Guardians of the Herald – Issue #75

Catch up on the first 45 issues on Kindle HERE
Catch up on the first 45 issues, Angels and Demons, on Kindle HERE

Rabdos eyed Dagon’s axe head with the hellfire crackling across the blades.  He needed to buy some time.  “You cannot enforce this judgment of yours.”  Dagon arrogantly bought the ploy.

“You are a gnat, a speck, the lowest lemur at the bottom of the Lake of Fire to Master Nebiros.  The Master Mason grants immense power to those who serve him well,” Dagon said, laying out his own strategy to impress the crowd.

Rabdos forced himself to relax, drifting casually back to stand next to several of the gathered imps.  He needed to win the crowd onto his side now.  “I can outlast you if you lay siege to this tower.  I have enough in my larder to feed myself and all those gathered here if necessary.  I too am generous to those who serve me well.”

His ploy worked as the murmurs of the crowd picked up.  Rabdos saw most of the heads bobbing up and down as the imps and lemurs edged forward.  In his arrogance to impress the crowd Dagon had waited too long.  He needed to act now or he’d lose the advantage.

Rabdos dropped to the ground and rolled behind one of the imps standing to his right.  Dagon’s eyes went wide and he tracked the axe head to follow, releasing the hellfire as it went.  Three of the gathered lemurs were scorched to nothing and the imp shielding him burst into flames, but none of the fire touched Rabdos.

“Membership and a feast for all who defend my home!” Rabdos shouted as he sent his own hellfire out, striking Dagon’s mount square in the chest, knocking both it and its rider backward.

Chaos erupted on the gravel field.

Many of the imps and lemurs fled, taking cover in the rocks surrounding the open area, but more than half the gathered onlookers swarmed forward to engage the intruders.  A small contingent of imps and lemurs encircled Rabdos as he lay on the ground.  Dagon’s two lieutenants drove their mounts forward, launching hellfire to try and reach Rabdos but the imps closed in around him struggling to use their own companions as shields.  The weaker imps who lost this struggle burst into flames protecting the stronger imps who held them.

Rabdos leapt to his feet and shoved the imps forward, clearing his line of fire.  Dagon had disappeared behind the mass of his own troops and the flaming corpse of his mount.  Rabdos tracked his axe to one of the lieutenants just as the demon fired again.  The imps in front of him thrust the bodies of their writhing, burning companions out shielding them from another fiery onslaught.  This time Rabdos was able to return fire.  He shot his flames out but not at the demon himself.  Lord Malphas had always said demons who rode humans often grew too secure in their mounts and complacent in battle.  Rabdos directed his flame not at the demon, but at the muscular man he rode.

The lieutenant ducked, expecting the shot to come at him.  Instead, Rabdos’ fire struck the human in his right leg.  He screamed in pain and fell backward, clutching the burning appendage.  The sudden, unexpected motion caught the demon off guard, sending him sprawling to the ground and losing his grip on his axe.  Instantly the closest lemurs and imps descended on the fallen demon, teeth gnashing and claws rending flesh.

Rabdos had no time to enjoy the success.  The second lieutenant charged his position, bathing the group with hellfire.  Before any of them could react the charging demon was upon them swinging his axe rather than continuing to lay down more fire.  The initial barrage had served to keep the foremost imps behind their now dead and burning companions turned shields, which blocked their view of the approaching threat.  As soon as he was on them his axe bit deeply into flesh severing limbs and sending bodies flying.  While the demon’s assault was successful against the imps it had the unintended consequence of creating a clear field of fire for Rabdos.  He instantly took advantage of the opportunity, bathing the mounted demon in hellfire knocking him out of the saddle to writhe in his death throws on the gravel-covered ground.

The warrior imps of Nebiros were faring very well against the untrained rabble that had surged to support Rabdos, but the swarm would eventually be more than they could bear if he left them alone.  Their success would also add to the number of survivors he’d have to feed and support as well, but he needed to find and deal with Dagon.

Rabdos scanned the field in the area where Dagon had fallen, but all he could make out was the burning corpse of the cursed-demon’s mount.  Movement to the right caught his eye and he saw a demonic form disappearing into the rocks some twenty feet away.  A moment later Dagon’s face peeked around the outcropping to survey the situation.  Rabdos jerked his axe up and launched hellfire at the face, but his snap-shot struck the rocks and Dagon vanished behind the stones.

Rabdos let loose a guttural, primal roar, shoving his shielding imps aside.  His eyes fell to the struggling mass of imps and lemurs still contending with Nebiros’ forces.  He leveled his axe and indiscriminately bathed the group in hellfire.  He continued pouring the fire on until nothing moved, leaving him and his forces alone on the gravel plain, victorious.

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Guardians of the Herald is a weekly serial published and copyright by The Cavalier, Mark Malcolm.  To catch up on the first 45 issues you can either read them for free on the web site or purchase the compilation, Guardians of the Herald Issues 1-45: Angels and Demons for the Kindle at

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