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Taylor Lanson Taylor Lanson
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Logan and the Necromancer


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She had a friend.

“It seems many heroes are not chosen by want, but by need…”


Logan, an unsuspecting young man, was as good enough as any.  Though he had no distinguishing traits, he possessed a kind heart, a certain courage, and a strong curiosity about the world beyond the wooden gates enclosing him.  He yearned for extra meaning to his life, as most eager lads do in the cusp of adulthood.  He did not want to fade out like the fogged sun that loomed over the village.


Walking to his parents’ room on his 18th birthday, he peered through the cracks of the shoddy metal door to see his mother wheezing in bed – his father overlooking her with a worrisome fold in his head.  Logan had not seen his mother frequently that week, and had suspected that something was being hidden from him.  The crackle of his father’s wooden sword was a painful reminder of the consequences for an inquisitive mind in this dangerous and unforgiving world.


On the next night, the shattered moon rose with a teal aura.  Logan’s father, and the other protectors of the village were gathered to defend it.  The pattering of feet alerted Mara long before her son’s actual presence and she sighed in pain for herself.  Tossing and turning in her rugged clothe sheets, her mind was torn between life, death, and the death of her only son.  She knew she could hide it from him no longer.


Small, reluctant tears were crawling down his featureless visage and a stress immeasurable was hardening his heart.  Blood, toil, and fate were intertwined – glistening in the light from the lone window overlooking Mara’s resting place.  She took a deep breathe in a meditative manner and outstretched her arms.  She looked into and through her son simultaneously: seeing his past, present, and future.


“Son…I know what you will want to do in order to save me from my most terrible disease.  Listen to my warning and know that you have a choice.  If you stay here, I will die – but this must not trouble you…for many sons of the village have seen this fate and have remained to protect the village.  You will live out the days of your life here and you will do as your father has done: loved…defended…built…do not think his life unfulfilled!  However, if you decide to journey to the black spires, you will know adventure and true peril.  You will see things none of us have seen or likely will see.  You will encounter great beasts and metal warriors, beyond the familiar fiends which pester us every week…and you will hunger for more - should you survive…and leave this village forever.  After some time…none of us, of course, can know when…you will die at the hands of your desire to continue this journey.  Either that, or even worse…you will taste death before ever seeing my face again…this conversation being our final gesture to each other…”


Logan feared for himself, but feared more for his mother.  His love was too strong to be dismissed and his latent strength was too great to be ignored.  He was confident of himself, having prayed to the ancestral gods for insight.  Before he could even respond, his mother continued.


“Of course, you being my son, I already know what decision you will make and I have already come to terms with your character.  You need not say anything, my child, the disease has many effects – the least of which is foresight.  I see now that as I close in on death, I am able to peer beyond it…to things which we are not meant to know.”


A small embrace was had between the two and the son was determined to immediately depart, but his father impeded his path at the foot of the door.  The wooden sword was not much, but it was a symbol of Logan’s past.  Instead of discouraging his explorative nature, it would now empower him.  


Aaryan shrugged when he passed the sword into Logan’s hands.  He knew that he could not stop his son from following the passion of adventure and if it were not for the injuries sustained in that night’s raid, he too would have made the journey.  The rusted abode that Logan felt true peace in would be but a faint memory in the days to come.  Everything that Logan had known would be challenged and torn asunder, Aaryan thought to himself.


“You must travel far past the fogged sun and into the black spires where the necromancer lives.  Since he alone has powers over life and death, it is only his aid that you should seek.  He is protected by both large creatures and hardened metal and is not known for his strong reason.  It is said that powerful curative medicines can be found in the black spires…as many years ago, that place was once teeming with life.  Go there and you will find what you seek, but first make your way to the village elders.  They will tell you the secrets of the necromancer so that your journey will not be in vain.”


Logan swallowed his anxiety and lowered his head in honor of his father’s advice.  The annals of time briefly opened themselves and granted Logan wisdom above his years to meet the challenge.  His father’s strength would also be inherited soon enough, while his mother’s kindness was already overfilling his spirit.


He left in the night and traveled towards the fogged sun’s bed. The giddy excitement of first love pierced his heart, tremors coursing across his ripe muscles. Worry eluded him like a coward prey, though no malice was present in his charge.  He unsheathed his wooden sword from a makeshift harness, and laughed as he swung at the air.


Logan came across a large hill and became quite tired after reaching the summit. He decided to make camp before entering the ruined forest on the other side, a place which before was forbidden by the village elders.  Due to immense fear of the place, Logan faced his home that night as he slept.  The clockwork village was slowing down under the dark shattered moon and children were being told tales about the creatures that lurk outside.  


Stories about children being nosey and losing their way beyond the gates.  Stories about jawed beasts who would swallow them whole, laughing to their wretched friends.  Stories about corrupted children who get lost in the woods, becoming worse than beasts.  It was not till Logan was much older that he realized all the stories were true.


Sleep was confused and plagued with nightmares of the raided village; bodies could be seen impaled on the village gate.  Logan awoke to the sight of two large winged-beasts tearing each other apart directly above him.  With great haste, he readied himself and reflected upon the teachings of the village elders.  He made his way down the far-side of the hill, descending into the dark gape of the ruined forest before the winged-beasts noticed him.


The forest was thick, but not of life.  The branches of these cursed trees yielded no leaves or fruit, but they were numerous and spotted with jagged thorns.  In fact, they were so plentiful that they blotted out much of the fogged sun – what little light it did relinquish.  


After a full day’s travel of fear without consequence, Logan gained false pride.  It was then that the true peril of the forest was known to him as the fogged sun retired to its rest.  Just as the night awoke, Logan came into a clearing with destroyed walls jettisoning from the ground at strange angles.  They were mostly red and separated into small uniform sections by white lines.  Some portions of the walls were darker and more ruined than others.  Most peculiar, was that they were littered with harsh writing that Logan could not decipher.  


Walking towards the largest wall, Logan thought about setting up camp again.  The peace of retreat was palpably deceiving.  A sharpened claw shot through his left shoulder and almost instantly retracted.  A scarlet geyser was surging from the wound and numbness overtook strength.  He quickly turned around to meet the threat head-on, all the while coughing incessantly.


It was a gray beast, ten times his size with patched fur.  Lighting arced across the creature’s back and connected with the ground, scorching it in the wake.  Smoke billowed from its mouth and eyes, both of which were redder than Logan’s wound.  The exposed skin of the beast looked sickly and wrinkled.


It jumped backwards and flared its jaws before lunging towards Logan.  He was expecting this, however, and rolled to the side.  A sickening thud shortly followed, as the beast fell to the burnt earth after colliding with the wall.  Visibly dizzy and fearful of reprisal, the beast clawed at the air.  Logan pounced on the beast’s hind legs and used its matted fur to climb onto its back.


With several maddening and muffled blows, Logan began to lose hope.  Equipped with only a shoddy wooden blade, his strikes did not even part the beast’s fur.  The enraged creature, now recovered, began rearing its whole body and slamming it into the ruined walls – causing their destruction.  The fur slipped past Logan’s fingers, his grip already weakened from his strenuous aggression.


The beast stood on its hind legs, frothing at the maw.  Lightning stuck Logan’s wound and convulsed him from the inside out.  With the memory of his mother and father at home, he quickly rose his right arm – sword in hand – just as the beast fell onto him.


Flesh. Blood. Heat.


Logan, with the last remaining strength in his body, rolled the corpse of the creature off to his side.  It whimpered and outstretched its paws towards him, calling for a friend in death’s passing.  Impossibly, he stood and came to the beast’s aid – holding its head in the final moments.  He pulled the sword from the wound in the beast’s exposed belly.  


Later that evening, he would dig a proper burial for the parts of the beast he would not use.  Logan learned from the elders of the village that it was a cursed thing to waste life, but also that it was more cursed to not respect the dead.  Eating the flesh of the creature restored Logan’s vigor and the bones of the beast were fastened into new armor for the remaining journey.  The fur was used to dress his wounds and warm him during the night’s cold grasp.  


The next morning, Logan wasted no time.  He gathered his senses and paid final respects to the grave of the beast.  He left the place without turning back and treaded upon black dirt for miles before coming to an ancient green river.  The liquid was glowing in the mid-day shadows beneath the canopy of dread.  It smelled of poison and rotten flesh, Logan keeled over in disgust.  Metal barrels lined the banks of the luminescent stream and other-worldly fish could be seen traveling in groups underneath the foam.


He tried to make a wooden raft to reach the other side of the river using the dead trees all around him, but the harsh liquid ate away at all attempts.  After some searching, Logan spotted several corpses all clad in metal armor.  He fastened the armor together and easily traveled across the horrid river, using the full width of his arms for balance.  Since the contents of the raft were too deteriorated for proper use by the time he reached the other side, they were left behind.


At this point, Logan’s journey through the ruined forest was coming to a close.  He could see the fogged light pouring into the forest from an opening several miles down.  From the excitement of this, he did not notice the corpses lining the path – all wearing the same metal armor as before.  They were strewn across the gutter of the dirt road crudely and once Logan finally realized the magnitude of the casualties (thousands upon thousands), he began to weep.


His cries were not lonesome, however, for he could barely make out three smaller whimpers coming from the dead bush.  Avoiding thorns was a great risk to his fate, as night was approaching – but the inquisitive nature of a hero is not easily broken.  Ignoring his scrapes and blood, Logan found the lair of the beast he had slain from the previous night.  Three small pups of the beast were nestling in a small hole close to the entrance, they were crying out for their mother.


Though a few moments contemplating their lives were had, Logan could not bring himself to slay them.  He knew that these young would not survive without their mother’s protection and that leaving them alive would be a fate worse than death.  He crafted a small sack from some fur that he had held onto from their mother and placed the pups inside.  He noticed that they were too young to use their fierce lightning and that their eyes were a calm blue shade.


Stepping back along the path, Logan noticed the piles of fallen soldiers a final time.  He realized at that moment that the metal armor and weapons these men wielded had sealed their fate against the lightning beast.  Logan’s lack of fitting supplies had once discouraged him, but now he was comforted that the ancestral gods were looking after his destiny.


The wastes were reached not long after morning the next day.  The pups grew at an alarming rate, now being able to follow Logan and catch food.  They listened to his every command, soundlessly appointing him leader of the pack.


The ground was so hot that it looked like shallow water laid across the top.  Sweat formed on the skin, but was almost immediately evaporated.  The pups were panting constantly, forcing Logan to spare his last portion of water on their behalf.  He decided to carry them in the sac until nightfall.


Not before long, however, Logan came upon a second great hill.  This colossal dune was no easy feat to triumph and got blood flowing through his veins…preparing him, as fate would have it.  On the other side a woman was fleeing in the sand.  Two large metal warriors were chasing the girl and flinging rocks at her from the summit of adjacent dunes.


Logan set out his pups to distract the alloy goliaths, each of which were as fast as the lightning their mother wielded.  The ingot grunts, being not too clever, were unable to notice the tactic and were too sluggish to lead their own attacks, missing the pups each time they swung or threw large rocks.  They were circling around the dunes for some time and had completely lost track of the fleeing woman, who was now in the arms of Logan several yards away.


After concealing her in the sand, Logan set out to confront the gray guardians - though he knew not the best course of action for the task.  Recalling back to his battle with the beast, he realized that brute strength alone was not enough to conquer his foes.  He charged behind one of the steel fighter and leaped onto its broad back.  A callous cackle roared from the other glistening foe, who lifted an enormous boulder from the earth and motioned its friend to turn its back.


Though the foe’s aim was true, its timing and judgment were misinformed.  Logan threw himself off the silver knight within the last moment and watched the boulder smash into it through sand encrusted eyes.  The iron golem was unable to stand, being half buried in the sand due to the impact of the boulder and its staggering weight.  Logan readied himself and severed its head with several blunt blows from his wooden sword.  The black blood spewing out from the stump coated Logan’s entire body.


Meanwhile, the second lead soldier was flailing at the pups with its mighty stone fists, striking one and killing it instantly.  Logan’s rage was masked by his black exterior, but the remaining two pups were even more blood-lusted.  They each firmly planted their hind legs into the earth just as their mother did and shot lightning from their backs into the adversary.  It fell to the ground with a blunt force that shook the sand beneath their feet.  Lightning rippled throughout the guard’s armor; strange black and red ropes came undone from its body which were smooth to the touch.


The black spires could be seen in the distance, but the shattered moon was rising and Logan did not want to over exert the party, having just survived the perilous day.  He tried to speak with the rescued woman, but her tongue moved in ways foreign to him.  Deep into the night they embraced each other.


The woman had many supplies on her person: clothe, water, and food.  She shared these things freely with Logan and taught him how to set up a proper tent.  She also cleansed Logan of the black blood which had begun to dry onto his skin.  Her soft singing voice melted the anger that was in his heart.  Soon after, they slept peacefully in wake of the danger that would surely befall upon them in the black spires.  The two pups played with each other and dreamt of raw meat.


Closing in on the spires, Logan could make them out more clearly.  There were hundreds of them all shaped from stone with a black dusty substance coating over them.  Some of the spires could be entered and explored, while others were mostly shells of their former selves.  Strange items were littered across the floors of these great constructs; Logan awed in amazement at the drawings on the walls, wondering to himself how the artists of this time were able to so perfectly capture their surroundings.


Having been instructed by the village elders what to look for, it wasn’t before long that Logan found the powerful medicine – as the substance was quite abundant in the black spires.  It was a tiny white capsule that fit into the palm of his hand.  Logan thought it humorous that something so small could accomplish something so great.  The journey was not yet completed, however, for without the necromancer’s blessing – Logan would not be able to administer the medicine to its fullest potential.


According to the legends, the necromancer lived towards the epicenter of the black spires.  The further inwards the party traveled, the more destroyed the spires became.  Soon, none remained and only cracked earth greeted their feet and eyes.  In the distance a towering black figure stood, unmoving in the sharp wind.


Logan noticed that the woman had been keeping a small journal with her at all times, writing in it frequently with excitement gleaming through her cheeks.  Just then, the pups grew disturbed and attacked one another, ripping themselves to shreds.  Logan tried to intervene the feud, but the ferocity of the pups’ growls were now aimed at him.  They had gone feral, foam dripping through the cracks of the dirt and blooded fury escaping their eyes.


Logan slew them and watched their bodies writhe in the wind.  Malice and spite were so filling in his heart that he beckoned out to the fogged sun, cursing it for its corruption.  The woman fell to her knees and wept over the sight, all the while recording everything that had happened.  Logan did not notice her, but she knew that he needed to be alone – for she too had known loss.


The necromancer now was but a stone’s throw away.  He was tall, at least as tall as the spires – maybe even taller.  He was black, blacker than the blood Logan had bathed in.  He was metal and cold, circular studs lined his body.  His name was written into his side with white ink:


“N3C-R0_M4I\ICR”


He had a glossy green section towards the base of his cloak and a surface that shot out from his skin which had strange incantations embedded in it.  Logan approached the surface and followed the instructions that the elders had given him.  The necromancer made a loud noise and clouds suddenly formed in the sky.  They began whirling around the place, gaining a greenish glow.


Logan inserted the great medicine into a canister that now revealed itself on the side of the surface.  The canister delved back into the body of the necromancer and when it returned, the medicine had changed to a light green color.  Logan quickly snatched the curative capsule from the necromancer and stowed it away in his makeshift sac.


Now, sickly white hands were clawing their way out of the dirt, surrounding Logan and the woman.  Several pale beings climbed out of the cracked earth, the greenish pustules on their backs immediately giving away their identity.  The risen, cursed people who had been brought back from death incompletely.  It was said the necromancer started this practice, in the hopes of reversing the great cataclysm - which was meant to wipe out all evil in the world.  Instead, His efforts produced the opposite effect – spreading more derision and death than the cataclysm had ever hoped to wreak.  


The risen had now caught sight of Logan and the woman, who was now cowering in fear, unable to write, her hands shaking.  He motioned her to run, but she couldn’t – he tried to pick her up, but she fought him and smacked him across the face.  She moved her hands out as if to motion him to leave her behind so that he might live.  Though no words were spoken, Logan told the woman that he would stay in her stead, but she would not listen and gave him her journal.


The risen crowded around her as Logan ran for his life towards a final large hill.  It was better that at least one of them could live, though he wished it would have been her in his place. Revenge, a most unholy action, was simmering in his soul.  His will to enact punishment was as unshakable as the black spires and his longing for blood ran more corrosive than the toxic river. He spat at the ground before reaching the peak of this final hill, miles away from the necromancer and the risen who were too distracted by the woman to even care.


On the other side of the hill he saw a large black gate; at its foot stood a beast with six tusks exiting its face and large wings sprouting from its many legs.  It seemed as though the beast demanded entrance and wished to ram the gate in discontent.  Logan surely thought that it would succeed, but two large metal guards rose from within the gate and began pelting the beast with small rocks which flew in the air faster than the eye could see. Within seconds, Logan observed the flesh hanging from the beast’s bones – it looked like it had been stabbed a thousand times.


Logan turned backwards and far…far beyond the horizon he could make out his village, a speck in his eye.  He turned back towards the black gate, in all of its majesty – longing to gain entrance so that he could wield a power great enough to save the woman.  He glanced down at his hand where the sac was being held, knowing that the medicine was inside.  He looked at the black gate, then at the village, and then at the black gate again.


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