I was working on a song for the recent events when a message arrived. "Lady Dahlia has called a meeting of the Royal Spies to deal with a new problem. Report to the EM Hall this evening."
A new problem? I looked through the governor's reports and didn't find anything strange. What was the Traversis Emporium up to now.
The hall was filling when I arrived. People discussing what the new problem might be. No one had heard even a rumor of new activies. We took our seats when Dahlia arrived.
Once greetings had been exchange, I asked how she was as she looked distracted.
"Worried." She replied "I have received reports that several caravans and travelers have been attacked."
"That is foul news indeed." Arca Mydian noted. "Do we know who the attackers are?"
Dahlia waited for the hall to quiet. "Yes, odd zombies have appeared in the desert west of Vesper."
"So that is why the THB house hasn't had visitors of late." Mylene muttered. "Great...just great."
"Don't worry Mylene." Morgoth reasurred her, "We will not allow this."
I thought about what Dahlia said about the zombies. "My Lady, you said the zombies were odd. How so?"
"My reports said that they didn't smell like rotting dead rather like flowers." she explained. "They are stronger than most undead. The caravan guards have been running for their lives"
The room was quiet as we thought about that information. "Have any Caravans been lost?" I asked.
"Unfortunatly yes, as have several of my spies." Dahlia said. "While we have driven back the threat. The source is unknown."
Morgoth jumped up, "Then we will take care of them...To arms!"
Though ready to fight, we proceeded with a caution learned from dangers from other gates. We found ourselves in a circle of red pillars...like those we found at the Sacrifice shrine.
Dahlia studied them. "Are these like the pillars the King told me of. The ones the Fiery Lady spoke of.
"Yes they are, my Lady. " I nodded. "It's worrisome that they are this shrine also.
Dahlia looked around as if she expected to see some one.
All of us shook our heads no. "Not since last night when he left for the tavern. The Fiery lady spoke to him last." I informed her.
"I wonder what happened to him. I sent him here to to investigate... a drunk but a good spy."
Some of the Royal Spies had been searching the area around the pillars. They came back and reported that they hadn't found any zombies.
"We should go check them." Dahlia said as she lead the way.
The caves were clear of zombies but at the top of one cave we found a blood charm, a strange ingot, and a scroll written in old Weld. In vain Dahlia tried to pick them up.
"I wonder who put them here and why." she wondered. "Wait what is that sound."
At first the undead were normal zombies...quickly dispatched. I was first to see the strange zombie crawl out of the ground.
At last it was defeated. "That was no regular zombie." Dahlia said out of breath. "It is no wonder we have lost caravans and spies."
Arca Mydian poked at making sure it was dead. "Wow, that was one nasty zombie."
Dahlai went back to the ingot and scroll and tried pick them up again. "They are still spelled"
Arca looked at the scroll. "Tamais can you read it?"
Even though I could read most of languages of the land, I had never seen the old Weld language. "No I'm afraid I can't. But I bet Evidias can. Now to find a way to take it to her."
Arca rubbed her fingers over it. "I have an idea. We could make a rubbing of it. Tamais, do you have your writing tools?"
Reaching into my pocket, I pulled out parchement and a piece of charcol and made a rubbing. I handing it to Dahlia when finished.
Dahlia quickly put it away. "Even though this is just a rubbing, it still reeks of evil tidings." She wiped her hands. "Those strange pillars seem to be connected.
We went down once more to study the pillars. "A puzzle for the mages to solve." Dahlia said. "We need to go to Vesper. I've had reports of a large mass of zombies near the city.
Finding no sign of zombies in the city, we started down the road to the graveyard. My relief of finding a few normal undead quickly became panic as I ran right into Orc Brutes...lots of Orc Brutes guarding the grave yard.
I watched in horror as Dahlia was losing her battle. I was able to heal her just in time.
"Thank you!" she shouted before attacking another.
Fighting our way through we at last entered the graveyard. Once again we were attacked by strange fetid zombies.
Slowly we fought our way into the grave yard. "Over here." Arca hollered. "I've found more of those pillars.
"Hum, something is different about these." I mused, "What is it...wait...there is a green one."
"That one also has carvings on it" Arca pointed out.
Dahlia rubbed her hands over the carvings then froze. "What...what is that sound."
We watched as a Corpse Reaver dug its way out of the ground. It began to summon more Fetid Corpses. Once again we found our selves in a fierce battle.
We were able to keep our losses low. The mages casting healing spells faster than I'd ever seen before. At last the Corpse Reaver fell and with it the Fetid Corpses vanished.
"Strange," Dahlia pondered studing the Corpse Reaver. "They seem to be linked to the Reaver."
"That would be reasonable." Morgoth said thoughfully, "I'd be glad to take a group and go investigate ."
Dahlia nodded. "I agree. That would be a good idea but I think it would be wise if we all go."
Once again we found ourselves in the desert. The shrine was clear, but after searching we indeed found another Corpse Reaver. Though tired from the previous fights, the warriors and dragons attacked. Some focused on the Reaver while others dealt with the Fetid Corpses. Mages were kept busy casting summons and healing. We were soon joined by a gallant band of healers.
Surveying the battle field, Dahlia sighed. "Lets hope that the caravans are now safe. We need those supplies.
"I can't help but wonder who summonded these... Alicia the Timid?" I asked.
Dahlia looked thoughtfully. "Possible, but what is the purpose of sacrificing people. Surely they wouldn't kill people just to raid the caravans."
I frowned, "Pehaps they do need the supplies. I doubt if they could bring much when they fled."
"I hadn't thought of that Tamias." Dahlia replied. "If that is the case, there might be more of these around...so much area to search."
"My lady, might I suggest that you send out more spies." I said. "We need need more of the Royal spies and the Royal guard."
Dahlia nodded as she noticed how tired the group was. "I agree. All of you fought well today, but need to go rest." Then she winked at me. "You would make a good Captain of the Royal Guard."
I shivered at the thought, "No my lady my talents are best use spinning tales of our battles."
The rest of the Royal spies laughed...someone adding, "Aye, you are good at telling tales and drinking ale."
When Dahlia was able to stop laughing, she told us to go and rest. The Guards would check on Yew, Trinsic, and the other cities and deal with any zombies found.
"I need to go reasure the Weld. The incident North of Hyloth has them unnerved." She explained. "To have the Others declare them traitors after all Evidias has done to help them is very unsettling to them."
"I'm sure they were not happy that the Others attacked us." I added.
"Very true. Then there is also the problem of the Emporium returning." Dahlia sighed. "I did speak to Alaira but she denied knowing anything. I believe her."
"We will find the links, my lady." I assured her. "Minax is involved. She'll show her hand soon."
"Indeed, but for now go and rest." she saluted us, "Fare thee well...my call will come soon.
I returned home as soon as she left. So many unanswered questions...more each day. Was there any hope that life would become quiet again. Wearly I went to bed hoping not to dream of bugs and the Others.
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Bugs, Corpse Reavers And Zombies, Oh My
I had just started my tale of yesterday's events, when a message arrived from Dahlia. When she arrived at the hall, she gave us the terrible news...