Dag closed his eyes and exhaled all the air he had in his lungs. For some reason, he knew exactly what to do to locate his opponent.
When his lungs were completely empty, he focused on the sound. Despite the fear he felt at that moment, he was able to perceive every single sound in the cave and to isolate those of the undead.
The soil he moved with his feet, his cracked bones creaking, even slow, fragile heartbeat.
Dag stay concentrated, strongly holding his sword with both hands.
Suddenly, the undead moved and Dag heard the sound of his razor-sharp fingernails cutting the air, producing a slender hiss.
With his eyes still closed, he promptly parried the hit and struck back the monster, severing his only arm. His head fell on the dusty ground: this time the monster screamed in pain.
Then he kicked him on the stomach and when the undead body stepped back, he struck again with
the sword, that cut the undead on the side of his chest, breaking his ribs.
The sword remained stuck in that dead, malodorous body.
The undead tried to move but Dag twisted the sword, smashing totally his rib cage. The body fell on his knees, then on the ground.
Dag felt again a shiver down his spine and opened his eyes. He was scared as if woke up from a conscious nightmare, but he was safe.
Stepping back, couldn't see anything in the darkness, he trampled on the undead's head, that moaned painfully at the hit.
The undefined moan evolved in a sentence: the voice was acute and hoarse as if a spike was crawling on a metal plate.
"Wh…what'd you said?" answered Dag, incredulous. The head was talking without being connected with the rest of the body.
The undead didn't answer, continuing to moan indefinitely.
"Who are you? Why do you want to kill me?!"
"We see…you…" continued the undead.
The voice got lower as if he was about to shut down.
While the monster was talking Dag took a second deep breath and focused on the sound: he perceived a tone of sorrow in that voice as if something "human" was still fighting in that inhuman being, but wasn't able to counter the darker part.
"I'm sorry for you, brother. You must've been a good person…fair well" said Dag, breaking the silence.
He moved his foot, to figure where the monster's head was and touched it. Then he raised his sword, pointing to the head on the ground.
With the tip of the sword facing down, he impaled it ending the undead's suffering.
Dag heard the skull shattering, then something flowing out of it.
He grabbed the torch back from the wall and lit it to see what happened to the undead's body.
When the torch enlightened the cave, Dag figured out that the dead headless body was crumbling and evaporating in the form of black dense gas.
He looked at the head.
The skull was completely cracked and the undead's face was leaning on the ground, with his mouth wide open and his eyes half-closed, staring off into space.
The head was suffering the same process of the entire body: starting from the top of the ears, the dead skin was turning into dusky gas.
Focusing on that scene, Dag noticed that some magenta liquid was flowing on the ground from the
bottom side of the head.
He got closer and touched the fluid.
He smelled it: it didn't seem blood, it smelled of rotten animal fat.
That kind of decomposition upset him: he had never beheld such sights. That "thing" was undoubtedly unhuman. And it all began from that ravens! "We see you", what did he mean?
That purple eyes. They really looked like Xis'. But why Xis should have done this to him? What were they "seeing"?
Suddenly, Dag walked out of the cave, it was getting cold.
The night was fallen on the mountain and the stars shined up in the dark sky.
He thought about Freydis.
He missed her, the smell of her hair, her lips, the warmth of her breath.
Perhaps, a day not so far, he would be able to see her again. But first, he needed to control his new powers.
He continued walking forward, moving away from the cave. After a few, he finally saw the farmhouse.
It was a cylindrical main stone structure with another little cubic one on its side. Both had their roof made of wood and straw.
On one of the sides there was a wooden watermill, still working.
The sound of water slapping the mill's blades made the atmosphere welcoming and peaceful.
While he walked closer to the farm, Dag thought that one of the greatest warriors of the Hammers
Of Thor started his journey from such a humble place.
Magni had to be a strong fighter, he reached his current position on his own, thanks to his abilities.
After climbing a few stairs, he reached the farmhouse's door and searched for the key behind the brick, as Magni told him.
He touched each stone brick, one by one till one of them slightly moved. He grabbed it and pulled it away from the wall, uncovering a long rusty key.
He opened the door and entered the house, putting out the torch and leaving it against the wall, next to the door.
Everything had been left in order: every object was in its place, starting from the clay pots on the shelf, till the bed that was covered by a sheepskin fur as if someone left it like this knowing never to return.
Without hesitation, he left all his stuff on the floor, next to a table and threw himself on that bed. He was too tired to deeply inspect the house, even if he was a curious guy.
Too many things happened to him that day: the exile from the Temple Of Orn, the tricky trail to the farmhouse, the undead monster that tried to kill him.
He thought to his family, to Asa and Gridd. Did the bandits come back to his house? Was Brann's axe still safe? What about Gridd? He hadn't seen her for so long. And Eirik? It should be hard to keep on working without Stein on his side.
While Dag continued asking questions, he deeply fell asleep.
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