"Come, Childe, you will join this campaign. The legions will march soon. Raise your undead and follow!"
"I ordered the respawners from Dikenz, but it will be seven days before I can use them to raise my undead."
"Samael, assist the Our Childe with this matter," the king commanded, then he disappeared.
Samael smiled and said, "Let us got to your your land." Samael blurred into a vaporous form and drifted out a window.
Dave tore a teleportation scroll and appeared in the Undead City plaza. He ran through the city and out the gates, heading to his homestead.
The construction projects were still in progress, almost halfway done. At least they were all recognizable as buildings and not just a jumble of stone and lumber.
There was something completely new on his lands. A mountain had appeared where there was none before. The cone-shape high peak was craggy and covered in pristine white blankets of snow. Ice formations glittered in the lights like crystal. An apparently permanent ice and snow storm hovered over the mountain and the broad forests of evergreens that grew around it.
Dave stopped at the undead shop, when he went in he saw Dikenz speaking with Samael.
Dikenz's face had a frightened expression on it and he was nodding as Samael spoke.
"Dikenz," Dave said.
"Ah, me fave'rit cust'mer! About them respawners, I have some ready for ye, and there be no charge for 'em."
"Really? Okay..." Dave was surprised, "Anyway, I need to buy some potions too,"
"Those be free fer ye too!" Dikenz said.
"What about having a look at the Doom Knight weapons, how much will that cost me?"
Dikenz's expression turned sour and he spoke through gritted teeth, "Ye can look, at no charge o'course."
Dikenz kept looking nervously at the smiling Samael.
Dave smiled evilly. Here was an opportunity to get back at Dikenz. He'd always suspected the obsequious zombie was scamming him and now he was certain. Now he had an inkling that he'd been taken advantage of far worse than he'd thought.
"Alright my 'friend,' show me what ya got!" Dave said.
Dikenz sent him the list of Doom Knight equipment. The the cheapest item cost 100,000 CP.
"Oh. Everything costs so much," Dave said plaintively.
"Well, ye see-"
"I am sure our zombie friend will give you a hefty discount," Samael interrupted. His eyes zoned in on Dikenz like a falcon circling a rabbit.
"Yes sor, a discount. O'course, sor. Say...10%?"
'Damn. A 10% discount doesn't help much, I still can't afford anything. I'll just have to be happy I got the respawners for free and come back for the Doom Knight stuff when I have more CP, a LOT more CP.'
"Dikenz, that is so very generous of you, cutting all your prices to only 10% of the original for Kis'Shtiengbrah. That is truly an amazing discount!" Samael stared at the zombie, his smile growing wider and wider until all his teeth were showing.
"N-" Dikenz began, but came to an abrupt stop when he glanced at Samael. He quailed again, his whole body seemed to shrink inward. He amended whatever he'd been about to say.
In a strangled tone, his jaw clenched, teeth grinding, Dikenz grated out, "Yes sor, o'course! Special discount prices on everything fer me fav'rit cust'mer!"
Dave went all out. With the discount, he could get a load of items on the cheap. Relatively.
"Besides the free respawners, I need some potions. An EXP potion for Doom Knight rank and high end healing and mana potions. Oh, and 200 teleportation scrolls! Also, give me ninety sets of dunlord armor. You know Dikenz, I really need to use those respawners right away, so add whatever resources and hire as many workers needed for me to finish the construction of my buildings now. Oh, and of course your so-generous discount applies to the cost of respawning my units too, I'm sure. Mmmkay? Thaaaaanks Dikenzzz."
Dave's abuse of the 'special discount' made Dikenz' undead heart bleed out zombie-ichor like a firehose. But Samael simply stood by, smiling. So Dave didn't stop there.
This was a once-in-an-undead lifetime opportunity and he took shameless advantage of the crooked zombie merchant. He bought a full set of Doom Knight armor, even though the minimum required level for the set was level 400. And bonus, Dikenz almost fainted when Dave added the armor to his shopping list.
Dave ended up paying 1,200,000 CP for the lot. After transferring payment to the fuming zombie he was left with a bit over 200,000 CP in his wallet.
Dave thanked Samael for the help and left the shop. He hurried to get to his settlement, by the time he got there every construction was completed. The dunlord tomb was magnificent. Looming sandstone statues guarded the entrance to the rough-hewn stone tomb. Dave walked up the broad stairs to the doorway and entered. The interior was cool and dim, a human sized diamond-cut transparent crystal was set upright in the middle of the room.
Hieroglyph banners were carved along the walls, recounting mythic stories in mysterious half-pictures. Braziers in each corner of the room supplied the low light.
Dave touched the center crystal and a blue screen appeared in his view.
Dunlord Respawn Point.
You have 111 Dunlords waiting for respawn.
Unit respawn cost
How many units do you wish to respawn?
Dave smiled and entered the total number, 111, to respawn.
Time until all units are respawned:
Stinger spawned first.
"Stinger, welcome back, buddy! Let's go revive the rest of the boyz while the dunlords are respawning here!"
Dave jumped onto the scorpion-man's broad thorax carapace and took his normal place as they left the room.
They rushed from one barracks building after another, reviving the melee units, the archers and the casters.
He was surprised when he saw the Unholy priestess and the paladins spawn inside the melee barracks. He'd thought they were lost forever. And they were still in their living human forms, not undead at all. Perfect. Dave made a note to himself to ask Samael about this. Bud and spark summoned their dunlords and followed Dave.
"And Dog gets to be tail-end-Charlie."
Dave rode Stinger deep into the densely forested part of his land. Eventually they reached a clearing bare of any growth or vegetation except for a black, leafless tree with drooping whip-like limbs growing at the very center. For some reason the tree was horrifying and repugnant just to look at, it seemed to radiate rage and malice. Dave inspected the tree.
Headsman's Black Willow
All manner of unquiet dead are attracted to this monstrous perversion of nature. But dullahans are especially drawn to these noxious flora. The headless undead recover their strength and power resting among the Black Willow's blood stained roots.
Nothing grows in the shadows of these haunted trees, and rotting corpses of animals that wander too close to the tree often litter the ground beneath its branches. Any living being that dies under the branches of a Black Willow becomes one of the unquiet dead, their souls forever bound to the tree.
These trees are also known as "Grasping Willows" or "Grim Willows." It is rumored that the more ancient specimens can move their roots through the earth, travelling within their woodland home and turning entire forests into dark and evil places.
Dave walked through the draping curtains of whip-like tree branches and approached the tree trunk. Growing out of the scaly black bark, a blood-red crystal pulsed sullenly. Dave pressed it to revive his only dullahan. The three shuddered and a seam in the trunk split apart like the long zipper. Dog the dullahan emerged, his body covered in a film of red slime that dripped away from his skin and pooled on the ground.
Holding his head in the crook of his arm, Dog looked around then moved a short distance from the tree. Crouching he slapped a hand against the ground and his basilisk erupted out of the barren soil just a few feet away from him.
Dave shook his head,"Show off! Let's move Dog, we're going to war."
He gathered all his respawned troops and marched them to Dikenz's shop where Samael was waiting for him.
"Hey, Samael, I'm all set. I was wondering, do you know why the Unholy priestess and her paladins spawned along with my undead?"
"Because they were branded with the Mark of Undeath. The Mark connects them to the Death Heart, just like it does the dunlords and now the basilisks. As long as the Death Heart is 'alive' they will be revived if they die. Even your trolls have the Mark and will be revived, it identifies them as ours, part of the undead realm though not truly undead."
"Interesting, thank you for explaining. What do we do now?"
"The king went ahead of us. And you will come with me. The location in the map you brought has four teleportation gates close to it. "Samael gave Dave a yellow piece of paper.
You have learned the coordinates to a new teleportation gate.
Southern Desert Gate [2225: -81]
Dave went to the teleportation gate and entered the coordinates. The gate shone bright and he walked through.
When he appeared at the new location he saw desert extending to the horizon. Thousands upon thousands of undead stood in square formations, surrounding the teleportation gate
Samael appeared, "The king ordered four divisions to surround and exterminate the Black Skull Order. This is one of them."
"My division, Lord Dagla's division, Lady Demneti's division. And finally, the rogue division, led by the king."
"He commands rogue division personally?" Dave asked.
Samael laughed,"Yes, they are really just a bunch of troublemakers but their abilities and power are undeniable and they are the king's favorites. They belonged to the exile Deadra. Without a doubt they are the deadliest division of the undead legion. Deadra was a charismatic leader. He organized and trained those scallywags, got them to give their best, even when everyone else thought they were worthless. "
Dave noticed the sad expression on Samael's face. He changed the subject.
"Isn't this attack a little too obvious? If the Black Skull Order sees us approach with our undead in these numbers they could use teleportation portals to escape and relocate their headquarters somewhere else."
"We already took that into consideration. Lord Dagla has already cast Anti-Teleportation magic over the entire region. The teleportation gates have been blocked so only the undead can operate them. This is the last day the Black Skull Order will defile this world with their existence."
Samael smirked then shouted. "Legionnaires! Forward!"
The ranks of undead responded with a battle cry. The shout blasted like a shockwave blowing sand in all directions.
Dave's units appeared through the teleportation gate behind him.
A dunlord burst up from underground and Samael jumped on, "Let's move to the front of the formations Kis'Shtiengbrah."
Dave followed behind Samael. Bud, Dog, and Spark with him. The division marched for half an hour to reach their destination.
Four armies converged like the tide and gathered around an area twice the size of a football field.
Dave frowned, the marker in his map clearly pinpointed the area as the location of the Black Skull Order base. But nothing was there, just bare desert scrubland.
The sky darkened, black clouds gathered in the sky. The wind rose until it howled and roared as if a tempest was brewing. Lighting and thunder broke the silence.
"Could they be underground?" Dave mumbled.
"No, they are using an illusion to conceal their base. We never would have located them without the information you brought to us. Don't worry about it, Lord Dagla will take care of their little magic tricks."
In the distance, Dave saw a lone figure walk forward, presumably Lord Dagla. The figure raised a skull-headed scepter and the sky shuddered. Space tore open around the empty area and winds howled from within.
The winds blew across the apparently empty area and revealed a dome shape over what had been an empty stretch of desert. The dome shook and ripples moved along the surface. Then the dome shattered like it was made of fragile glass.
A palace that looked like it was made of black bones appeared in the middle of the desert. It was almost a perfect copy of the bone palace in the dead realm's Undead City.
Samael smiled, "This will be a massacre!"
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