A Dance with the Dead

The heavy rain, and strong winds proved to be more than the old tree I was perched upon could handle. The half of the old tree I was hiding on came down, crushing two of the unsuspecting risen, with a loud and unexpected crash. I jumped as hard as I was able to, in order to distance myself from the debris, taking a risen human down with me, and landing two paces in front of the giant abomination. The monstrous head gazed down at me and reached down to grab me. Luckily, I managed to roll away from it while pulling my short bow free. There was no time to think, just react and try to survive long enough to make my escape. I had to keep hoping against all odds that my luck would last just a few moments more.

I shot four poisoned arrows at the nearest walking corpses and my faithful Sylvari hound companion jumped out of the nearby bushes to take out a fifth risen. I sprinted as fast as I could trying to distance myself from the abomination but stopped suddenly when I saw a risen Norn brute barring my escape route. The Sylvari hound charged the brute, and with a terrible growl tackled it to the ground. For a split moment, I had enough time to look around and discover that, for the second time in my life, I was surrounded by the living dead. The only difference this time was that there was a monster picking up speed as it charged towards me, and that as fate would have it, my only companion was my hound. I felt the familiar anger and frustration that I experienced long ago while fighting the wretched creatures for the very first time. These…things had no right to exist! The filthy dark magic that re-animated these corpses embodied everything that was evil in Tyria. I was determined to end as many of the risen as possible. If I was to die that day, I would do so honorably ridding those lands, of their rotting undead tumor.

I was barely able to roll out of the way of the monster’s charge, while driving an arrow through the nearest risen’s forehead. Quickly removing the arrow to shoot it with my short bow resulted in rotting flesh being rapidly launched, along with the arrow, and into what appeared to be the abomination’s eye socket. The monster hollered in anger and accidentally crushed a small risen Asura with its fist as it prepared to charge once again. Out of my peripheral vision, I caught a glimpse of a rusty sword swing, and clumsily blocked it with my short bow barely fast enough to avoid being eviscerated. As I turned to face my newest assailant, its head exploded under the mighty downswing of a hammer. “Hello friend! Do you mind if I cut in?” said Peyton with a grin, while crushing another walking corpse with the backswing of her hammer. Surprised but without a word, I turned around to once again face the approaching abomination, and braced for the impending attack that never came.

George Unty, Lubu and Athena had charged the creature brutally, but systematically, taking turns at breaking every bone in the monster’s lower limbs with well-aimed swings from their swords or maces. As difficult as it was to look away from that glorious sight, I glanced around to regain my bearings and saw the rest of the party was fully engaged in a furious fight against the undead. The feeling of inevitable doom was suddenly replaced with renewed hope. I was going to survive this deadly dance with the dead!

Filled with pride and with a loud battle cry, I jumped back into the fray no longer caring about my fate. Gone were the thoughts of escaping, replaced instead by the need to destroy these mockeries of the living. The terrible storm with the torrential rains, the chained lightning, gale force winds, and deafening thunder was the only witness to the massacre of corpses we delivered that night…

~Urebril Sener

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