Notes: As a challenge to myself, I’m going to write at least a kiloword (1000 words) when a certain event happens. This was today’s bit. It’s likely a one-shot. Word Count: 1174.
SHORT STORY: Kylie’s Crusade
Kylie hummed to herself as the dusky skinned human continued her walk down the road – although the road was cracked, the signs were worn down where they weren’t in ashes, and she’d be surprised if anyone had traveled down it in years. The woman made sure her bow was still secured tightly to her armor – this was her job.
Many of the villages on the fringe of the Forest of Fire, so named for the red trees that dominated the region, had been lost when the Kathiron Hell Storm had been launched. While the magi of the Nations of the Inner Lake had eventually prevailed, the nations had been so exhausted in both material and people, that in the first desperate years, they had no ability to send scouts out, let alone have a standing army.
But that was thirty years ago. The diviners of the temples across the Inner Lake had been pushing, convinced that something dark was growing in the Lost Lands, as they were called. It wasn’t until the first of the rebuilt villages, Saliona-on-the-river, was attacked by fire zombies and destroyed, with the dead being added to the legion, that anyone listened,w hen it was too late. It was her job to see where the army was needed. And, it was just interesting to see how things had changed. The trees weren’t red anymore – they were literally on a kind of purple fire that had made her wary to go near them.
It kinda reminded her of a story from her homeland, far beyond the northern seas. And, because of it, she had an eye out for wolves. It would be embarrassing for her to make it this far, to die to a wolf, instead of one of the zombies, or whatever might be controlling them. No one really knew, and that fear caused a lot of turmoil – and witch hunts. Kylie had seen a family ripped apart by accusations they practiced the necromantic arts, and well, she had to get the daughter out of the city before her parents could kill her.
Kylie had almost regretted what happened to her. But then again, she was much happier now, and entirely safe from the witch hunts. She slowed down as she spotted signs of movement, and hunkered down under a fallen tree. Here, were not just fire zombies, but what the army called ‘shrieking zombies’. They were magic resistant – and that meant also resistant to the diviners calling down divine wrath – which, it had been noted – rarely worked nowadays. The Nations of the Inner Lake were losing people, mostly to the nations to the south and east, and a large area of land was being abandoned. It was a worry, as this was the breadbasket for this area. Kylie rather thought that this was something they should have prepared for more, as this was an area with an extremely troubled history – the Inner Lake after all, was unsailable due to the high amount of hostile magic. Something had clearly happened here. She would likely be moving on herself, soon.
But here she was, gathering-fluff rather than observing. The zombies were not mindlessly shambling here – there were rather low level fortifications made of fragments of houses and downed trees, still eerily on purple fire, and that meant, someone was giving orders. That raised the danger quotient a lot, and Kylie smiled as she manifested her magic. She had to get information, and that meant recon in force – and she needed to leave no sign of these zombies or her presence, if there was someone directing these zombies.
Focusing, she ‘threw’ her magic in a oval in front of her, watching with satisfaction as the zombies began to crumble into ash. The rush of power this gave her was something she never got tired of, and she began to move the oval in a circle around her, destroying the zombies. The fortifications didn’t survive either. Kylie was glad – this meant her streak of destroying these old villages would continue. It was true, the Army needed the fortifications, but the army had an annoying habit of purifying these villages. If they just saw more dead dirt – they wouldn’t bother.
An old woman rushed out after a bit, and stared at Kylie in alarm.
“What are you doing? This keeps them alive! I keep them alive! You’ll leave us open to the animals from the forest!”
Kylie nodded, a bit of a cruel smile on her face as she kept purposely walking to the woman. A flickering shield emerged around her, as the woman’s bracer glowed with a clearly prepared spell.
“Indeed, but you can’t bring them back to life. They are just clinging to life. Far better to send them on to the cycle. To clean them of the power and karma, so they can be reborn anew in a better place.”
“What better place?”
“Well, Askao, but honestly, you humans make most of these countries terrible. Most won’t be reborn as humans, or in a human dominated world. You won’t either.” Kylie said, as gentleness entered her tone. “I salute you for doing so much for them. Giving your soul up, even. But.” She sent a black lash out to the woman’s body, yanking her soul out.
“I’m stronger than your contractor, and I think you deserve a peaceful next life. One with the happiness denied you by your birth.” The soul didn’t have time to scream before she sent it to the wheel, a wave of power filling her up as the village disappeared in a flash of light.
Kylie looked around, with a satisfied smile, casting a spell to remove the traces, and leave it for the forest to reclaim, and for a horde of new undead – stronger, more resistant to magic, and yet able to send souls into the cycle with a touch, who would live until the terrible day when the last Nation of the Inner Lake fell, when the door under the church finally opened.
When her sister would return. Kylie felt a pair of arms fold around her, and turned to smile at Alia, the succubus holding Kylie close. With a smile, Kylie abandoned her form, her body becoming curvy and more voluptuous as the two succubi stood there as the zombies rose from the earth in a new legion and strode down the road.
“On to the next, Kylie?”
“On to the next. If the hellstorm wouldn’t work.. well, we can make juice out of the scattered fruit.” She almost regretted Alia becoming a succubus, but.. having someone with her who understood, and was entirely loyal to her was something she didn’t know she needed.
She would rescue her sister, who was just a wandering healer, from the Nations of the Inner Lake. She would reveal who they had been, to the world, in death.
And if her sister was still herself, this would be the end of her crusade against humanity.