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There Is a Necromancer in Town

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Lady N's picture
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Joined: 06/26/2010
Author - FoyaBeninax
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[These entries are excerpted from a journal of an Arkay’s priest.]
 
30th Rain’s Hand
 
My hands are trembling out of excitement. I am leaving to investigate a case of necromancy in Morthal soon! I have been praying to Arkay for an opportunity to serve him with a heroic deed since I was anointed as a priest, meaning a week ago. And his blessing falls upon me like raindrops. 
 
This morning a senior priest announced that the Jarl of Morthal received two reports in a single day concerned zombie and necromancer activities. I volunteered myself as soon as he said he needed someone to eliminate the evil. I never thought I could get the job until he nodded to me with a smile, and other priests were smiling too, rubbing their foreheads and chests with long exhales. I guess they all felt happy for me. I’ve never felt so ready to battle the evil in honor of Arkay!
 
 
8th Second Seed
 
The investigation isn’t going as well as I expected. I have been in Morthal for a couple of days and talked to the Jarl and all the guards. They gave me zero clue other than the copies of witnesses’ reports, entirely soaked with mead. Finally, it took a drunkard guard two days to spit out the name of a witness just because she was his drinking body.  
 
No more incidents were reported after that day the received the two reports. Necromancers are arrogant and vicious; usually they would never stop until they turn a place upside down, or someone turns them inside out. But this one is discreet, I give them that.
 
 
10th Second Seed
 
I met one of the witnesses, Hjora the Fearless, in Moorside Inn. It spent me hours drinking with her before I got what I need. At first, she refused to talk about it and threatened to throw me out through the window. She is tall and bulky as a she-troll so I had to be patient with her. Later, before she was too drunk to talk, I managed to get the information, and here is the transcript (or something close enough, except for the drunken babble and cursing words) of her narrative:
 
“I was hired by a Nord woman to guard the body of her cousin, Thybiorn. She found that poor dude lying on the bed, stiff and cold as a salmon. She had to leave the town to find his husband but she needed someone to keep an eye on the corpse. I got this supposedly easy and well-paid job because I was the only one courageous enough to stay with a dead body overnight. I am not sure I still have the courage anymore though. 
 
“I was drinking in Thybiorn’s bedroom until it was so dark that I could barely see my own hands. The lamp was out of oil and I couldn’t find any more oil or candles. It was downpouring outside so I was stuck in the house. As if it was not bad enough, I saw a rat upstairs. There was no way I sat next to the corpse all night to keep rats away. Fortunately, I found an illuminated stone in my pocket that I got from the enchanter’s apprentice. She practiced enchanting on some pebbles to make them glowing faint green in the darkness. I laid his hands on top of his chest, and locked it in between his fingers. It wasn’t bright at all, but enough to keep the rats away, or at least could alert me of rats biting on the corpse. 
 
“I don’t know when I fell asleep in the chair. I tried my best not to, but I had nothing to keep myself awake after I drained my bottle of mead. I slept like a log until some noise, sounding like a scream, woke me up. When I opened my eyes, the room was in pure darkness except the dim light of that stone. By Talos, it was moving fast out of the door! My mind was still foggy. I told myself the person under my guard is leaving so I’d better go after him. I must have been too sober to make a better judgment.
 
“I chased him. There was no light outside. The only thing I could see was the light of the illuminating stone. I chased him until we reached the edge of the town, and suddenly I realized how crazy it was—I was chasing a dead man! I had never felt such a strong horror before. I was sure I could deal with a zombie, but I am not sure where the necromancer was hiding and they might attack me in the darkness. They might even have an undead army! Without any plan to risk my life, I rushed back to my house immediately and never went back to that cursed house.” 
 
 
12th Second Seed
 
I talked to Thybiorn’s husband today. It was extremely embarrassing because I said “sorry for your loss”, and he stared at me as if I was cursed by Sheogorath. 
 
I shouldn’t have told him that I learned that Thybiorn was the victim of necromancy. The stout Redguard was strong as a bear and threw me out of his house and yelled “Thybiorn is at the healer’s, you fool!”
 
At the healer’s I met with Thybiorn, who appeared to be very sick and his face was pale gray as a dead man. He was surprised that someone reported him as the zombie, for he claimed seeing a zombie and made a report himself. 
 
“I am sick, as you can see. I have been carrying the sickness, or curse, since I was a boy. I have seizures sometime. It’s not quite often but when it happens it goes really bad. My mom told me she almost buried me once for she saw no sign of life on me. I didn’t die, but dangerously close. 
 
“In the morning of that day, after my husband left the town, I went to dun my loan from Swift Eddie. By the divines, I should have never loaned a single coin to that thief and gambler! When I arrived at his den, I found his friend preparing a coffin—that knave was dead! I saw him lying on the bed, wrapped in linen shroud. His face was utterly gruesome that I was about to puke! That bastard must have been through a nasty death. I knew that I wouldn’t get my money back. I guess the rage triggered the seizure later of that day.
 
“I lost my consciousness as soon as I touched my bed. I didn’t know what had happened until…it must have been late at night. I felt somebody touching my hand and I opened my eyes. The light was dim but I swear to Talos I saw the face of Swift Eddie! The blood and mud and pale lips…It was the same as what I just saw in the day. I was so terrified that I passed out again, at least for a few more hours until I was sent here…Oh, look at me, I am sweating all over and my heart is pounding. I have to rest.”
 
 
15th Second Seed
 
I investigated the graveyard, the marsh, taverns, inns, abandoned houses, and caves around the town. Nothing! No trace of undead or necromancy. I followed the lead that Thybiorn provided and tried to find Eddie’s remains, or whatever became of him. But he had no tomb in the graveyard and his den was empty. The graveyard keeper told me he hadn’t received a corpse for two weeks, and not a single corpse has been missing. 
 
I am out of leads. Ever since I arrived, I haven’t seen a single zombie or necromancer. Nevertheless, people are all taking about a necromancer in town but none could provide any useful information. The rumors are getting wilder and more bizarre, and everyone was in horror and worries. I don’t know what to believe anymore. 
 
 
22nd Second Seed
 
I found Swift Eddie today, more precisely, he found me. I tackled his wrist as he was trying to pick my pocket. I recognized that little bastard as soon as I saw his face; it matched Thybiorn’s description very well.
 
I dragged that wretched Breton to the tavern. He attempted escaping twice, so I beat him up until he begged in tears. I shouldn’t have done that, Arkay forgives me, but I was too mad at him for all the days I spent on looking for him. And the truth he gave me didn’t ease my anger at all, if not infuriating me even more.
 
“I am sure there is a necromancer in town! I should have left days ago. I thought I didn’t have to but…What? No! I am not a zombie! You are a priest of Arkay, can’t you tell a living soul from an undead? 
 
“See, there was no way I could repay Thybiorn’s debt, so I came up with a brilliant idea. I had my friend made a “coffin” for me. I got some shroud, and I smeared my face with blood and mud, painted my lips pale. I didn’t want that usurer looking at me too close or too long. And it worked! He glanced at me, cursed and left. I planned to leave the town for a while; should I ever come back, I would change my name and pretend to be another person. However, I have been lingering around looking for something I hid in town a while ago...Is Eddie my real name? What a foolish question! This is my third identity…Hey, put your fists down if you want to know what happened!
 
“Later that evening I overheard people gossiping over Thybiorn’s death. I decided to go to his house and take a look. If the usurer is no more, I don’t have to pay off anything. I snuck in after midnight. It was drizzling, and there was no light in the street.. I was sure Thybiorn was dead the moment I opened his door without picking his lock. That miser would never have left his door unlocked if he were still alive. 
 
“The room was so dark that I felt like a blind man. I pushed door open and spot a ball of dim light. I skulked close enough to find out it was a piece of gem holding in Thybiorn’s hand, beautifully shining in soft green light. I thought it must have been some treasure that worth a fortune. Thybiorn’s face was lead-gray and eyes shut. I touched the skin of his hand as I picked up the gem, it was icy cold and dry. The last thing I could expect was seeing his eyes opening…and the next moment I saw the dead man gazing at me with bloodshot eyes!
 
“I was so terrified that I wet my pants. I didn’t know what happened to him and I still don’t know. I guess it had to be necromancy. I screamed and rushed to the door, totally unaware that I was holding the gem. Then I heard…oh gods…I heard the door banging after me and steps…he was chasing me! I had never run that fast in my whole life. I wanted to shout for help but I lost my voice. I am not sure how long had I ran, or when did I pass out. The next morning, I found myself lying in the marsh, unhurt. The Nine have mercy!”
 
I kicked him out onto the street. I should have sent him to the guards, but I don’t care anymore.
 
I am sitting at the desk now, exhausted and confused. There is no necromancer in town after all, but I am not sure I should feel relieved or disappointed. Arkay has his humor; maybe I ought to feel amused.
 
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Joined: 06/26/2010

This piece was written for our 20th anniversary fan art contest! It is strictly property of its original creator - you may not modify, publish, or redistribute it without explicit permission from the artist.