The worst part was the email. The school year had started, and about halfway through the first week I remembered it. I had shut the door to the closet that is Outlook Express and failed to heed Ophelea’s warning: check your email every day. There I was, faced with a growing problem. The monster in the closet scared me more than anything else; even my feeling of guilt for disappearing so soon wasn’t as strong.

As I write this, Outlook Express is running. The numbers in the inbox are climbing past 700, while the spam that got filtered directly into the deleted items folder creeps past 1000. Writing helps me ignore the tedious task of deletion ahead of me.

More Siege of Tou-Tou:

Several days had passed, and now everyone, including the mules, had joined the guards in their nightly vigil. They were needed, as the attacks had were becoming more intense and more frequent. Tou-Tou was in a bad place. Aside from being locked off from Dereth, to the north was an unexplored archipelago which was said to hold an army of Revenants and Dark Revenants. This became evident through the occasional Revenant that would lead the ranks of undead into Tou-Tou.

To the south, there was the Veyesan Archipelago, home to the most powerful undead on or around Dereth. Things weren’t looking to good for the defenders of Tou-Tou. Once a Dark Magus had shown up amid the other undead.

Rili was scanning the area, looking for the subtle signs of activity. Nothing moved outside of Tou-Tou, nothing made a sound. The soft rustle of a guard passing behind him made Rili turn, but he quickly went back to looking. Nothing had shown up for the past few days, which was strange, considering that attacks had, until now, been coming more often.

He caught sight of something moving, and tried to identify it. He kept his eyes in the spot he had seen the movement for ten minutes, until finally it made a quick dart out of sight beyond the hills. That glimpse of it was enough to reveal to Rili that he had just seen a Dark Sorcerer. One of those could easily kill the three guards keeping watch.

“Um…Sho? Kou? SHO, KOU!” he said, waving his arms and jumping up into the air. The two of them quickly came running around the corner of the blacksmith’s and Rili wasted no time telling them what he had just saw.

“That would explain why they haven’t been attacking recently,” Kou said, thoughtfully. The idea of a massive attack made Rili shiver, but not much. They had taken care of whatever the undead had sent up against them so far with few casualities. But this was a Dark Sorcerer.

“Yes, it would,” Sho agreed. “I’d say they’re going for a large war magic attack on the front guards, which are pretty much just a skeleton crew at the moment. Maybe they’ll send some heavy soldiers around the back and sides, and a weaker assault group in the front where the war magic would have just landed. The weaker front group will breach the town and take out the other sides of the town’s guards from behind while they’re occupied with the shock troops. But hey, what do I know. These Forgotten use the same tactics over and over, I tell you…” just as he finished talking, several war spells landed, slaughtering two guards.

They were ready in moments. Sho sent Kou back to tell the others about what had just happened, but he didn’t need to. They had heard the attack and were already running to join the battle. Several more war spells were fired, but this time only one guard died.

“If they are doing what I’m thinking, then they weren’t fast enough to breach the front. You there,” he said, pointing to a short man with a dagger. “Go tell the mages to fight off the assaults that will come from the other sides of town,” the daggerman nodded, and sprinted off the way most skilled dagger weilders do.

“You think we’ll survive this?” Rili asked Sho in a whisper. Sho just looked at Rili and shrugged. The battle wasn’t going so well, with one more death among the guards. One good thing, though, was that the light assault group that Sho had predicted were being easily taken down by the assembled forces.

“Those are Dark Magus and Leeches out there, and the Dark Sorcerer is out there somewhere, as well. There are at least seven Dark Leeches, and the Magus don’t number very far below. Theres a small group of Revenants on the hill up there, no Dark ones though. The mages are draining the lifeforce from some Rats up there to keep themselves casting,” Sho explained to Rili. Sho seemed to have a natural ability for taking in a situation at first glance, although Sho had told him that he get’s the wrong impression a lot.

Hours passed, and the battle still raged on. The first light assault on the front had been taken down, but there were heavy forces moving in from the other sides and the mages had to retreat back several yards. Kou had taken several soldiers to the Northern side of Tou-Tou to hold off an especially large force that was in danger of breaching the town.

Sho had been leading small groups out to take down the mages hiding out in the hills. Rili was among one of the first to go, and they had taken down two Leeches and a Magus, as well as forcing the Dark Sorcerer to retreat further into the hills.

On their second attempt at the casting undead, they were intercepted by a group of heavily armed and armored Mu-Miyahs, like the ones Rili and Sho had encountered together days ago. Sho had disappeared for some reason during the middle of the battle. Rili fought hard, barely missing a blow to the head with a spiked club, while at the same time avoiding a blade aimed at his feet.

After the Mu-Miyahs had finally been destroyed, Sho mysteriously appeared with them when they were returning to Tou-Tou. All he said was, “Some things take higher priority,” and Rili didn’t ask further. He suspected that Sho had gone off alone after spotting the Dark Sorcerer. Reckless, indeed.

The battle lasted into nightfall, and the Magus and Leeches had advanced onto the crest of the hills. The Dark Sorcerer had gone straight to the front lines with several Dark Revenants and Leeches, killing two more warriors and an archer. They were driven off eventually after three Dark Revenants were killed and everyone started focusing on the Dark Sorcerer.

“What’s the tally for us?” Sho asked Kou, who held up eight fingers, and Sho nodded to himself. That meant only thirty-eight people were left to defend Tou-Tou. They couldn’t afford any more heavy losses like the last one. “And what about the tally for them?”

“Over five hundred,” he said, seeming bored with the statistics. Five hundred, and they were still coming forcefully.

Suddenly a Shockwave war spell flew through the air and hit Kou, knocking him to the ground. Sho lifted him up and together they ran into the Healer’s to take cover. Sho motioned two archers to get on the roof, and one mage to guard the door.

Rili’s healing shop had been turned into the guardhouse, connected to a makeshift wall made of mud bricks and reeds leading all the way around Tou-Tou. The wall was about four feet high, with a trench about five feet deep outside it, with some stakes buried in the bottom.

“You doing good Kou?” Sho asked, handing Kou a health potion, which Kou drank. He just nodded for answer and Sho returned outside, into chaos.

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