"Why is a ratman inside the Necropolis? Does it mean that they finally managed to wipe them out after all those years? And why did he keep me alive to lead him to our base? He can't really expect me to just give up my benefactors without a fight. Even if I surrendered, or that's what he thought." That was the thoughts of Daryl, as he began to reassemble his body. It was an incredibly hard task and a really painful one. While turning flesh into sand is easy, the opposite is definitely not. Because sand doesn't have feelings or sensations, while human flesh does. Fearing to open his mouth because of the possibility of some ratmen checking the surrounding, the servant of Krieg had no other choice but to grit his teeth and deal with the pain. Even if he was old and have survived the worst treatment, the transformation from a sand body to a human body is still one of the most painful events he ever had to endure. Even if he only did it a few times, he forever swore each time to never use it again. But still does it, life in pain is better than peace in death.
The other big problem was, while he could manage to not have his body dispersed across all the desert, sometimes it was pretty hard to find some of the missing sand. This time, for example, he was missing fives ribs and his right arm. He tried to quickly rush toward the location where his limbs were, even if he was afraid that the blood loss from his right shoulder will make him faint before he reached it. He absolutely couldn't afford to lose time. The Order of Krieg must be warned about both the annihilation of the Tomb Kings and the presence of ratmen so close to them. The good news was their lack of scouting in this area. They had to rely on him, so they were foreign to this part of the world
But one problem of what he did was the fact that he was now completely lost too. He was in the middle of the desert, and with no oasis or peculiar thing to know where exactly. But he quickly figured out that just by going East, he will probably see something familiar. And he did, not what he was really looking for, but he did find something familiar.
He was now utterly and completely confused. Right in front of him was a huge rock pile. It was quite close to their hideout. But it was mostly buried under a dune, and only a few rocks could be seen most of the time. Strangely, right now, he could see the entire pile. And he could walk on some dirt, not sand. This was supposed to be at a distance of many days to the edge of the desert. But right now, the desert ended before meeting the pile of rock. So the desert withdrew. But why?
Daryl had seen many things in his life, many things that most of the people will find impossible or treat it like mere legends or stories. But he had seen or even experienced it. And now, he had seen a desert losing kilometers in size. But even him found it hard to believe. He began to even suppose that the ratmen had put a poison inside him that was making him hallucinate. That was the only logical explanation for such a sight. After spending minutes at doing nothing except thinking about stupid theories, he finally walked toward the base of the Order of Krieg. No matter what problem he will encounter, they should have the solution.
But as he kept walking, he discovered that the desert was not growing back. He slowly lost sight of the dunes that were countless before. He began to fear for his friends. What will happen to anyone inside the desert? Even their base was under the sand, hidden. So, it would be visible now. Anyone and especially those ratmen could find it. He had to get to it faster. And he began to run, a lot quicker than when he was running in the sand.
After half a day, he finally reached their lair and his worst fear was realized. The desert had left the underground hideout, allowing anyone to see it for far away. That meant that an attack will be imminent. He could see some hunter patrols quickly returning, visibly shocked by the sand disappearance. Out of breath, he tried to reach the entrance and then realized a big problem. The door leading to their base was at 5 meters away from the ground. It was the location of a former dune, so there was a lot of sand. Now that the ground is so low, they had no way to reach it, except climbing. They will probably need to build more ladders.
And while he was thinking this, he quickly reassembled the lost hunters to make them find some rocks and stones to build some temporary stairs. The building in front of him is smoother than anything else, because of the perpetual movement of the sand. The possibility to climb it is low, except for some who were transfused with climbing capacities. Noticing one of them in the group near him, Daryl asked him to enter the hideout and asked those inside to bring a ladder for the rest of them. He also told him to raise the alarm, an attack was imminent. The fellow comrade, while puzzled by those instructions, began his ascension. He disappeared and shortly after, a lot of noises could be heard from the outside.
Unfortunately, the calm was shortly ended, when one of the hunters screamed, while pointing a dark silhouette that could be seen on the horizon. A member of the drake expedition recognized it.
"The r-The rat-The ratm-The ratm!"
"THE RATMEN, NO IT'S NOT POSSIBLE!"
Daryl violently exclaimed. He had lost them in the desert, how could they have followed him. Except for the brutal disappearance of the sand that was covering their secret lair, they shouldn't have been able to find him.
(I told you, he cannot escape from me. And that is the base of Krieg, quite lacking. I mean, it is very easy to spot it.)
That's why you failed and we had to follow this man here.
(Hey, I say that but before the destruction of the ritual, the desert was still here so it was probably very well hidden. They shouldn't have let it stand out like that.)
So now that we are here, what should I do about the twenty or thirty men standing in front of us?
(Well, it is some muscled negotiation so, we have to make them understand how strong we are. Do your best, but don't launch those undead at them, one just fell and killed himself I think.)
You don't have to remind me about that. Why this spell is not leveling seriously. How many weak skeletons do I have to create? But now, is not the time to think about it. Let's first approach them, try a diversion, and proceed to exterminate them.
(What's the diversion?)
You will see, it is highly effective against humans. And works every single time. This plan was designed by some genius.
(I am then really awaiting for such a sight, can I record it, for future research purposes?)
Of course, you can. I think I am close, a little more than two hundred meters. Now see, the greatest diversion tactic ever displayed. A slight wave of the hand. And as I can see, every single one of the hunters even the old man is stunned by my diversion. Their little brains can't understand why a ratman will wave at them. I can even see one of them wave back, by pure reflex.
(THAT'S YOUR STRATEGY? But that's the most basic movement, it's not even that efficient. Or, forget my last sentence, why are they not reacting or at least preparing for a fight?)
Because it is basic human psychology, a wave of the hand means something good, and they have very important problems to associate a good action with me for example. I can assure you, even the most hardened veterans will be puzzled by his enemies waving at him. Of course, now that I have done that, I throw five acid orbs toward the group. Except for the old man that once again managed to flee in time, all the hunters have melted. And my acid spell has gained a level, wonderful. Especially since after all the time I have used it, it never did that.
While my former prisoner managed to dodge most of the damage, I think his left foot was still caught in one of my acid explosion. I can see him drag his body away from me. Not that time, you will not escape me for the third time. I don't know if he can turn his body into sand once again but just in case I prepare another orb. I then slowly walk toward him. He is not able to see me when he is crawling away. And when I finally arrived near him, just before I put an end to his life.
"I, Daryl Maimedhand, from the Order of Krieg, surrender! I surrender!"
C'mon, twice in a row?
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