Steel skidded along steel as the orc and I locked ourselves in a deadly embrace. Just behind my foe, one skeleton and two fleshy zombies hobbled to our fight to aid me. The orc gritted his teeth until his incisors broke open his lip, doubling down on his weapon. I did the same with both hands on my scythe, buying time.
A mercenary corpse was first to defend me, hacking into the orc’s torso wound to deepen it. The orc roared and broke our embrace so suddenly I nearly fell into him. As he spun and grabbed the corpse’s head with his free hand, I screamed hoarsely with effort and sliced my scythe through the air at his right arm. The curved blade hooked around his inner elbow. The wound sprayed blood even before I jerked my weapon back, splitting tendon and cutting through veins until the orc dropped his ax.
The orc paid little attention to his wounded arm, his mind set on defeating the zombie defender. He lifted the corpse up in the air by its cranium before slamming it into the forest floor headfirst. The skull exploded like a grape, unleashing a geyser of corroding brains. Bits of bone ricocheted off surrounding trees like pebbles of marrow.
Weaponless, the orc spun to me and threw a punch. I managed to hold my ground as it shattered my magic shield. I situated my scythe on my belt and summoned spells in both palms to refresh protections for me and my minions. Then, since this orc had been such a nuisance, I raised the corpse he’d just defeated to anger him.
Tendrils slithered over moist mosses to do my bidding, finding the bits of shattered skull and encapsulating them in a cool hug. Pieces of bone rolled over blood splattered plant-life to reunite. The mercenary corpse rose, leaving its unnecessary brain matter on the forest floor and shambling forth with a skull that now appeared made of as much black magic as it was bone.
An angered huff burst from the orc’s nostrils as he saw his victory was short-lived. I smirked in response.
The orc flew at me with a flurry of punches. I continually backed away, leeching from him with both hands, satisfaction filling me as I watched his movements slow. Minions chased after him like scavenger animals, drawing blood from new wounds. I directed the dead to target his legs, and they loyally complied. With one dramatic sweep of a scimitar, a corpse dealt the incapacitating blow across the back of the orc’s knee, just between shredded leather armor. The brute fell face-first to the forest floor, still heaving enraged breaths.
I dispelled my magic and grabbed my scythe once more. I walked up to the orc’s right side, avoiding his good arm as he tried to snatch my boot. With a cry of adrenaline, I brought the scythe down in a curved arc, swinging the blade between his vulnerable throat and the ground. Blood audibly drained with the cut, but he only gurgled on it. I put a boot to his upper back and jerked the blade upward, cutting through the trachea. Wheezing echoed out before the orc finally went still.