Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Necromancer's Legacy - part 65

With their position in Sunn seemingly secured the undead start planning for the future, but the seneschals receive news that will affect them all. Consul Seneca who left the Empire for the Ten Makao desert some months ago have returned - and with him a Necromancer's Orb he recovered from the graveyard city of Haomas' Grave. Consul Savvas commands her servants to make haste and bring the second orb there as well as she has learned the third orb will also be making the journey. Unsure if they can take the orb from their undead allies by force, Valerian and Sikra think about their options. But before they can come to any conclusion Gamaral seeks them out and explains he knows about their condrum. Claiming it has long been forseen that the orbs will be reunited in the tomb of Haomas he will convince the others to make the journey. And so they all set out towards the Empire on the following day, leaving Sunn and their business behind for the time being.

During the long journey Gamaral explains more about the situation. The three orbs are the most powerful necromantic artifacts ever created. The one in their possession allows the wielder to enter the Realm of Unlife in spirit without effort, the second emanates the powers of the realm allowing wielder to cast necromantic spells of great power while the third grants the wielder the power to raise undead at will and in unlimited numbers. They where created by one of the Zhengdi emperors by attaching each and every soul of his subjects to a grand ritual. For years they served their people in a rather benevolent fashion until they where eventually stolen and taken to the Empire by him, Gamaral, many, many years ago. While he doesn't dwell on his own motives Gamaral tells that his father, then emperor, Haomas quickly took control over the orbs. At the time the Empire was suffering from internal unrest and with the vast majority of his forces engaged in the invasion of the Northlands the emperor had precious few men to combat the ursurpers. With the orbs however the emperor realized he would be unstoppable and he didn't care for Gamaral's warnings about the rituals which must be observed to handle the orbs safely. In the end the emperor turned himself into the first human lich, dragging Gamaral and the soul of everyone ever tied to the orbs with him into the Realm of Unlife. With this the kingdom of Zhengdi was transformed in an instant to a realm of the undead with only the mages and exceptionally strong willed able to maintain their sanity and awareness through the transformation.

Eventually they reach the borderlands between the Empire and the risen state of Pantoria. Using a local inn to plan for their crossing they are reached by the news that consul Seneca has taken command over the legionnaires stationed at the fortress of Areanacre and is marching towards Haomas' Grave. Rumors also tell that a force of undead are accompanying them. As Gamaral falls into his old, shattered self, apparently unable to answer any questions in a coherent fashion, the others take this as a confirmation he knows more than he lets on.

Using their status as imperial seneschals Valerian and Sikra manage to get the entire group past the border. As they close in on Haomas' Grave they all put pressure on Gamaral to learn what he has been withholding. Eventually he cracks and explains that he is there to ensure the orbs are destroyed. Only then can the undead of Zhengdi be laid to rest. Only then can he regain his soul...

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