Howl of the Carrion King – Chapter Twenty-seven

Chapter Twenty-seven
The Guardians of Lore

Bree held Tempest out before her and frowned. “Don’t leave me now, my Lord.” she prayed.

The two large wooden sphinxes crouched low, and then pounced at her.

Bree threw herself forward and to the ground, diving under the wooden bellies of the creatures, and then rolled to the side, out from under them. She thrust forward with Tempest, plunging her blade no more than an inch into the wooden construct.

“Froth and foam.” Bree cursed.

The sphinx, apparently unharmed, flexed its wing, tossing Bree into the wall. She fell to the floor on her knees. The sphinx padded forward on wooden paws.

A blast of bright lightning struck it in the chest, showering Bree in a hail of splinters and wooden shards.

“Vishayim…” a familiar voice shouted.

Bree cringed. She was inches from the creature. Nes would burn her to a crisp with those flames of his! Did he not see her?

“…vax voseth!”

“Bitter brew!” Bree cursed as she pressed her body as far against the wall as she could and clenched her eyes shut.

The roar of fire neared her but not a tendril touched her flesh. She opened her eyes. The sphinx turned from her to Nes. Fudin punched and kicked at the wooden creature, pummeling it with his bare flesh. Bree could hear Santon hacking at the second one with his broadsword but could not see him.

She stood, shook her head to clear the fogginess from it, and held her sword out before her.

“Vishayim vax voseth!” Nes shouted again, pointing at the sphinx. A thin, red line of flame shot out from his finger, struck the beast and seared into it, sending tendrils of smoke wafting into the air.

Bree sliced at the back of the sphinx, scattering wooden shards around her but causing no real harm to the beast.

“Froth and foam!” she growled in frustration. This was like a celebration with dry kegs!

Nes shot off another line of fire, Fudin roared lightning, and Santon swung his heavy blade, but still the sphinxes fought on, lashing out with paws, wings, and even their tails.

Bree backed up into the dead end niche. “My Lord,” she prayed in confusion as she swung futilely at the sphinxes tail. “What should I do?”

A rank stench overtook her, and she gagged. Not only was she worthless this fight, but she had to get ill, too?

She groaned, raised Tempest high once more and ignored the scent. Wait! The smell had come from behind her. She turned to the empty niche and felt at its bare walls frantically. Not even a crack marred its surface. She looked down at the floor and found it covered with chips of plaster, which had seemingly fallen from no where. This was impossible!

She growled angrily, clutched her holy symbol in her hand and stared at the perfectly smooth wall before her with unwavering, frustrated eyes. The wall wavered. Flickered, like a candle and then dissolved. The wall beneath was cracked and worn, crumbling with age. Set into it was a wooden door. Bree smiled, reached for it’s handle and pushed the door open with ease.

“My thanks, Lord Cailean.”

She stepped through the door and peered around swiftly. Nothing moved.

“Come!” she called loudly to her comrades. “Walk through the southern niche’s wall!”

Santon broke off combat with the sphinx immediately, raced around it and dove right through the open doorway. His eyes widened as he passed through, as if he was expecting to meet with a solid wall. He landed in a pile at Bree’s feet.

“There!” Nes called from the other room. “The wall is an illusion, brother!”

Fudin shook his head and opened his mouth, roaring a line of lightning out of his mouth, at the nearest sphinx. “I will cover you!”

Nes walked calmly through the door with Fudin directly behind him.

Bree threw herself at the door after they entered, hoping to bar the sphinxes entry, but found it unnecessary. As soon as Fudin’s foot crossed the threshold into the next room the sphinxes both ceased their attacks, padded towards their pedestals, and laid down, still as they had been before.

They no longer sensed their presence?

Bree frowned and shut the door. Whoever had enchanted those wooden statues was clearly a few pints short of a keg.

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