Title: The Weeping Of The Architect
spineyrequiem - May 13, 2011 09:32 PM (GMT)
This is yet another TK story. Unusually, however, a TK is not in the starring role...
The Necrotect shuddered. Was this paradise? Was this what he had been promised as they broke his neck? He reached around behind his head. What was this? Not gold, certainly. Perhaps he was wearing some sort of robe over his new body? He felt his face. Yes, that was the cool touch of purest gold-like what he had used to make his death mask. He drew his hands away, and regarded them for a moment.
He screamed. His hands, his beautiful, thin-fingered hands, perfect for drawing up plans, were covered in rotting bandages! How could this have happened? He tore the wrappings away, frightened of what he would find beneath. A pair of shrivelled, skeletal things, nothing like his own body, or the body of gold he had been promised in paradise! He pulled off his mask and stared at it. This is what he should have become! Even after all these years, it was still perfect, a shining representation of his own visage. He looked again at his hands. Then he thought of how his face must look. With another small shriek of horror, he replaced his mask. He looked around him. Yes, this was the area he had set aside for his own burial chamber, the Ushabti by the walls still standing proudly at attention. Even they were showing the passage of time-it looked almost as if some sort of stone-eating moth had been nibbling at them. But they would do. He lifted himself with some difficulty from his saracophagus. Whoever had buried him had been thoughtful-they had even put his own whip and blade in with him. As soon as he could find one, these would be used to compel a work gang into beginning repairs. Outside the doorway to his own chamber, a small squad of what must once have been the King's Guard were already marching along a corridor. Of course, being the cretins that they were, the direction they were going was entirely wrong for finding an exit-he congratulated himself on his well-designed system of corridors, especially designed to confuse tomb robbers. But he was feeling in an almost benevolent mood. As far as he could see, there had been no major collapses, and many of the designs on the wall were as fresh as the day they were painted. His architecture had indeed lasted as expected!
'Do you seek the exit?' He said, his voice a dry, rasping croak, to a Tomb Guard wearing a large golden death mask. He was pleased to note that it was far less ornate than his own.
A voice resounded in his mind 'We do.'
'Follow me!' He began sauntering along the corridor, tapping the whip on his bandaged thigh in time with an imaginary tune within his head. A statue in the alcove ahead had been knocked over, perhaps by some enormous beetle which had got in somehow. He would have to send men to clear them out as soon as possible... He continued along the passage, trying and failing to hum tunelessly. A turning, and here was another lost-looking group of Tomb Guard, these led by one of the Tomb Princes. They joined his small party, the Tomb Prince with some reluctance-evidently, he disliked surrendering his authority.
Finally, they arrived at one of the exits to the tomb's outer chambers. A Necrolith Colossus, its marble body somewhat dusty with its exertions was working to break the seals. The Necrotect took a small brush from the box at his waist and began fastidiously brushing the animated statue clean. After a few more minutes, the last seal broke with a sad flicker of magic. The Necrotect shouldered a burly Tomb Guard out of his way and walked through the door. He turned around to observe the beautiful facade which had been carved over it.
He waited there for a few seconds, silent, unmoving as Tomb Guard filed through. Then without warning, he grabbed the nearest one, pressed his face into its mummified shoulder and began making a bizzare coughing sound. It took the Tomb Prince a while to realise that it was the closest something so long dead could come to sobbing. The facade was gone, eroded away by an avalanche of sand which had fallen through the collapsed roof (itself a work of art, with a thousand perfect sapphires set in an image of one of the king's many victories). The entire room was filled with this sand, and it would take days for the statues to claw the way through to the outside world. And the Necrotect feared to see what would be outside.
'It's... gone.' He savoured this thought for a moment. 'It has been destroyed by time.'
'Yes.' The voice of the warrior he was embracing resounded in his mind.
'Everything I designed... gone.' It was hard for him to grasp this concept. Then he picked up his whip, and turned the Tomb Guard to face him.
'We will build it back. Everything which has been destroyed will be rebuilt. Everything that has faded will be repainted. We will replace EVERYTHING!' He almost shouted this last. Then he turned to the Tomb Prince. 'Where can I find a work gang?'
Evermind - May 14, 2011 03:04 PM (GMT)
Is this just a story you are telling on your own?
spineyrequiem - May 14, 2011 04:01 PM (GMT)
Yes, I did indeed write it. Don't ask me why, I wasn't even especially sure when I WROTE it.
Evermind - May 14, 2011 04:16 PM (GMT)
spineyrequiem - May 14, 2011 04:49 PM (GMT)
You want me to write more?
Nekekhara - May 14, 2011 05:00 PM (GMT)
Yes you should write more. This is really good stuff, nice work.
Evermind - May 14, 2011 05:25 PM (GMT)
spineyrequiem - May 16, 2011 09:12 PM (GMT)
Well, as all two of my adoring fans asked for more, here it is. Sorry it took a while, I have GCSEs right now.
The skeletons were swarming over the outer face of the tomb, clearing away sand by the ton. No matter how hard they worked, it was not fast enough for the newly-awakened architect. He had died for this tomb, and it would be restored, even if it killed him again. The undead workers had their advantages, of course; they would never stop, and did not express the tiresome, mortal demands for food and water which had so hampered construction those thousands of years ago. On the other hand, they were tiresomely slow and stupid, more so even than the living gangs he had used before. Not only that, but the king who had been cheerfully willing to provide a near-unlimited number of men before now seemed restless-he kept asking when the work would be finished. Could he not see that art could not be hurried?
As the sand fell away, the necrotect shuddered in horror at the terrible damage which they had done to his carvings. These would, of course, have to be repaired as soon as possible... The necrotect idly wondered if the stone he had used was still to be found in the region; it had certainly been rare at the time of building. No matter, he had eternity to find more.
If only that damned king would leave off his whining! Could he not see that his one-verdant realm was now a desert, that taking it back would be as pointless as drawing water from a dry well? Still, he demanded that his men be returned so that he could take back his old palace. As if that would still be there! Whoever had designed it was a fool, just a few hundred years after being built, it had already been falling down. He shook his head in amazement at the idiots who filled the world.
The workmen had cleared away most of the sand around the main entrance now. The large black hole into the tomb was visible. Beside it were two large, conspicuous absences. 'Where?' He asked, endeavouring to keep his voice civil, 'Are my collosi?'
A craven liche priest, one of the three who had shown up soon after they had emerged from the tomb, turned towards him.
He took some time to answer, taking several deep breaths, leaning on his staff for support. Finally, he spoke in a voice more sepulchral than the necrotect's own. 'They were animated to face Nagash. The great necromancer.'
'And why did you not replace them?'
'They are guarding Khemri now.'
The necrotect thought on this. Then he called to one of the foremen. 'Return the men to their king. We march on Khemri.'
Nekekhara - May 16, 2011 09:40 PM (GMT)
I love it! I like the fact that your touching on the bond between a Necrotect and his creations. Oh and as for GCSe's right now, that sounds awfully familiar. :)
spineyrequiem - May 22, 2011 09:45 PM (GMT)
Writing more, don't ask me why. Again, sorry about taking ages
The Necrotect stood atop a chariot, admiring (and, inside, laughing at) the crumbling creations of his fellows. If he squinted hard (difficult, with his dried-out eyes), he could just make out small figures swarming over them. He looked back at the army behind him, and the dust cloud being thrown up. One of the Warsphixes looked as if it was limping a little. He leapt from the back of the chariot and narrowly missed a skeletal infantryman. It stared stupidly at him without breaking step. He skipped among the ranks until he came to the sphinx. Sure enough, a large stone was caught in one of the leg joints. Already, one of the golden shin-plates was starting to bend from the constant pressure. He extended his blade and expertly dug the rock out with a single motion. Instantly, the sphinx began to move properly again. It was, however, some way too far back in the column.
Something would have to be done. He signalled the tomb guard crew to let down the rope ladder (somewhat rotten now after its time underground) and clambered aboard. From up here, he could see another dust cloud rapidly approaching them. He urged the sphinx to its full speed (still only a little faster than walking pace) until he caught up with one of the sphinx-mounted princes. 'What can that be?'
The prince looked at the cloud. 'I know not.' He passed the word forward until it reached the scouts at the front. These rode forward, then returned with their news. The prince cocked his head to one side for a moment, as if listening to something only he could hear. 'Another army like ours. But it is... strange. Their shields are of some dynasty only known of from trophies that were hung in my father's palace. Even those were ancient, passed down from his great-grandfather.'
As the columns met, they stopped around a hundred metres from one another and the two kings rode out on their chariots. The prince and necrotect in turn advanced to the head in order to hear what was said, the necrotect sliding down to the ground and giving the sphinx's flank an affectionate pat as he hurried forward.
'I am the owner of these lands. YOU should be paying ME homage! My forefathers conquered you, and there was much weeping among your wives and people as they were led into captivity!'
'These lands are mine. I, Thutmosis III owned them, and my father Thutmosis II before me, and his father Amon-Rhatep IV before him, and I passed them onto my son Ro-Hassan V.'
'Ro-Hassan V? Ha, he was but a distant memory when my great-grandfather, Ha-Carri VII defeated Amon-Rhatep IX in the great battle of the Scorpion Jungle, not far from this very spot.' The king must have realised how stupid this last claim must sound, in an area where the sand was broken only by the shattered remnants of tombs for a thousand miles around. Nevertheless, his mummified face showed no admission of his slip.
'So. You still insist on maintaining your charade. So be it. We will to war.' Both kings returned to their armies.
The necrotect sighed, slowly turned and walked back to one of the infantry groups. He recognised this as being one of those which had been repairing his tomb. Not technically his, of course, but how had the king any right to it? He had not designed or built it! The warriors looked as if they needed a rousing speech,as much as a skeleton could need anything. 'We have come here today to find that which was taken from us, to replace it, to repair it and to beautify it. But this fool stands in our way, and so must be ground beneath our feet and his treasure taken as ours. And we will do it. We will smash down his legions with the same vigour as we build up our monuments. We cannot lose!' One of the skeletons looked at him in a way that seemed almost quizzical. He threw his hands up into the air with exasperation. Then he pulled his whip and dagger from his belt and began to advance. He was pleased to hear the tramp of skeletal feet behind him.
Sorry it's a bit slow-moving, but I promise that some exciting bits will be coming up!
Kor-Amn-Hotep - May 23, 2011 04:05 PM (GMT)
Something I would recommend, the necrotect seems to not really care that he's a mummy. I don't think he would get over it that fast. Maybe have him go into occasional fits of rage about not having the golden body he was promised?
Evermind - May 29, 2011 03:36 PM (GMT)
I think he would think he might be a little angry, but he was always more concerned about his creations than himself. Anyway, he could swear that if the gods gave him only rotting flesh, he would build his own body out of the stone that never had let him down, never abandoned him, never fell short.
the undead stole my cat - May 30, 2011 04:38 AM (GMT)
Well he has for ever to make his own creations, so it sounds like heaven for a Necrotect. (please make more)
Anvildude - February 18, 2012 12:09 AM (GMT)
Pretty cool. I think Necrotects got the short stick in the book- they do so much of the work, and the Kings and Priests get all the glory.