A Bored Lich - 56 The Nes
Squad six returned an hour before dark with all the necessary supplies. Hopi even walked around and confirmed everything. Even though his wound had yet to even scab over, his mood was happy. He stood in front of everyone and lay the necessary materials out for everyone to see. “First we start with the flexible wood.” He signaled for everyone to take out theirs as well, which they did.
“Take the wood and wrap it around in a circle big enough so that your hands and feet can freely enter and leave, although make sure that it is still a little tight.” He took each piece of wood and wrapped it around in a circle. “To keep the shape, you wipe the mucus from the Arc Weed onto the wood. The mucus quickly hardens if it is put on any other material. Although not the most reliable of substances, it does get the job done. Try not to put too much stress on the hooks when climbing.” He wiped off the mucus from each of the inflexible Arc Weeds and applied it to where the flexible wood pieces met in a circle. For this, he had to go help people. While holding the wood in place was not an issue, they still needed to keep the loops in the correct size while the mucus hardened. Since Hopi was too busy helping people, Doevm stepped up for the rest of the explanation.
“If you are waiting for someone to help you, think about the person next to you. You can help each other to get this over with faster. Now that you have finished the basic hand and footholds for each one of your hooks, we need to fasten the hooks to them. Take your vine and do as follows…”
He cut the vine into four equal pieces and placed them next to each of the four hooks. He took the Arc Weed and stabbed it through the flexible wood so that the tips pointed away from him. However, if it was left like this, the hooks would fall out after climbing once. To avoid this, the vine was wrapped into circles and stabbed through by the Arc Weed several times. This would make sure that the hook stayed in place and it would add extra grip to the hooks. With that, every person held up their completed works. Although Doevm wanted to try them out, he didn’t want any of the geezers to find out what they were doing.
He ordered for the squad to take turns “Scouting” where they would actually be testing the hooks on trees in the area. Meanwhile, Doevm and Frey searched and found a vine long enough to nearly go top to bottom of the massive tree. Like this, the day passed quickly. When the last rays of light died out, the three Von Trike squads moved out, leaving the two squads alone.
They did plan to ambush the enemy, but there still needed to be bait. While an empty camp was tempting to the enemy, it would be too suspicious to leave it completely barren. In the camp, torches were set to burn on their own. Several dummy packs were left with rocks in them in order to simulate supplies. Although Doevm was hesitant, he had his soldiers construct several scarecrows with their armor on. Since they had all mostly been farmers, he didn’t need to tell them anything. They just found proper amounts of wood and vines and tied them together.
The two squads squinted as they tried to see the top of the tree. “Now that I think about it,” Doevm said, “This tree looks like it will take quite some time to climb it. Oh well, we have no choice. Squad six, equip your hooks.” He said as he jumped on the side of the tree. His hooks stuck like glue and removed as easily as a sword from its sheath. While he had never personally climbed using hooks before, it was not hard to adapt to. Each mark was of a diameter of a centimeter or two. As he got higher, each hook groaned.
Frey was the slowest one since he was the heaviest because of his muscle mass. Each pull from him nearly ripped the tree’s bark right off. Despite Doevm’s warnings, he looked down several times. As he climbed, he let out the vine wrapped around his chest that was tied to the ground as their zipline. When everyone got to the top of the tree, the sat down and chugged water. All in all, it had taken an hour to get there. Doevm was about to lay down himself when Frey stopped him.
“Was the enemy spotted?” He asked as he stood up.
“No, I’m just stopping you from crushing someone’s home.” Frey pointed to a bird nest lying on top of some leaves. In the center, there was only a single feather. While only noticeable under close examination, its base had a small chunk of flesh.
“Thanks I guess.” Doevm shrugged and moved to someplace else with him. Although everyone was tired, not many people got rest. Doevm suggested shifts and went to sleep. He knew no one had the same type of calmness as him. When the enemy appeared, he would be notified. As he lay his head down against the tree, he closed his eyes.
“Do you think he’s actually sleeping?” someone asked.
“No, he couldn’t be. I bet you a bronze he’s just pretending to look cool.” Another responded.
“If you’re so confident, poke him.”
“No, I don’t want to die.”
“Aw come on, you know you want…”
“I’m still awake.” Doevm hissed. “I don’t fall asleep the second I close my eyes, as much as I wish I had that ability.” He rolled over to where his ear lay to the bark. He put his spear inside the tree in order to feel the vibrations, yet another tactic he picked up from the Elves. The roots would transmit any vibration from however far away the roots stretched. He still had his eyes closed, but he couldn’t go to sleep. While the spear wasn’t moving at all, his ears picked up a breathing different from the rest of his quiet squad. As it inhaled, it was sharp. When it exhaled, it was ragged and fast. Peeking his eyes open, he began to focus his hearing on everyone around him enhanced with life essence. No matter who he examined, he couldn’t find the source. It sounded almost like it was echoing in the forest. A faint rumbling disturbed any more thoughts. He sat up and got his spear: “Where’s the enemy?” He leaned over the edge to get a better look.
“Right there, sir.” Hopi was the best lookout and the first to pick up on the enemy’s position, however they weren’t on the ground as Doevm suspected. They were in the trees, jumping from branch to branch. Doevm nearly fainted but relaxed a little upon seeing they were humans.
‘I guess they had the same idea as me,’ Doevm thought as he got in a stance. Dozens of men flooded out of the shrubbery. The moonlight reflected off their metal armor and weapons. While all his attention was focused on the enemy, a single pale white hand reached out. Its black claws were still covered in a fresh coat of grime as it scratched Doevm’s shin guard. He looked down to lock with a pair of blood red eyes.
The creature’s grin showed a row of six sharp pointy teeth protruding out of its red enflamed gums. Its pointy ears resembled Elves. It was hunched over. Each of its bones nearly poked out of its emaciated body. “Ghouls!” Doevm shouted as he sliced its hand off. It reeled back and let out a shriek. The leaves burst open and dozens more jumped out of the base of the tree.