The Black Knight.
Chapter 3 of the Vampire Lords of Transylvan.
Oasis, Giant’s Dust, last free city of the Orcs.
The rhythm of destruction pounded upon the remnants of the blockade that was the Orcish fortifications.
Pale, sweaty stock bodies moved in clockwork order as the Dark Dwarves loaded in more cannonballs into their ferocious feral mouth shaped cannons before they roared their deadly payload on the orcs ahead.
Mortal warriors waited alongside their dead peers as a Vampire lord rode along the battle line on his black steed, inspecting his troops one last time before the call would come from Count Drakul.
The vampire, Lord Albrecht von Karn. wore his blood red armour with a long black cloak. His manservant, a wretched hunchback creature that could be barely described as human, walked beside his master as he read from a list.
His vampiric eyes danced along the skeletal forces. They would suffice as cannon fodder. The real punch would come from his mortal soldiers and his werewolves.
Von Karn perfected the technique back in home in Arabiana when the undead might of Transylvan marched against the Sultanate of Mulad II.
The undead would charge into the fresh soldiers, taking the impact from their camel riders or absorbing the arrows from the carpet archers. When the enemy was bogged down by the dead, the living forces of Transylvan (spearheaded by him of course) would cut a bloody swath to the tired enemy and slay them to the man. His necromancers would raise the fresh dead to cover the retreating living and the cycle would begin again.
This would be the first time he would use the tactic on Orcs.
“Igon!” the vampire lord snapped. The creature jumped up afraid." Be useful for once! What do you know of the Orcs?"
“Oh urghm!” Igon mumbled." According to Encyclopaedia Alundria they are a violent but proud warrior race…“
Von Karn frowned.” Go on. And grovel more for the love of the night…“
Igon continued feebly as he bowed deeper. “They also seem to be able to use fire magic, the only ones in this continent who can do so, my lord…”
“Fire magic…” the vampire rubbed his chin.” We faced that before when those Arabiana’s used those pyromancers, I know how to handle that."
“More bodies on the pile, my lord?” Igon suggested.
“Of course you idiot!” Von Karn snapped." Now sound the advance!“
The wretched creature blinked, confusion swam in his eyes.” My lord?"
“I’m done waiting for the Count, I thirst for orc blood!” he drew his sword to further illustrate the point." MEN OF TRANSYLVAN! CHARGE!"
The explosions stopped as smoke began to lift from the sandy remains of what once was a sturdy wall.
Olg of the Red Sword clan coughed as he waved the smoke away with his hand before he peered ahead. His heart nearly slipped a beat when his eyes saw the enemy. Rows upon rows of undead warriors, faster than any Immortal he had fought before, charged towards them.
“The enemy is here!” he cried and drew his axe. He looked back upon the few handful of warriors the clan had left after the protected battle before and the bombardment that followed. He knew that victory was not possible nor escape since the last of the boats were used to send their pups to safety. The only thing they could do was end things on their terms and make the bloodsucker’s victory as spiteful as possible.
The warriors with him drew their axes as their goblin slaves fearfully picked up their bows. Chieftain Ulfran drew his massive warblade.
“Orcs, prepares yourselves for glory! When our souls will be send to the sun they will be as hot and red as the fire within the earth itself!” The chieftain cried out." FOR HONOUR!“
Olg cried " FOR HONOUR!” along with the other warriors of his kind and ignored the sobs of the slaves.
“Chieftain!” One of them cried and rushed to Ulfran.
The chieftain snarled at having his speech ruined." What?!" No you may not run, I will gut you myself if you do!"
“Nonononono!” the slave quickly said and pointed behind him." Look, just arrived!“
The goblin pointed to the dock where a small boat docked. It’s occupant left the boat and did not bother tying a rope to the dock. Olg saw the occupant was human but very unlike what he saw before. His armour was completely black with skulls emblazoned on his knees and shoulders. A large black cloak that covered his face and back trailed behind him and obscured the scabbard that hung on his back.
One of the orcs was about to charge when Ulfran pulled him back.
“No.” the chieftain commanded.” Let him pass…"
The orcs and goblins moved to the side as the large black knight moved passed towards the undead lines.
Olg did not know if he thought the man was brave or insane but could not help but feel a respect towards him.
“Who is that…?” one of the goblins asked.
Ulfran pulled the goblin by the back of his neck and as it yelped he spoke.
“THAT little gobo, is the Black Knight! The left hand of the Grim Reaper himself! He’s been fighting the Blight for over one hundred years! He has slain whole herds of Immortals by himself and put down any Child of the Light that dared get in his way! Praise your gods you got to see him before your demise today for he always brings glorious death with him wherever he goes!“
The goblin cried out in fear. Ulfran rolled his eyes and dropped the goblin.” Follow me, men! A great death awaits us!“
The warriors and their slaves got in their formations and marched behind the Black Knight.
Olg marched beside the only Dragon Brigade member that remained, a orc by the name of Urk.” What brings the Black Knight here?” he asked." There is no Blight here.“
Urk shrugged.” I don’t know, he must feel these new undead and wishes to test his mettle perhaps."
The chieftain gave the order to charge. Olg raised his axe in the air along with Urk and followed his leader to a glorious end.
He prayed he would have a good death in battle so he could return as a proud warrior in the next life.
He moved without fear. As the rows of undead warriors charged him he felt nothing but annoyance.
“Oh look, Mikhail…" a dark voice spoke in his head.” Appetizers…"
The Black Knight undid his cloak, the fabric flew away in the wind, as he drew his massive sword from it’ scabbard. The sword was roughly his size, more of a big slap of metal rather than an actual sword with an edge.
The knight gave his sword a swing…and took down a whole row of the undead.
“Oh, I love the sound of bones crunching!” the voice cried with savage joy. “Do it again!”
“Shut up, spirit.” the knight spoke and cut down another row of the undead.
His sword moved unnaturally fast despite it’s size, obliterating and slamming through decayed bone and armour like it was not there.
The knight heard the voice sigh annoyed.
"You know, Mikhail…how many times you told me to shut up these part one hundred years?"
The knight grabbed an undead’s warrior by his head and crushed it with his left hand. Beside him the orcs charged into the undead lines with green anger and violence
"Over three thousand and thirteen times!" the voice replied despite the chaos of the battlefield around them.
“Shut up, spirit.” The knight replied as he dropped the corpse.
“Three thousand and fourteen…” the voice added. "Oh these lot are a lot faster than Immortals aren’t they? Also with a lot less…ah bah, amateur level necromancy. Mikhail, take me to the necromancer who raised this horde. I demand a word with him."
The knight continued his bloody work and ignored the voice. He raised his sword for another blow when a racking pain crumbled him to his knees.
“I SAID TAKE ME TO THE NECROMANCER!” the voice commanded, all former sense of mirth gone.
A spear bounced off his black shoulder plate, it’s owner a confused human man with pale skin.
Before he could react the knight jammed his blunted sword through the man’s chest and raised it in the air, his blood came down like crimson rain.
“You nearly got us killed, you fool!” the Black Knight shouted out loud.
“Then listen to your betters, you impertinent fool!” the voice said." Slay the necromancer!"
The Black Knight threw off the corpse of the soldier of his sword and charged forward, his anger to his unseen master fuelling his every strike.
“One day, I will end you…” he said to himself.
If the voice heard he did not speak of it but rather pointed out another threat.
“Oh look, werewolves!”
A surge of bloodlust ran through Von Karn as he cut the neck of an orc with his sword. It’s blood escaped from it’s neck in a fountain of blood.
As it crumpled down on the sandy floor the vampire lord licked his bloodied blade.
His features frowned as he spat." IGON!" he cried." Attend me!“
The creature ran over with a goblet on a tray and held it for his master.
The lord picked up the goblet and downed the elf blood down his throat.
“That was terrible!” Von Karn cried.” I’ve tasted slave blood better than this…and he was a leper!“
Igon bowed deeply.” Very inconsiderate of them, my lord…"
“Indeed.” Von Karn agreed with himself. He turned to see his troops." Men, kill them har-"
His eyes went wide when he saw the destruction his men faced.
One knight in black armour cut apart dozens of his men with one strike, the sound of werewolves crying in pain sounded in the night arid air. If his black heart still worked it would’ve stopped a beat.
One of the werewolves made a leap for the knight. With one swift cut the creature was cut in half vertically and both halves fell to the sides of the knight who proceeded to butcher more of the Vampire’s men.
“It looks like a Blight Lord, my lord.” Igon said.
Were he not scared he would’ve strangled the life out of the creature. He remembered the scriptures. The sign of the end of vampire kind. The Black Knight, awash in a dark aura and the blood of the dead.
The count had to know.
“Sound the retreat…“
Igon looked up to his master.” Master?”
“SOUND THE RETREAT!” Lord Von Karn shouted and urged his horse away from the battle with his man-servant running behind him.
The Dark Dwarves fired a few rounds for cover as the living made a hasty retreat.
After one more round they ignited their cannons and ran as well. Before long fiery explosions erupted from them like volcanoes. After the fires died the sand below the cannons was changed to smooth glass.
As the Orcs celebrated their victory none saw the Black Knight walking into the desert, chasing the necromancer.