Queen of the Hill
Crows swarmed the skies overhead, their shadows blocking the sun like some living cloud of dark omens. Fen didn’t notice. Everything she was, everything she had, was fully engaged in the battle for survival. Securing her own, and ending it for so many others. The ground beneath her feet had been soaked with the blood of comrade and foe alike. That was back when she could still see the ground. Now, if she were too look down, she would see the faces of her former companions, lying where they’d fallen beside her.
Fen didn’t look down, but she could feel the truth of what was there through the insecure footing that had become just one more environmental hazard to remain aware of. Even if Fen had been the sentimental type, now wouldn’t be the time for it. That way lay death.
Long spears jabbed towards her from all sides, thrusting in such a way as to leave her no escape. Light flared up around Fen as she contorted the fingers of her left hand into the appropriate sign and screamed out the ancient and forbidden name of the dead. Her right arm hung limply, unable to aid her. It had been shattered hours before, dropping her fabled sword where it now lay buried within the hill of corpses.
Dead arms lunged upwards from the hill by the dozens, rising between Fen and the threatening spears before they could reach her. The weapons were ripped from her enemies and slowly sunk into the corpse hall. The restless dead returned to stillness as the spell ended. Fen heaved an exhausted breath and tried not to stagger. Her body was beyond exhaustion, blood and bruises paired with the snarl upon her face to paint her in a worse light than many of the corpses she stood upon.
Calling on the dead had cost her, depleting her precious reserves of energy. The enemies were climbing the hill with swords and axes, prepared to deal with the dead limbs should they rise again in Fen’s defense. They wouldn’t, but she wasn’t about to tell them so. Fen reached down with her good hand and pried the hilt of a longsword from a dead man. She couldn’t think far enough to remember if he’d been friend or foe. Not that it mattered.
When the first four enemies reached Fen, she was ready. One of the four darted forward, seeking to engage her and leave her exposed to the other three. Fen didn’t oblige.
The sorceress dropped backwards, pouring just enough magic into her legs to give her the strength and speed required. The movement sent her sliding down the twisted bodies, all the way to the base of the hill. Blades flashed towards her, but too slow. Her own blade flicked out three times in her brief retreat, leaving two soldiers disemboweled and one more with a slashed hamstring.
In the chaos, Fen was able to gain her feet before anyone could close on her. Fen Telum, ancient sorceress of a forgotten era, drew in a deep, ragged breath, and screamed. It was a sound of primal fury. Of strength and tenacity. A sound of life and death.
Everyone within thirty feet of her fell to the ground, writhing. Still, she screamed. Blood began pouring from the ears of her enemies, and the hill of corpses began to buzz with vibration. The terrible sound coming from the sorceress’s reached a crescendo and the hill burst, all the corpse erupting blood and organs into the air.
The macabre mess twisted in the air, forming into a gory cyclone that spun with the force of Fen’s cry. She stopped screaming and walked into the cyclone.
For a moment, the battlefield calmed as all around saw the sorceress’s apparent demise. Harsh voices shouted orders and screams of fear burst through the air a second later when the gruesome display of sorcery collapsed inwards, leaving Fen standing at its center. Clean of blood and healed of wounds. In her right hand she held the fabled blade of Vi Scelerata.
Fen released the sword’s restraints, loosing its power to a degree that she’d only used once before. There would be a price to pay for the magic that had saved her this day, and another for drawing so heavily upon the blade’s twisted power, but she would be alive to pay that price. The army surrounding her, however, would not. To Fen, that was an acceptable tradeoff.