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Literature / An Army of the Dead

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Beaten, and nigh-broken, shattered to a mere fragment of its former strength, the Cynian army must face a head-on attack by a barbaric enemy that vastly outnumbers them, and who has already crushed them once before.
To achieve victory, the Cynians will have to fight until they die. To fight until they become...
An Army of the Dead.

An online story, by E. G. Castle


An Army of the Dead contains examples of:

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  • Animate Dead: The Sorcerer-Captain raises the dead at the story’s climax.
  • Barbarian Tribe: The Burgids are a band of invading savages.
  • Black Magic / The Dark Arts: Necromancy, which relies on killing things to boost a spell’s power.
  • Dig Your Own Grave: After they defeat the Burgids, the Cynian zombie soldiers dig their own graves. For the Burgids, too.
  • Foreshadowing: While addressing his troops, Sorcerer-Captain Emorc notes that he’s basically proposing a suicide mission; dryly commenting that they’ll need to agree to become an army of the dead. And in retrospect...
  • Human Sacrifice: What Emorc does in order to temporarily revive the Cynian army.
  • Last Stand: The Cynain army pulls a final stand at the Brooler Pass, against an army that out-numbers them, what, 20-to1? It only works because their sorcerer-captain resurrects them as an unstoppable army of the dead.
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  • My Name Is Inigo Montoya: Before they fight, Sergeant Alon and the barbarian chief Mordan introduce themselves to the other.
  • Necromancer: Sorcerer-Captain Emorc, although apparently only as a hobby.
  • Night of the Living Mooks: The title army, the final, revenated remnants of the Cynian army.
  • Revenant Zombie: The army of the dead is made up of revenants.
  • Suicide Mission: The Cynian’s army attempt to hold the Burgids at the Brooler pass was guaranteed to kill them all. It did. They beat them anyway.
  • Title Drop: The story’s title is used several times, perhaps most strikingly when it is utilized as foreshadowing.
  • Undeath Always Ends: At the end of their battle, the magic powering the army of the dead begins to run out, completely doing so soon after.
  • Unfinished Business: The Cynian army is resurrected to take care of some unfinished business.
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  • War Memorial: After killing the vast majority of the Burgid army, the undead members of the Cynian army bury them and top off the mass grave with a large rock carved with the message: DEAD AT THE HANDS OF THE ARMY OF THE DEAD
  • You Are in Command Now: After the vast majority of the Cynian army is defeated; nearly all being killed, badly wounded or scattered, Sorcerer-Captain Emorc finds himself the only officer left alive.

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