"Hey wake up! It's CoD ZOMBIE MODE! Woohooo!" Someone shouted in Drake's earpiece, jolting him awake. His first instinctive reflex was to roll over flat on his tummy from where he laid and aimed his weapon out of the embrasure before his brain caught up to his actions.
"Da fuck?" He checked his comms and realized the voice comms came from Mills and just as he was about to reply, a whistle blew and he found the outside of the walls lit by glaring spotlights, and scores of shadowy figures were moving among the passage.
"Drake!" Kont appeared beside him, "It's a night attack, looks like the undead." Kont looked calm as he told this piece of news to Drake, who stared at him in surprise.
"Undead? You mean zombies and vampires?" Drake asked back, flipping open the covers off his scope and peering into the brightly lit passageway. He focused on a moving figure and saw in the glare of the spotlights, a shambling figure, with its left arm missing at the elbow, while the other arm raised towards the walls. The skin has shrunk away from its body, making the body look skeletal, while patches of rotten flesh where tiny white maggots wriggled could be seen and the eyeless face of the dead Empire soldier gaped its jaw open, biting the air, screaming a cry which Drake couldn't hear.
"What the fuck?" Drake jerked his head back from his scope, using his gloved hands to rub his eyes, wondering if he was still sleeping. "Zombies?"
"Van-pa-er?" Kont looked confused and shook his head, "Walking Dead, yes."
"Damn," Mills was right, this is bloody Zombie Mode, Drake thought. "Switch out the M3, we using our M1s instead,"
Kont nodded and unslung his rifle on his back. "I will take Tower One." And he trotted off towards the other end of the enclosed tower.
Drake replaced the scope's cover and carefully placed the M3 Magekiller to the side before picking up his customized M1, and laid back prone on the raised platform, aiming out into the approaching horde. His and Kont's M1 Magelocks was the sharpshooter variant, factory zeroed, and it comes with a 6x magnification scope and flash suppressor.
"Headshot!" Mills's voice came in again from his comms, making Drake grit his teeth. So this is how you wanna play, asshole, he thought and fired at the approaching horde, aiming at their heads.
Thorn was packing up his loose items in the Academy's workshop when sudden heavy and frantic footsteps echoed down from the hallway outside. He glanced at the digital clock on the wall, showing the time to be 0113 AM and frowned, wondering who else is still in the school after so late.
"Magister Thorn?" He heard someone outside calling, he poked his head out of the room and saw a couple of hoomans in that black uniform which worked as peacekeepers were wearing. One of them ducked his head into another workshop calling. "Are you here Sir?"
"Yes?" Thorn called out to them, making them pause and headed to him excitedly. "What can I help you, Po-lease Officers, with?" He remembers the Captain the rest calling them 'Po-lease Officers'.
"Finally we found you!" Both of the men looked relieved, "We need you to come with us. Sir."
"What happened?" Thorn looked confused, "Where do you want me to go? I still haven't packed all my stuff!"
"There is no time Sir, you are needed at the Pass, Sir," Both men looked grim, "They need your help there."
One Kilometer East of Sawtooth Pass, Empire mass grave
Urka grunted as he glared out from the cover of the forest looking at the Walls being magically illuminated, "The Spirits won't be able to sneak up on them, they fight surprisingly well for soft skins."
The Elder kept to side, either ignoring Urka or not hearing what Urka said. Urka turned and glanced at the Elder, his ears catching something from the hooded cloak, as he took a step closer, he caught a few snatches of the whispering coming from the hood. The whispers made his head hurt, his skin crawl and goosebumps raising all over his body. He quickly retreated away from the Elder Shaman, leaving the Elder alone.
His warriors also kept a wary distance away from the Elder, more so from the gathered dead at the site of their former graves. Their burning torches cast flickering shadows among the dead, making the shadows appear to be stalking the Oerkin, making them uneasy and restless.
Urka peered through a precious eyeglass, which had been looted at some point in time in the past, its former owner no longer around to protest its use. The eyeglass brought Urka seemingly closer to the battle at the Pass, the echoing of thunders from their cursed thundersticks rolled down from the mountains, scattering the sleeping wyverns, which screeched their disapproval and dive bombed the Oerkin and gathered dead with their poop as they flew away.
Urka ignored the splats of goo, and concentrated on the battle, nodding in satisfaction as the dead reached the walls and cursed when balls of fire incinerated them into char. "Do something," He turned and instructed the Elder. "We are losing the Spirits to their magic!"
A sigh escaped from the hood of the Elder, "I have done all I can if the Spirits cannot advance into the walls, there is nothing much I can do."
"Bring the Spirits back, don't waste the Spirits' bodies," Urka ordered, "Keep them here first, while I go talk to the soft skin lord."
The Elder gave a bow and appeared to start whispering something. Urka quickly beat an escape with his warriors, leaving the Elder alone in the clearing with the dead. After leaving behind the Elder, Urka felt better, he might not fear swords and arrows, but the chaos magic and dread of the Elder frightened him to his bones.
As he neared the camp of the soft skins, dozens of soft skin sentries surrounded them, and a self-important bearing soft skin wearing that ridiculous looking plume on his helmet, ornate plate, and blue cloak. "Halt, what business do you have?" That soft skin sneered, puffing his chest up, trying to look imposing which was funny as the Oerkins towered over every elf by a good 20 to 30 centimeters, not to mention Urka's biceps were as large as the elves head.
Urka just stared at the officer and spoke slowly and simply, "Urka here to see big lord."
The officer tried to stare down Urka, but failed miserably, and to cover up his embarrassment, he shoved an unfortunate sentry, "Go inform the Duke, our 'guests' are here to speak with him. Go!"
The sentry stumbled off in the darkness, and Urka waited impatiently for the sentry to return. Both sides glared at each other, fingering their sword hilts and spears nervously, they waited in the dark. Finally, the sentry returned with someone in tow, Urka stood up from the tree root he was sitting and stepped forward.
"Ahh, Lord Urka," The newcomer greeted Urka like a long lost friend with all smiles and laughter. "Well met, my lord."
"Urka here to see your big lord," Urka spoke in Common, the unfamiliar words rolling off his tongue like sand. "Need to talk, make plans." He explained to the gaudily dressed flunkey.
"I am sorry to say that my Lord Sturm is currently resting and wishes that no ones disturb his rest," The flunkey responded with a deep bow, "My greatest apologies, could my lord please return first and come back when the sun breaks?"
Urka fumed with rage, but he held it down, there was no point in provoking the soft skins for now. He glanced up at the dark sky and mentally calculated roughly how long more till dawn comes. Urka looked at the bowing flunkey and said, "Urka wait here, bring food and drink."
The flunkey straightened his back, and looked at Urka in the eye, "My lord, that is not proper, it will be best for you to return to your camp."
Urka just stubborn sat down back at the tree root, staring at the manservant back and repeated, "Food and drink, Urka wait here for Big Lord to wake up."
The flunkey after staring at Urka for a while, gave in and nodded, "Would my lord prefer if I bring a chair for you to rest? Blankets against the cold?"
Urka snorted, "Cold?" He glanced in contempt at the soft skin soldiers dressed in cloaks and thick clothes. "Food and drink, now."
Bowing again, the flunkey returned to the camp and shortly after returned with several servants in tow, carrying plates of cold wyvern and skins of ale. He bowed again and before leaving said, "I will return when my Lord Sturm has woken up, should you have other wishes, please inform the Captain of the Guard, and we will do our best to accommodate your wishes."
Urka nodded, waving the manservant away. He grabbed an entire roast wyvern and bit down, chomping down the bird including the bones, before gesturing his warriors to help themselves. His warriors gathered around the food and drinks with glee and sat down, feasting on the food and drinks, jousting and joking among themselves, ignoring the hungry looks cast by the soft skin sentries.
Urka burped and smacked his lips as he finished his second skin of ale, he had to admit that the soft skins culinary skills are quite good, and so is their brewing skills. Satisfied, Urka laid back against the tree trunk, "Some of you keep watch," He told his warriors, "I don't trust the soft skins at all."
His warriors nodded and started arguing among themselves on who to start the watch first, while Urka settled down comfortably and closed his eyes and rested.
Highway to Sawtooth Mountain Pass
Thorn held on to his dear life as the open top jeep racing along the road towards the Pass. The wind blew strongly against his face, whipping his untied hair wildly. He randomly thought that should he cut his hair short, like the hoomans, while gripping the handlebars set in the frame of the jeep tightly.
Despite the early morning, he noticed that they had passed by several half-tracks going up and down the road, which normally at this time there should not be any vehicles at all. He wondered what has happened at the Pass. He wondered if it is gonna rain, and how are they going to keep dry in a vehicle like this with no cover, as he heard thunder rumbling in the distance.
As the jeep near the Pass, that was when Thorn realized that the thunders were actually Magelocks firing in the Pass. He yelled over the wind to the driver, "Are those Magelocks? Are we under attack again?"
"Yes Sir," The driver responded, keeping his eyes on the road. "They need you to help them with something."
Thorn lapsed into silence, thinking that if they wanted him there meant something magical is happening and they need his brains for it. He shivered in the biting wind, as they have traveled over an hour in hooman time, cursing himself for not bringing along a cloak.
Finally, the jeep entered the camp at the Pass, passing by two gates before stopping at the third gate. "Sir, this is the furthermost I could go, someone will bring you inside." The driver said to Thorn, who thanked the driver for the ride and got down on shaky legs.
Almost immediately, two elves dressed in that spotted uniform approached him, "Sir, please follow us." One of them spoke respectfully, and stood at parade rest, waiting for Thorn to follow them.
Thorn nodded, "Lead the way." And followed the two soldiers pass the gate and onto another jeep waiting inside the gate.
Less than five minutes they arrived at a squat, bare and grey concrete structure built into the side of the Mountain. The sound of gunfire was a lot louder here, indicating he was nearer to the Walls. The two soldiers gestured for him to follow them into a door at the side of the structure. He noticed a lot of guards and checkpoints before entering a huge room, which resembled the Bridge in the Iron Castle which several huge display screens dominating the room.
Major Frank looked up as the two escorting Marines saluted by raising their right hand to the side of their head, palm straight, fingertips to the right eyebrow. Frank saluted back and dismissed them and waved Thorn over.
"Welcome to the Pit."