Cythera Chronicles: A Day in the Death

  • "Arise!" the voice said. I don't really want to, but he sounded so insistent, I feel like I just have to comply. I feel so disoriented. Where am I, anyway? This looks like some kind of underground cave. How did I get here? The last thing I remember was Narias' coming of age party, upstairs at Dares'. I think I had a bit too much to drink, Gennett and I were playing the fool more than usual... wait, that window... I... I fell! That'd explain this headache, I guess I was lucky to survive. I did survive, didn't I? Oh no...

    That man, chanting away over there - he must be a necromancer. But what would he want with me? I am - was - a nobody. I'm not a warrior, or a sorcerer. I don't know anything important - I was just a stable hand.

    "Arise, my army!"

    Army? There's more than just me? Ugh, it's so hard to turn my head, like someone was holding it still... wow, there sure is a lot of us! Not exactly in great condition, either. That guy over there, he's nothing but bone. Or is it a 'she'? Kind of hard to tell. They're all holding swords, too - hey, so am I. 'Army', he called us. That means there's going to be a battle. I wonder where? And more importantly, which side are we? I don't want to fight, I'm not even very good with a sword. Maybe I should say something, tell him I don't want to get involved.


    My goodness, was that me? I can't even talk properly! This 'death' thing isn't going to be very easy to cope with.


    No thanks, I think I'll just stay right here. Hey! What's going on? I said 'stay here', feet, what do you think you're doing? Stop! Stop, I say! Nuts, it's no use. My legs seem to have a mind of their own, they're not listening to me. I wonder if anyone else here is as reluctant as me?

    There's the cave mouth up ahead. Wow, that daylight sure is bright. Doesn't seem to be slowing us down, any. Now I'm outside, is there anything familiar that might tell me where I am? Hmm, nope. Hills, valleys, trees, streams... I wish I'd spent more time outdoors when i was alive, I might have recognised this place. Not that it matters, what good would it do me now?

    Wait, this village we're passing through now, I think I know it. It's a mess now, totally sacked, but I think I once delivered supplies here... Denisia, that's it. Hmm, no sign of life anywhere. Well, if this is Denisia, and we're marching down that valley, then we must be heading for Pnyx. Oh, that's just great. Caught up in the middle of some wizards' war. Can't you idiots let a guy rest in peace? No, you just have to go meddling with the natural order of things, don't you. This is exactly why I did my best to steer clear of mages while I was alive! You always mess things up!

    More farms and hamlets now, all destroyed. Which side did it, I wonder? Probably the necromancer, whoever he is, to keep his hideout a secret. But wouldn't someone notice all this destruction in one area? Wouldn't they investigate? I don't know, war never made much sense to me anyway.

    I feel so tired. Not physically, I think whatever's driving my body could keep it going indefinitely. No, it's deep inside, in my soul, maybe. I wish I could just lay down somewhere and rest... really rest, I mean. Forever.

    What's that, over the tops of the trees? Is that a mountain peak? No, it's too regular. It must be the top of the Pnyx. I've never seen it, but they said it's a great big triangle. Pyramid, I think it was.


    Well, I can see it clearly, now. We were obviously expected. There must be almost as many of them as there are of us... and not all wizards, either. They must have a lot of friends. There are warriors among them, and some of them look well equipped. Magic weapons and armour everywhere, glowing red, blue, green, white, gold... I think there's even a purple one over there... not all of the people are that lucky, though. Most of them look like simple, ordinary folk. Farmers and the like, with nothing but pitchforks and shovels and things.

    "First wave, advance!"

    Whew, that doesn't include me. Given the balance of forces, I'm surprised he didn't send us all in at once. Maybe he wants to make sure there's some of left to cover his retreat... but like I said, I don't understand war. Wow, that was some fireball! I felt the ground shake from here! Didn't have much effect, though. Two or three of our side down, that's just a drop in the bucket. The wizards over there must think the same thing, they're not throwing any more of them. I wonder why it was so ineffective? The way those mages used to talk, a good fireball would take care of anything. The necromancer must have planned for this, somehow.

    There! The battle's been joined! The live team doesn't seem to be doing too badly. It looks like the reaction time on our side is a bit slow. Those magic weapons sure do look pretty, swishing through the air like that.

    Hmm, slow reactions don't seem to be all that much of a disadvantage. We undead are so hard to put down, once and for all, that we're still pushing forward. A lot of the other side are down, too. Except over there, that guy with the red and white swords... wow, that's amazing - one touch with the white sword, and that skeleton turned into dust! Not much good news anywhere else, though. A few are holding their own, but we're walking all over the rest. Our ranks are thinning, though.

    "Second wave, advance!"

    Blast, that's me. I was beginning to think I could stay out of it. Still, as long as the rank ahead of me stays intact - whoops, spoke too soon. Now I'm in the thick of it. I don't... want... to lift... this... sword... no use, I can't resist. Look out! Sorry mister, I didn't mean it... Ouch, you're going to have one massive headache when you wake up... Hey, don't I know you? Whoops, sorry - I'm sure you'll get by just fine without that arm... Narias? Is that you? Wow, you've gotten old - how long have I been dead, anyway? Oof, good hit, but I didn't feel a thing. One thing about being undead, I suppose... That's it, just stay down and you won't get any more hurt. You know, I think I actually managed to pull my punch a little bit, there.

    I really don't want to be doing this! It's like a waking nightmare - these are my friends, I don't want to be hurting them like this! If only I could find a way to stop! Woah, what was that? Oh, that white sword again. It's still going strong... hey, there's a thought!

    Ugh, this is taking a lot of effort... that's it, keep going... yes, I'm doing it! Just a little more... a little closer... just close enough... for that... sword to... touch -

  • It's good to see that you haven't completely dropped off the face of the earth! I hope we get to see some more stories out of you.

    This was an interesting idea for a story. I enjoyed it.

    Slayer's guide to Cythera:

  • I ::Heart:: this cron.

    It combined drama with subtle humor--An interesting Mix :).

    I am the everpresent guest-The one who may never leave. Til death do I part with these forums. I am the vIsitor

  • Mildly cheesy, (but only mildly). A nice return, and an interesting point of view. I just had a crazy idea, that it might be possible to do the Magpie/Undead war this way.... ;). Then again, I haven't eaten in 30 hours, so you can ignore me if you want.

    But Ma, I WANTED to contract seven rare and dangerous diseases found only in cult rituals involving mice!

  • Quote

    Originally posted by Mr. Somebody:
    **Mildly cheesy, (but only mildly). A nice return, and an interesting point of view. I just had a crazy idea, that it might be possible to do the Magpie/Undead war this way....;). Then again, I haven't eaten in 30 hours, so you can ignore me if you want.


    Ah yes, I do like the odd bit of cheese, now and then. ;)

    I did consider setting the story at Cademia instead of Pnyx, just to allow the possibility of it being part of the Undead War. Thing is, even though I'd had the idea percolating for a while, I actually scrawled it all out in half an hour with a pad and pen (yes, I know, low-tech! Boy, did my wrist hurt.), while waiting for my mechanic to finish inspecting my car. That meant that the whole thing flowed quite well, and changing the setting would have needed much more work than I was prepared to put into it.

    Anyway, I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)

    "The e-mail of the specious is deadlier than their mail" - Tom Holt, 'Snow White and the Seven Samurai'
    Panther rocks!

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