The First Lich Lord - C.180


In the aftermath of the battle, I had permanently lost another 500 bone guard, 300 bone archers, two flesh golems, eight eldritch death knights, two command nexuses, five eldritch bone archers, twenty control zombies, an eldritch cannon, and three of my necromancers, along with basically all of the mindless undead. It was by far the costliest battle Id been in.

I pulled up the menu to see it summarized, making a quick modification to add the total number of troops for my army, not counting the mindless undead.

Total soldier in army: 2,348 | Total not counting mindless: 2,233


Mindless Undead

Zombies Trash Troops: 115 (0.1 command points)

Undead Troops

Bone Arches: 689 common troops (.5 command point)

Bone Guard: 987 common troops (.5 command point)

Pike Bone Guard: 85 common troops (.5 command points)

Mounted Bone Guard: 187 uncommon troops (1 command point)

Life Thief: 107 uncommon troops (1 command point)

Advanced Greater Eldritch Death Elemental Zombie: 25 rare troops (1.5 command point)

Necromancer: 12 rare troops (1.5 command points)

Monster and Construct Undead

Flesh Golems: 17 uncommon monster (5 command point or 1 monster handler point)

Mobile Eldritch Death Bone Cannon: 9 rare construct (10 command points or 1 construct controller point.)

Undead Officers

Captain: 13 advanced greater zombie nexuses. (1 command point of captain rank)

Lieutenants: 43 advanced eldritch death knights, 30 advanced eldritch bone archer. (1 command point of lieutenant rank)

Sergeant: Control zombie. 27 uncommon troop (1 command point of Sargent rank)

Living Dead

Living Dead Troops

Juggernauts: 4

Death Cleric: 10

Living Dead Officers

Lieutenant Colonels: 11 exalted living dead (1 command point of lieutenant colonel rank) freeweb(n)

Colonels: 2 exalted living dead (1 command point of colonel rank)

Commander in Chief: Ezekiel Lich (command point not needed)



Specialist: 1 Raven Werecat (1 specialist 1 command point needed)


Chief of Staff: 1 Maxwell Cromwell (1 staff command point needed) fre ewebn ovel

I had almost lost one of the juggernauts, but the army we had been fighting had taken a beating as well. The initial fighting resulted in many casualties on their side, most coming from where our range attacks broke through and destroyed their siege equipment and magical corp. The melee in the middle had been basically one-sided. Occasionally the zombies had pulled somebody down.

Things had changed when the horde retreated into the water and their front line engaged my bone guards and knights. Over half of their army surrendered, though that still resulted in a nice pile of corpses, all of which belonged to strong individuals. I had also gained another two levels, and the stat points went into intelligence.

Once the army commanded by Guide Nonus was gone, we set to work processing the fallen. I didnt want to take the time to build complex rituals, but I also needed to replenish my forces in some way. I looked over at the juggernauts who were sitting on the shore. Reminded that we almost lost one. Looking at the material, I made a decision.

By the time I was done I was exhausted from the constant depletion of both my mana and death energy reserves. Once all of the material had been processed, the vast majority of it went into the piles of gear for me. I had made thick bone armor for the juggernauts. It wasnt full armor, just enough to cover the vital places. All of the bone had been blackened with the use of death energy reinforced by death magic, making it self-repairing to a certain degree.

Along with the basic armor were also weapons. Two were large, wicked axes paired with large shields made of bone. Those were for Ghrodri and Vogdess. Agreldo got a MorningStar whose head could hold eldritch power thanks to the flesh woven into it.

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The weapon I was most proud of and that had taken the most power and energy was the weapon for Vhytlos. Having used up most of the bone making the other weapons, I had struggled with what to make for her. Then it occurred to me.

I made her a whip that she could funnel eldritch power into. The whip was made of blackened muscle, with purple streaks of eldritch running through it. I had laid the nervous systems into it, including most of the brains inside the handle, initially to act as capacitors, but theyd become something more. I pulled up the description.

Eldritch Flesh Golem

Weapon Class: Advanced Undead Construct

Level: 110

This flesh golem has been crafted into a weapon by some lunatic. Furthermore, it has been suffused with eldritch and dark power. The mind stored in the handle of this weapon not only facilitates the use of eldritch power through the weapon but makes it follow the will of its wielder. The lunatic also gave this thing a mouth at the very end so it can consume and continue to grow.

What is that? Maxwell asked. When he heard my explanation and read the description, he shook his head. You are a lunatic. Do you not remember what happened in the dungeon?

Im sure it will be fine. I pointedly did not look at the ten new flesh golems I had made. Like I said, I had a lot of extra flesh.


A kindness of ravens was roosted in a set of trees. I noticed them because of their size and how still they were. Beneath them was a road where the branches of the trees met over the top of it forming a tunnel. A particularly big raven cawed and jumped into the air, first flying over to me before arching around and diving to the tunnel. As one, the entire group of ravens did the same thing.

Suppose we ought to go that way? Raven asked.

Seems like it, Maxwell agreed.

Whats down that road, Max? I asked.

Maxwell pulled out a map and studied it. As we continued to venture deeper into the plateau, he had acquired more maps, expanding our understanding of the region. As far as I can tell, nothing. The road isnt marked, but it could be an abandoned section.

What is in that direction? I asked.

Nothing, Maxwell said. Well, not exactly nothing, but wherever that road leads it cant go far. Theres a swamp over there, not a big one. But there nonetheless.

Abimelech, I said. Have the army wait here. Im going to go investigate this.

We will accompany you, my lord, Abimelech said.

Ill be fine, I said. My guardians were more than a little protective.

At least take Shamgar with you, Abimelech insisted. If something goes wrong, he can buy you more time than anyone else.

I nodded in acquiescence. Shamgar would have been my pick as well, I was glad to have him. If I had requested the runic tank come with us, she would have then insisted on more of the Dread Thirteen. While they were created to protect me, I did get a little tired of feeling like I was being babysat.

Shamgar rode up, him sensing what was going on. The telepathic communication and awareness of the Dread Thirteen and myself was very handy. Maxwell left Snappy behind, the Giant Kumor too big for the narrow road, and got on his horse, Granite.

Raven shifted into her lynx form and moved into the trees, stalking through the shadows out in front of us. Shamgar road slightly ahead, with Maxwell and me slightly back on either flank.

Only a dozen meters down the road the trees began to change. The proud oaks alongside the main road gave way to trees with drooping branches and thick, gnarled bark. We had to duck periodically to avoid low hanging branches. The road became more of a path, and we shifted into a single file line. It turned around a particularly large tree with a trunk big enough around I doubted one of the juggernauts could wrap their arms around it.

Whoever had built this road clearly had not wanted to cut down such an ancient tree. I wasnt sentimental, but didnt blame them. Though the branches were gnarled and twisted, reaching up and forming a massive canopy, it was still a magnificent tree.

The forest was silent, and I occasionally spotted Raven on the path ahead looking back. Wisps of mist hugged the forest floor. Less than fifteen meters later, that mist had become so thick it hid the path. Shamgars exterreri began releasing slightly more powerful eldritch flares with each foot, clearing a trail through the mist. Shadow further widened it so that Maxwells horse would have easy sight of the ground.

Though it was broad daylight, the thick canopy and ominous nature of the forest soon plunged us in darkening world. Raven was in her human form now, standing in the mist. It came almost up to her chest.

Its too thick for me to try and scout, Raven said, leaping up on the back of Shadow. I could do it in my human form, but thats not as easy or fun.

You know, if we werent marching with an army of the undead, this place would freak me out. Despite his words, Maxwell was clearly a little nervous.

There is something strange, Raven agreed. I would not choose to remain here, that is for certain.

Whats so wrong? I asked, not understanding their trepidation. The mist is just due to the nearby swamp and the still air.

That would explain that, Raven agreed. What about the utter lack of life, even the trees seem off.

I had not noticed that. Animal life fled before my army, often long before we were even within visual range. We were the undead, most living creatures did not want to be around us. Theres nothing, like at all?

Well, theres the ravens, Raven said. But I only hear them, I dont see them.

That is ominous, I agreed. If we dont find anything here in a little bit well turn back. I wasnt worried for myself or Shamgar. If the raven god was involved, then death magic would be involved, which would not be a problem for us. However, that was different for Maxwell and Raven.

We pressed farther and I was about to signal it was time for us to head back. Then I noticed that next to the path, just barely inside the area of cleared mist, was water. The mist had continued to rise, it was now up to the chest of Shadow, Raven wouldve likely completely vanished. To counter the thick mist, both of our mounts had started breathing out small amounts of eldritch flames, but still the path closed behind us almost before Maxwell passed through.

I was looking at the perfectly still water. I had expected to hear the water of the swamp when we neared it, that was not the case. Shamgar stopped in front of me. I think I found where were heading, he said, and I looked up.

The trees we had been riding through had thinned out, and the canopy opened up, revealing a massive, gnarled and twisted tree. The first large tree we had seen was impressive, and this one dwarfed it. Guessing from where we were, I doubted all four of the juggernauts working together could wrap themselves around the circumference.

The tree had black leaves, and though the core branches were twisted, the limbs coming off those branches didnt look dead.

Before we continued on, I released a small nova of eldritch fire that burned back the mist. Before it closed back in, I saw that the abandoned road wed been following was raised slightly out of putrid water.

You know, for a swamp, this place doesnt smell, Maxwell pointed out. With how still the water is and the lack of life you would think there would be a smell of decay, but I dont even get a coldness from that mist.

I tried to sense if there was any magic, and if there was, it was beyond my ability to tell.

I dont like the mist. Raven curled up tighter against my back. It feels like its inevitable and trying to consume me.

Ditto, Maxwell agreed.

I feel it as well, Shamgar added.

The fact that Shamgar felt whatever they did told me something. I felt for what they were talking about, and after a moment, there came the whisper of something. I pressed my aura out to see if I could learn what it was, my eyes closed in focus.

The mist had an aura of its own. It wasnt malicious, nor ominous, it was that of an impending finality. It didnt seek to impose its nature upon us, just reminded us of an unavoidable end. That ending it pointed towards was the ending of my existence, whenever that might be.

That feeling wasnt terrifying like I thought it should be, it was almost comforting. There was a sense of security knowing that no matter where I went or things I did, I would always arrive at the same ending. I sat in that strange feeling, trusting Shamgar to keep us going in the right direction.

When I finally opened my eyes, the world was completely shrouded by the mist. It had risen over the heads of even Shamgars tall mount, and we now rode through a tunnel of mist flickering with eldritch light.

We continued in that shroud, our pace steady, for several long minutes. Then the mist rapidly thinned. As I once again could see the world, we were approaching the base of the tree, the path straight. And nestled between massive roots was the overgrown ruins of a building.

This 𝓬ontent is taken from fre𝒆webnove(l).𝐜𝐨𝗺