December 10th - Abaka
The harsh winds and dust storms of the Irdalni badlands finally gave way to the softer landscape of Abaka, the fruitful orchards and vineyards clinging to the southern flank of the great river.
They were a company of shades, deathly men dressed in stained finery and rent armour, their black surpluses devoid of arms. And at their head rode a lone figure, mounted on a pale horse, his features concealed by a black veil above which two piercing blue orbs gazed from shriven sockets.
He let the veil fall from his face, revealing a handsome ageless face surrounded by dark locks. At his left hip swung the sword Inescapable Doom, fingers involuntarily welded to its blackened hilt, and on his brow hung wisdom heavy as any crown.
Memories stirred as his lungs tasted the sweet air, fresh from the Eastern ocean. Memories of a wild sea-crossing and adventures unnumbered, of a realm now lost and a people destroyed, of perilous battles and even more perilous politics. That life was far behind him now, sundered by strange shadows and deathly hallows...
December 17th - Abaka
Cathal strode forward, flanked by the grim figures of his sword-brethren, memories of a former age marching beneath his plain yellow banner. And as they marched the wind carried half-snatched fragments of forgotten battle hymns across the rich, fertile fields of Abaka.
Behind them stood the brave figures of Lady Bryna's bodyguard, their bows strung and a arrows set in the the dark soil. And to their front stood evil, clothed in corrupted flesh and hungering for the flesh of mortal men. The ragged minions of the demi-lich Abadoor, who himself had once served the heretic Denarien, were enough to chill the blood of any man. And though their flesh hung desiccated and flayed, their cruel scimitars gleamed like ice in the morning sun.
"I am Abadoor the Deathless, look upon my minions and quake for tonight you will join their ranks," the tall, haughty frame of the demi-lich shuddered with hateful malice, his laughter the numbing blow of a smith's hammer.
"We are the servants of Inescapable Doom," Cathal and his companions drew their swords as one, and their voices echoed in the thunder as storm clouds covered the sun and a mighty wind blew down from the distant mountains.
The two battle lines charged beneath flights of arrows dark as the threatening skies and fell upon each other without mercy. Back and forth the melee turned, blades cursed with sorcery matched by hearts forged in holy service, and the yellow banner ran with Denariel's blood red tears.
Terrible and fell was Cathal's anger as his blade tore through ancient sinew and bones made stone, vanquishing all who stood before him until he faced the demi-lich himself.
"I know not who you are puny man, but I am Abadoor, servant of Denarien, and I shall wear your flesh even as your foetid bones dance and cavort at my whim," he hefted a mighty mace in his hands, a mockery of the ancient arms which he had served in life.
"The time of judgement is upon you Abadoor," Cathal balanced his sword by the tang, and it swung as if a balance careening as a heavy weight is dropped in the pan. The point swung earthwards and with a light flick of his wrist he tossed it into the air and grasped the hilt.
"Die!!!," the undead abomination's mace swept with the force of ten men, but Cathal lightly stepped away and spinning behind his enemy cleaved him from shoulder to groin with a single stroke. For a ghastly moment the two halves of the lich's body seemed to writhe in agony, seeking to rebind through force of will the spell of bone and sinew which Cathal's blade had broken, but to no avail.
The lich fell dead to the ground, and empty husk, and with his true death the spell which bound his servants also passed.
"The Judgement of Alluran is final," Cathal cleaned his blade on the fallen creature's rotting clothes and sheathed it.