“We need to think up a plan to get through them,” I suggested.
“There’s not that many, I can take them all down,” was Angel’s rather obvious response.
“If we burn them too closely to the outpost, we could potentially draw in more risen and cause trouble for those inside.” I looked around the area, trying to figure out a place to potentially burn the bodies. Until we figured that out, we couldn’t move onto killing them.
Ragnvaldr walked further down the bridge, “Behind the cliffs, there’s a tall building. A lot of the walls have fallen in, but the cover around it should hide the smoke well enough, unless we have risen eyes looking towards the sky.”
I walked towards him to see the building, but I stopped when I saw him hold his hand out to tell me to stop. “Is there something wrong?”
“I don’t want you coming this close yet.” So he was worried about me.
I walked back to Angel and Tobih. Tobih smiled at me, but he also looked nervous. I had been working so hard to train in my magic, but I didn’t have the best record of defending myself on this trip. Maybe they were right to worry about me.
“If you think it will work, I trust you.” I couldn’t give a confident yes without seeing the location myself.
“What is that?” Angel said as she bent over the railing of the pact-built bridge. “Is that… a searing cauldron?” She squinted as she looked into the murky water. My interest was piqued so I took a look as well. “You see it, right? It’s hard to make out, but if you look right there,” she traced an invisible path with her finger, “It looks like it’s curved.”
I think she was right. “They did bring them down here.” Looking a little more closely, I could also connect the prongs I saw above the water to a bowl-like shape. I felt a headache beginning to form. “Orr sank when the Charr came with the searing cauldrons. The vizier thought all was lost and used some sort of forbidden magic to make sure Orr never fell to the hands of the Charr.”
“They didn’t even try to fight?” Tobih asked.
“Wait…” I looked around and across the bridge again, “That must be the vizier’s tower you saw.”
“He was a coward with only himself in mind,” Angel responded to Tobih. Looking at the cauldron and their proximity to his home, I began thinking that she couldn’t be that far from the truth. He must have panicked after seeing them on his doorstep.
“That’s an amazing find, though, Angel.” I told her.
She smiled triumphantly, as if she had beat me in some sort of battle.
“If we keep talking for much longer, we’ll draw their attention. We should go ahead and come up with our plan.
Angel and I will worry about taking out the dead. Tobih can provide us with support. Claire, you’re a caster so you should stay back. If you see any of us in trouble, back us up with some fire. We don’t want a lot of smoke in the open so only use your magic if it’s absolutely necessary.” Ragnvaldr made the plans and it seemed like everyone else agreed with it. It was the smarter plan, yes, but I couldn’t help to feel like he had told me to stay back because he was trying to protect me from getting hurt again.
Ragnvaldr aimed towards one of the risen. He stood straight as he determined the path of his arrow. The arrow pierced one of the standing corpses through the eye, which didn’t kill it, but rather drew it’s attention. It was as if the undead group was of one mind now. They gathered together as they advanced towards our party. Angel, who was closest to the enemy, hoisted her greatsword up and waited for them to come closer. Tobih stood some distance between Ragnvaldr and I; he was watching what was going on very intently but his body showed no signs of moving from that spot.
I, on Ragnvaldr’s orders, stayed back. I rested against the banister of the bridge with my staff in hand. I could feel it warming up underneath my fingers. Even if I was confident that they wouldn’t have any problems, I still wanted to be ready.
As the risen group shambled forward, some nearly running while others limped, Angel steadied herself with her weapon. She focused on taking the ones that could run out by severing their legs. Ragnvaldr used his arrows to disable those who were taking much more time to arrive.
Angel swung low to take the legs from one of them but they were becoming a little too close for comfort. After making her strike, she moved backwards. A flash of light came from Tobih’s staff as he ran into battle. There must have been power to that flash; the risen fell to the ground and scrambled to get back up. In this time, Angel had the upper hand and worked quickly to take them all out.
When the battle was over, we all moved the now motionless corpses to the building as Ragnvaldr had suggested. I used the staff in my hand to channel my magic and lit the pile of bodies on fire. It took a while for them to truly burn; their flesh was still soaked. The smell of the bodies burning and the black smoke coming from them was the worst I had ever encountered. The bodies of ten people whom had once lived. Did they still have any idea of who they were after they had turned?
Tobih began coughing. It probably wasn’t good to have him so close to the putrid smoke here after all.
Angel got to him before I could, “You okay?”
He nodded while he coughed. I saw him reach for his handkerchief before probably deciding it was a bad idea. “It’s just this smoke,” Tobih said between the coughs. All of my being hoped that it was only the smoke this time.
“We need to move out of here, then.” Angel helped him outside.
“Best to do that in case we do happen to draw attention anyway,” Ragnvaldr turned to me and said, “The bodies are burning now, in any case, so we have nothing else to do here.” The building was stone and there were no longer any artifacts inside of it. Even if the stone would be scorched, nothing was at risk for burning down.
Outside, Angel was patting Tobih on the back while he was coughing into his hand. “I think he’s going to be okay; the smell was awful.” Angel started rubbing her hand against his back as his coughing subsided.
“Yeah,” he cleared his throat and thrust his hand into his pocket, “I’m fine.”
“The camp can’t be too far. Let’s keep moving. We’ll rest there.” Ragnvaldr said as he hoisted his bag back onto his shoulders.