Na stared at the Hunter, his pistol’s barrel placed against her forehead. With but a gesture, he could end her wretched existence, send her back into the dark abyss. Yet he did not, instead uttering that single word. His posture and expression, they never changed, yet she could tell that he was… judging her? Yes yes, that’s what it was. How… curious.
“She has my daughter, yes yes.” Na said, her eyes never leaving his.
“She’s not your…” started the armored man, but Lord Hemmingler put a hand out, silencing him. His attention never left Na though, and he let the words hang in the air before speaking in a slow, steady voice.
“No creature of the dark with the capacity to do so has had the resolve to look me in the eyes. Those who will match the eyes of justice and do not flinch are rare, even among the pious.”
Na didn’t say anything. He still kept the weapon to her forehead, so obviously he hadn’t resolved anything yet, whether for or against destroying her. The stout man, whom Na was convinced was not a Wizard now, walked up to the Hunter, towing Fi behind him. The Ghoul growled unintelligibly, but didn’t try to leap or lunge, not that she could all that well considering the shackles.
“Milord, shouldn’t we dispose of these abominations now? We know of the location of the Wight now, so… what further use do they have?”
The armored man, Marybeth’s supposed father, nodded in agreement. “Aye. After everything they’ve done, why do you hesitate? The way you speak about burning out corruption and sickness? Look at it!” He pointed at Na, hand shaking, “A mockery of humanity!”
The Hunter lowered his weapon then, still keeping his eyes on Na, though he did not holster the weapon. He once more spoke slowly and deliberately, his voice never raising. “I find it curious though, that this Monster would ask for the aid of one who seeks to destroy her. Not in order to save herself, but to save another, a child no less.”
He turned to Marybeth’s father and gave him a flat stare. “Yet you, Sergeant Holsenheim, demand her destruction, though you yourself do not have the resolve to free the shade of your daughter from the shackles put upon her?”
The man looked down, his face abashed, though an anger still lurked in his eyes.
Lord Hemmingler flicked the pistol toward Na. “Get up.”
She blinked, taken aback by the situation. “You… will help, yes yes?”
“I will slay the Wight and all others inside her lair. Do not be mistaken in believing that I do not find your existence an anathema, for surely I do. However, I cannot deny that even the greatest of heretics may yet have hearts filled with conviction.” He tipped his hat downward before sighing, “Nor that the most pious of men should be without mercy.”
Na rose, and looked the man in those cold eyes once more before nodding her head. “Thank you.”
The Hunter shrugged. “Tell me though, Ghoul, why were you beset upon by these?” He waved at the Skeleton guards and cultist, “Minions?”
Na shook her head, “I do not know, no no, do not understand. He said it was Kat’s orders, yes yes, that they wished to experiment on Marybeth, though I know not what that means, no no.”
“Why did they bring you out here?” Sergeant Holsenheim asked, seeming curious. “It makes no sense.”
“We…well, without the Lord’s divine intervention, it surely would have been ended by that Skeleton, correct?” The stout one, Pulkin, said with a shrug.
Lord Hemmingler stooped down and picked up the black dagger from the cultist’s dead hand and held it before Na. “Obsidian, though it is not blessed weaponry, I’m sure you’re finding your wounds not healing as they should.”
Na blinked, realizing that indeed, her wounds were still very fresh and rather painful, though in the tense moments before, she barely paid them any mind. Now that the tension was receding, Na moaned softly, staggering to the side as the pain flared up. She eyed the corpse of the cultist, feeling her Hunger pushing at her, but the Hunter merely coughed into his hand before slipping the obsidian dagger into his coat.
“I think not.”
She growled softly yet made no move against him, knowing that it would be folly to do so. He had already stayed her execution for now, so she shouldn’t push it, yes yes. Instead, she looked back to the Manor and grit her teeth. She would take Marybeth back, even if it ended in her destruction. With that in mind, she began to trudge forward, back to save her daughter and confront her former friend.
Their pace was fairly slow, mainly because Pulkin continued to pull Fi behind him. They’d left the horses behind, the terrain too muddy, the danger to the beasts too great. Na had inquired why Fi was still around, feeling no particular love for the other Ghoul. “She will have her uses.” Was the only reply she received from Lord Hemmingler, who strode behind the two Ghouls, pistol and sword drawn, his eyes constantly scanning the area for signs of trouble.
Nothing attacked them though, and in fact, they didn’t see a single soul, or soulless creature, the entire way there. Na didn’t think there would be any trouble, considering she didn’t see any guards around the Manor when she left beforehand. Which, now that she thought about it, was strange, very strange indeed. Why wouldn’t there be even Skeletons about? It wasn’t as if they needed to eat, yes yes?
The closer they got, the more on edge Fi became however, her head whipping back and forth, posture becoming more wretched the whole time. “They are watching, always watching, yes yes.” She would mutter. Na wanted to ask what they meant, but the Hunter didn’t seem pay much heed to her ramblings, as if he understood perfectly that something was watching him. Perhaps he was just always in a state of paranoia?
By the time the form of the Manor came into focus, a thick fog had descended upon the swamp, obscuring their vision all around. Pulkin began to sweat even more profusely at this, but Na didn’t mind, her shining red eyes able to pierce the fog with little effort. She led the way forward, despite her condition, but the moment Fi reached the gate to the Manor grounds, she stopped, causing Pulkin to skip forward some before turning about and berating the Ghoul.
“No no! They know! The guardians, yes yes, they slumber but not now, no longer!” She looked down at the ground before hissing, “Too late, we are too close.”
Na considered this for a moment before the sound of shifting earth came to her ears, and a rotting hand burst from the ground, latching itself around her ankle. Her eyes went wide as an unnatural strength pulled at her leg, bearing her to the ground in a heap. She struggled to free herself from its grasp as more ground shifted, and from the wet earth emerged the a Zombie, her body rotten and covered in clumped dirt. She wore no clothes and was missing an eye, along with most of her face, but her arms still had unbelievable strength.
All around Na, more arms burst forth throughout the grounds as more and more Zombies began to pull themselves free from their earthy prisons. As they did, they uttered a low, moaning noise, replacing the ambiance of the swamp with the voices of a dozen gangrenous throats.
“A trap!” The sergeant shouted, avoiding the grasps of a Zombie who was rising from the earth, his spear falling from his hands, sword quickly coming free from his sheath to hack at the arm.
“Guardians!” Fi wailed, struggling again to break free from her chains. “They are freed! Tear us apart, yes yes, we will be ripped asunder! Should never have returned, no no, never!”
Na growled at the creature holding her, the lowest form of undead. Zombies had no minds of their own, they were merely feminine bodies which acted on instinct unless guided by a higher power, such as a Wight or Lich. She pitied those who were torn from the dark abyss only to be put into these forms, their bodies slowing rotting around them, until they returned to nothing. Perhaps that was for the best though, that eventually they did return to nothing instead of staying forever in their interminable suffering.
In this situation, however, she had no pity for these creatures. Instead, she growled, allowing the Hunger to flow into her, and with a howl, she ripped the arm that held her clear off the creature, sending it to stagger backward before continuing toward her like nothing ever happened, moan continuing to issue from its throat.
Na sprang to a low crouch before snarling, jaw distending. She leapt upon the creature, tackling it to the ground, though it seemed to pay no heed to such a thing, and tried to grapple Na with its one remaining arm, dirty nails raking dully against Na’s pale flesh.
Na screamed and thrust her mouth to the Zombie’s throat, tearing it out in a quick fashion. She spit out the rancid meat as clotted blood dripped from the thing’s throat. Na snarled and looked for another one, when the Zombie she thought she had eliminated lifted itself up and bit her on the arm. The pain was not so bad, though it took a good chunk of meat out of her arm, but the shock of it managing to do so, despite what Na had done, sent her off balance.
“The head, you foolish Ghoul!” Shouted the Hunter, as he shot a Zombie between the eyes, its already rotten head exploding from the force. Before it hit the ground, he’d already whipped about and lopped the head off another one, the blessed steel of his thin blade carving through their flesh and bone like a hot knife through butter. Both Zombies, now returned to mere corpses, dropped to the ground, once more lifeless.
As Na looked to the Hunter, she’d also noticed Pulkin as he stood there, holding Fi’s chains in his arms like a shield before the onslaught of a Zombie. Fi intervened, jumping before the fool, and presenting her chains to block the blow, to which the Zombie tore at. With a snapping sound, the chains leading to Fi’s neck broke, allowing her to stumble backward. She tittered her strange giggle before leaping behind Pulkin and pushing him onto the Zombie, causing the two to fall into a heap of flailing limbs and screaming bulk before she dashed off into the night.
Na turned back to her Zombie and growled. There was no time to worry about the other Ghoul escaping as she’d be long gone by now. She grasped the Zombie that was gnawing on her flesh and tore it off her before tossing it onto the ground. She raised her arm and slammed her fist into the thing’s face. The shock of her blow broke the nose, but the Zombie barely noticed until Na did it again, and again, the third blow hitting with a fierce cracking sound, and the Zombie suddenly went slack as her brain was pulverized by the shards of bone forced into it by the blow.
Na’s victory was short lived however as two more Zombies came toward her, their arms held out before them, lifeless eyes locked upon her. She dodged the first one, leaping back into her Ghoulish crouch, taking the opportunity to grab the legs of the other one and pulling forcefully to drop it to the ground. The first Zombie didn’t have the time or reaction speed to stop Na from skipping behind her and standing up, grabbing a fist-full of matted and brittle hair. She let loose a Rending cry and used all her might to slam the head of the Zombie in a downward arc, straight toward the other one, who was trying to pick themselves up. The two heads collided with a sickening crunch, both Zombies going still as their rotten heads were pulped.
Na looked around herself, a sense of bloodlust creeping into her vision. More, yes yes, destroy more, must break more, then feed, yes yes, sweet delicious… She shook her head, forcing the Hunger back down. She would feed, in time, but not now, no no, not now.
Everything had happened so quickly, it was almost a shock to see only two Zombies still standing. There was a circle of death lining Lord Hemmingler, his person completely untouched as he strode toward Marybeth’s father, who had managed to hack apart two Zombies, but was beset upon by the last two
He pushed one away, but the other managed to grab hold of his arm, teeth biting down onto the armor of his forearm, denting it, but managing to break the blow. He yelled out before shoving it off as well and hacking into Monster’s head off with his blade. It took him perhaps three strikes to do so, but with a sickening sound of meat being sliced, the zombie went lifeless, and dropped to the dirt. The one he had pushed away before loomed behind him as he finished off the other, but with a simple flourish of his blade, the Hunter ended its existence.
The corpse hit the ground, and with it, the sounds of the swamp returned, seeming somehow quieter than before, though perhaps that was merely due to the lingering remnants of the frenzy of battle. The Sergeant sighed and shifted on a leg before nodding to Lord Hemmingler. “If they didn’t know we were here, then they do now.”
“Aye.” The Hunter said, reloading his weapon. “I had expected such a thing, however. Your assistance is much appreciated, Ghoul. As long as you stay useful, I’ll stay my hand.” He looked to Pulkin with a flat stare, causing the stout man to whimper. “You, however, allowed the captive to escape…”
Na narrowed her eyes before sharply whipping their head around to the front of the manor as she heard a sound. The humans noticed in a heartbeat and took up guard positions as the doors opened a moment later, revealing the form of a cultist surrounded by ten Skeleton Guard. The cultist’s hood was down, and Na could see that around one eye was a crude tattoo of a broken wheel, partially hidden by long, dark hair. In each hand she held an obsidian dagger, and she sniffed disdainfully at seeing the motley group before her.
“You shouldn’t have come here, Hunter! And you! Ghoul! You betray everything by working with him!” She narrowed her eyes as the Hunter calmly raised his pistol, and one of the Skeleton Guards stepped before her, obscuring his shot. His eyes went flat and he casually re-holstered the pistol before waving Pulkin forward.
“Give me the device.”
“M…milord, it’s the only one you have left!”
“I care not for such things, merely give me the device.”
Pulkin swallowed and reached into one of the bags on his back without even looking and withdrawing a small, black orb which he handed to Lord Hemmingler. A little piece of rope hung outside of the device, and the Hunter took a firestick from Pulkin, striking it to life without effort.
“What are you doing?” The cultist asked, perplexed. “What is that?”
He touched the fire to the end of the string and let it burn down some before stepping back and hurling the heavy object like a shot-put into the pile of the Skeletons, who made way for the object. It landed with a squelching sound at the feet of the cultist, tossing up a thin spray of mud onto her robes. She blinked a few times before cocking her head. “What manner of trickery is-?”
A burst of light, followed by a loud boom, caused Na to stagger backward, blinking her eyes as a cloud of bone and mud exploded outward, showering her with shards of Skeleton, blood, and earth. She wiped some out of her eyes, not even noticing the little shrapnel wounds in her skin. As soon as she could see again, she stared at the site of the explosion with disbelief. Pieces of Skeletons lay strewn about, and while some were still moving, most were broken into pieces that were little threat to anyone. There was a small crater where the Cultist was, and Na could see pieces of her strewn about so thoroughly, not even a Lich could raise her.
The humans had hands to their ears, though Na didn’t really know why. It wasn’t terribly loud, but they seemed to have difficulty hearing each other. Marybeth’s father was shouting, “What in the name of the Elder Gods was that?” It didn’t seem like he’d been heard, but the Hunter still nodded toward the Manor, waving Na forward. Pulkin followed without a word, as did Na, who looked at the shell-shocked soldier for a moment, shaking her head. Humans, so fragile they could be, yes yes.
They entered the Manor doors and once more Na was in the Foyer, though this time she was in considerably worse shape than before, her energy stores drained severely. The marble floors reflected the dull light of a few lanterns set up in the hall and, standing upon the stairs was Kathryn. She looked down upon the party, observing each in turn before her eyes landed upon Na with a flat expression. “My dearest Naomi, what an unexpected surprise to see you again. You also brought guests!”
“Kat!” Na shouted, taking a step forward. “Where is my daughter?!”
The Wight sighed and shook her head. “Of course that would be the first thing you’d ask. Not, ‘why did you try to have me killed’, but ‘where is my daughter?’ Is she truly that important to you?” Kathryn looked into Na’s burning red eyes before sighing again, “Of course she is, what a foolish question to ask.”
Na growled and made ready to spring toward Kathyrn, but the Wight held up a hand. “You do not wish to do that, even your unlikely bedfellows can tell you that.”
Na looked to Lord Hemmingler, who nodded once. She managed to push down her rage, keeping it on a short leash, before growling out, “Why betray me? Yes yes, such painful, painful betrayal.”
“For this exact reason. Remember, I knew you before you knew yourself. You would not just leave well enough alone, though it may take days, weeks, months, years even, you’d make your way back here to see your darling daughter, and it would make things… problematic.”
She waved a hand, “Of course, how could I have known that he would have found his way here as well?” She shook her head, “It was one of the Ghouls, wasn’t it? Likely that fool, Fiona. This is what I get for showing mercy to such a barbaric creature after she stumbled upon this place.”
“She had her uses.” Lord Hemmingler said, “Though your welcoming party saw to her escape. I will deal with her in a later time.” He took taking his pistol out of its holster and aimed at the Wight. “Though I suppose that’s inconsequential for now. Tell me, why would you care to steal the girl?”
Kathryn laughed, “Oh Sir Hunter, what does it matter? You aren’t leaving this place alive.”
“I could say the same to you.” He said, staring at her critically. He narrowed his eyes and lowered his weapon instead of firing it, however.
“Milord, shoot her!” Pulkin cried, but Lord Hemmingler shook his head.
“She is not to ignorant to the world, nor am I.”
Na cocked her head at this, then studied Kat. She watched for a moment and saw a slight glimmer of green light flicker around the Wight. What was that? She’d heard that Wights could use a form of magic, but… Kat? No no, it was time to stop thinking of Kat as the one who’d blessed her, and instead think of her as nothing but an enemy. It hurt to do so, but she knew it was the correct thing to do after all she’d done.
Kathryn sighed and shook her head. “Come for me then Hunter, dearest Naomi. Let us put an end to this farce.” She turned about and entered the hallway to the throne chamber, leaving them in silence.
The unlikely group looked between themselves before nodding their heads. They all knew why they were here: Conviction, loyalty, sorrow, and revenge, each had a reason to step through the doors and face the Lady of the Dead. Na’s eyes burned fiercely as she took the first step toward the stairs, her pains and Hunger giving her the impetus to move forward.
The door opened with a groaning sound, revealing the red carpeted hallway, lined with suits of armor from before. No Skeleton guard were present, possibly all the remaining ones destroyed by the explosion, but the hall was not empty. Standing in the middle of the hall was the lone figure of the Ghoul in the lue dress, her body hunched over, red eyes staring coldly at the group.
“My lady has bid me to stop you, yes yes.”
Lord Hemmingler tried to pull his pistol, but before he could, the Ghoul dashed forward, far faster than Na could have imagined, and she slammed her fist into the Hunter’s chest. The blow sent him flying backward, a curse on his lips. Marybeth’s father drew his sword in time to block the next blow, but he too was pushed back, his eyes going wide as the creature wailed a Rending cry toward him, one so pronounced that shook Na some.
Still, she not to shaken as to be unable to lunge at the other Ghoul, though she was did not land a blow. Instead, Na caught the blue dress, ripping it off the other Ghoul with the loud sound of ripping fabric. What lay underneath was not what Na had expected, no no. Instead of the normal, thin frame a Ghoul normally possessed, this Ghoul clearly had a toned and muscular body, though she sacrificed nothing in her femininity.
There was something even stranger about her though. upon her abdomen, underneath her breasts, sat two tubes filled with white liquid that were connected via tubes inside of her. The other Ghoul didn’t seem to notice, or care, about herself being laid bare to the world though, and she instead leapt toward Na, another wailing cry on her lips.
Na rolled out of the way as the other Ghoul leapt over her, the creature skidding around before dodging a sword swing from the Sergeant, which rebounded off a suit of armor she’d pushed toward him. Na growled back, posture going low to the ground as she locked her eyes on her opponent. The toned Ghoul looked between the two opposing her before sighting her eyes onto Pulkin, who’d gone pale as soon as she let loose her first Rending cry. Na’s eyes widened then and she leapt toward the stout man a moment before the other Ghoul did.
They collided together, locking onto to each other as they tore at each other’s flesh. The other Ghoul ripped powerful fingers into Na’s arm, tearing out chunks of pale meat without little effort, while Na bit deep into the breast of the other Ghoul, biting off a piece before howling. She felt her wounds on her back being probed and she cried out in pain as they were ripped open further, drawing her closer into Hunger induced madness.
She flailed in desperation to pull herself away, fingers digging furrows into the flesh of the other Ghoul. She was causing no true damage however, until she brushed against one of the tubes on the other’s chest. She grasped it and pulled on reflex, the glass straining and then shattering in a storm of shards that dug into Na’s hand.
Her opponent gasped, hands pulling out of Na’s back, allowing her to kick the stunned foe off her. Na staggered backward, her body wracked in pain, bleeding pale blood from multiple wounds, watching as Ghoul shook violently. Before she could stop shaking though, Lord Hemmingler and Sergeant Holsenheim charged her, forcing her to jitter backward, and though her speed was diminished, Na noticed she was managing to heal far faster than expected.
The two men swung their swords, missing her, though it seemed to Na that they were both hale enough, despite their beatings. She was surprised to see the Hunter still possessed of such alacrity, despite the spot of blood upon his chin, perhaps from where he’d spit some up after being struck. Despite this, he continued to rush the Ghoul, his blade shining in the dim hallway, forcing the Ghoul back.
Na staggered to her feet, growling as the Ghoul hit the wall between two suits of armor, looked behind her, then leapt atop one of them, flipping over the head of the men and sprinkling the area in white fluid. Na blinked, then looked down at the remnants from what had shattered before, her eyes going wide as she touched the sticky material.
“Energy, yes yes… it is sweet, sweet energy!” Though it smelled old and fairly disgusting, she licked at the floor like a dog, hungrily sucking at the material as if she had been lost for days in a desert. She could feel her wounds being healed by the liquid, power coming back into her limbs, meager though it was. Yes yes, it wasn’t much, not nearly enough, but it was enough.
Sergeant Holsenheim hit the other Ghoul with his sword, the blow digging deep into her forearm, causing her to shout in anger before pushing the man aside and dodging a killing blow from the Hunter, turning it instead into a glancing hit which still made her flesh sizzle and smoke. She took a step backward, staring at his blade before rage filled her eyes even deeper. She howled and arched her back, preparing to leap at the men when Na appeared behind her, grabbing at the remaining tube and ripping it off.
As the fluid drained from the tube to the floor, the Ghoul dropped to a knee, pale blood dribbling from her abdomen. She stared at her stomach in confusion before looking up to see Lord Hemmingler bring his sword back to swing across her neck, the blessed blade chewing through her neck with little effort, sending her head toppling to the floor with a grotesque sizzle.
Na crashed to the floor, trying to lap up more of the white liquid, but getting precious little as it sank into the carpet. She whined, looking up at the men, who stood there, panting from exertion. They smelled so good, so wonderful, yes yes, their energy smelled rich, so very rich!
She pushed herself up and began to take a staggering step toward the Sergeant. Yes, she knew he had the protection, and that he would taste foul, but she didn’t seem to care. Her Hunger screamed at her to feed, to nourish her wounds, to keep her in the realm of the undead. She began to form a Rending cry, feeling her jaw distending, when the man turned to her, eyes wide.
Those eyes… the same color as Marybeth’s, so very similar to her… her daughter’s. She stopped in her tracks, eyes flickering back and forth as she fought a war within herself. If she fed upon him, she’d be cut down, she knew this, yes yes, but at the same time… so was so very hungry now, far more than even when she had blessed Marybeth, her sweet, sweet Marybeth. If she was destroyed though… she’d never see her again!
Once more, the blessed thought of Marybeth cleared her mind, and allowed her look away, though she felt a growl escape her lips. A palpable tension seemed to lessen in the room as the Hunter walked past before stopping and wiping his lip, frowning at the blood. “Commendable, abomination. You managed to curb the instincts within you. Come then, let us finish this.”
He continued walking past and Na straightened, walking slowly behind him as Marybeth’s father slapped Pulkin out of his stupor, the man smelling strongly of piss. How was he even still alive, given the man he’s chosen to follow? Na felt she would never know, nor did she particularly care, no no.
Lord Hemmingler pulled open the doors to the throne chamber, and was bathed in the soft light of the moon shining through the stained glass. Na and the others walked up to his side, looking out at the scene before them. The chamber was more populous than before, with ten cultists standing alongside the benches, their hood drawn over their heads, normal steel daggers held in their hands before them. Their master, the Lich named Ingrid, floated gently next to the throne, her eyes dispassionately looking through the Grimoire which floated before her, pages turning without being touched. Kathryn sat upon her throne, legs crossed, cheek resting upon her fist as she stared coldly at the interlopers.
On her other side though, kneeled Marybeth, confusion on her face. The Wight’s hand rested gently upon her blond hair, stroking it as softly as a Mother would. Marybeth’s eyes went wide as she saw Na in such a condition, and she cried out, “M…Ma? What happened? What’s going on?”
“Marybeth!” Na cried, raising an arm out toward her daughter, her emotions being thrown into turmoil. She made to take a step forward, but Kathryn gripped tightly on the girl’s hair, causing her to squeal for , though Na knew it couldn’t have hurt.
“Don’t get ahead of yourself.” Kathryn said, narrowing her eyes, “So, you destroyed Ursula? How unfortunate, she was an interesting experiment.”
“Yes.” The Lich said, not even looking up from her book. “An experiment on constant infusion of semen into a Ghoul. Results were promising, though it seems the subject is still vulnerable to tampering. I will have to reinforce the next one’s tanks.”
Kathryn shrugged, “Whatever keeps you happy, Ingrid, as long as you do with the girl as I asked.”
“It will be more difficult now, I trust you know.”
“I know…” Kathryn snarled, eyes narrowing at Na. “You just had to go and survive, didn’t you?”
“Wh…what do you mean, survive?” Marybeth asked, before yelping as she was picked up by her hair.
“Let her go!” Sergeant Holsenheim shouted.
Kathryn shrugged and dropped the girl, but before she could scrabble away, the Lich spoke a word and Marybeth froze in place, staring helplessly down as she became bound by invisible magic. The Wight shook her head and stood, green light coalescing around her arms, resolving into what looked like long, powerful claws. She held them up as the power shimmered around her, and she spoke in a cold, imperious tone.
“I’m tired of all of this. Let me just end you so I can return to the life I deserve.”
With the wave of her hand, the cultists turned and rushed the party, daggers held high. Na instantly dropped down, leaping to the side as men and women rushed her while the Hunter and Sergeant Holsenheim stood their ground. Immediately, two cultists were cut down by their trained blades, backstrokes causing the other’s ad-hoc formation to shatter into confused pieces.
Na leapt upon one, using her teeth to rip apart the throat of this one, to much better success than the Zombie. She didn’t really relish the way the hot blood flowed through her teeth and down her throat, getting nothing at all from the experience, but it was necessary to end them quickly. Her skin tingled softly and she heard a humming sound to which she up in time to see a bolt of green light streak toward her.
By luck more than anything, a cultist stepped in the way of the blast, and the woman, for she was obviously a woman, shrieked as she was obliterated into fine dust. Kathryn growled from across the room, holding up another arm and channeling more power toward Na.
The Ghoul’s eyes went wide and she rolled out of the way, another blast of green energy tearing apart chunks of the floor where she was. She sprung up onto her feet, noticing that cultists were avoiding her, attacking the two men in order to not be caught in the blasts. Unfortunately for them, one was an experienced soldier, the other a holy warrior. To their credit, the cultists died without running, but die they did, and without doing much but tiring the men some.
“Exultus denayu iltom.” The Lich finished, and Na realized she’d been chanting something the entire time. A sickly light flowed over her Grimoire before coalescing into a ball of blackness which she held over her hand. She looked at it momentarily before pushing it toward the men. The Hunter narrowed his eyes and took out a charm of a rose from under his shirt, holding it up toward the ball. It shone a deep, crimson red as he began to speak, voice echoing in the chamber.
“By the Grace of the Lord above, your blasphemy shall not touch me! As I walk in his holy place, your heresy shall not harm me, for I am the instrument of justice!”
The orb began to shudder, it’s form becoming less coherent as the Hunter strode toward it, rose charm held high. The closer he got, the more the magic began to disperse, until he was within a few feet of it and, with a swing of his sword, it separated into a cloud of power, splitting around him and settling onto portions of the benches. With a tortuous sound, they burst into a cold fire before quickly melting, not burning, into nothing.
The Lich didn’t seem fazed by this, but merely raised an eyebrow. “Interesting. I did not expect Holy power to be so… powerful.” She flipped to another page and began to chant as Kathryn stepped before her, green light shining in the dim room.
“Do you know how long it will take me to rebuild everything you’ve destroyed? No? Well, I’ll just have to start with your corpse then, I’m sure it will make an excellent Skeleton.” She howled and charged at him, black dress flowing gracefully, even as her features drew gaunt, her energized claws flaring with power.
Lord Hemmingler held his blade up, and as she struck with her green fists, they sparked against his blade, a shower of light playing between them. They stepped back from each other, both apparently surprised by the effectiveness of the other’s weapons before they both charged in again, trading blows back and forth in the aisleway.
Na made to help the Hunter, rage filling her vision, when Sergeant Holsenheim grabbed her arm. She looked at him in confusion, but he shook his head, pointing at Marybeth. “This is our chance! The Lich, we have to kill the Lich!”
Na stared at him, confused by his willingness to work with her. He’d been nothing but, well, hostile toward her, and with good reason she supposed. She looked up toward where the Lich floated, Marybeth held helplessly by her magic, and she knew there was no time to argue. Instead, she nodded her head to the man and tore with him around the benches and the fighting that was occurring in between them, leaving a scared Pulkin, who was cowering in fear behind cover, in their wake.
Sparks of light flitted in their peripheral vision as they ran past the dueling Hunter and Wight, their weaponry devastating the area around them, splintering the remnants of the benches as they sought for openings in the other’s defenses. Na didn’t have time to fully appreciate this though as they sighted on the Lich, who was still chanting, Grimoire glowing softly before her.
Na let loose a Rending cry and bounded toward the Lich, who frowned slightly and then just… shifted to the side, avoiding the blow, though her chanting was interrupted. She stared with a cool expression toward Na before sighing. “Why must you interfere?”
“Ma!” Marybeth shouted, still stuck in her infernal prison. “You… you came back!”
Na flipped back around, all four limbs to the ground as she smiled toward Marybeth. Seeing her again, even in such a condition made her body sing in joy. How… how could she have ever thought to leave her darling girl? With new resolve, she snarled toward the Lich. “Release her, yes yes!”
“No, I think not.” The Lich said, shaking her head. Na bounded at her again and she evaded once more, skipping out of range of Na’s gaunt fingers. She casually looked to the side as the Sergeant ran up, and with a flick of her wrist, her Grimoire leapt up and intercepted his blow with a dull thud as the metal of the blade bounced off whatever strange leather bound the book. He staggered backward, blinking in surprise and the Lich shrugged. “Admirable, but foolish. Did you think you could get the better of me?”
“I don’t know.” He said, holding his blade up again. “Why don’t we try again and find out?”
“Hmmm.” She mused as Na struck again, this time getting close and dancing around the Lich, trying to keep her off balance. Instead, Ingrid merely kept pace with the Ghoul, floating almost lazily back and forth, dodging sword strikes as she did so with contemptuous ease.
Na growled, leaping backward and getting her bearings, “Why do you not attack? Merely evade, yes yes, cowardly, very cowardly.”
“I have questions for you.” The Lich said, flipping a page of the Grimoire. “Tell me, how did you raise a child? No other Ghoul I know of has been able to do such a thing, and I have tried with many.”
Na blinked, confused. “But it is against the rules, yes yes! Ghouls are punished, destroyed for that!”
“Yes, well if you’ve noticed, the Lady is the one who makes the rules here. Of course, she wishes you returned to death as well, though I would rather have you for experiments of my own.” She shrugs, “Perhaps a compromise can be reached, as her hands are quite full at the moment.”
The sound of furious combat rang behind them, but Na dared not look. She merely continued to pace about the Lich, who flipped another page of the Grimoire. “Time is running out I’m afraid. The Hunter can’t fight her off forever, rest assured of that. When he falls, and he will, you’ll be next.”
“Why does she even care about my dau…” Marybeth’s father shakes his head, circling the Lich as well. “That creature? What makes her special?”
The Lich didn’t hesitate, speaking in a calm, passionless voice. “Power, as is always the case.”
Marybeth cocked her head, “Power?”
“Yes. You see, Wights are terribly powerful creatures as it is, but in all, they have limits. Ghouls, oddly enough, do not. You will notice the subject you destroyed was made more powerful by direct infusion of semen? Well, that too only goes so far, but old lore seems to suggest that child Ghouls can store energy far more efficiently, at least until they grow.”
Na’s eyes went wide, “G…grow? S…she can grow?” Her heart, were it beating, would have skipped at that. Her daughter wasn’t chained in that form forever, she could… she could have a future, such as it was! She felt a longing pain ache within her as something within, a deep seated fear, broke. Marybeth… could have a future!
The Lich waved a lazy hand. “Supposedly, though her use will be finished before that I suspect. Beyond this, they can siphon energy from other undead Monsters and infuse it into others. I expect this is why the Lady was excited to hear of a possible child. She’s always been searching for more since her ascension.”
Holsenheim grit his teeth. “You’re going to use her like a damn well! I will not allow my daughter to be abused like that!”
Marybeth began to weep as he shouted this, though her face was a mask of confusion and worry. She didn’t remember him, yet she knew his fervor was real.
The Lich blinked once. “Your daughter? Your daughter is already dead, just as you will be soon.”
Na took the opportunity to charge once more at the Lich, her arms outstretched and seething with a furious need to free Marybeth and hold her once more in her arms. The Lich was powerful, but what was she compared to a Mother’s love?
A lot, apparently, as she managed to skirt Na’s attack again, though with a burst of extra effort, Na managed to seize a dangling leg, shifting the Lich off balance. In that moment, Holsenheim struck with his sword, the blow sliding past the book and neatly severing the Lich’s arm at the elbow in a spray of nearly translucent blood. The arm fell to the floor, lifeless as a corpse’s, where it lay in a pool of spreading ichor.
The Lich looked down at the arm, then back up to the Sergeant before he could make his backstroke, and with a flick of her wrist, power coursed through her, sending a bolt of purple energy piercing into his chest, throwing him backward with a cry of pain and a spray of blood. He hit the floor hard, and was still.
Na watched in fascination before the Lich uttered something and she felt herself being ripped away from the Lich’s leg, instead finding becoming suspended in the air. She tried to struggle against the invisible bindings, yet only managed to be able to trash her head about. With the limited energy inside her, she knew it was likely a fruitless endeavor. The Lich floated before her, her face still the emotionless mask, but Na got the distinct impression she was angry, yes yes, very angry.
“This will be quite annoying to re-attach.” The Lich said, her face mere inches from Na’s. “The man is dead, or will be soon, but you… I will take my time with you.” As she said this, her remaining arm began to pulse with magical power.
Na narrowed her eyes at the annoyingly close Lich. She was outmatched, overpowered, and frankly out of her league against the Lich. Marybeth’s father wasn’t going to save her, for he was likely dead, and the Hunter was too busy fighting Kathryn. Still, she did not despair, for she had come this far, fought this hard to just let everything go like this, to lose Marybeth to the whims of power-mad undead. Na gritted her teeth, pulled back her head, and, in a swift motion, slammed it into the Lich’s face.
The effect was immediate. Na dropped to the ground as the Lich reeled backward, holding her nose with her remaining hand. She heard Marybeth gasp and shudder as the bonds on her freed as well, but her focus was fully upon the Lich. With a wail of fury, she leapt upon the floating Monster and bore her to the ground, pinning her in place. The Grimoire flew from her arms and landed nearby, eye flitting back and forth in horribly erratic motions.
The Lich tried to shout something, but Na slammed her left fist into the mouth of the undead, shattering a few teeth and managing to stop whatever she was about to say. Magic began to envelop the Lich again, but Na screamed in furious rage and pulled on Ingrid’s other arm, pulling it out of the socket with a wet, popping noise. The Lich stared with what could only be described as abject horror as Na held her arm above her, then proceeded to toss it across the room. She removed her fist from the mouth of the Lich, whose ruined mouth tried to form words in desperation, yet nothing but a gurgle came out.
Na put both of her hands together and raised them high above her head, red eyes blazing in rage, broken and abused body sitting tall astride the Lich. With one last cry of pain and anger, she slammed them down into the head of the Lich, crushing her skull with sickening crunch.
The Grimoire shuddered violently before the eye closed, and did not re-open. Na sat there, straddling the broken body of the Lich, feeling tired… so very, very tired. She felt her eyes begin to close on her as her wounds flared up, her Hunger trying to assert control over her. How odd, Ghouls didn’t sleep, no no, so what was this? It seemed like it would be nice though, if she could just drift off though, maybe she wouldn’t be hungry anymore…
Na’s eyes shot open and she locked onto the small form that barreled into her, throwing her abused body to the ground. Na gasped weakly as Marybeth hugged her tightly, weeping those pale, sticky tears without care for how she looked. Her cool body felt good against Na, yes yes, so light, yet so heavy. Na could feel tears coming to her own eyes as she pushed herself to embrace her daughter, pushing her head close to the girl and kissing her hair lightly.
She didn’t know why she did it, only that she knew she should. She was too tired to question any of it anymore, all she really cared was that she held her daughter in her arms again. Though her body was broken, the energy within her dangerously low, the Hunger trying to drive her into a frenzy, she was able to suppress all her aches, for at least a little longer, in order to hold Marybeth.
“M…ma, I… I thought you’d left me!” Marybeth cried, burying her face into Na’s chest. “I… I was so scared! I didn’t want to leave you!”
“I’m sorry….” Na whispered, gently stroking her daughter’s hair. “I did not want to, no no, but I thought I was… giving you something better, much better…” She pressed her head to Marybeth’s kissing her hair again. “I was wrong, so very, very wrong. Please forgive me.”
Marybeth looked up at her Mother, and nodded her head furiously before burying her head into Na’s chest, eliciting a small grunt of pain from the older Ghoul. She pulled back and gasped. “Oh no! Y…you’re hurt!”
Na grunted and rolled over, gently displacing Marybeth. She could barely pick herself up, but she did for her daughter’s sake, getting to her knees. “I… I am fine… yes yes, very…fine.”
“You… Ghoul…” Came a soft voice from behind Na. She turned her head to see the recumbent form of Sergeant Holsenheim beckoning her, though it was merely a pitiful gesture of the hand, more of a spasm really.
Na and Marybeth traded glances before the younger Ghoul helped the older crawl over to the sergeant, the sounds of violence still ringing behind them. Na was too tired to care at the moment what was happening, she just… had to make one goal at a time.
As she reached the man, she realized that he was dead, or well, as good as dead. In the middle of his chest was a large rent, the magic having torn through even his breastplate, and exposing a mass of tortuous flesh and blood. Marybeth gasped and put a hand to her mouth at the sight, yet she did not look away.
The man smiled weakly, eyes appearing sunken as his life-blood left him. He said, in a hoarse voice. “Y…you care for her, don’t you?”
Na nodded her head slowly, and the man closed his eyes before wheezing out. “I just… wanted what was best for her. Didn’t…guh… want her soul to… to suffer.” His hand shook as he held it toward Marybeth. She looked to Na, who nodded slowly. Marybeth took his hand, which dwarfed hers, though his paling skin was only a shade more hale than hers.
“I… don’t know if that’s really… really you, or some… some shade of my daughter.” He paused, swallowing before coughing, “But… when I saw the smile on yo…your face as you embraced…her, I… I felt relieved.” Tears began to roll down his cheeks as he opened his eyes. “I’m so sorry I failed you… that I wasn’t there before.”
Marybeth touched his hand to her forehead before whispering, “I don’t blame you.”
He smirked and closed his eyes again. “Ghoul… what is your name?”
Na spoke slowly, “Na… or Naomi, I am told, yes yes…”
“Ha…Na… that’s a nice name.” He gasped for a breath before coughing again, wheezing out, “Take from me…what you will. Just…just keep her safe.”
A rueful smile comes across his face as he settled back. “Hopefully I’ll see her again on the…other…side…” He wheezed out a last breath before his hand slipped, the life extinguished from it.
Na and Marybeth sat there, looking at the corpse. He smelled wonderful now to Na’s senses, and her body longed to feed upon him, to reap the rich energy she needed to survive. Though she knew she should, she could not immediately do so. Instead, she took Marybeth’s hand in hers, and the girl squeezed tightly upon her fingers.
“I wish I remembered him.” Marybeth whispered, tears falling from her eyes.
“You will now, yes yes. You will remember him, as this. Such a sweet, sweet memory.”
Marybeth hung her head before wiping at her eyes. “Go on. You need the energy more than I do, and he wanted you to do this.”
Na nodded her head slowly before leaning down, mouth distending. The Hunger was so fierce within her, she could barely contain herself from feeding. Her teeth sunk into his mangled flesh, and she began to taste the powerful bite of his energy, when she heard a dull scream nearby. Before she could register what was happening, a sudden force flung her off the corpse to land in a dazed, face to the floor.
She blinked a few times and struggled to rise, her weak body starting to give out some, when a foot slammed on her head, driving her face into the floor. “Yes yes! You will not escape this time! I will kill you for the Lady and be forgiven, yes yes, such kind forgiveness!” Fi shouted as she thrust her foot over and over into Na’s head, causing the down Ghoul’s vision to blur.
“Stop it!” Marybeth cried, but Na heard the sharp clap of a fist against flesh, followed by a short wail. She tried to raise her head to see what had happened to Marybeth, but Fi drove her foot onto her skull again, tittering.
“Ehehehe! It is your fault, yes yes, all your fault that I was chained, damnable chains, yes yes, such chaffing chains. Do not worry, no no, I will kill you instead of letting you suffer such punishment, ehehe!”
Na felt her vision slipping again, her aches too strong. Must… feed… have to…
Her train of thought was cut off as she was picked up by Fi, her body hanging loosely in the other Ghoul’s grasp. Fi smiled broadly, her red eyes shining as she reared back her fist to strike at Na. “This time, I will not fail, yes yes!”
“Oh, uhm, about that…”
Fi turned her head too late to see Pulkin of all people drive a shining knife into her back. She dropped Na, and screamed in pure agony, dropping to her knees as her flesh sizzled and burned, the blessed blade purging her with its holy touch. She tried to reach back and pull the blade out, but was unable to do so as pale blood began to spurt from her mouth. She wailed while the man drove the knife deeper into her, her organs, such as they were, melting under the onslaught of the holy weapon. She slumped to the floor, reaching out a hand toward Na, her eyes filled with rage and fear before they went blank, and she returned once more to being a corpse.
Pulkin pulled the knife out and wiped if off, chuckling nervously, “Ha! Thought she could best one of the Order of the Sacred Rose? Heh, foolish abomination!” He blinked at Na and Marybeth before blushing, “Not that, I mean, you are abominations, just…” Before he could speak much more, the sound of metal snapping filled the chamber and everyone turned their attention to the main battle that was left unattended for so long.
Lord Hemmingler stood amongst the ruins of multiple benches, breathing heavily as he sunk to one knee. He was covered in various scratches that sizzled faintly, as if he had been burned, his hat missing and his coat torn to tatters. His short cut black hair was covered in sweat, but his eyes still burned as if nothing was wrong. Unfortunately, in his hand he only held half of his blessed sword, the other laying across the room, broken in two.
Kathryn, for her part, was also cut in various places, her flesh looking like it was branded by hot pokers, her skin trying, yet failing to heal. She had a wild look in her blue eyes as she held up her hands, giggling wildly. “Hahaha! See? I told you that you’d lose out in the end!” She strode toward the man who tried to draw the obsidian blade from the dead cultist, before backhanding him, sending him flying across the room, the dagger skidding across the floor. “I don’t see what all the fuss was about you Hunters! In the end you’re just humans! Weak, pitiful, humans! How was I ever one of your pathetic species?”
Pulkin licked his lips before uttering a prayer. He looked back to Na and Marybeth, then down to the knife in his hands. He took in a deep breath and charged the Wight, his devotion seeming to outweigh his cowardice. Na watched in fascination as the man made to Kathryn before being backhanded by those green claws, his stout form hitting a bench, chest sizzling faintly from the energy as he passed out. Kathryn sneered before looking at Na, her hatred growing further. She began to walk toward the two, pulverizing anything in her path.
Marybeth shuddered and asked, “What do we do Ma? She… she’s going to destroy us!”
Na looked to the corpse of Marybeth’s father. If only she could get to the energy… “Help me!” She said to her daughter, pointing at the corpse, and Marybeth looked about wildly before biting her lip and helping to drag Na over to the corpse, their pace painfully slow.
“What is this?” Kathryn cried, smashing aside the remnants of another bench. “What do you hope to accomplish by feeding upon this man? Do you think you can escape my wrath, my dearest Naomi? Not after what you’ve done! I will end you!”
Marybeth all but dropped Na onto the corpse before screaming as Kathryn approached. A cracking sound filled the air, and Kathryn staggered forward, eyes going every wide as a thin trail of smoke began to appear from her back. She shuddered for a moment before snarling and flipping about, exposing the site of a blessed bullet wound over her right shoulder.
“We aren’t… aren’t finished yet, you bitch.” The Hunter spat, staggering to his feet.
Kathryn screamed and a cascade of green light came into being around her. She strode toward the man, her whole body glowing emerald as she left the Ghouls alone. Marybeth turned to Na and shook her, “Ma, Ma! Feed, you have to feed!”
Na didn’t need to be told, as she was already feeding, her mouth already digging into his flesh, his energy flowing into her. Yes yes, so rich, so powerful! She shivered as her wounds became less painful, her limbs less heavy, her mind less foggy. She drank deep, scraping every last morsel she could from his body, suctioning it up like some kind of tornado of gluttony. Soon enough though, the man who sacrificed his life to save his daughter’s soul was no more, merely a hunk of meat lying upon the floor.
Na opened her eyes, feeling rejuvenated. Not 100% by any means, but better, much better than she’d been before, enough for her to stand on her own two feet, her hands steady, gaze unwavering. She turned to Kathryn to see the Wight striding forth to end the life of the Hunter. If he died, so be it, but Kat… after everything she’d done, she deserved to be destroyed.
Marybeth took her hand and cried out, “Ma, no! Let’s just run! We can get out of here!”
Na shook her head and put her hand upon Marybeth’s golden locks. “No no, I must finish this. For me, for you, for us both, yes yes.”
Marybeth gently let go of Na’s hand before nodding. “I… I understand.” She stepped back as Na strode forward, moving into a crouch while increasing her pace, her eyes focused on Kathryn. As she picked up speed, she spotted something on the ground, a dark, sharp object. The obsidian dagger! She picked it up in a fluid motion before continuing her run, her posture poised to spring.
Kathryn stood before the Hunter, her posture burning with contempt as she spoke, “And when I am through with you, I will slaughter that entire town, and create an army to replace the one you stole from me. How does it feel? Knowing that your actions lead to their deaths?”
The Hunter merely spit at her feet, and Kathryn growled, raising her hand to finish him off, just as Na let loose a fierce Rending cry, leaping into the air, knife extended forward. The Wight turned too slow, her expression startled, only to have the Ghoul land on her back, grabbing tightly to her, and sinking the dagger into her.
Kathryn screamed again as Na dug into her flesh, adding her teeth to the mix, drawing cold, disgusting blood from the Wight. She thrashed, her green arms reaching back to rake at Na, the energy of it tearing rents in the Ghoul’s flesh. Na endured the pain, doing her best to destroy her friend, her rage and sorrow pouring into her assault.
“GET OFF ME YOU DAMN BARBARIAN!” Kathryn screamed, twisting about, trying to dislodge Na. Her attempts were working though, and Na began to fear that her assault would fail before she was the one who was destroyed! She held on tightly, her teeth sunk into the flesh of the Wight, using it more as leverage than to hurt her as she pulled the dagger out again. She was about to plunge it back in when she saw something unexpected however.
Standing before the two was the small form of Marybeth, a look of determination in her eyes. Both Kathryn and Na stared at her with stunned expressions as the little Ghoul crouched down low, her jaw distending slightly, red eyes flowing fiercely. Kathryn stopped and try to take a step back, but Na held her firmly in place as Marybeth let loose a Rending cry, leaping at the Wight.
“No…NOOOOO!” Kathryn shrieked, trying to keep the girl from her, but failing as Na grabbed hold of her arm, tipping her off balance. The young Ghoul hit the Wight, knocking her to the floor, and sunk her teeth into her flesh, right through the black dress. Then, she began to feed.
Kathryn struggled, but as her energy began to be drained from her, her power began to fade, her protests becoming weaker and more subdued. She began to weep softly as her magic started to wink out, body spasming with the effort to remain undead. “It… it wasn’t supposed to be like this…” She gasped, her arms starting to go limp. “I was… supposed to be… the most powerful…” She didn’t get to finish her sentence as her unnaturally blue eyes winked out, leaving her nothing but a beautiful corpse.
Na slowly rolled out from under the body of the Wight, taking a last look at her former friend. It didn’t have to be this way, yet Na knew in some ways, it did. She closed her eyes tightly before sighing and looking up to Marybeth, who released her jaws from the Wight, thin trails of pale blood dripping around her mouth. Her eyes came slowly into focus as the Hunger left her, and she blinked a few times before making a disgusted look and wiping at her tongue.
“Ahhh, gross! She tasted disgusting!”
Na chuckled and scooped Marybeth into her arms, pressing the girl tightly to her bare chest. Marybeth squealed and returned the embrace, folding her arms around Na’s chest while weeping softly. The two stayed like that for a long while before Na heard the shifting of rubble, and both she and Marybeth looked up to see the Hunter sitting there, back to a wall, and pistol in his hand.
Na glared at the man, her gaze locked with his. His eyes were alive with that conviction he’d always shown, and even though he was broken and abused, he still showed no fear, no loss of purpose. Na pulled Marybeth tight to her bosom as she growled softly, “You still wish to destroy us, yes yes?”
Lord Hemmingler shrugged and pulled the trigger, yet nothing but a hollow clicking sound filled the broken room. He looked to the pistol before dropping it and shaking his head. “It seems as though my weapon is unloaded. How…unfortunate.”
Na narrowed her eyes, knowing that he had fired the weapon before and could easily have reloaded it while the two Ghouls embraced.
“Why?” She asked him, the single word hanging in heavy in the room.
The man sighed and shook his head, reaching for his hat which lay nearby. “Do not take it the wrong way, Monster. I merely am out of the resources to slay you.” He smirked, placing the hat upon his head. “Rest assured, I will do so in the future. Though should you not make yourself visible, it could take quite some time to hunt you down.”
Marybeth nodded her head to the man before whispering, “Thank you.”
He closed his eyes, and smirked. “Thanked by a damn abomination… what is the world coming to?”
Na looked at the man one last time before shaking her head and taking Marybeth’s hand, which the girl squeezed readily. The two Ghouls stared at the corpses in the room, hearing the low groaning of an alive Pulkin, and then made their way out of the empty Manor, out into the swamp.
Na limped abominably, her body aching, Hunger trying to urge her on again. She would need to feed again, then rest to allow her wounds to heal, though she knew some never would. She felt the small hand of her daughter squeeze hers, and she looked down at Marybeth. The young Ghoul smiled up at her and suddenly she could think of nothing else but protecting that smile.
It would be an arduous task for them, at least until Marybeth grew up, and even then they might never be able to return to Ghoul society, for fear that another Wight might take vengeance on them. Of course, this was not even taking into consideration the Hunter if he was true to his word… The times ahead would be trying indeed for the poor Ghouls.
“Ma?” Marybeth asked as they continued walking through the swamp, their red eyes glowing in the obscuring fog. The soft sounds of the night-time swamp comforting to their battered senses.
“I… I’m glad you blessed me.”
Na smiled and squeezed the hand of her daughter, knowing that despite the hardships that lay ahead, as long as they were together, she knew they’d be able to overcome them.
“Yes yes, Marybeth. I am too, Yes yes.”