Alexandros: Ch. 21byJoeBarnosky©
Alexandros Manuscript Page 91
The horse provided to me by Sefu proved to be faster than it looked. It also had to be the fastest horse I ever had the opportunity to ride. The ride took less than a day. When I arrived I was skeptical at Zawiyet Umm el-Rakham's appearance. Instead of an elaborate castle what I found was a ruined one in its stead surrounded by the endless desert.
I dismounted my horse and walked it over to a small piece of stone jutting out from the sand. It had the appearance of once being a statue but time had taken its toll on it as well as the remainder of the city. After tying off the reins I glanced around taking note of anything of interest which was very little.
I could tell there had been more than just the keep here but the majority of it was now covered by the sands of time. I didn't perceive any threat and other than the need to come here for a weapon I would not have any interest in the place. Perhaps that is the reason for such a dreary look.
As I walked around the area I suddenly felt a pull. Not a physical force but something similar to the one I felt when one of those foul creatures was in my presence. I could only assume it was what Madu meant by my knowing where to find the weapon.
I had wasted enough time outside; it was time to accomplish what I came for. Drawing my sword that was given to me by Sefu I preceded toward the keep. I was almost to the door, which was surprisingly in good condition, when I was taken by surprise. A hand burst forth from the sand to settle on my ankle. I overcame the surprise and brought my sword around and down slicing through the wrist of the skeletal arm. I jumped back into a defensive position regretting not having a shield to carry. All around me the ground burst open spraying sand in all directions. At the center of each hole rose a skeletal warrior. The flesh and anything resembling a man were gone; stripped away leaving only bone. The imposing figures carried swords, spears and a variety of weapons and shields. There intent was focused on me.
As soon as they came free of the earth they launched themselves at me. The first two split their focus; one came high, the other low. I quickly sheathed my sword and leapt over the sweeping attack of a spear. I landed in time to avoid a thrust from a sword. As it slid past my body I grabbed the arm of the attack and stepped in to elbow it under the jaw line. The impact dislodged its head sending it flying. As the body went limp I took hold of its sword and spun taking the head off the first attacker. I drew my sword as I came out of the spin.
Now that I had another sword, I had an advantage. I was a Spartan and weaponry was an art for us. There wasn't a weapon in the hands of a Spartan that was ever considered foreign.
The next attack was regarded with caution on the skeletal creature's part. This time three came at me. Two from the front hoped to capture my attention while a third struck me from behind. I knew the attack and was already familiar to it. I feinted a rush at my two attackers then just as quickly spun around with my swords cutting it into three pieces.
I slammed both swords into the ground as I faced my remaining opponents. The first to reach me sliced downward with its sword which I easily avoided with a step back. I then stepped in with a kick forcing its sword back and into the second catching it under the jaw and through the top of its head. With it out of commission I grabbed the lifted the first what would have been its neck and lifted it into the air. Using all my anger I slammed my fist through its face, shattering it into dust.
The remainder of the skeletal creature fell to my feet as I looked around. There were no other attacks and all was pretty quiet except for the dull cry of the wind. Picking up both swords I strode toward the door. When I reached the door it was still in the same position as when the creatures attacked me. Slamming my foot into the point both doors met it flew open much easier than I expected. To my surprise it was well lit from torches that hung all along the wall. A set of stairs lay before me as the light stretched as far as I could see.
Without hesitation I took my first step into the next leg of my quest.