He could hear the stomping of deathless feet and the creak and grind of wooden wheels turning in the damp. The clang and clatter of swords and armor as his men shuffled and fidgeted nervously. They were all notes in a song, musical inclinations and declinations, writ not on paper with ink, but on the pages of the universe with fate. He smiled then, a grin with no particular emotion attached to it. He walked confidently, his boots making faint but solid clicks against the susurrus of pattering rain on the heavy stone of the wall. It was there in front of him, his piano, his voice. The rain didn't touch it, didn't dare. His grin widened, splitting and becoming something less than entirely sane. He sat down and his splayed fingertips rested gently on the ebony and ivory keys. He began to play.


Elanee nearly screamed with frustration. He wasn't listening. He just had that terrifying smile that he got when the music overwhelmed him, looking around and listening to everything. Kana and Cassavir were all but pulling him back, trying desperately to get him off the wall where the first arrows and spells were starting to fly. Elanee and Neeshka exchanged nervous glances. Then Neeshka started.

"Where'd that come from?" she asked, pointing. A piano sat there, incongruous but undeniable. Despite the rain it was dry and untouched. He continued to walk forward, his pace picking up as he got nearer to the piano. With a smooth movement gained only from constant repetition, he slid onto the bench, his fingers curling with desire before gently placing them down. The group all looked at one another. They had followed him, all of them for their various reasons, to this point. Which is why they all knew by now that short of forcibly restraining him, nothing was going to stop him. Suddenly his head whipped around, his eyes surprisingly clear and focused. He was staring straight at her, and again she remembered why she had fallen in love with him and his passion.

"Watch my love," he whispered, voice solid, not like the mad stuttering he had when he was in the grips of the music, "Watch and do not be afraid."

And so she did.


The world exploded. Lightning flashed through the hordes of undead, ripping through them with the accuracy and destruction that could only be born of rage and malice. Detonations of thunder crumbled bone and shook shadows apart. Lightning seared through magical defenses and vaporized metal. So much light and so much noise, the crouched figures on the wall cowered, eyes clenched shut and hands pressing against ears, terror of the vast fury of nature's wrath cowing even the most stoic of them. Every note he struck was a bolt of lightning, thunder it's booming refrains. He played a song of war and destruction, and the sky answered him with a vengeance that not even the gods could equal. From the center of his massive undead army, the reaver once known as Black Garius snarled and cast a disjunction, powered by the might of his lord in shadow. It fell on nothing. This force was not magical in nature. For the first time in both life and death, Garius was afraid that he was facing an enemy that he could not beat. But from fear was born anger, a frustrated rage that bathed him in cold blue flame. He teleported through shadow to the main gate of the keep, vampire mages trailing along in his wake.

"Enough!" he snarled, and spellfire slammed against the recently remade doors. The expensive ironwood glowed briefly as the wards that all of the Keep's magically inclined residents had helped craft strove against the onslaught, but it was for nothing. They exploded in a shower of flame and woodchips, causing the defenders inside to flinch.


He sighed and stood up, smoke curling from the piano where fingerprints were burned into the keys. He stared at his hands and sighed again. The knuckles were swollen and cracked, the veins popping out of the back of his hands and the entire appendage stiff and bruised. Then he shook his head and leapt off the wall into the courtyard, Knight's Cloak flaring, landing easily with the grace born of his half-elf heritage and extensive practice. He grinned cockily at the charging hoards of undead and drew his sword, its music singing through his veins. Like all bards, he knew how stories were meant to be lived.

"It is time!" he cried, his voice magnified out, amplified by the thunder overhead, "Let future warriors look upon us and despair of deeds as great as ours. LET US FIGHT!"

And with a roar of exuberant rage, the battle was truly begun.