Xadian stood by, puzzled. Berith was a Fallen Vampire, and therefore should not be able to use his powers. As he opened his mouth to inquire Berith held up his sword.
“This sword was given to me by a very dear friend. It once belonged to Sade Star-Light.”
This made sense. Sade Star-Light was a very powerful vampire known for imbuing her weapons with her power using magic. It was sort of irrelevant for powerful vampires to do so as they were usually lords, and the position of a lord came with its own special weapon, which was also imbued with power. Although looking back Xadian regretted not doing so himself and hiding the weapon.
They looked around, surveying the street, which was littered with bodies. A bit of dust swirled between them, left over from the bandits who had been disintegrated. They looked at each other. Then they started walking.
Part Two: The Shade
Another two years passed. Xadian still journeyed with Berith. They had had many adventures. They had made friends and enemies. They never stopped traveling. Then came the day of the shade.
They were spending the night in a village by the name of Reth, after a long day of walking. They had booked rooms in an inn for the night, and were already in bed. As Fallen they had some resistance to the sun, a leeway of an hour or so. But they still adhered to the rituals of full vampires and slept during the day and woke at sunset. Then, as the sun was setting and a few minutes before they would normally have woken, they were woken by shouts from the streets. Berith yelled from his room and asked Xadian if he could look out the window in his own.
As he did so he took a minute for his eyes to adjust to the light. When they had, he looked on a scene of horror. Buildings that had hours earlier stood tall were now strewn across the streets, torn down by something of extreme strength. Dozens of bodies littered the streets, in various states of mutilation. It appeared that something had torn through mere moments before.
Xadian stumbled back before collecting himself. He retrieved his sword and woke Berith. As they ran out into the streets the sights fully took shape.
Children and adults alike cried. The smell of smoke drifted through the air. Destruction was rampant.
It appeared as though a bad storm had hit. Entire houses that Xadian and Berith had walked past on their way to the inn were gone, simply destroyed. One that was still standing had a vaguely man shaped hole in it. Apparently something had walked right through it.
A scream sounded from down the street, an indication of the creature's path. They ran towards the scream.
They reached the street that the creature was evidently on. It was shrouded in a dark cloud, and a skeletal arm reached out, holding a struggling woman several feet off the ground. As it continued to hold her, she slowly stopped struggling, as if the life was being drained from her. As she stopped, the creature dropped her. Then it turned to face Xadian.
Xadian stood steadfast. Berith, however, was not as brave. He stepped back half a step. In that half step, the creature sprang forward, lunging for Berith. It stopped half a pace away, having stopped when Xadian raised his sword to block it. It slowly turned to face him. They stood, gauging each other. Xadian flexed, as if to move his sword. And the thing jumped back, clearing ten feet in a single leap. The cloud took a second to catch up, revealing the creature. It was nothing more than a skeleton, its bones bleached white except for one spot on its skull, which was the color of dried blood. It stood seven feet tall. Lightning flickered in its eye sockets and it was missing a finger bone. Then the cloud settled around it again.
Berith panicked, raising his sword and firing of a beam of light. It penetrated the cloud, blowing it away, revealing the skeleton again. But, it raised a hand and the beam stopped as it met its palm, raising sparks but doing no damage. Berith fired again, then again. But the creature simply caught each beam in its hands. Xadian held his hand up, stopping his friend. He stepped forward, sword at the ready. The creature,typically, sprang forward, arm outstretched. It was met by Xadians blade. But rather than cutting through as it should have, the sword was stopped with a ringing sound. The creature's bones were hard as any sword. The creature stepped back as he stepped forward. They traded blows with lightning fast movements. As impossible as it seemed, it was keeping up with Xadian. As they fought, the cloud that had covered the thing was slowly regenerating. Darkness crept up its body, first its legs then its torso. As its face was covered, it suddenly sped up. Xadian's blow was stopped and before he could regain control of his sword the creature came up with an attack of its own. Its wrist bones grew, elongating and sharpening until a pair of sword blades had sprouted from its wrists.
Xadian reeled back with recognition. He had known this being before it became what it was now. It followed him, swinging its arms. He parried each blow and stepped back farther. As the creature had sped up, with each step it took the cloud fell farther behind. Xadian was pushed back farther and farther, until he was even with Berith, who had been charging a beam of light. It had slowly been changing from a six inch disc of white light to a plate of shimmering purple light a foot in diameter. Then, as it reached full power, Berith shouted for Xadian to move aside. Xadian turned and, seeing the light, jumped ten feet back.
Berith loosed the attack, and it shot forward. The creature had turned when Xadian leapt away, and the beam caught it in the right shoulder. Its bones simply evaporated, until it was short an arm. Unfortunately, this only made it mad. The cloud, which had been blown away again, regenerated in an instant. Then, there was an explosion from within it. The cloud expanded to fill the street. Xadian and Berith were both blown back.
As the creature took a second to regain its energy, Berith and Xadian regrouped.
“What the hell is that thing?!” Berith yelled.
“It's a Shade, and it was my friend before it became a Shade.”
“It's name was Alric and-” Just then the Shade ran through the cloud towards them. They readied their weapons, but it wasn't coming for them. It ran right between them and off the street. They gave chase but it ran like lightning. They had no hope of catching it.
As they walked back to the inn, surveying the destruction, they talked more.
“What's a Shade?” Berith.
“A Shade is a dead soul brought back to life and turned to evil purposes. They're an uncommon form of necromancy that almost no one turns to. It's considered sacrilege even by necromancers. Especially, if it's someone you know.”
“You knew him?”
“He was a friend of mine, back when I was still a full vampire. He was still alive when I was exiled.”
“So, was that his body?”
“It was a powerful Shade, so odds are it was. Which means whoever brought him back, was also the one who killed him.” Xadian growled. “Come first light, we're going for this necromancer, and we're killing him. And, this unholy abomination he's created.”