The Aliens They Summoned
The shadows aided their cause. This time, they went without humans. Count Nosgard watched his king, leading the operation.
He was silent.
Ever since that woman talked to him, his gaze lingered in the distance.
She donned the appearance of a mere human, but Count Nosgard felt no desire to taste her blood. Even his King sat up straight in his chair, his eyes sharp and respectful as they conversed.
As Count Nosgard didn't know her, he wondered whether she was a spy of his king, but that notion quickly disappeared from his mind.
She was stronger than his King.
That was the unease he had felt.
"I refuse to interfere in your actions," she told King Paegan, her arms crossed under her breasts. It would've looked alluring if she weren't as frightening as she was. "It is your decision... but there will be a war."
"What's your verdict of the situation?" King Paegan inquired, ready to listen to her in a way he didn't show to his actual consultants.
"I am a neutral party, Paegan. Your master wasn't supposed to land in this kingdom, and for that, he was impaled. You can be glad for your mind. You learned from his mistakes." She cocked her head, acting like she owned the place. "I must create balance, for it might lessen the weight of my mistake. The neighboring kings have grown suspicious. I don't intend to force you out of your lands, but they noticed your strange behavior. Paegan, their forces are assembled... well, two kingdoms worth of soldiers, at least. The third one is in disarray. I won't presume to know what's best for your kingdom, Paegan, but know that you are next. I wonder how much resistance those folks can even put up... though if they fought evenly against you, maybe the lands of men will actually break a sweat this time. You don't even know about the north, do you? Well, it's not really the north, just north of here... but no, that would be too much interference." She mumbled that last part, stopping herself. King Paegan watched her eagerly, listening to every word. "King Paegan," she said, resolutely using his title, causing the king to twitch in surprise. "This might be your one chance to fight them on even ground. I offer you a chance at victory so that I can rest in peace. Until next time."
She bowed, swiftly leaving the throne room.
Ever since then, the King had acted strangely.
He demanded information of the northernmost kingdom of the old alliance, Daghan, and prepared the troops for marching out immediately.
Daghan was a wasteland.
The darkness aided the vampires' advances, but even the towns and cities were wasted. Something had destroyed them all, leaving nothing in their wake.
It was unsettling.
A purple mountain range rose in the distance, growing larger as they got closer. The King looked almost somber as he gazed at it, not even bothering to feast on the rations of blood they took with them.
The mountains were strange.
They looked deformed and abnormally smooth, especially when they got closer.
The king looked at it with the same gaze again one night, accompanying his generals, lords, counts, and nobles in a last feast before battle.
The smell of blood hung in the air.
"Did I ever tell you about the last words of the previous king?" King Paegan suddenly spoke, his eyes never leaving the not-so-distant mountains. Nobody dared to answer. "I'll never forget the look in his eyes as all life was sucked out of him... by me. He said 'Guard the north. Daghan must be guarded.' I wonder what he meant... I never bothered to find out."
He didn't say anything else.
Everyone thought the same thing.
"We will find out tomorrow."
They stumbled upon corpses soon after their march began.
King Paegan was back to his old self, commanding, and inspiring. It eased the tension among the vampires who followed their king without question.
They were ten thousand in total, give or take.
There weren't more to be assembled in due time.
Some of the corpses were as rotten as the world around them, others were bestial in nature. Count Nosgard recognized them as the same kinds of beasts he fought while rushing to Lord Viktor's aid.
It smelled terrible.
He had to hold back on throwing up.
"Jump into the shadows," King Paegan whispered. They followed without a word, rushing to the edge of battle. It was a huge scramble, a battle between tens of thousands. Humans, beasts, and something else, long past being human, fought against each other. "Follow me..." Their king led the army, firmly hidden in the shadows, to the strongest presences on the field. These were their commanders, no doubt. A beast and a half-dead human with greyish-green skin fought against three human warriors, one without his shirt, one with golden armor, and one dressed all in black. "Avoid those three."
"Which side are we fighting on?" Count Nosgard dared to ask.
Nobody actually talked about that.
"We get our chance in this battle," King Paegan whispered back. "I don't know which side will provide us with that chance, yet. For now, we just... shit! Get away!" he commanded, pushing everyone in the vicinity out of harm's way as a sword cleanly sliced through the tree. It was the warrior in gold. "King Gordan."
The man cocked his head, whistling in respect for dodging the attack.
"Pale skin, sharp teeth, clad in shadows... I wouldn't have thought that the rumors were true. Are you here to join your brethren in battle?"
"No, don't worry. I will give you a merciful death. Consider it a gift between kings... you have the smell of blood on you, after all."
"That's what we do, Gordan. Men, disperse!"
Count Nosgard distanced himself, sucking the closest human dry. Another gry-skinned creature eyed him strangely, then bit into the very same human.
Instantly, he twitched and stood up, now donning grey skin and a foul smell.
The lack of blood didn't interest him as it sunk into the shadows to surprise an unfortunate victim in its vicinity.
Count Nosgard allowed himself to watch the fight between kings for a moment.
They hadn't made their moves yet.
King Gordan chuckled.
"How many did you bring? A few thousand? This could get dangerous, after all..."
"You could've had those on your side, lad," King Paegan taunted back, earning a snort from King Gordan.
"Don't fool me, you creatures are all the same."
"You don't stand a chance against me," King Paegan announced, moving so fast he could have teleported. He emerged behind his foe, swinging his sword... which was blocked. King Gordan then swing it again, and King Peagan only evaded it by turning into a shadow. "Humans shouldn't be that strong," King Paegan spat.
"You creatures shouldn't even be here," King Gordan countered, and their swords clashed.
The impact alone sent Count Nosgard flying, but he mitigated the damage by jumping into the closest shadow.
He would distance himself from those two.
The other four were still at it, not even noticing that King Gordan now fought another one.
The bare-chested man squared off with the beast, and the rotting human fought the warrior in dark armor.
Their aura felt dangerous on his pale skin.
He jumped out at another group of men a few hundred meters away.
They were too surprised to do anything.
Strangely enough, neither beasts nor rotting men attacked him or the other vampires. They directed their bestial attacks only on the humans, who fought back bravely.
The beasts could hold their own, but the rotting men only stood a chance because of their numbers.
Barbaric but disciplined fighters mowed through rows and rows of them, while knights in black armor sent shockwaves through the ranks, hurting even the beasts.
It was hard to tell through the rot and the thick blanket of clouds in the sky, but it wasn't even full moon yet, and the other kings clearly said that the beasts only appeared on a full moon... Count Nosgard wondered what was going on as he went back into the shadows, ambushing a particularly troublesome foe who killed two beasts in combat.
Not expecting the onslaught, he was easily dispatched.
Rays of light and flames and other elements raced through the forest, crashing into the forces of rotting creatures.
It was as the woman had said, Count Nosgard discovered.
The humans could hold their own.
Was fighting against them really the best option?
Should they listen to a false accusation of King Gordan when they hadn't even decided on the enemy yet?
Count Nosgard admitted that he would rather live to see another day.
The fighting went on everywhere.
Through some means or another, the human forces reached the wall and battled there, unable to shield themselves from all the debris raining down on them.
Count Nosgard saw figures on top of the mountains which turned out to be a really big wall, throwing stuff down at the humans.
Some even jumped down, unable to contain themselves.
The ranks up there grew thin...
"Whoa!" he exclaimed, evading an intense ray of light crashing into his position from the sky. The sun wasn't like this. He looked for the perpetrator, finding him in a reddish-white gown. The red was from the blood. "Let's get this fucker."
Motivating himself like that, Count Nosgard fled into the shadows, circling around the figure. The man set off what could only be described as a light bomb, causing Count Nosgard to tumble out of the now non-existent shadow.
A moment later, the man was upon him with a sword clad in light.
Count Nosgard countered, noticing the strength of his adversary with a grunt.
He kicked the man backward and evaded an oncoming swarm of bats, washing over the scene.
King Paegan seemed to have a hard time.
"What the...!" the man cursed, protecting his face with his arms.
It barely saved him.
Count Nosgard jumped from his hiding place, biting deep into the man's neck. His body went limp as he sucked the blood out of his body!
Countless howling noises suddenly echoed over the battlefield. In a stroke of dumbness, Count Nosgard turned his head, freeing the man, who also looked for the source of that noise.
They were close to a hole in the wall, and the ground shook as what must be thousands of beasts came storming through.
Count Nosgard was too occupied with blankly staring at them to notice the wave of bats crashing into him and the man who could control light.
They were both flung far away, and Count Nosgard crashed into the wall, knocking the wind out of him.
He could make out the full moon, unmistakable in the sky, and he wished for blood.
The world turned dark, and he needed blood to recover...
"Blood... give me blood..."
He stumbled to the closest figure, which evaded his tumbling.
Count Nosgard groaned as he laid on the ground, listening to a voice far away...
"Be purged, vile creature!"
A searing heat engulfed him soon after.