Raven, Part Three

“Gah!” The lost soul cried out, kicking out with a leg to try and push Igor away. Igor swung the axe down into the leg, cutting deep into the thigh and into the femur, lodging the weapon in bone which, when pulled by Igor, splintered within the meaty tissue. The leg gave way, causing the lost soul fall to the ground in an ungainly pile of foul-smelling rot. Igor finished the creature off by stomping on its head with his hard-soled boots, using the move as a step towards the pained lost soul, bringing the axe down into the skull, silencing it forever.

Igor smiled for a half-second, his victories over the lost souls bolstering his confidence in his chances of survival. This proved to be his downfall as two arrows, fired from the short bows that the lost souls sported about, struck him in the chest and gut, His leather chest piece absorbed the brunt of the sharpened wooden stakes, but each one sank half an inch into his flesh drawing blood and rocking him back on his heels.

The archers stood in the doorway, already nocking arrows to their bows for another volley. Igor, with a practiced aim, threw his axe in a powerful arc that struck one of the archers in the skull, bisecting the bone and tissue, dropping the lost soul like a puppet with its strings suddenly cut. The other archer stared at the axe for a moment, granting Ivan enough time to pull one of the arrows from his chest and charge the archer with a bellow, tackling it to the floor, forcing the spiked shaft into the lost soul’s skull through its left eye socket. The creature fell still after struggling for several seconds, leaving Igor straddling the corpse breathing heavily, a thin line of blood trickling from the corner of his mouth from his injuries.

“Yeah… got you sons of bitches!” Igor growled, reaching over with a wince to yank his axe free from the splintered skull of the lost soul sprawled out on the church floor. Igor’s hair seemed to stand up on end as he felt the very air around him heat up. Cursing, he rolled to the side, behind the flimsy wall of the church near the entryway.

Not a second passed before a blast of flame rained down on the two bodies, splashing about as if it were water. The church lit up like a thousand candles in moments, the fire catching on the dry wood, the roar of the flames rising in tenor. Igor grunted as he stood up and got up, walking down the wall away from the fire, leaning against the flimsy wooden wall. Igor could hear the Witch cackling.

“Come on little Raven, there’s nowhere to run!” The Witch called out with a few remaining lost souls lingering by him, giggling in their high-pitched raspy voices. “Just give into the flames!”

The wall near Igor buckled and grew hot, obviously from another blast of fire sent by the Witch. Backing away from the scorched wall, Igor stumbled down the hall towards the back of the church, turning to try and find an exit that, perhaps, the Witch wasn’t covering. The madman was obviously going to bring the church down with infernal fire atop Igor unless he did something about it, and he was too injured to take the potent spell caster on head-to-head. The Witch still had two or three lost souls with him, all armed with bows and knives; they’d pepper Igor if given the chance.

Igor wasn’t going to allow that.

Stumbling into the small kitchen of the church, two doors leading out of the room if one didn’t count the one Igor had just used. A high table with stools sitting around it, covered with a layer of dust and grime that could only form from years of neglect. Gripping the handle of his axe, Igor coughed as smoke trickled into the room.

“Have to find an exit,” Igor said, stumbling past the kitchen table and towards the door leading deeper into the church. “Just need a door or window in the back.”

The halls were in horrible disrepair, wooden boards rotted away from the floor and parts of the ceiling having caved in from heavy snowfall over the years. Bleeding from his multiple wounds, Igor pressed a hand tightly over his belly, hoping to staunch the bleeding coming from around the shaft of the arrow. He didn’t dare pull them out, not yet at least. He’d bleed out in minutes if he left open two wounds like the ones in his chest and stomach for very long. He just needed to escape the burning church and slink away into the shadows. He’d set up a base camp in a cave far back in the woods; there he had a spare crossbow, more holy water, and a fully stocked medical kit.

Another fireball rocked the front of the house, the sound of shattering glass and snapping timber echoing down the hall Igor was shuffling down. The house was growing warmer by the second, the flames from the fiery blasts spreading quickly along the dry wood of the ancient church.

Stumbling into a room that was obviously an antechamber to the church hall, Igor gave a weak chuckle when he spied the double doors that would lead to the snowy graveyard in the back. Odd that a church was built directly in the middle of a graveyard, Igor thought, but this was an odd place to be certain. He pushed those thoughts away, pushing onward towards the doors, pulling one open to face a blast of cold air.

The back of the church was a field perhaps fifty feet long and thirty feet wide, small headstones marking the graves of those long since forgotten. The whole area was under a pure blanket of snow, a few frost covered statues of angels with their hands folded in prayer dotting the area. Smiling, Igor limped out into the graveyard, his blood blotting the snow as he struggled to stay upright. The wound in his side was throbbing and wet, the cold air making the slickened area frigid as he tried his best to hurry. Stopping to turn and look back, he saw the smoke rising from the church, and flames spreading through the halls as if racing to consume his path to freedom.

A crunch in the snow was all the warning Igor got as a figure in front of him lashed out with hooked fingers, clawing at his chest piece and breaking the shaft of the arrow imbedded in his armor and skin. Crying out, Igor turned back and glared at the lost soul that had emerged from nowhere, gasping as he recognized it.

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