An ordinary town to an unfocused eye
A particular district close to its core
Where good going folk stay at night time indoor
Where guards of the kingdom walk always in threes
In one tavern corner, were meeting two thieves
Noticing Lark, when he came in
Alec greeted him hastily and flashed him a grin
"Sit down, relax and have a good drink,
I have a proposal to offer, so think..."
"A proposal of what?" Lark curious asked
"A raid on lost treasure, a very light task,
No guards, no patrols so no need for fighting,
So to some of us it will not be exciting..."
"You know well enough, that I avoid a fight"
"A thief with a conscience." He nodded "Yeah, right
But your reputation with traps is exquisite
So I figured out, I'd pay you a visit."
"I would have guessed this just wasn't a chat."
"So very true, Lark. You're right about that."
"Lets get to the point then. Where and when?"
"As soon as were ready, assembled and then,
We'll set out to hike through the woods for a bit."
"So this lost treasure, where lies it?"
"Oh in some temple ruins, in earth buried it lies,
So taking some torches with us would be wise"
"You're robbing a temple? You know that's a sin."
"But you have not seen of the treasures within
Enough to buy cities! Armies or kings!
There's gold, silver, jewels and magical things
Besides, don't be worried. The temple is lost
Forgotten, abandoned, not known of by most"
Lark narrowed his eyes, adjusted his cloak
And out of his hood he quietly spoke
"I will consider a part in this dance
But I need more knowledge than that in advance,
Tell me how far, and which way we will go
The answer to that is the least that you owe"
"Alright" Alec said and placidly smiled,
"The temple lies east, quite deep in the wild,
Well travel through rivers, through forests for days
The path will be devious, dozens of sways
But then we will enter a city of lost
Old ruins in forest covered by frost
The temple lies there, unguarded, unlocked."
And so for an hour or two they have talked
Alec concluded "We can't go alone, we need three or more"
When Lark replied asking "Three people? What for?"
"The more of us there, the softer our task,
Another good thief is not much to ask,
But they must be good at disarming traps"
Lark thought, and then nodded "Perhaps,
I know of two more who belong to my guild
I know them as friends, and thieves they are skilled"
"All then, is well. We could use their aid"
With one of his hands Alec called for the maid
He ordered more ale and they drank to a toast
For they would be weary but richer than most
Who also agreed that he would be in
When Lark had asked Quinn of a thief good with traps
Quinn thought and then said "I know a few chaps."
So later that night they contacted Flick
His skill was impressive. With ropes, he was slick
With four thieves assembled they were complete
They bought arrows, torches and things they would eat
With daggers and lock picks they filled their sleeves
The packs contained everything needed by thieves
So after they've finished sorting supplies
They have agreed to leave at sunrise
And once sun had risen they left on their hike
Each filled with suspicion and eager alike
They crossed two deep rivers and entered the woods
The day left them tired, unchanged in their moods
They set our their tents to rest for the night
And gathered some firewood and set it alight
Quinn took out his pipe and filled it with weed
Alec considered and followed his lead
A few moments later Lark finally asked
"Finding this temple with which we are tasked,
How do you know it? You've been there before?"
So Alec replied "I like to explore,
And one day I've found some ruins far by
With my reputation of a curious guy
I went there and looked, found nothing at first
But then there was a temple in earth,
So I took a torch and went down deep
And found too much treasure for me to keep,
Went back to the city and then looked for you
In your skill with theft are blessed only a few,
But there's so much treasure that two aren't enough,
So more people were needed to carry the stuff."
Alec stood up and finished "Alright,
I'll take the watch for the rest of the night.
For the rest it would pay to sleep for a while
For tomorrow we walk. And many a mile."
He put out the fire, Lark packed up the food
The rest had agreed that sleep would be good.
They slept until woken, later that day
With everything packed they went on their way
Lark, Quinn and Flick grew worn out and then
Alec told them to stop and pointed to them
"You see that formation of rocks near the pine?
That is the city. All broken, forgotten and covered in vine."
So cautiously further the group had progressed
But Alec ran onward ignoring the rest
He shouted back "What are you? Afraid?"
Still going deeper in ruins of jade.
Flick shouted to him "Wait up, we will come."
Quinn looked around. For a while he stood numb.
"This city is old. I doubt the King even knows of this place..."
Again Alec shouted "Pick up your pace!
The temple lies eastward a mile or two!
We'd be there now if it wasn't for you!"
"Yeah well be there, we are just tired..."
So the thieves stood, and ruins admired.
Moon had now risen, the air grew cold
They entered the temple, and lit their torches
Sat, talked for a while to make their choices
Quinn paired with Lark, and went down the halls
Where strange inscriptions covered the walls
Alec and Flick wend down one floor,
To check passes for traps and to explore.
After two hours, Quinn and Lark have returned
With both of them tired and nothing learned
They set up a fire and decided to wait
For Alec and Flick both seemed to be late
More time has passed, and neither came back
Quinn figured out that they have lost track
"Come on, we should see if they need a hand,
I don't think it'll hurt us to slightly descend."
"Alright well go down one level, by the same stair,
Take one look around to see if they're there,
If we don't find them, we'll reset our camp,
With snow above level, this place will grow damp."
Once they were there, they looked around
And Alec or Flick they still haven't found
They set their camp, took their bows and some flares
"If we're separated head back to the stairs.
Keep at my back Quinn, and don't make a sound,
Even if they are dead I still want them found."
"Sure, no worries, whatever you say"
Quinn notched an arrow and said "Lead the way"
They kept going further and further along
Quinn suddenly said "We should have stayed, where we belong
In nobleman's mansions, not on this search!
I've always been taught, never steal from a church..."
"This is a temple! I've told you, stay silent!
There may be things here, and they might be violent."
Of Alec and Flick they have found no trace.
"I think they have lost themselves in this maze"
One moment later Lark motioned to hold
"I wonder what lies inside of that vault..."
But once they moved closer and opened the doors
They stopped in amazement. Gold littered the floors
In chest fulls, in piles. Tons of the stuff.
They dropped their bows and started to laugh
Both running closer they dropped on their knees
"Just think what we'll do with a pile of these!"
Quinn took a handful from one of the piles
His voice full of laughter, his face full of smiles.
When suddenly Flick came running like mad
Lark shouted "Quinn! Pick up your bow! This looks bad!"
Flick was covered in blood, his cloak torn to shreds
And still coming closer, collapsed in few steps
His voice sounded harsh, his face full of fear,
He screamed "We have to leave! Get out of here!"
Lark gave his some herbs that helped ease his pain
Yet even then Flick was talking with strain
"I think I have lost them, they're down below,
They know we are here! So we have to go!"
Lark quickly replied "What have you seen!?"
Flick suddenly said "This will sound obscene...
But down below, is filled with undead!
And they have not two, but six arms instead!
Carrying shields, spears and swords,
There are hundreds of them! Several hordes."
"What about Alec? Has he been killed?"
"No. He's hiding below. He's there. He's skilled."
Flick grew more frantic, and even more scared
Quinn stood above them, in silence he stared
Lark quickly stood up and picked up his bow
"This level is clear. So I'll go below.
Quinn, take Flick to camp, and give him some aid.
I'll try to find Alec, if it isn't too late."
"No. If Alec is dead I am coming right back"
"If you're not back in an hour, Flick and I leave
To go down there you're a fool I believe,
Our gear will still be where it is
But if you intend to come back please take this"
Quinn gave him some flares, a lamp oil flask
And so Lark set out to start on his task
On the third level, he found the undead
Walking the corridors where Flick bled
Avoiding them, he took the trail of blood
Two arrows notched and in darkness clad
Careful and silent in checking each room
And after a while he found a tomb
He sneaked inside, took one look around
At first he saw nothing, but heard a strange sound
From behind a pillar he threw out a flare
It quickly lit up, six zombies stood there
He noticed Alec on an altar behind
Covered in runes and with rope confined
Alec's breathing was slow, but he was alive
He let off an arrow, the zombies were five
Lark skipped between shadows, to take better aim
He dropped two more zombies, but more of them came
Quite soon the horde started closing the gap
And at this point Lark made the grab
He slung Alec's body over his shoulder
The flare winked out and the air grew colder
Using his memory, in darkness he ran
Once out of the tomb he came up with a plan
He set Alec's body down beside
Whispering softly "It's time you all fried"
To one of his arrows a flare he attached
The flask of oil from his belt he snatched
He threw it in force just above the roof's arc
Unleashing the arrow he lit up the dark
The oil was splattered all over the horde
They lit up in flame, Lark took out his sword
Picking up Alec he left the fray
Cutting past anything that stood in his way
The undead still followed but Lark lost them fast
He smiled when he found the stairs at last
He ran past the treasure and mountains of gold
Until he reached where Quinn taken hold
He saw that Flick now was on his feet
And once he saw Lark he hurried to greet
"I didn't think that you could have survived,
But by dark, I am glad that you have arrived"
"That feeling is mutual, the undead are quite tough
And from the numbers below, I've seen enough"
"What's wrong with Alec? And is he well?"
"Oh he's alive, that much I can tell,
I'd say he needs help, and he needs it quite fast
Without a healer I don't think he'll last
Maybe their weapons were poison laced
But in any case we better have haste"
"We have already packed. Just waiting for you"
"Then our time to leave is long overdue"
Flick helped Lark carry Alec as he was told
Without delay they stepped out into the cold
Once outside they headed back west
But Lark looked back often, still at unrest
"Quinn, you're the best runner so listen close"
Quinn ran up to him, nodded and froze
"I want you to stray behind a bit
And cover our trail as you see fit.
Anything strange, you confirm and head back
Do your best to ensure that we leave no track"
"That might be hard since we're walking through snow,
I will lag behind, but you have to go"
Quinn turned over his cloak, with its white side out
And took the direction that he would scout
With his cloak as white as the snow under their feet
He disappeared, his illusion complete
Lark turned to Flick "Are you ok?"
Flick nodded once "Lets get on the way"
Alec still breathed but his temperature rose
Even though Lark, nearly froze
And so they have walked, ahead for a while
But three hours later they saw Quinn's profile
Both Flick and Lark saw that his face was in shock
So they slowed their pace, down to a walk
He caught up with them outside City's Gate
Running as fast as he could, shouting "Wait!
The dead six armed army is coming this way!
And they'll reach the city in roughly a day!"
The watch guard was low. Due to affairs of state,
Most of Kings army campaigned in the North
And all able bodied, all men who came forth
Were fighting some nation for political reasons.
And have been away for almost two seasons.
The City wouldn't sand an army undead
Once they were inside, Lark turned and said
"Ok, Quinn and Flick this is what you must do
The fate of the City depends now on you.
Get all other thieves, all that you can find!
And I do mean all, even if they are blind!
Go to the guilds, and by dark make them hear,
That an army of dead is approaching near!
Get all their archers and those best with blades
In surrounding farms, set up blockades
Alert city's watch to be on their guard,
And since we are thieves that will not be hard.
We'll need holy water so I'll head to a Priest
With our situation he won't mind the least
I'll tell him the problem, he'll give us a hand
Alright go, if we hurry the City might stand
Once in the Church I'll leave Alec there
There aren't many places he'll receive better care."
Flick and Quinn nodded and did as they're asked
Picking up Alec, Lark went on his task
Once he found the Church and spoke to a Priest
The worry inside him still had not ceased
After Lark told the story just as it was
The entire account he gave without pause
The Priest paid attention to each single word
"What you are saying does not sound absurd,
I have two sets of news, the second one's worse
It seems that your friend, is under a curse
He is possessed and within him is hate
We have two more days, but then its too late
To save him we need to find his soul
You see his body, is under control
Of someone dead, an ancient mage.
Right now he is weak, he is gathering rage
But when he wakes up and sees light of day
There will be no hope even if we all pray."
"And what can you tell me about the dead?"
"They're after Alec, by him they are led.
You said they had six arms instead of just two
Then what you have said indeed may be true
A long while back they were an ancient race
But humans have wiped them from our land's face
Here's what I think they wish to achieve,
They're out for vengeance, is what I believe.
When their King is resurrected, when Alec's possessed
Their army won't stop, by vengeance obsessed
And if we are to stop them, we have to move now"
"Sure, good idea, but please tell me how."
"You said on an Altar, was where Alec lay
I have to see it, to be there today"
"Fine, I will take you. But once we are there?"
"That level must be, the dead Mage's lair
I'll do all I can to make sure itís blessed
And when I'm done their dead will find rest"
"But how will the City hold while we walk?"
The Priest simply smiled and continued to talk
"Once we're outside I will bless all the snow
It wont stop the dead, but they will be slow.
But if our task is not soon fulfilled
Your friend Alec here, will have to be killed
The Mage that's inside him must not be set free!"
After a while Lark said "I agree..."
"To get Alec back, his soul we must find
Expel the possessor and let his soul bind"
"Fine, pack up your gear we have to leave fast"
"I have all I need. In my faith I trust!"
Picking up Alec again, they left the Church soon
The only light now was the white of the moon
Lark found Quinn & Flick, and told the Priests tale
Quinn replied "I can not allow, you two to fail,
Everything's ready and perfectly set
The Army of dead had not shown up yet.
As for the Army of Thieves,
Well... our story, it now believes.
Their best runners have seen the dead horde
Twelve thieves with same story cannot be ignored
The Guilds are now gathered and ready to stand
They know that the City is theirs to defend.
I'll go with you, carry Alec at least
It will be hard for just you and the Priest"
"Very well, there's not much more that we can do
And three able people are better than two
Flick, you stay here and take thieves command
You are still wounded. Can barely stand"
"Alright, you take care and the dark help you all
For if you don't make it, the City will fall"
They left the City as soon as they could
They went around the undead and entered the wood
It took them most of the night but they made it through
For where the ruins lay, Quin and Lark knew.
Killing all in their way, without remorse
The thieves backed away, but as slow as they could
Against the undead close, a small chance thieves stood
The best of their archers unleashed arrows like rain
The undead kept on coming, knowing no pain
But thieves gave ground slowly, more came to their aid
The Watch joined in, however afraid
So thieves and King's Soldiers fought side by side
Flick held his bow and loudly he cried
"Aim you slack bastards! Draw! Fire! Repeat!
This is our City! There'll be no retreat!
They can not be allowed to get through the wall!
If they get in, it's the end of us all!"
The undead persisted in their assault
Through fire, holy water, refusing to halt
They climbed City walls using two of their hands
Using the other, four for defence
The thieves kept on firing from turrets up high
They would not give up until strength ran dry
Arrived at the temple and entered within
The hallways were empty so their pace was fast
They entered the tomb with the altar at last
The Priest looked around, as Lark set Alec down
He quickly grew tense, his face took a frown
"This is exactly, as I have earlier said
The evil within controls the undead
If this place is blessed, they'll fall where they stand
So I will get started, Quinn give me a hand"
Not long after, Alec started to moan
Priest chanted prayers in a language unknown
Lark turned to Quinn "This does not look good"
Quinn nodded slowly adjusting his hood
"Priest! Hurry up and get this place blessed"
"Give me more time! I am doing my best!"
The Priest kept on chanting words of no sense
And each passing moment Lark grew more tense
Soon priest exclaimed "The cleansing is done!
The undead should rest! We did it we won!
Now we just have to take care of your friend"
"Yeah, cleanse his soul. We understand.
He will wake soon, so we do it quite fast."
"Yes his possessor is strong, his power is vast.
I feel power within him, starting to rise."
And at those words, Alec opened his eyes
The Priest stepped back, his face taken by shock
His lips moving hastily as he tried to talk
"Quick knock him out! Or it will be to late!
I'll be overpowered soon at this rate!"
Lark couldn't stop him from what Alec did
Alec stood up. His eyes red, lid to lid
Putting forward a hand he screamed out a curse
And without warning the Priest's body burst
Where he once the Priest stood, a fire now raged
Quinn needlessly screamed "He's possessed! He's a mage!"
Lark let off an arrow and jumped to the side
Alec now wounded, again enraged cried
'Good' Lark now thought 'He still mortal at least,
For I would not wish to end like the Priest'
The pillar above Lark, erupted in flame
Covered by rubble the chamber became
Lark hid again, saw where Alec stood
He then noticed Quinn and it didn't look good
Alec laughed aloud, took the stairs and walked off
Quinn was covered by rubble. There was blood in his cough
Lark moved towards him, when Alec had gone
He saw Quinn was bleeding and had broken a bone
Lark took out a bandage. Quinn said "There's no need.
Just give me a pipe and fill it with weed.
My wounds may look bad, but I will be fine.
You must find Alec, you don't have much time.
You must remember what the Priest said.
If he gains his strength, he'll bring back the undead."
Lark did as was asked and gave Quinn a pipe
Left him some herbs and a long bandage stripe
All of Quinn's arrows were covered by stone
He couldn't lift them and left it alone
Lark then moved up and ran outside
He noticed his own wounds, but picked up his stride
The cold bit him hard, sharp snow cut his face
But after a while he found Alec's trace
For hours he followed, blood and crushed snow
He caught Alec's sight in a valley below
He looked in his quiver, saw three arrows there
So he did something else, to make the stalk fair
He turned over his cloak like Quinn had before
With it's white side up he sank to snow floor
He saw Alec's limp when he crawled close
His thigh was wounded and blood on it froze
Still crawling closer he caught up quite soon
Alec's shape stood out clearly in the light of the moon
Lark lay still, pulled an arrow, took aim
And that very second Alec's hands lit in flame
He spun around and cast fire from his hand
Lark shot the arrow but not where he planned
He dashed to the side and lay down without sound
Hoping that covered by snow, he would not be found
Alec still searched, burning trees in his path
His magician possessor unleashing his wrath
Again Lark took out an arrow and aimed for the heart
But be fore he could shoot a tree burst apart
It's splinters and fragments drove into his arm
But his scream of pain did him more harm
Alec found his target and came forth again
Determined to finish Lark there and then
Lark now bleeding was easy to spot
He took aim. But once more, he missed the shot
Alec came closer, his flames danced around
But Lark was determined and still held his ground
He took his last arrow and aimed it once more
His ribs covered in blood and his hand still sore
He held his breath as he narrowed his eyes
Alec kept coming fixed on his prize
Lark whispered quietly "I'm sorry old friend,
I don't have a choice. This has to end."
Lark did not miss. The arrow shot straight
It took Alec's throat and unbalanced his weight
In his dying rage Alec let the flames go
They left his arms, melting the snow
Ripping trees and the ground in their way
Filling the forest with red, brown and grey
The flame raged for a while, but came to a stop
Lark lay on his back, but he could not get up
He lay there bleeding with his open eyes
And the last thing he saw was that morning's sunrise
Snow fell on his body and covered his face
The site is now hidden by long winter days
Flick's tales of Lark, Quinn & Priest, no one believes
Just those who have fought at the City's defence
The rest of Flick's tale they said makes no sense
Years later, back to the temple Flick went
He found the treasure upon his descent
With diamonds and gold Flick filled his sack
He found Quinn's body and made his way back
He made sure he was buried right by the Kings
With the rest of the treasure he did other things
He enquired until, King's stonemasons were found
And with all his money he set into the ground
A monument high with three figures upon
It's set on a hill, seen clearly each dawn
"To Lark, Quinn and the Priest" in gold letters it reads
"For they saved the City by their deeds"
But that inscription, is quite seldom read
Long years have passed and Flick is now dead
Few thieves of the City know the true story
Of Lark, Quinn and the Priest, and their untold glory
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