in the torchlight, but it passed. The closest guards that wouldve seen had been eliminated already.

In the guard tower, I found bodies of the guards that had been in it. The guard I had brought down was drug in by Ehud, and we gathered up the bodies. Raven pulled out her dagger and activated a ritual Id placed in it. The amount of power that could be contained inside that dagger was rather impressive. Ten guards had been stationed in this tower, plus the one I had brought down, rose as mindless undead.

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The garrison, especially on this outer part, were not a challenge. Thats not to say they werent strong. The average level was ninety. In the intersection, most would be beyond the first soul compression, which makes for a very strong and expensive garrison to maintain.

In a region like Valdor and the surrounding kingdoms, NPCs beyond the first level of soul compression are normally adventurers or some kind of specialist. Having a garrison of them said something to the importance of this pass.

I left them in control of Ehud as Raven, and made my way down the staircase inside of the tower that let out on the ground floor. The door creaked when opened, and I carefully looked around.

Okay, Raven said, now the hard part.

The wall in front of us was twice as tall. Our job was to get to the top and get the gate open. As we approached, Raven dispelled the magic shed cast on me. This wall was heavily enchanted, and would detect the presence of the dark power that had been concealing me. This particular body had been created so it would have very little magical presence. The strength and sharpness of the body and weapons were all physical.

We did not bring any of the Dread Thirteen with us toward the wall, because they would be detected. Raven herself was more than capable of disguising and evading the power that would be looking for us. Werecats are intrinsically deceptive.

The creature I possessed did not have a way to speak. That wouldve taken a magical construct inside of it. I put all of the magic I dared into its eyes so I would be able to perceive what I needed.

Raven transformed into her lynx form as we diverted toward where the wall connected with the side of the pass. When we reached it, the two of us began to climb up as close to the wall as we could manage, hoping the wall would conceal our climb. Ravens claws might have been sharp enough to allow her to climb the wall, but without magic I couldnt, so we climbed the cliff next to it instead.

The climb was the most dangerous part, with the moat below us full of metal spikes that I was pretty certain were enchanted. Even though the guards would be stronger on this next wall, we were still more than a match, especially striking from the shadows.

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Alarms blared through the fort as Raven and I dashed towards a door. Inwardly I cursed the bloody priest who refused to die. Wed known the priest to be the biggest threat from the start. The one in the guard tower we thought we had killed and left behind had somehow survived.

How did we know it was him? The searing blast of white light that hammered into me as we exited the bottom of the tower was how I knew. It had come from above, and looking up, I saw the priest still very much alive staring down at us.

Cover blown, the two of us sprinted for our target as wailing klaxons stirred the fort to life. I could already feel holy magic swelling inside as rituals were being activated. The death energy used in the creation of this body would make me far more resistant to it than I normally would be, and the resistances I got from the Order of Equinox made it so it would take a lot more than passive banish undead rituals to get rid of this body.

The need for concealment gone, a concentrated blast of dark magic from Raven blew a hole through the door to the gatehouse and we barged in. The guards stationed there showed their worth, already alert. They attacked the second we entered.

Raven and I split, we had our goals, being discovered at this point was one of the contingencies we planned for. Raven dove into the shadows and disappeared while I attacked. Holy lightning hammered into me from a cleric. The searing white lightning left behind ragged burns. I did not slow.

My claws tore flesh and armor alike. The enamel enhanced with the second tier death energy would not last forever. The energy would eventually bleed itself out as the enamel itself lost the ability to contain the power. Technically it was the fleshy parts of the teeth inside of the enamel claws that held the power, and that was what was going to run out.

The multiple joints in my arms had taken me a little bit of time to get used to, and I was certain I could use them more efficiently. The extra joints allowed me to snap my arms around in faster arcs than I normally could and reach places I normally could not.

I did not confirm my kills, focused on maiming and advancing. Throats were ripped out, bones severed, eyes destroyed. The cleric hit me with a series of rapidly cast spells. The holy magic burned me. But I made it to him.

Hed backed up as I advanced, right against the wall. I wouldve smiled if I had given this construct the ability. My claws ripped his head off. Glancing behind me, I noted the bloody mess, guards were drinking health potions as they reeled from my onslaught.

I was impressed by the fortitude of the soldiers. All that we had faced up until now wouldve broken and run if they survived.

I did not finish them off, barreling through the next door. In there I found what I was looking for. The gears and mechanisms that would raise and lower the gate.

It was a combination of a magical and mechanical system. The mechanical side was simple. It was a series of pulleys and winches that would raise the gate. The magical side was a series of magical defenses that would prevent the gate from being raised by outside magics. What it would not do is stop someone on the inside.

A small window looked out from the room, and I could see the portcullis gate and the raised drawbridge beyond it. The portcullis was made of bars of metal bigger around than I could wrap my hands. The sharp eyes of my construct pierced the night easily and I saw the thousands of runes and rituals carved into the metal. That told me they likely werent made out of steel, regular steel could not contain that amount of magic.

I barred the door behind me, pulling a desk full of paperwork in front of it to buy me time. The weight of the gate had necessitated more than a simple pulley and winch system. They had not used magical means for that part, my guess was for further failsafes. There was a counterweight system for raising the gate. I could see where the counterweights could be severed to prevent the winches from working correctly, but fortunately that hadnt happened.

I grabbed the wheel and began to turn. The strength I added to my joints allowed me to take on a job that would normally require several strong people. The extra joints allowed me to spin it in an almost constant fluid motion. It picked up speed as I built up momentum.

The pendulums that were the counterweights came down faster and faster. The door behind me bucked. I was running out of time.

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