The First Lich Lord - C.Lich Lord 163

The First Lich Lord

C.Lich Lord 163

I ground my teeth and took the blow. The barrier projected by my armor shattered, dissipating the attack around me like water. The residual magic still stung, but I ignored it. Leaping into the air above the paladin I met his eyes one last time. Defeat stared back at me, and I smiled.

I channeled my remaining death energy into Mercy as I drove the needlelike tip through the hole left in the armor by my previous attack. I buried Mercy almost completely in the body of the paladin.

One hand still on Mercy, I grabbed his helmet and yanked it off. May your soul be at piece, I said quietly as I produced a death core from my bag of holding. Crushing it in my hand and channeling the power straight into Mercy. The energy exploded inside of the paladin and his eyes went dull as it flooded out of them.

With the battle over, the eldritch fire surrounding our small arena faded and I saw not just the Dread Thirteen and my friends watching, but also the soldiers. Our little duel had brought an end to the fight. With their commander dead, the soldiers surrendered. The priests of Olattee among them shouted and raged. But they were either subdued by their own soldiers or killed by one of the Dread Thirteen.

What shall we do with the prisoners, my lord? Abimelech asked.

I was still standing in front of the defeated commander. When I had withdrawn Mercy, the body had collapsed. See if anyone wants to join us, if they do, they become living dead. I debated allowing regular troops to join my army, but outside of Maxwell and Raven, I decided against it. Even Maxwell was beginning to make noises about becoming a living dead, I was kinda surprised he hadnt already. I knew Raven would not.

Those who dont join us, strip them of their armor and gear and bind them together in a chain. For now, they come with us. This was the first fight we had where the troops were strong enough that we could not afford to leave them behind even stripped of their gear.

Why not just kill them? Abimelech asked.

Because, if we do that then no one will ever surrender to us, I explained. There will be times where their surrender will save us time and resources that will be valuable otherwise. Make sure all of their gear has been stripped and gathered, including from the mindless undead. And gather up all of the bodies of soldiers from the inner section, including those currently animated, and him. I gestured at the commander.

Abimelech bowed and stepped away to begin organizing the troops. Thought you said you wouldnt use his body, Raven said, judgment, to my surprise, coloring her tone.

No, I told him I wouldnt touch his soul, I said. Why do you care?

Oh, Raven changed her demeanor immediately. Thats fine then. A duel like that one should follow through with what they promise. Its not your fault if he didnt clarify.

He didnt really give him a chance to, Maxwell pointed out.

He had time enough to talk, so he had time to clarify, Raven pointed out.

I guess thats true. You have any particular plans for that body? Maxwell asked.

Actually, I said, looking down at the commander again, I have something I was thinking about. Its going to take some prep work though, and perhaps a willing sacrifice. Well see how things work.

I got an odd look from Maxwell. Sacrifices were not something I normally did. Though I guess he hadnt seen me sacrifice the high priest. Things were for sure changing, there were lines I wouldnt cross, like messing with a true soul. But sacrifices, while not always my favorite, could be useful. It all depended on the situation.

As I waited for Abimelech to carry out my orders, I pulled up my character sheet noticing I had gained two more levels. I put ten points into agility, not liking that I had been slower than the commander even after activating my armor. Looking over my character sheet noting the changes, conquering forts and defeating armies was a lot faster way to grow than beating up on monsters Vito sent up in the arena.

Character Soul Level: 127 fre(e)

Name: Ezekiel Verniac

Race: Human Lich

Foreboding Gravitas: 33

Unspent Stat Points: 0

Spent Stat Point: 635

5 Stat Points per level

Health: 1676

Health Regeneration: 63/sec

Death Energy Tier 1: 3374

Death Energy Regeneration Tier 1: 77/sec

Death Energy Tier 2 Storage Capacity: 0/32

Mana: 2518

Mana Regeneration: 68/sec

Carrying lbs.: 2889


Intelligence: 249 [multiplier: 1.311] [40 from gear]

Spirit: 189 [multiplier: 1.23]

Vitality: 119 [multiplier: 1.15]

Resilience: 121 [multiplier: 1.15]

A case of theft: this story is not rightfully on Amazon; if you spot it, report the violation.

Death Core Tier 1: 270

Death Core Tier 2: 32 [multiplier: 1.21]

Agility: 132 [multiplier: 1.1]

Dexterity: 113 [multiplier: 1.21]

Experience: 108,001 of 143,121

I noticed my death core tier 1 hadnt grown and remembered I needed to absorb death cores for that to happen, something Id forgotten to do. I also remembered I needed to restore my tier 2 death energy.

With that in mind, I stepped over to the commander. It took a little bit to figure out how to get his chest plate off, but once it was, I stretched my hand out and pulled on the core I felt in the center. It came flying to me. I could use it for a point of the tier 2 energy. I then summoned over a bone guard and gave it an order to take to Abimelechshe was to gather up all of the death cores and bring them to me. I sat down, ready for a long session of refining energy.

How can we be so certain that he wont betray us? Maxwell asked as we marched away from the fort in the pass.

I cant really, I admitted. But what I do know is that he along with the few guards that came to our side are not enough to hold that place, not without the undead we left with him.

And those undead, while under his control now, would come back under your control if you returned, Maxwell guessed.

My control or one of my Dread Thirteen would easily take back over.

When we asked the prisoners if any of them wanted to join our side, surprisingly, a dozen of them were willing, even when we explained they would have to become living dead. I was all fine with civilians remaining unconverted, but soldiers I was less certain about. There were plenty of death cores, and my own death energy reserves were more than enough to convert the twelve of them. One within the group was to be the commander and I had made him an additional offer.

I would convert him, but in the process also strengthen and enhance him so he would be a powerhouse. I didnt tell Maxwell, and didnt fully explain it to the man either. One of the side effects was I would have a certain amount of mental connection to him. Maxwell asked about it, worried about him betraying. Ultimately, that was improbable to say the least.

I didnt have mind control over him or anything so insidious, it was something a little more subtle and intrinsic. He was simply predisposed to be loyal to me and my subordinates. Even without that, the power I had given him when I used the commanders body to enhance his own would take a while to truly become his own, and until that point I would have the ability to strip him of it. It was a mutually beneficial arrangement. He got power and I got sureties.

Also, from that fight I had managed to create a small group of necromancers from the fallen bodies of wizards and mages. They were, in a way, like the troops I got from Kellnock. They were more advanced than what Vito sent, but still werent quite fully autonomous. In total there were six, and they joined the auxiliary regiment under Othniel. There was also now a much larger horde of undead. As it turned out, which makes sense, the necromancers also had quite a large capacity for managing the undead within the army, but it was still more efficient to have them under the control of the controllers.

We were up on the plateau now, but not the section full of fields yet. Rocky hills covered in forests stretched clear up to the walls of Maltis. Despite the roughness of the terrain, hamlets, small towns, and villages became more common. The protection offered by being on the plateau made people more comfortable expanding. Many of the towns were logging or mining towns that would feed resources into regional cities like Maltis, and in return receive food to support themselves.

We came across one larger town with a small, surrounding palisade. There was a brief confrontation, but I saw no point in turning the fight into something it wasnt. The towns garrison had done their best to hold the gate in the palisade. But it was beyond the realm of possibility for them. I had approached with only Raven and Abimelech. The gate had flew off its hinges after a brief melee which left half their number dead and the town surrendered.

With its surrender also came the surrender of multiple hamlets and villages nearby. I dispatched Tola and Izban, each accompanied by two of the undead necromancers. In each of the detachment were two captains, one commanding a company of bone guard and the other a company of bone archers.

Using the map that Maxwell still had from when we fled Maltis, Tola and Izban were to conquer small settlements that were off the main road. Whenever they returned, they always had with them a few more mindless undead raised from the graveyards and the guards who resisted.

When I explained to Tola and Izban the idea of leaving a few undead behind to help as a manual labor force under a simple controller, they had told me they could create a very simple undead controller. It wasnt anything complex, in fact, controlling more than just a dozen mindless undead was beyond their capabilities, but it would still serve the purpose.

We paused in the large village we conquered, there were many places to spread out and subdue. Of course, I had visited the graveyard and created a nice little horde of undead. Using one of the guards who was foolish enough to fight us, I created a more advanced controller that could control fifty skeletons. I then gave that controller over to the village leaders.

Unlike the other villages where Id left undead behind, I did not know how they would utilize them. The first day, not much was done with them. It was understandable they didnt trust them, but by the end of the second day, they were being used to stand up the heavy gate. By the end of that day, they had the undead tilling a small field outside the village. The villagers werent stupid, free manual labor was a treasure.

My lord, Tola said as she dismounted. I had just returned from taking a small settlement nestled in a valley behind us. We hadnt known it was there until Maxwell stopped to check his map. On the way back, I noticed a force on the road, it is rather large. I didnt stop to investigate further.

Did you see any banners? I asked, immediately worried. I didnt think it was possible, but we could have been flanked or missed some fortification.

Yes, it was black and purple with a symbol I did not recognize, Tola said.

Can you draw it for me? I asked, waving her over to a table set outside my tent.

Tola picked up a piece of charcoal meant for such purposes. I didnt get much of a look at it. On the wood she sketched out a crude drawing. I think its some kind of rune.

I looked at her drawing of the symbol. Tell me, was the banner split down the middle with a jagged line to split the black from purple?

It was, Tola nodded.

I grimaced. Im pretty sure I know what this is. Have the others meet me on the other side of the village.

I jumped on Shadow, Raven who had been curled up in a beam of sunshine looked up at me, and before I was gone, she was curled up on my saddle behind me. Maxwell was currently off-line.

The governor of the village met me just as I entered the village through the north gate. Is there something the matter, my lord? Have we done something to anger you, will you be giving us to your monsters? The fear in his voice bugged me.

You insect, Abimelech snapped. My lord gave you his word and you now question it? I should kill you where you stand.

Peace, Abimelech. I made sure to use her full name in front of others that were not part of our group. Though I appreciated her sentiment, and understood that I was a monster to these people, I still got real tired of having to restate my intentions. There is a force approaching from the south that we are going to greet. I gave you my word I would not cause undue harm to your people, I would appreciate it if you did not question that again.

The governor nodded and babbled some kind of apology as we passed through the gate. Riding Shadow through the village always caused a stir. The fourteen of us on our nightmares, or nightmare-like mounts, struck an impressive sight. That was only slightly hampered by Raven curled up behind me.

We rode to a slight rise to the south of the village where we waited. It wasnt long before I saw the oncoming force Tola had mentioned. I had been right, I recognized the banner. I tensed not knowing how this would go.

Raven sensed the tension and transformed, standing on the back of Shadow to look over my head towards the columns of troops marching towards us. Who is that, and why dont we have the rest of our army?

That is someone from my past, I said, eyeing the oncoming troops. We dont have the rest of our troops because it would not take long to summon them up if we need them.

Someone from your past? Raven asked. Like Vito?

Yes, like Vito. Problem is, Im not certain of her intentions. She was always a bit fanatical for my taste.

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