To The Ninesby Quintin Fortune / Fantasy / Actions & Adventure
To the Nines
Copyright 2017 Quintin Fortune
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Lilith walked down the grand skeletal hallway that led to Lord Enki. The remains of countless millions of fallen warriors lined the walls, standing like morbid pillars. The oversized doors opened by themselves, unseen spirits pulling them away. Upon a massive throne of bone sat a man who looked older than time itself. Between the white robes and the long white hair and beard, it was hard to tell there was even a man underneath it all.
She stopped just short of the pit of burning violet fire. It was called the Flame of Souls, and it burned where multiple ley lines intersected. The Halls of the NecroShip was built deep in the earth, close to the source of this flame, when the city was founded. Lord Enki was old even then.
“Your lordship,” she greeted, bowing deeply. “How may I, a humble necromancer, aid you?”
“Rise, Lady Lilith,” he replied, his ancient voice barely above a whisper. “I wish to speak with you of a matter that has come to my attention.”
A breath stopped in her throat. “He knows about Deadguy,” she panicked silently.
“What do you know of the Bound Nine,” he questioned.
Lilith thought for a moment. “They are nine souls that have committed great atrocities in their life. Too corrupt for a better life. Too dangerous to be sent to any Underworld. Not allowed to be reincarnated.”
“I see living in the library has done some good,” Lord Enki said with a raspy chuckle.
She relaxed a bit. “My lord seems to be in a jesting mood,” she remarked.
“Unfortunately, what has happened is no jesting matter,” he replied sharply. “The Bound Nine have been freed.”
Lilith's eyes grew wide. “Who would dare do such a thing?”
“That is for you to find out,” Lord Enki commanded. “We need discretion in this matter, and you came with the highest of recommendations.”
“Whom, my lord?”
“Your brother, of course. Now, off you go. Time is precious in this matter.” Lilith spun around and began to leave. As she reached the doors, he added “And, in the matter of this 'Dead Guy'...”
She froze. “Y-yes, My Lord?”
“Make sure he doesn't cause too much damage.”
“Okay...what does that even mean,” Deadguy asked. He sat in his worn recliner, listening to Lilith's story. She sat on his couch, a pile of graphic novels pushed to the side.
“It means that I'm right and Lord Enki knows you're not the Dead One,” she explained.
Our Hero glared at her. It was far too early in the morning for him. “How kind of him, but that's not what I meant. Who or what are the Bound Nine?”
The necromancer looked at him, confused. “I just said. Nine souls that are too dangerous, too unstable to go into any afterlife.”
“But who are they?”
“They are...the souls of bad men. Men that have caused great travesties upon humanity. Men that...” She stopped, trying to figure out what to say next. “They would be volatile in any sort of 'darker' underworld and any sort of paradise afterlife would automatically reject them. We couldn't just let them roam the earth, so we trapped them in specially crafted soul crystals and bound them deep in the crypt.”
“Not deep enough,” Our Hero remarked.
“If they souls got out,” she continued, unfazed. “They would corrupt those that are most like them, causing them to become even darker forms of themselves.
“Wait, does that mean the current-” he started to ask.
“No,” Lilith cut him off. “That's all natural.”
“That's just horrifying, but not important. Who do we go after first?”
“That's the problem, they're all top priority,” she explained. “All equally dangerous.”
“Right. Then who's the closest to us?”
Lilith pulled Gregory from out of her cloak. “Gregory,” she asked sweetly. “Where's the nearest of the Bound Nine?”
Lilith forced a smile. “Gregory. We're not doing this again.”
“Technical difficulties,” DG questioned.
“No no,” the necromancer defended. “Just need to get a few things straight.” She shook the skull. “Cooperate,” she growled through gritted teeth.
“Good. Now, who's first?”
“Lead the way, the necromancer instructed as Deadguy grabbed his long coat.