Chapter 45: A night to remember (5)

Seven Knight Lords under the command of Paladin Arcurio came charging towards Lenia who was standing firmly in front of Aleks. She could sense their level of power and knew that all seven were inferior to her but together they would still pose quite the threat. However, she had no need to fear because she knew her master could easily kill them if he wanted to. She didn’t hesitate to make her move. Taking one firm step forward, she put all her strength into a ‘Shield Bash’ which slammed into the foremost Knight Lord who was motioning to strike with his sword, sending him reeling to the side and momentarily stunned.

This gave Lenia an opportunity to stab forward, activating her ‘Penetrating Strike’ ability which pierced straight through the chestplate of another Knight Lord injuring him severely. The Knight Lords halted their charge realizing their opponent was stronger than them and they decided to surround her carefully. They had no idea the Knights behind them had already been put under Aleks’s control and they were caught completely unaware when the Knights behind them charged at them and attacked without warning.

They could no longer care about Lenia and were struggling to hold back the Knights who were swarming them. Paladin Arcurio who was initially watching at the rear with a calm expression was shocked when he realized his own men were fighting each other.

“What are you fools doing? Kill the heretic! Damn, they must be under some kind of effect but how is he able to control so many of my men?”

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Arcurio spent no more than a moment considering before rushing to act. He shouted in anger and his wings which were previously hidden, sprung out of his body. His body began to glow with holy light and he flapped his wings rapidly, quickly rising from the ground and overlooked the battle below. His Knight Lords were falling one by one and his anger began to boil out of control.

“You bastard! I will send you to the nine hells! May your soul burn eternally in the seventh circle of hell!”

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Paladin Arcurio bent his body forward bringing his arms to his chest and then he suddenly burst forth sending sharp feathers flying everywhere towards the Knights that were under Aleks’s control below. Several feathers also flew towards Lenia and Aleks but Lenia blocked them all with her shield. The Knights that had been turned into Marionettes became pincushions and fell to the floor. Paladin Arcurio looked down with a smug expression seemingly pleased with his abilities effectiveness.

However, he couldn’t enjoy his victory for long because the Marionettes began to twitch and the feathers that had pierced them began to fly out of their bodies and they stood once more. The Marionettes rose up like the undead causing Arcurio to feel a hint of fear.

“What are these things? Are they undead? I don’t sense the aura of a necromancer on the heretic. Something is very strange. I have to do something, let me see if the Divine power bestowed on me by my god Tihr is effective!”

Once more Arcurio began to glow with holy light but this time it spread to his sword which he raised pointing it straight into the sky. The silhouette of divine flames poured out of the sword’s tip giving the sword the appearance of a divine lance of holy flames. Arcurio slammed the lance like sword downward sending holy flames crashing down on the marionettes burning several them into ashes.

“Hah! Holy Smite works! Now I will make you pay for taking the lives of my men. Die heretic!”

Paladin Arcurio swooped down with his wings beating ferociously in an attempt to strike Lenia down but before he could approach, a dark shadowy figure jumped from somewhere just out sight and launched a sneak attack on Arcurio. He was somehow able to dodge the attack but this forced him back. Standing next to Lenia was the former Shadow assassin which had become Aleks’s puppet.

“You are that assassin, one of Cyric’s pawns! Why are you aiding that heretic? Our gods may be at odds with each other but this is a separate matter.”

“Don’t waste your words Paladin. This assassin is also under my control and soon, so shall you be!”

Aleks laughed with confidence while pointing straight at Arcurio who was still suspended in the sky not far from the ground.

“Paladin Arcurio!”

Someone called out from the rear and Arcurio turned to see the remaining Knight Lords and Knights that he had previously sent after the assassins returning. Some of them had died and there were only half the original group remaining.

“Quickly Sir Kith, we must kill that heretic before he can cause any more deaths. Those Knights and the assassins are somehow under his control but Tihr’s divine power seems effective against them as if they were undead. Use the grace bestowed upon you by Tihr to kill them before they overwhelm us!”

“What kind of evil being is he?”

Sir Kith gasped realizing the effect of such a terrible power.

“Enough with this farce.”

Aleks gently pushed Lenia to the side and stepped out in front.

“It is time that you learn what true power is. It is not one given by your so called gods, but the terrifying might that resides in the soul!”

A ghastly terrifying power exploded outwards from Aleks’s body. Although Paladin Arcurio and the others had no idea what power Aleks had used but they could feel an immense pressure bearing down on them causing them to feel fear.

No, how can this be. What is this power? I am a Paladin of Tihr! Nothing can make me feel fear!

Giant ‘Soul Tendrils’ rose out of Aleks’s body stretching into huge tentacles which if anyone could see, looked like the arms of an enormous octopus. The tendrils whipped out violently and flew straight towards Paladin Arcurio who was still floating above the ground. Even though Arcuriou couldn’t see the tendrils which were fast approaching, he felt an unearthly pressure and an urgent sense of danger.

“I have never felt such evil power! Oh greater god Tihr, grant me the blessings of your Aegis!”

Arcurio called out in his mind a prayer to Tihr and burned all of his divine might in order to manifest a holy power which shrouded him in a seemingly impervious shining shield. The ‘Soul Tendrils’ reached Arcurio and whipped towards him striking the holy shield that had surrounded him causing an extreme blowback of energy.

What is this shield? It must be a divine ability granted to him by Tihr. Damn that god for interfering once again! I will not believe that I can’t break this power, I will pour enough SP into my ability to drown him in it!”

Aleks summoned up more of his power, pouring a huge amount of the Soul Potential he had harvested into his ability. The Tendrils continued to whip ferociously at the barrier protecting Arcurio who while uninjured, could feel the violent strike of each tendril as it crashed into his holy shield. After pouring in almost triple the amount of SP compared to Arcurio’s vitality, almost 6000 SP, the tendrils finally smashed into the barrier breaking it and wrapped around Arcurio who began to scream in terror. His life force was quickly devoured and his body fell from the sky like a falling angel.

On the ground, Lenia and the assassin puppet led the marionette knights and overwhelmed the Knight Lords and Knights that were under Arcurio’s command. Only the Knight Lords had a way to deal with the marionettes but Lenia and the assassin puppet made quick work of them while the marionettes slaughtered the other Knights. It wasn’t long before the night was quiet once more and only Lenia’s deep breathing could be heard.

Aleks walked slowly towards the deceased Paladin and devoured the souls of all the dead as he approached. Even the assassin puppet’s soul was no longer of use and was devoured replenishing a portion of the SP he had consumed to kill the Paladin.

Aleks stood over the former Paladin and kneeled down. He placed his hand on the Paladin’s chest.

“You will serve me now and bring terror to your former comrades until I no longer have a use for you. It’s a shame that I can only do this much though. Oh how I long to strangle Tihr’s neck if such a thing is possible. Well, for now, I will settle with his followers. Rise my puppet!”

Aleks’s power poured into Paladin Arcurio’s corpse and the corpse was visibly restored to its peak appearance without any signs that he had fought in a battle.

“Master, what are your orders?”

“You are to lead the marionettes into the Cathedral of Tihr. Do not give away your intentions. First slaughter the remaining defenders of the Cathedral and then kill as many as you can. Have some of the marionettes blow up the cathedral. I only need a few surviving ones to harvest the souls of the dead and bring them to me. Leave a few survivors so that word can spread that Tihr is slaughtering his own people!”

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