Grimdark Magazine Battle-Off: Lords of Dyscrasia by Seth Lindberg
Lords of Dyscrasia by Seth Lindberg
This is an excerpt provided by the author for the Grimdark Magazine Battle-Off Competition
The Augur Carver and Illuminator Guilds, laden in copper scales, rolled forth like great bunches of golden and verdigris grapes. Ripe with fear and duty, they emptied from their stronghold, reeking of the acrid stench of Cypria.
The first regiment circled about Blue Lysis. Two hundred plated figures bearing heavy armory. Each soldier was uniquely decorated in metallic quilts, interwoven with chain links and bone and animal totems, plumed feathers, and inset minerals.
“Artists? I am met by illuminators and sculptors? Aged Picts?” Endenken read their auras. “I am an artisan of death. My blade is my stylus! Your blood my ink! The Land my canvas!”
Ferrus Eviscamir cut trenches into the Land, cracking the crusty earth like glass. Melancholic oil welled from the resulting ravines. Thus the Deceiver was protected by a natural moat, filled with the Land’s own black blood.
Approaching this natural barrier was the army of Augurs. To Lord Lysis, their attire appeared beautiful but colorless. But their auras broadcasted a spectacular array of hues. These spirits could be worked by Lysis’ necromancy as adeptly as a painter worked his medium of inks and dyes—yet the undead Lord was himself a master of swordsmanship.
Forced to crawl upon one another through the hot tar, the emerald-colored Carvers crossed the moat. They wielded grossly designed weapons: meat cutters with extended handles, choppers with large rectangular blades, and mighty cleavers with serrated edges.
Additional illuminators leathered in hides of saffron and turmeric hues crossed the black streams of oil with their brethren Carvers, their plumed halberds spearing like massive quills.
And Blue Lysis carved into their ranks with Ferrus Eviscamir, its blade slicing only their bones, invisible to metal and flesh and incapable of being parried or blocked. He tilled them as he had tilled the Land!
Dozens of bodies writhed. Yet more Augurs advanced.
They pressed Lysis back by virtue of their sheer numbers!
Performing the theurgic rites of the elders, he danced with his blade and spoke aloud in arcane, insectan languages.
And the minions of Haemarr responded. Burrowing into the fallen Augurs, they animated the dead.
Thus Lysis commanded over thirty crippled corpses. As Haemarr’s magic animated the dead, his avatar fully grasped the power of possession and reanimation. His victims rose. Empty eyed. Arms contorted. Spines twisted, bones piercing their husks. And Lysis set them upon their friends.
“Feed!” he demanded.
Terror rendered the remaining ranks of the Carver Guild useless. Many ran hysterical off the battlefield. Others fainted. The dead fed upon themselves, some dumbly eating truncated limbs, others gnawing into the warm flesh of the living.
Wasps resuscitated the fallen, abandoning the bodies once hacked beyond use to revive those freshly killed. Again and again, the dead rose to fight their brethren. Soldiers knew not whom to trust as the dead turned against their own.
The ranks of Carvers and Illuminators soon lay as mashed, bruised fruits, gathered together on a vine of bone and flesh. The earth assumed the texture and hue of caramelized pumpkin pith, replete with broken hulls and bathed in dark syrup, and the air became rank with the odors of rotten meat.
The soil was sodden such that it sank beneath the weight of the dead. Rivulets of blood and oil coated all in streaky glosses of red and black. It sluiced over the brooding brow of the Deceiver.
So bloodied, Lord Endenken Lysis advanced through these muddled ranks into the heart of the compound. The Iron Forest.