Welcome to the Tuesday where yesterday we explored a brief glimpse of the party and Kyoko travelling outside the walls tonight I want to shift perspective to perhaps seven hours earlier, the previous evening as everyone had just been graced by the frost queens presence.
As the hulking man cut down another guard, despite the fact his innards were spilling out a gash below his ribs Siu turned to the other Shadow Cursed, standing there with swords, knives and daggers as they cut, stabbed and based the last of the guards in front of the door. Siu rushed forward his serpentine body flickering with a dull light as he glided through the air and heaved the door open with the help of Choi and another of the Cursed, Saem.
“We need to get Kyoko out of here.” Choi cried over the racked of the fight as he plunged a carving knife between helm and breastplate on one of the House guards. “The fallen are rising as undead,” he said as he pointed towards the hulking man – his wounds no longer bleeding profusely and his gate and janky movements indicative of the curse of the dead, “they will be up on shortly and we wont be able to out run them” he said as a battle cry rang out – the last of Kyoko’s guards running forward to make room, and buy some time for his princess, commander and the heroes he had been in awe of since joining their mission to these forsaken halls.
The young man cut down a few of his opponents, most of them undead, before a spear run him through but not before he summoned the last of his strength and courage and separated head from body of the attacker. Siu cursed, a waft of smoke sizzling from his nostrils as he looked across the room to assess the situation. Realising the last ploy, the last scheme he had up his sleeve he cursed that it wasn’t to save his own hide but the thought of seeing his cousin, Siuten – Kyoko’s grandfather, in their ancestral halls with her dying due to his cowardice was a worse fate than death.
Flying above the ground he grabbed Kyoko and Kuang by their backs and heaved them backwards, his bestial form having substantially more strength than his human self he had no issues pulling them through the door before noticing the mute, Sasha he had heard he been called before but he knew her to be Hana – a family member. Bowing deeply towards Hana he rumbled a mournful request “look after our family from here on our dear cousin…” and with that he rushed into the fray, separating limbs from bodies and disembowelling a walking corpse before dodging back from a lucky swing from one of the few living guards – his eyes glazed over from the affect of the charm of the Yuki-onna. As he moved back to join Choi and two, yes one two, glancing around he saw the bodies of two of the shadow cursed at the feet of the undead brute – Lucian.
“That one can see us Siu” Choi said.
“Call me Jung, in the end I think its fitting that I die again being known by my own name” he said glancing at the sailor who held a pilfered axe and short sword in his hand – the man nodded and clasped the scaled beast on the shoulder. Turning around to ensure nothing got past him and the dwindling supporters of the Harimasu family he saw that the party had joined Kyoko. “Choi, help me with this door.” he said as he pushed a straggler through the door with a not-quite-gentle nuzzle. “I am sorry my friends” he whispered as he saw their eyes connect with his as the door was closed, shutting him off from his friends and remaining family. “We can not help them now but buy them time” he said looking at Saem and Choi. “They are in good hands but they will be pursued until the frost queen has her will done. Let’s at least dwindle her forces whilst we have this gift. This Curse will be the minions of The Shadows undoing ” he said as he looked forward, the living having stopped advancing as they glanced around for the source of magic or wind that has closed and barred the door from the inside.
“For Kyoko!” called Choi as he charged the front ranks, his axe and sword separating man from life as he pushed forward through the guards. Saem and Tam followed suit, shouting loudly as they crashed into the guards, a spear by chance found Tams stomach as he pushed past the first rank but using his momentum he pushed onward, using his pain and adrenaline to fuel his fight.
Jung sensed it before the sword struck, rolling through the air and coiling his body around him like a snake as the sword connected with a fallen corpse instead of his head. “Right, the dead,” Jung said as he brought himself up tall using his tail and long limbs to batter the lesser zombies into the ranked behind them as he roared into the roof above them – a sound of unbridled anger, commitment and wrath. “For the Harimasu!” he called as he dashed forward roaring, embers sparking either side of his open maw.
The next few minutes were a constant dance of attacking and retreating and try as he may he couldn’t get past the Zombie-Lucians defences, he just wasn’t up to the standard of the heroes that he had travelled with. As his bites connected with the other dead creatures that were grabbing at his tail or limbs they caught aflame and began to burn as if dried tinder, the smell of burning flesh and blood quickly filled the dining hall.
“Jung!” called Choi as he pushed through a few more zombies and revealed several large wounds on his torso. “The queen she is coming!” roared as another guard swung directly at him. It looked like time was up and their ability to stay undetected was being overruled by the queens power over her puppets.
Hearing heavy footsteps he turned his head just in time for his reactions to catch the arms of the Lucian zombie, the sword he was bringing down at Jung’s head mere moments from sending him to his master and ancestral halls, if he would be welcome back.
A cry of pain signalled Saem taking a sword through the chest, and a moment later a roar of anger ended with the clatter of steel on stone -and the room was quiet other than the strain between the undead hulking man and the dragonoid.
Cold immediately began to seep through his scales and he knew it was too late, turning his head he went to exhale, hoping the embers were a predecessor of dragon fire and he was greeted by the eyes of Yukri she she grabbed his snout and held if firmly, the chill was immediate and he felt the Lucian zombie apply more pressure keeping Jungs’ focus on the sword a few inches from his neck. As the Yuki-onna looked at him with curiosity she leaned forward. “I doubt your little ploy here was worth it, you will join that Harimasu princess soon enough in the shadowlands as his darkness spreads through the lands and a new era is brought upon Ryokughan.” She said as she brought her head intimately close “It really is a pity, you have such beautiful scales but, I guess I can always cut them from your dead corpse” and with that she kissed him.
A spike of cold shot through his scales from the point of where her lips touched him and raced towards his heart and all at once his strength failed him, the point of Lucians sword plunged into his neck and his heart beat its last as his blood turned to ice.
As he fell to the ground his eyes fell upon Choi, his friends frozen eyes and the frostbite on his lips evidence that he too fell to the Yuki-onnas touch. As his vision darkened Jung wished that Kyoko was far away by now, that they had brought enough time for his family to escape, that he may be able to one day look Siuten in his eyes and seek forgiveness for the wrongs he had done and then all was silent except for the shuffle of undead and the opening of a door.
A world away, a great golden dragon lowered his head to the crystal orb held in his claws and as his great snout and whiskers touched the smooth surface so to did the tears he wept for the loss of Siu, no he could not be given that name any more as his repentance was over, Jung, for in the end he had proven his worth to his family and had finally realised what it meant to be a part of something bigger than himself.
Thanks for following me through tonight’s write-up and sharing what I hope was a fitting end for the remorseful creature that Jung had turned into and the growth he had undertaken since meeting the party on the streets of Daye. Don’t forget to come back tomorrow night for more content and, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe