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The Nekromancer - 17. Chapter 17

His head was throbbing, even after a murmured prayer to Cayden Cailean. Jeremy supposed that meant he needed to be louder about his faith. But he preferred life, actually, and announcing that he followed a good deity was just asking for a mob to attack him.

The cleric moved through the streets, following the sounds of the dragon. He kept running into dead ends, growing ever more desperate. Anya had assured him Amnor Sen was safe before vanishing, but anything could happen to the elf while Jeremy was away.

A voice growled ahead of him, a woman yelping loudly before the noise was suddenly cut off. Jeremy ran forward, sliding to a stop at the corner of a house.

"If this is how it ends, I'm getting what was promised," a man snarled in an alley, leaning over a halfling woman as Jeremy looked on in growing revulsion.

The woman was repeating a sentence frantically in a strange language, her dress marking her as a foreigner, possibly Osirian. She tried to pull away, but the human's grip was far too tight.

"Hey! She doesn't want you!" Jeremy said loudly, drawing his rapier.

The man turned, fangs bared in the night air. Now that Jeremy thought about it, there had been no cloud of breath coming from him either…

"Back off Quick. This has nothing to do with you," the vampire warned.

"No, you back off," Jeremy growled, a hand seeking his mug.

He could have sworn he had a flask of holy water on him, but the cleric couldn't find it. There was no time to look either, as the vampire dropped his potential victim and lunged.

Thrusting his mug toward the undead, Jeremy yelled out a prayer. The vampire flinched, his lunge turning into a swift tumble back. The symbol wouldn't keep him at bay forever though, and Jeremy was already busy casting.

A wave of positive energy forged a shield around the human, before he began channeling more energy into an attack against the vampire. The undead creature screamed in pain as his skin blistered under the assault. Striking at Jeremy, he cried out as his hand drove through more positive energy. Clouds of black gas erupted from the vampire, his body collapsing into the shape of a bat before fleeing. Jeremy watched him fly warily, before helping the halfling to her feet.

"Get away from this place. It's not safe," he said urgently, knowing fully well that she wouldn't understand him.

There was something to be said for tone though. The halfling nodded, scurrying away quickly. Jeremy let out a shaky sigh as he sheathed his blade again. Looters and rapists in a city not even an hour into a dragon attack. It did not bode well for the human condition in Mechitar.

Then again, neither of them had been human…

He hurried from the alley, continuing his chase of the dragon, even as his feet slipped on an icy road. Finally he neared the battle proper, moving nimbly around fallen bodies and rubble, nearly all of which were frozen solid.

The cleric yelped, diving for cover as the dragon flew over his head. The ground crunched under him as he landed, ice shattering. There was no way Jeremy could fight that thing.

But he could try to mitigate its damage.

The man began looking through the fallen, seeking out the injured from the dead. He started binding wounds where he could, and casting healing spells when mortal healing wouldn't work. Through it all, spells flew, voices screamed, and a dragon roared.

Here and there the cleric stumbled upon undead, his spells only seeming to exacerbate their injuries. He helped where he could, starting to withhold his spells until he was certain the one he was healing wouldn't be harmed by the spell. Around him, clerics of Urgathoa attended to the dead, their spells raising them as zombies and skeletons to serve the city's defence. The very acted disgusted Jeremy. He ignored the vile proceedings, certain that if he gave them any attention, he would be at war with the largest temple in the city before long.

It became a private war between them, Jeremy finding the living and healing them, snatching them from the jaws of Urgathoa's faithful. Many of the priests scowled at him as he channeled his healing spells, and Jeremy knew with every spell he cast, he was sealing his fate. But he couldn't just let the living die, only to be raised into eternal, undead, slavery.

Far too soon, his energy failed, the repeated channeling taking a toll on his body. The cleric took a moment to catch his breath, listening to the dragon continuing to raise havoc. How was that thing still alive? Nearly every caster in the city was fighting it, every undead being scrambling to grab it. Surely the ghost king Geb wouldn't stand to let a dragon destroy his city. What would the notorious undead do to this dragon? Jeremy found he wasn't interested in seeing the inevitable showdown.

Standing again, the man moved on, searching the bodies once again. He couldn't call on Cayden Cailean for more spells, more miracles of faith; the god had helped him more than enough already. To ask him for more would be presumptuous. Jeremy resolved to do what he could on his own. A life of caring for the drunk and destitute ensured that on his own, the man was still an accomplished healer.

Yet he wasn't a god. And slowly, the tide of the battle swayed in the favour of Urgathoa, as more bodies died. It frayed at the cleric's nerves. For every life he managed to save, three were spent, their corpses raised in a horrific desecration.

Still, he had a job to do, and the cleric refused to let his failures prevent him from trying again and again. He'd save who he could.

And as he moved from injured to injured, his clothes staining with blood and guts, the cleric found he could still serve his god, even without a mug in his hand. It helped put his mind at ease, even as another human expired under his hands. If he couldn't save them all, no one could blame him for trying.

Copyright © 2020 Yeoldebard; All Rights Reserved.

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