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  • Days 24 and 25 of the Harvest Moon, year of the Goddess 445


    Do you ever get a gut feeling that something is wrong? As I was stripping an Andris Bone Mage of his reagents, something carried by the wind reached my senses. Why was I thinking of Mirith?

    The feeling was so intense that, at the cost of making a fool of myself, I made my preparations and portalled to the old city of the King. I arrived there to find some friends gathered and heard some talk of a Necromancer. Now, whilst nobody likes the idea of Black Magic, we cannot afford to have our lands disturbed by obscure presences, so something needed to be done. Druid Yendu came back from the cemetery reporting an unusual sight - a cauldron which possibly indicated the presence of a camp.

    Few as we were, I joined Raza, Gasby, Yendu and Kalt to the burial grounds. Poor Pakal, despite an upset stomach, followed with his bow and a quiver full of sharp arrows.

    We arrived to find fires and Brackens at the entrance. Having destroyed the evil trees, we found ourselves contending with Zombies and Bone Mages, but a much darker presence lurked in the background - a Necromancer!



    A slow battle commenced as we were frequently obliged to retreat to make some very much needed potions for ourselves and our companions. The stench was awful as the Zombies' curses were many. Every so often the dark spells of the Necromancer would be heard amidst the clanging of weapons, hissing of arrows and our mages' spells. Gasby would often disappear only to reappear much worse for wear, but not without having inflicted much damage to the enemies.

    * Mora Olsa Necritur *
    * Mosa Olsa Necripax *

    The stench was making us dizzy but we did not retreat...

    * Mora *

    Oh, the fight to free ourselves from the paralysis spells... how exhausting!

    * Mora Olsa Preldian *

    * Mora Olsa Necripax *

    "You filthy human"

    How awful those voices were - my ears were throbbing as I frantically made mana potions whilst fighting against a sense of nausea, which was overwhelming, Now a new noise alarmed us - some hysterical laughter seemed to be coming from the south east side of the cemetery. "My jokes can't be that funny", Kalt murmured. As soon as we had restocked, we declared ourselves ready to move forward, then Kalt yelled something that sounded like some foreign spell - "Hiya Kayi" - I eagerly awaited the result but then realised he was just addressing a newcomer who wore the Three Paths emblem - rogue Kayi . A new wave of curses and more stench had to be contended with, but our march proceeded. The Necromancer fireballed poor Kalt, sending him into the grey. Raza was quick on bestowing on him the gift of life but at this stage my eyes were on Yendu's tusker, who was being threatened by a Bone Mage. Kalt shuddered. More undead surrounded us. "Come and taste defeat", thundered the Necromancer.



    Unexpectedly, he displayed his arrogance and self assurance by volunteering to tell us the source of his power and adding we could not defeat him .

    * Elarum Mora Erarum *

    He was wearing a necklace that granted him the power of casting as many black spells as he wished! A never ending source of power... "After I kill you, I will find the black mage that gave me this necklace" - his words were followed by a fit of laughter. Gasby was quick to take advantage of the moment and, with his dagger, aimed at the clasp of the necklace, which broke. To our astonishment, we saw the black figure wither. There was however no time to proclaim victory, as another Necromancer appeared, followed by a second one. We were paralysed and one of the Necromancers bent to the ground and picked up the necklace, commenting to his comrade that not much remained.

    * Mora Olsa Preldian *, and the two black figures vanished. Is this the last we hear of such a powerful amulet? I have my doubts.




    Many questions remained unanswered but what was the point of even speculating? We were in total ignorance. Torn and weary from the long battle, we returned to our homes.



    With a deep frown furrowing her forehead, Rosina leaves a copy of her report in the library and sends a note to Jedd - maybe he has heard or read something about such matters in his extensive travels? The cleric is no scholar by the utmost stretching of the imagination, her abilities consisting solely of having squabbles, punching and casting spells.

     

  • A muffled voice came from around the corner. "News from Rosina!"

    Jedd lifted himself from the chair and walked over to see a haggard Lans leaning over a document, scribbling furiously with one hand, and holding up a sealed envelope with the other. Without a word, Jedd walked over to the desk and plucked the envelope from the cleric's outstretched hand. He tore through the seal, scanning over the short note.

    "Let me guess," Lans said, eyes fixated on the desk. "Sandstorm?"

    "Hmm, not this time. It would appear that there has been another necromancy-related disturbance."

    "Well," the cleric said with an exaggerated yawn. "I'll be hanged."

    "This time, there was some sort of magical artifact involved. Wouldn't you know it... yet another amulet."

    The cleric nodded, muttering something about snakes. Having grown all too accustomed to his retainer's mannerisms, Jedd realized that now was the appropriate time to withdraw. He handed the note back to Lans and made his way to his quarters.

    A crisp wind blew in from the open window besides the fireplace, rattling the glass panes as it went. He bundled his robes up close and sat down at the edge of his bed. The quilts were still in disarray from his having taken a nap an hour before, and Luna lay nestled within the mess, the late afternoon sun bathing her fur in a warm orange glow. She breathed soft and slow in a deep sleep, the kind of which seldom came to the fighter anymore. The reasons for that were many. A general sense of caution and a growing penchant for late night scouting patrols were but one thing. The many disquieting thoughts that he had accumulated from recent events, were entirely another.

    Jedd rose to his feet, and stepped over to the writing table. There was one thing he could do to dispel his worries.

    Hello Rosi,

    Thank you for your note! The recent emergence of these dark artists poses a threat to us all. Thankfully, most of them seem to be operating independently of one another. There is no telling what sort of trouble we'll be in if they start to band together for some concerted effort. I must confide that I have been thinking about this a good deal. As the old saying goes, nature abhors a vacuum, which is precisely what was formed by the disappearance of the Black Hand and the D.D.D. And so there is little wonder that these incidents are growing in frequency. But should some ambitious wizard get it in his or her head to recreate the power of our old enemies, then we will indeed have much to fear. That being said, there is absolutely no indication that this is happening – just a possibility that cannot be discounted.

    To return to more pertinent matters: I unfortunately have little to say about the necklace. But when reading your report, I was reminded of the Amulet of Sky, and how it was used to heal Beleth after he was cleansed of the Black Magic consumption (which I will forthwith refer to as 'consumption', for simplicity's sake). I'm sure you have not forgotten the ceremony on the Temple Isle – isn't it odd that the process resulted in the sudden uprising of so many bone mages? I suspect that a similar phenomenon is at work in regards to that other nameless man, the one who seems to have developed a method to circumvent the consumption. And this method, as we have seen, involves the use of the deceased! In any case, the Amulet of Sky is still in Mirith's possession (to my knowledge, at least). And even if it weren't, I will not be so bold as to postulate that it can also prevent the consumption, which is what seems to have been the case with the amulet used by that arrogant fellow you had the misfortunate to meet. Beyond that, your guess is as good as mine! Perhaps a trip to Brigobaen is order, though scouring the shelves for potentially useful volumes would be no small undertaking.

    On a somewhat unrelated note, my wanderings of late have brought me into the fellowship of a young rogue by the name of Gasby, whom I believe you have already become acquainted with. Now, I have never been an excellent judge of character, but she seemed quite sincere underneath her uncaring demeanor. And so I am more than a bit alarmed by some offhand comment she made about selling the necklace – yes, the same one worn by the fallen necromancer. Perhaps she was referring to some other necklace, and thus your account would not be gainsaid, but there you have it. I'm not really sure what's worse: the necklace in the hands of those two mages, or the necklace in the hands of the highest bidder on the black market. It doesn't matter too much, I suppose: we will be sure to act on the slightest sign of trouble!

    Your friend,
    Jedd
     

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