D&D: Undead Attack

I’m not sure how many people can say this, but I love spoilers.

This is true for practically every aspect in my life. When I go to a concert, I google the setlist so I know which songs area going to be performed so I can make sure I know the lyrics. When there is a movie that I’m interested in seeing, I’ll look up the plot synopsis. Even when I read, I find my eyes drifting toward the last page of a chapter before I’ve finished. While I do enjoy surprises and will hold back so I can go along for the ride, I think I enjoy being “in the know” more.

Because of this, I had an absolute blast during the last D&D session. Since Ciaran was left behind in town during the undead attack, I had a chance to know what was happening even though Basile and the rest of the party didn’t. While we were all in Dis, I was also rping via Facebook chat with Eddie to determine what was happening back in town.

To top if off, Eddie asked me to write up a summary of the events that took place before Neebs and Associates could come to the rescue.

Of course, a summary isn’t good enough. So, here’s a short story of the events from Ciaran’s perspective:

Massive storm clouds approached Neebsenshire, their dark gray mass blocking out the sky. Within the core, flashes of lightning ominously warned the town of their arrival. With the distant roll of thunder, Ciaran’s hands tightened around the broom in his hand.

“Are you alright, deary?” Alsbeth asked as she dusted off one of the shelves.

“I don’t like storms,” Ciaran replied, his voice hitched slightly. He had a good reason to be wary when lightning split the sky. They reminded him of dragons, and thunder birds, and death.

“You’ll grow out of it,” the elderly woman replied. She wiped her hands on her apron. “I was scared of storms when I was your age, too. But they aren’t that bad. The town could use a good rain.”

She’ll never understand… Ciaran sighed and stared out the window. He hated how the sky was almost turning green, and how the shadows of the day were fading from lack of sun. There was another rumble of thunder, and Ciaran set the broom against the wall. I’m going home. He slipped out of the back door and dashed down the road toward the Temple of Kord.

The temple had become a second home to him, a place where he felt secure and connected to his friends. Kord was always watching and he knew that he’d be safe inside. Yet as he entered, he looked up at the ornate dome ceiling and frowned. It was decorated with images of Kord battling many foes in the midst of a raging thunderstorm.

The God of Storms, Strength, and Battle… Ciaran wrapped his arms around himself. Maybe this wasn’t the best place to be.

“Everythin’ will be fine,” H’rathen greeted as he walked up next to Ciaran, his head meeting the boy’s shoulder. He patted him roughly on the back. “As long as you stay indoors, you can’t get hurt.”

Ciaran smiled. At least H’rathen understood. “Still doesn’t make it less scary.”

“Hmm,” the bald dwarf hummed as he stroked his chin where a beard would be. “Well, imagine that almighty Kord is on the battlefield, facin’ off against his enemies. Each flash of lightnin’ is the glint of his axe clashin’ against armor, that every roll of thunder is his voice boomin’ over the crowd to proclaim his victory!” With each statement, H’rathen grew more boisterous. He threw some punches in the air, with the last one connecting to Ciaran’s arm lightly. 

The boy laughed and rubbed his arm. However, his moment of ease was short lived as lightning cracked outside, the sound slightly muffled through the stone and wood. “It didn’t look like it was going to rain today.”

H’rathen walked to the front door and looked outside. “Hmm…it does seem to be comin’ on pretty quick.”

“Is that normal?”

“Weather is a fickle thing. You can’t predict it.”

“Can you do something to…to, I don’t know…” Ciaran trailed off, his face flushing with embarrassment. 

H’rathen smiled. “Let me check somethin’.” The cleric turned to walk back into his office while the boy peeked outside to watch the clouds. They were swirling over the treetops, like vultures circling their prey. The wind was starting to pick up, howling as it blew through the surrounding forest. Ciaran felt like he was in danger, even though he knew that he was invulnerable. Yet, the sick feeling in his stomach refused to leave as the sky grew darker.

He wished Basile was there to tell keep him safe.

‘We need to go to the gate,” H’rathen said as he passed Ciaran to head outside. All of the playfulness in his voice was gone.

“W-what do you mean? What’s happening?” Ciaran asked, his panic escalating as he followed behind H’rathen. His cloak flew back in the wind, and he had to hold onto the clasp to keep it from choking him. 

“Somethin’ bad…” H’rathen squinted his eyes to get a better look at the clouds looming over them. “Where are the others?”

“Adventuring.”

“Basile left you behind?”

“I didn’t want to go this time,” Ciaran said indignantly.

“Well, it’s a good thing you didn’t.” The two approached the main gate at the front of the town. It was wide open, and in the distance they could hear a strange sound. It was a cacophony of guttural groans and the dry clanking of bones. Then, figures moved out of the shadows of the trees. Corpses and skeletons trudged closer, leaving behind a trail of rotting flesh and splintered bones. Around them seemed to be an aura of death.

A chill ran up Ciaran’s spine. He stepped closer toward H’rathen. “Can you send a message to the others to let them know that something is wrong?”

“I already tried to contact ‘em, but my spell didn’t go through,” the cleric replied grimly. “I’m guessin’ your connection to Basile isn’t long distance.”

Ciaran shook his head. “They went to hell or something. Would that be why your message didn’t work?”

“No, the sending spell should be able to cross planes. Somethin’ else is blocking it.” H’rathen ran up to the gate and started slamming his hand on the wall to get the gatekeeper’s attention. “Close the gate! Undead approaching!” He continued to shout and try to get Can Tankerous’ attention, but the gatekeeper wasn’t responding. “Dammit, looks like I have to do everything myself,” he grumbled as he climbed up the ladder to the top of the watchtower. Ciaran watched anxiously as the dwarf sounded the alarm.

Ciaran turned and watched as women and children rushed back into their homes, while the men came out to assist. Some gathered together with whatever weapons they could find, while others charged toward the gate. Can Tankerous ran out of the Three Shepherds toward the tower.

“Oi, who’s sounding the alarm?” he shouted as he came up to Ciaran.

“H’rathen. Why weren’t you up there?”

“You kidding? I’m never up there during a storm. I’ll get struck by lightning!”

A jolt of fear struck Ciaran. He looked back up at the tower. “H’rathen! You’re in danger! You need to come down!”

H’rathen looked over the edge. “This whole town is in danger! We need to close the gate, now!”

In the distance, it became clearer that the storm was growing more dangerous, and that the wave of undead was larger than it first appeared. Can Tankerous ran up to the gate and started helping the other townsfolk push it closed.

“Y-you can kill undead, right?” Ciaran asked H’rathen as he came back down the ladder.

“Yeah, but that’s a lot of undead.”

A crack of lightning split through the clouds, filling the air with electricity. The bolt nearly deafened Ciaran as it struck the roof of the Three Shepherds, catching the building on fire. Tenants screamed and fled, panic quickly spreading through the city. He trembled and stumbled back into H’rathen.

“Stay indoors and you’ll be safe…” he murmured. 

“Ciaran, you need to focus now,” H’rathen instructed, grabbing the boy by his arms and turning him around to look up at him. “We’re going to need all the help that we can get. The Fang Reserve, The Dragonborn Brothers, Xi-Long. Go get anyone who can fight.”

“O-okay…I can do that,” Ciaran said, nodding his head. H’rathen turned to focus on the door as Ciaran took off running toward the Fang Reserve. As he passed by the General Store, he saw Basile’s father standing with the crowd, looking around frantically. He caught sight of Ciaran and rushed over.

“There you are!” He reached out and hugged Ciaran close to him, catching the boy off guard. “What are you doin’ out here, eh? You should be gettin’ to safety.”

“I have to help H’rathen protect the town,” Ciaran replied, his heart racing. He pulled himself away, his eyes locking on the blue clasp of Levi’s cloak. It was strange to see it being worn by anyone other than Basile.

Is he okay? Are the others okay?

“Ciaran.”

“Hmm?” he glanced back up, trying to refocus.

“What’s attackin’ the town?” Levi asked again.

“Uh…Undead, lots of them. H’rathen can handle them, but not for very long. We need more clerics and…” his paused, his eyes widening. “Wait, you’re a cleric! You can help!”

Levi smiled, crows feet forming at the corners of his eyes. “I’ve never been one to fight, but I’ll do whatever I can to protect you and this town.”

“Make as many undead explode as you can! Heal those who are hurt!” Ciaran instructed.

“Aye, captain,” Levi said with a nod. “You stay safe, too. We’re depending on you.”

Ciaran beamed. Finally someone was recognizing that he was a real adventurer and not some sidekick. As he turned to continue toward the Fang Reserve, he saw that many of the members were already pouring out to help with the threat. Lindurall was leading the charge, his bow in hand and calling out orders.

My bow! Ciaran remembered as he sprinted back toward Lorn’s tent. He pushed his way through the crowds of people fleeing, not wanting to waste any time by being polite and asking them to excuse him. He ran inside and grabbed his bow and quiver from off the floor near his bedroll. To be safe, he also grabbed his long sword as backup. He then hurried back outside to help the others.

With a loud crack, the gate ripped off its hinges and fell forward. People screamed as the massive wooden door slammed down. Some were able to run away, but others were crushed underneath as two undead trolls led the first siege into Neebsenshire.

Ciaran ran over and saw a familiar face pinned under the door. Can Tankerous was completely still, his eyes dazed and blood dripping from his mouth. He knelt down and grabbed Can Tankerous by the wrist, trying to pull him out from under the door, but he wouldn’t budge.

There has to be something that I can do, Ciaran thought in a panic. He racked his brain, trying to think of a solution. Some sort of spell… He imagined the books in the druid’s collection, and a memory of Lorn casting a spell that created a disk came to mind. Maybe that would work!

Ciaran cast Tenser’s Floating Disk above Can Tankerous. The silver disk manifested and stretched several feet. Ciaran raised his hands to command the disk to lift the door. At first he struggled to raise the weight of the door and the undead crawling over it. However, Ciaran was able to get it raised enough to drag Can Tankerous out from underneath and away from the fray.

His hands trembled as he reached for his amulet. He squeezed the gem in his palm and activated it. The amulet glowed, and he could feel warmth moving down his arm. Ciaran pressed his hand against Can Tankerous’ chest and willed the healing energy to flow into him. He closed his eyes, not wanting to see the bones in his crushed body pop and snap back into place. When the warm sensation in his hand faded, he grabbed the gatekeeper under his arms and dragged him to the safety of a nearby home.

Screams of commoners at the gates echoed in his ears. Ciaran looked up to see the undead flooding inside. Innocent people were being grabbed and bitten by zombies and trampled by skeletons. They were a quickly spreading disease.

With anger building up in him, Ciaran quickly cast a Summon Monster spell. A flash of bright white light appeared in the middle of the crowd. As the light faded, what was left behind was a strange creature Ciaran had never seen before. It was a large horse covered in shimmering gray feathers. The front half was that of an eagle, and as it dug its claws into the dirt, it let out an aggressive crow. The moment its eyes focused on one of the undead, it reared up onto its back hooves and raked the enemy with its talons. It leapt into the air, its massive wings unfurling to circle around and dive at the hoard.

Ciaran was so enamored by the beautiful creature that he didn’t notice Can Tankerous waking up beside him.

“W-what happened?”

“Can Tankerous! You were hurt really bad, but I saved you,” Ciaran said, trying to steady his voice. “You need to get somewhere safe.”

“Aye…and what about you? You can’t be running around out here. It’s too dangerous.”

“I’m a member of Neebs and Associates featuring Dwayne the Rock Gnome Johnson!” He pointed up to the hippogriff soaring over the town. “I summoned that…that…horse-bird! I can handle a few undead.”

Can Tankerous whistled, but broke off into a fit of coughing. “Ahh, well that’s impressive.”

Ciaran helped him get to his feet. “Now, go! Help others get to safety.” Before Can Tankerous could argue, he ran back into the fray, trying to find out how else he could help. Though he couldn’t get close enough to use his amulet to save any others, he readied his bow and took aim at a troll leading the attack.

A zombie knocked him from behind, sending him stumbling. Ciaran turned around and was punched squarely in the gut, the breath knocking out of him. He withdrew his sword and swung the blade around, catching the undead in the shoulder. He then backed up and fired two arrows into its chest.

“Only I’m allowed to hurt Basile,” Ciaran yelled angrily as he kicked the zombie for good measure, skipping away from its grasp as it tried to grab him again. He nearly ran into another cluster of undead.

He knew he had limited magic to work with, and needed to plan ahead like Lorn before wasting his spells. 

So, he instead thought like Rhaegar, and with a battle cry he ran through the small hoard of undead, slashing his blade to cut a path through them.

One grabbed at his leg, trying to yank him down. Another reached forward to knock his blade away, but instead had its head cleaved off. A third slipped up beside him and latched onto his back, biting down into his shoulder.

Ciaran screamed in fear and jabbed the hilt of his sword against the zombie until it let go. He whacked at them until he had some distance and climbed up the nearest tree.

Once he was safely in the branches, Ciaran caught his breath and inspected his arm. There was a hole through his cloak and shirt, but there no marks on his body. He hadn’t even felt it. Did it break Basile’s skin?

With another rumble of thunder, it began to downpour. The rain fell heavily, and even under the shelter of the trees, the shimmering green droplets dripped through the leaves. The water seemed to stick to his him, saturating his clothes. 

A familiar voice broke through the chorus of screams. Ciaran peered through the branches to see the dragonborn brothers surrounded by undead that were closing in on them. Americk was wielding the holy avenger, smiting any that came too close. His brother, Legick, fought beside him, snarling and exposing his teeth.

“Toxil!” Americk shouted, his voice raw. Ciaran saw the sorcerer in the horde. He was covered in massive cuts and bites. Toxil reached toward his brothers, his maw covered in blood and foam.

Ciaran’s hands gripped his bow, but he knew he couldn’t shoot. He wasn’t strong enough to kill one of his friends.

Instead, he looked away and surveyed the rest of the massacre. The remaining Fang Reserve members were retreating back toward their base. Lindurall wasn’t among them. Most likely dead. The hippogriff that he had summoned was no longer flying over the crowd. 

He was numb, the horror weighing him down and making it hard to breathe. I can’t stop this…

“For Kord!” With panic seizing his chest, Ciaran saw the cleric standing on top of the Temple of Kord. Several of the undead below him glowed white briefly before exploding into pieces. H’rathen seemed to be thriving, but there was another cleric that needed to stay safe.

Everyone had fled like rats in a fire. Those who were strong enough to escape were making their way out of the city and toward Neebs Peak. Others were crowding toward the General Store, trying to get inside. Ciaran looked around but couldn’t find Levi in the chaos. Oh no…oh no…oh no…

“Ciaran! Are you okay?”

The boy looked down to see Pythos standing under the tree, shrouded under his cloak. The water seemed to roll off him with ease, pooling around him. Ciaran scowled, but slid down the tree, landing heavily on his feet.

“Where have you been?” Ciaran asked bitterly. Basile had always told him how great his mentor had been. Ciaran had yet to see any evidence of that.

“I was fighting from a distance. I don’t like getting my hands dirty.”

Ciaran eyed his white gloves. Not a speck of dirt was on them.

Pythos opened up his cloak. “Now, get underneath. You can’t get wet.”

“It’s not like I’m going to melt.”

“Maybe not you, but Basile might,” Pythos said, nearly having to yell over the noise of the battle and storm. With that, Ciaran stayed close to him, trying to be completely covered so the rain wouldn’t hit him. But with every footfall water splashed up onto his ankles and seeped into his shoes.

“Where are we going?” Ciaran asked as Pythos led him away from the undead. They were overtaking the town, which was now devoid of all townspeople.

“Alsbeth’s cellar,” Pythos said. Ciaran remembered sweeping the floor and noticing a trapdoor hidden under one of the rugs. As they arrived, people were already starting to head into the basement and were dragging items to press against the doors. Ciaran saw Can Tankerous helping collect preserves from the shelves and passing them down into the shelter.

“You guys are the last ones,” Can Tankerous said as Pythos shook off his cloak. “We’re going to hunker down here until help comes.”

Ciaran swallowed thickly, his mouth parched. H’rathen hadn’t been able to get in touch with the others. If magic messages couldn’t leave town, how did anyone expect someone to come to their rescue.

“Let’s go, Ciaran,” Pythos said, climbing down the ladder into the bunker.

“Wait! Where’s Levi?” Ciaran asked.

“Who?” Can Tankerous asked.

“The Cleric of Ioun! He wears a black cloak with fur on the edge!”

“The redhead with a beard. Northern accent,” Pythos added.

“Oh, Red!” Can Tankerous exclaimed as his memory was jogged. “I haven’t seen him. Maybe he left for Neebs Peak with the others.”

“Don’t even think about it,” Pythos warned as Ciaran looked back into the storm. “Basile wants me to protect you.”

“And he would want me to protect his dad,” Ciaran shot back. With that, he turned and ran back into danger, ignoring Pythos and Can Tankerous calling him back.

Now exposed to the rain, he felt a sudden wave of exhaustion wash over him, but in a flash he felt back to normal. Whatever the rain was doing to him, it was affecting Basile now.

I need to be quick!

Ciaran scanned the area. He noticed that the undead were starting to gather in small groups. The Fang Reserve was ablaze. The ground was littered with bodies. Neebsenshire was deserted, but Lorn’s tent was pristine. A haven among chaos.

Something deep down said that he needed to go there. So, he followed his gut and ran behind the buildings to avoid the largest horde of undead, sneaking between alleys and cutting across the streets. He ran as fast as he could, his chest aching as he pushed himself to his limits.

His foot slipped in a puddle, sending him into the mud. The crash alerted the undead nearby, and they turned to come after him.

Ciaran stumbled to his feet and ran into Lorn’s tent. Inside were a few more people, mainly elderly people who were unable to escape. In the center was Levi, casting spells to calm and heal them.

“Levi!” He ran up and hugged the cleric, holding onto him tightly. He shivered as Levi hugged him back.

“Oh, thank Ioun that you’re okay,” he said gruffly. “Are you hurt?”

“No, but this rain isn’t good,” Ciaran said as he looked up. Water was seeping through the tent and dripping on everything. “We all need to go to the General Store. There’s a basement we will be safe in.”

“I don’t think we’ll be able to make it there without being seen,” Levi replied grimly. “This place is hallowed, but if any of us leave they will surely attack.”

“I can turn invisible! I’m sure there’s a way I can make you all invisible, too.”

“Is that a boy?” an elderly man asked bitterly. “What makes him think that he’ll be able to make us all invisible?”

Ciaran fumed as he recognized the man as the blind “non-human” hater who tried to kick Ashisa out of town. How dare he even speak up!

“Ciaran is one of King Neebs’ trusted associates,” Levi interjected, politely putting the elder in his place. “He’s been traveling with the king and his friends for a long time now, and is certainly a very strong and competent adventurer. I’m sure Lorn has taught him how to make others invisible.”

The boy frowned. “Well, not exactly, but…” He looked around and found a pile of random books on Lorn’s desk. He ran over and began to sift through. While they weren’t his personal spellbooks, he knew there had to be something that could help him. After a few moments, he finally saw a glimmer of hope. “Invisibility Sphere!”

With a wave of his hand, he said the incantation and a shimmering veil surrounded them. It was as if they were looking at a mirage, the outside world wavering slightly.

“The spell is cast around myself,” Ciaran explained. “As long as you stay near me, you should be safe.”

“But I can still see all of you. How do you know that it’s working?” another very frightened woman asked.

“Ciaran, show us how it works” Levi suggested.

Ciaran nodded. He carefully left the tent. The undead that had first heard him didn’t seem to know that he was there anymore. He kept walking backwards until those inside the tent began to shimmer as well, signaling their exit from the sphere. He saw their eyes widen as he vanished before them. Levi waved his hand, signaling for him to come back in, Ciaran darted back inside, the invisibility sphere wrapping around them once more.

“Did it work?” the blind man asked.

“Yes, it was amazing,” the woman replied in awe.

“Stay close to me, and we can walk to the General Store. As long as we’re quiet, they won’t hear or see us.” Ciaran lifted his bow. “I can take out anyone who gets too close.”

“What about the green rain?” the third woman asked. She was younger than everyone else, but Ciaran noticed that she had a crooked back, her deformity forcing her to limp.

“I can’t stop that,” Ciaran admitted. “But take some of Lorn’s blankets and try to keep as dry as you can.”

Filled with anxiety, everyone began to take blankets and hold them above themselves. Levi draped his cloak on Ciaran shoulders, pulling the hood over him.

“You need to be protected the most. You can’t save anyone if you’re hurt.”

The five of them stepped outside. With his bow drawn, they slowly made their way across the town to the General Store. Despite their pace and the rain drizzling on them, they were able to safely pass by the undead without being detected. As they approached, Ciaran could see Pythos standing by the door. He was wearing a strange pair of goggles, and his cloak was draped over his arm.

“I see you found more than just Basile’s father,” he said, surprising Ciaran.

“It’s a good thing I went out then,” he replied sharply. He let the invisibility shield drop, and Pythos took off his goggles. 

“Now that you’re done playing hero, we have to make sure Basile is still alive.”

As the others were helped into the basement, Levi and Ciaran froze in the doorway.

“Still alive?” the cleric asked.

“Ciaran has been running around in that rain, and I don’t know if your son has any protection against energy drain spells,” Pythos snapped. “For all we know, he’s getting the life sucked out of him. Now get inside.” He reached out and grabbed Ciaran’s wrist, pulling him in and nearly throwing him into the basement. Ciaran caught himself and carefully climbed down, with Levi and Pythos behind him.

Can Tankerous was the last one in. He closed the door and locked it from inside. Alsbeth lit a candle, allowing just enough light for everyone to see in the cellar.

“Please, is my son okay?” Levi asked Pythos, and Ciaran could hear the fear in his voice. He almost sounded broken, like Basile’s safety was more important than his own life.

Pythos beckoned Ciaran. “Come here. I need to send a message to Basile.”

“I can’t hear him,” Ciaran explained, feeling his throat tighten at the idea of Basile dying because of him. “He’s too far away, and we can’t send message spells, and I don’t know if he’s okay, and…” Causing some grief with a broken bone was one thing, but this was too much. “What if he’s dead?”

“Now’s not the time to panic. There is still one way we can reach him.” The warlock pulled out a dagger from his satchel, and Ciaran suddenly understood. “If he’s alive, you won’t feel a thing. But if you do…”

“Oh Ioun…” Levi murmured.

“It’ll be okay,” Ciaran assured the cleric, hoping that he was right. He held out his hand for Pythos, who took the dagger and made a small cut into his palm. The blade slid across the flesh without creating a mark. Ciaran let out a deep sigh of relief.

Pythos nodded. “Good. Now take off your shirt.” Ciaran furrowed his brow but did as he was told. “Turn around. I have to write a message quickly.”

Although he could sense the tip of the dagger drawing along his back, he could only imagine the searing pain Basile must be feeling as the words Undead Attack Help were written into his skin.

With Levi holding onto his hand to comfort him, Ciaran closed his eyes and prayed.

Ioun, I’m sorry for being mad at Basile and for hurting him so much. Please help him come home safely. We need him and the others. I can’t do this alone.

***

They all sat in silence for two hours, listening carefully for any signs of the undead breaking into the store. So far, they didn’t seem to care that a small portion of the town were crowded together in a small bunker. Ciaran sat between Pythos and Levi. The cleric’s arm was wrapped around him, and the warlock watched him intently – waiting for a sign. Every fifteen minutes, Ciaran pricked his finger with the tip of Pythos’ blade, praying that a drop of blood didn’t appear. He was in the process of pricking his fourth finger when he felt a tug in his chest.

” – you there? Fuck, please, Ioun, let him answer…”

The boy sat up straight and opened his eyes. “Basile!”

“Is he here? Can you hear him?” Levi asked, jerking forward slightly.

“Yes! Yes, I can hear him!” Ciaran beamed, looking over toward Pythos. “He’s here!”

“Tell him where we are,” Pythos said as he took back his blade. “Tell him we need help.”

Basile! We’re at the General Store. Alsbeth has a cellar that we’re hiding in.

“Ciaran! Just hold tight a little longer, okay? I’m coming as fast as I can. I’ll be there soon.”

Ciaran felt his eyes welling up with tears at the sound of his brother’s voice. He wasn’t used to hearing Basile sound so terrified. He balled his fists in his lap. I tried to save them…but I couldn’t. I couldn’t stop the undead. There were so many, and…

There was a pause. “It’s okay. You’re safe, and that’s all that matters. I’m so proud of you for being brave through this.”

The boy rubbed his eyes with the back of his hand, relief washing over him. Basile was proud of him. He didn’t let him down.

Footsteps manifested above them. Ciaran looked up as he heard muffled voices, and then a heavy thud. Ciaran smiled as he imagined Rocky being summoned inside. The door to the cellar opened. He squinted as light filtered in.

“They’re down here!” Rhaegar said as he looked back toward the others. The warrior cursed as he was knocked slightly off balance. A plume of dust kicked up in front of Ciaran and Basile dropped his invisibility.

“I’m sorry!” Ciaran cried out as his brother fell onto his knees and pulled him into a hug. He could feel the stickiness of blood under Basile’s armor and knew that he was still hurt, but he didn’t flinch when Ciaran held onto him tighter.

“Don’t be,” Basile murmured with a relieved sigh. “As long as you’re safe.”

“Basile!” Levi started, getting up to move toward him. Ciaran felt the tension in Basile’s shoulders release as he saw his father. He let go and watched his brother walk up and hug Levi.

“Dad! Thank Ioun you’re safe…”

“Is Ciaran down here?” Lorn asked as he came down the steps, followed by the others. Ciaran ran up to him and hugged his waist.

“I’m so glad that you’re back! I thought I’d never see you guys again. The undead were everywhere!”

“What happened here?” Dwayne asked as Ciaran moved to hug him next, practically towering over him.

As Ciaran informed everyone of what happened while they were away, he felt a sense of peace come over him. Any fear he felt vanished now that his friends had returned. They were safe, and they would be able to save the town together.

With the Neebs and Associates reunited, they climbed back up the ladder to face whatever evil was plaguing their town. As they let the General Store, Ciaran grabbed onto Basile’s hand.

I still don’t understand, but I’m not mad anymore.

Basile squeezed his hand gently. “Thank you, and I’m sorry for ever hurting you. I promise I will do everything in my power to keep you safe.”

Ciaran smiled and ran to the front of the group with Basile in tow, his spirits lifted and his vigor restored. He was ready to kill undead and protect his friends at all costs.

Not even a storm would stop him.

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