Kraka Draka – Part Three Hundred Seventy Six (376)
Chapter One Hundred Twelve
Night of the Walking Dead
Year 4681 or 1681 IC
It is recorded in the royal archives of the High King of Norsca Ankor and elsewhere as; the Night of the Walking Dead. This event is recorded in sixty-four Kalans archives as well who make up the whole of Kraka Draka. For one night, and one night only the dead walked the corridors of the living. Each Karak both in Norsca Ankor and Karaz Ankor to the far south record the events of this one night and how it affected each of their Karaks differently.
It is just past the midnight, the 30th day of Kulkelzet and Prince Alrik “Drazhgrund” Kartinson, the uncle of Thungni Gothson the 44th King. Drazhgrund had just left his living quarters when a Drak-Grundi (or Hammerer) came running, out-of- breath, pale as a corpse; followed closely by a Drak-Azuldrungi (or Ironbreaker). In his lifetime, Drazhgrund had spent thirty years as a Ranger and equal amount of years as a Drak-Azuldrungi; and now he is considered a Deb Drak-Grundi after only twenty some years even though he is considered a Throngrinki (or Kalan elder). But in all that time in the ranks of the Rik (or King), he had never run; unless it was to a fight, just why are they running. Surely there is no battle within the royal compound of Kalan Durazklad, so he followed quickly after them, but not at a run.
Just before arriving at the main door of the audience chamber where the King Thungni heard petitions or settled disputes, Drazhgrund turns aside and entered through a private entrance used only by those kin close to the king or his advisers; being the king’s uncle had certain advantages. Upon entering, he nodded to his nephew who having felt the movement of air oft to his left and the sound of the stone panel opening and closing returned the nod. As Prince Alrik took his position one step down and to the right of the Drak (or Dragon) skull throne he listened to the final arguments presented in a dispute between Kalan Aufist of the Glass Maker Guild and Kalan Keg of the Pottery Guild. The fact that the two apprentices from Grudge Keeper and the Loremaster infers to Drazhgrund that the dispute is trivial; something that the Artisans Guildmaster; Dorin Lunnson should have adjudicated and resolved long before bringing this to the king’s attention.
The king listened tolerantly; Drazhgrund could tell that his nephew was thinking and was about to render his decree when the audience chamber doors opened and the Door Warden allowed the two warriors to enter. He could see their honor knots upon the haft of their weapons. The two were met by a Drak-Azuldrungi who escorted the pair to the King’s Herald who upon hearing what reason they came to interrupt the King’s Audience; immediately left their side and approached and disrupted the audience.
Thungni was not oblivious to what was occurring at the far end of the chamber and reluctantly welcomed the interruption. His Herald raised his staff and banged the floor with it three times; “Your majesty, these warriors bear dire news that affects Kraka Draka.” Everyone in the hall took a deep breath. The silence is deafening. The Drak-Azuldrungi standing guard along the walls start to draw their weapons; ready to die to protect the Rik and Kraka Draka. The audience was at an abrupt end and the petitioners are escorted out assured that their King would make a decision and they would receive his Kron. When the doors are secured, King Thungni places his helm on his head, grabs his axe and steps away from the throne followed closely by Drazhgrund; they stop in front of the two warriors.
“Speak. You first,” nodding toward the Drak-Azuldrungi.
“Excuse me, your majesty. Should we not order your senior war thanes be in attendance immediately so as not to repeat the news more than once,” suggested the apprentice Loremaster.
The one thing that his father; King Goth and his Uncle Drazhgrund had drilled into him was not to make public your rebukes or displeasure on those who cannot protest that rebuke for fear of being treasonous. So he said nothing to the Loremaster; knowing Drazhgrund would administer the rebuke in private.
“No we will not wait,” the King replied. “Continue, what have you to report?”
Drong Norgrimson of Kalan Shieldbreaker, the senior Drak-Azuldrungi who is the Thane of all the Azuldrungal states only, “our dead stir and walk once more and not just in the Royal Grongol but in all the Kalan Grongols (or tombs).”
“What!” is uttered in amazement, fear, terror and confusion or a combination of all from not just one voice in the audience chamber but from nearly all.
“It started no more than a half candle-mark ago. One of the Grongol-Undi (or Tomb Guard) of Kalan Wyrhead of the Bakery Guild heard noise within their Grongol. Upon unlocking and opening the Grongol door he was startled to see two long dead ancestors walking and moving about,” Drong stated, “he quickly slammed the door shut and barred the door.”
“Grongol-Undi for other Kalan have reported the same,” the Drak-Grundi. “Some Kalans without greater resources just wrapped their deceased in shrouds and placed them within carved out niches instead of sealed coffins or stone sarcophagus. In some cases the Uzkular (Undead) have managed to leave the Grongol and attacked the living. So far there has been one death, that of Anaya Morgodottier a Gormtrommi who died of a terror induce heart attack; though dead she too rose and is now a Uzkular.”
King Thungni and Lord Drazhgrund looked at each other and both saw the danger to the Ankor (Realm) and they both nodded in agreement. “Sound the Drak-Horns, sound the Call to Arms signal.” King Thungni commanded. It was better to be safe than sorry. Two Drak-Hammerers went to the great hall where the two great Drak horns were mounted. The dragon horns that King Snorri, the first king had hollowed out, engraved with Rhuns, and then inlaid with Gal and precious gems. Taking a huge breath they began blowing the horns, and the horns thundered . Every one throughout the Karak awakened from their sleep or stood where they were in disbelief, setting aside what they were doing when they heard the call to arms, the calling of the entire Karak to arms warning them all that the Karak is in danger. “To Arms!!”
Throughout Kraka Draka the great Drak-Horns sounded. The deep reverberating sound echoed throughout the entire Dawi (Dwarf) capital from the lowest mines to the highest watchtowers a top Mount Sjoktraken. At first there is disbelief but then disbelief gave way to resolve as the horns continued to sound the call to arms as the entire Karak went on an instant war-time-footing with little or no dread or inconvenience.
Throughout the entire capital Endrinkuli and Drak-Azul Drungi began closing huge ten-foot-thick stone doors that pivoted on iron hinges, locking and barring them into position thus blocking and securing Kraka Draka from danger. Only those halls and Ungors accessible by the Warriors Guild and the Drak-Azuldrungi were open so they can take full advantage of the interior lines of communication so as to send Dawi warriors to the embattle sections.
In all the Kalan compounds, females with small infants and children too young to hold and use a weapon affectively as well as the infirmed were ushered into secret well stocked hidden halls by the armed Priestess Sisters of Valaya to await the all-clear signal or even worse.
The Throng mustered.
Engineers assigned to the Warriors Guild began issuing portable Zharr Barag (or flame-bellows) to two-Dawi warrior teams.
The Warriors Guild, the largest guild began the muster; as armor was being strapped on, and weapons readied the Thanes for the various Throng units waited for orders as they sent their units to preplanned defensive posts.
All this is well and good; however the threat was within and not from outside.
Ten warriors are assigned to pairs of Drak-Azuldrungi who accompany Zharr Barag teams to each of the Kalan Grongols while other warriors patrol the main hallways leading to and from those Grongol.
Drong Norgrimson the Thane of the Drak-Azuldrungi is heading towards the first of the disturbances, the Baker’s Grongol knowing that the Royal Grongol is secured and no Uzkular or anyone not alive can open the doors from inside; his Rik is in agreement with that decision. Besides Lord Drazhgrund and several Drak-Grundi were going to deal with the Royal Grongol. But then the priesthood stepped in; meaning his brother.
The Grand-master of the Order of Guardian; Garil “Uzkular Stalker” Norgrimson of Kalan Shieldbreaker senior priest of Gazul sought out his younger brother Drong.
“Thane Drong,” Garil called out. “I just came from the King’s council chambers; how do you plan to combat the Uzkular who feel no pain nor exhibit Dwor; unlike our Throng.” Drong and his fellow warriors abruptly stop, look at each other; they had not thought about that.
“Perhaps, the Priests of Gazul will confer our Ancestor God’s blessing upon us,” Drong replied. Drong knew that there is a small Gazul Kadar (or temple) adjacent to each Kalan burial vault, so that meant there would be a Gazul priest nearby to help.
Garil gruff demeanor gave the hint of a smile or perhaps a nod; most Dawi avoid the Priest of Gazul, much like Umgi (Humans) avoid the followers of Morr. “May Stone and Steel receive you within their honorable ranks as they guide you to the halls of your ancestors,” Garil said as he held his hammer over the heads of the assembled warriors. Then turning to his brother he motioned him to one side away from the others.
“Brother, I fear some Necromancer has called forth our dead. Slay the Necromancer and perhaps our honored dead will find peace again,” Garil stated then added. “But I think the Order of Guardian must be at the head of each group of warriors.” His brother was about contradict him but Garil continued over his objections. “It is one thing to attack unknown Uzkular and another to dismember our undead kin. The Order shall deal with them and you will take care of those we cannot. Perhaps the Fishing Guild will provide nets.”
By now the Uzkular have walked for nearly two marks, Dainn Burlokson; Priest of Gazul stood outside the doors of the Wyrhead Grongol. No voices are heard but then again, the Uzkular cannot speak; the only noise was the sound of perhaps a lid from a coffin or sarcophagus falling to the floor. Dainn turned to the Kalan Wyrhead Grongol-Undi and asked, “How many Uzkular did you see?” It was a good thing that Dainn had blessed everyone at this particular Kalan Grongol, for most of these Kalan are all Khazukan-Dawi and would be fleeing or on the floor in a fetal position if confronted by a Uzkular.
“I saw only two; one appeared to be Katrin Dernadottir dead for fifteen years,” he paused then continued “not sure about the other; but more gaunt, nearly skeletal beneath the dried skin.”
So those who have turned to dust have not risen Dainn thought to himself. He prepared, calmly began the prayer-chant to Gazul as he readied the spell. When he was ready, the Grongol-Undi will open the doors. The Drak-Azuldrungal who accompany Zharr Barag would ensure that the Uzkular would not exit the Grongol. With a nod of the head from the priest, the doors to the Grongol slowly opened.
The Kantaz (or Hundred) year candles continued to burn; one had been knocked over and lay upon the floor, its guttering light giving enough illumination that Dainn could see one skeletal Uzkular with reddish eyes gleaming with malevolence; it had no legs and is crawling across the floor toward the now opened door. A second and third mummified Uzkular slowly shamble out of the darkness towards the light entering through the open door. The Gazul priest waited to see if more would appear, but in reality, he wanted all three in close proximity to each other. Dainn could tell that the Dawi behind him are ready but apprehensive, he did not have to look he knew. Then within one heartbeat and the next the Priest cast Retribution. The crawler crumbled into a pile of dust leaving behind only remnants of a burial shroud or clothing, the other two took a step or two before collapsing to the floor and no longer moved. Dainn calls out to the Grongol-Undi, “Were either of those two Katrin?”
“Nay,” he said.
“Then enter, Drak-Azuldrungal first,” Dainn ordered, “and relight any Kantaz year candles you find unlit. They eventually found Katrin Dernadottir where she collapsed, near the sealed sarcophagus of her dead son. They checked the rest of the Grongol and found no Uzkular. Dainn found that those that had been dead for centuries had long ago turned to dust, it was only the recent dead that had arisen; so he performed funeral rites up those bestowing the blessing of Gazul up them thus sealing them from a Necromancer’s influence.
Dainn then turned to the senior Drak-Azuldrungi; “Where is the next closest Grongol?” Hearing the answer he told him to lead the way.
Meanwhile Prince Drazhgrund is conferring with the Grand-master Priest of Gazul; Garil Norgrimson outside the main temple of Gazul; the Ancestor God of the Underworld which is adjacent to the vast Royal Grongol. Forty-three King’s and their consorts, and every past member of the Durazklad Kalan is entombed here. All except one, Duregar Kraggson, uncle to Kraka Draka’s 1st King; Snorri “Drak Slayer” Cromson.
“We do not have to open the doors,” Drazhgrund said quietly to Garil.
“How do you expect me or the others to rid the Grongol of Uzkular if we do not open the door,” Garil replied somewhat at a loss.
“Use the Grongol-Undi door grill,” is the reply. Garil looked at the double doors and the walls on either side and saw no grill. He had been in this tomb several times and had seen no grill on either side of the door and acknowledged the idea had merit.
Drazhgrund approached the door, unseen by those behind him, his hand went into his long-braided beard until he found the what he wanted and removed an icon shaped like two crossed weapons; a hammer and an axe. Stepping closer to the door he placed the icon into one of many similar depression in the decoratively caved door. A slight click is felt and a viewing grill opens up at eye level. Once open Drazhgrund reaches in and opens an inner door allowing him a view of inside the Grongol. Within his vision he sees that all Kantaz year candles still burn and only one Uzkular; his brother Groth; his nephew’s father.
“Garil Norgrimson, Priest of Gazul; the King requires your service. Now!” Prince Alrik seldom used his voice of command, but he did today. At first the Priest is taken aback almost insulted for the lack of respect due as a priest. “Say nothing to anyone but a Priest of Gazul of what you see,” as the Prince commanded.
Garil stepped forward as Drazhgrund stepped aside. The door grill is perhaps two hand high and wide, and he can see the last king who has been dead for 29 years pacing back and forth like King Groth frequently did when confronted with an unmovable obstacle. The Priest turned to Prince Alrik, “Please tell the others to step back, better yet face away from the door; all but you.” Drazhgrund did as he was asked just a little perplexed, then Garil told him what he was going to do; and if he failed Drazhgrund was to slay him.
Drazhgrund nodded that he would, for he had a vague idea what the priest was going to do; something that was rarely ever mentioned in the oldest archives due to the treacherous ramifications of falling or embracing the darkness in an honorable attempt to eradicate evil. The accompanying Drak-Grundi and Drak-Azuldrungi who heard looked at one another confused but did not question either the Priest or their Prince.
The Priest held his two-handed warhammer straight out, pointed at Uzkular king. With both hands on the Rhun-hammer’s haft just below the hammerhead, Garil began chanting in a string of harsh, broken syllabled words; his weapon pointed at his target, he kept uttering the chant time after time after time. Reddish flames seemed to ignite all over Garil’s black armor and along the hammer’s shaft; they appear to pulsate in concert with the priest’s heartbeat. Garil continued unperturbed by what is occurring and Drazhgrund understood only two words, Gazul. Then suddenly Garil stopped; the pulsating reddish light fusing into the hammerhead which glowed as if freshly forged; the Garil spoke a single word and the light shot forth from the hammer head through the grill of the door.
Unseen by those outside the red light fills the entire Grongol, every corridor within the Royal Grongol is filled with Gazul’s light, every niche containing an ancient wrapped ancestor in their burial shroud, every coffin, every sarcophagus is surrounded then absorbs the Ancestor God’s light. The reddish glow then soaked into the very bedrock rock walls, ceiling and foundation of the mountain itself and quickly filled every Grongol throughout Kraka Draka then slowly over a candle-mark dissipates. All the Grongol are quiet once more.
Garil slowly crumbled to the floor as did every Priest performing the same rite. Garil’s hammer makes a loud noise disrupting the quiet as it hits the floor. Prince Alric looks through the grill, Groth is not seen in the Kantaz year candle light. He then kneels beside Garil Norgrimson, slowly turns the priest over and is startled. The prince hardly recognizes the Priest that lay before him, though alive Garil appears to have aged nearly two hundred years during the casting of the spell. Drazhgrund called for a belt keg from one of the warriors, opened and noted from the smell that this brew came from the Rusty Harpoon. He tipped a small amount into the Priest’s mouth who sputtered and opened his eyes.
“Have you looked inside?” Garil gasps. Drazhgrund nodded yes. “Help me up, I, we must go within.” Drazhgrund helped him up, signaled for two of the Drak-Azuldrungal to support the now frail priest. The hammer once again in its harness upon Garil’s back seems to weigh him down as he now walked like a stooped over feeble Karugromthi Khazukan.
Drazhgrund opened the Grongol doors after securing the door grill. It took Drazhgrund nearly half the night as the Grongol-Undi and the others to inspect the entire Royal Grongol. The dead, those that had arose, are now back where they belong. In their niche, coffin, or sarcophagus once more.
Rumors of an Uzkular horde invading Norsca was still being debated by those who were not knowledgeable about that night’s events. So days later, after Kraka Draka returned back to what would be normalcy King Thungni Gothson held a meeting of the matriarchs and patriarchs of each Kalan. Most of the Kalans wanted to know what had happened. They knew that when a Dawi dies, the body is taken to the Temple of Gazul, where it lies in state for four days. There, the priest invokes the protection of Gazul over the body to ensure the safe arrival of the spirit in the realm of the Ancestors. They assumed that the protection prevents their kin’s bodies from being used for necromantic purposes. After four days, the Kalan’s burial Grongol is opened, the body is entombed and the doors are sealed until the next burial. All this the Kalans of Kraka Draka knew. “So what happened,” they all asked in almost a unison voice.
The Kalan Throngrinki gasp, and are shaken to their very core by the sight of the now greatly aged Grand-master of the Order of the Guardian and Priest of Gazul; Garil Norgrimson and his fellow priests. Shaken because one of the most powerful Necromancers of the Old World had caused every dead to arise and just for that one night only; to be forever known as the “Night of the Walking Dead.”
Note: Hope you enjoyed this version of The Walking Dead. Have a pint on my tab.
Edited by Skull Krusher, 03 April 2021 - 04:19 AM.