Gathering (Dark Prophecy fiction)
23
July, 2002
Gathering (Dark Prophecy fiction)

—Felucca: 3 days ago—

“The Necropolis did not receive my presence well,” groaned a weary and ragged looking Alexander Thorne as he removed the charred leather armor from his body which stank of deadly magicks recently used.

“Of course not, you were foolish to think a human would be welcome, even if his agenda was a dark one,” replied an unearthly voice coming from a tall figure before Thorne. “You reek of Trammel. You should stay there, Thorne. -I- will deal with the Necropolis denizens myself. I can win them to our cause yet.”

“And how do you intend to do this?”

The once human creature cackled briefly. “I have a history with them. Or rather, my pets do,” it replied as one bony finger caressed what appeared to be an oversized maggot of golden hue in its other bony hand. “Yes, I think they’ll find my offer most interesting. I will need help from the Lady, however.”

“Will she be able to help you? I would think her fighting would have kept her too occupied for such things,” replied Thorne.

“She will aid me, in his name,” answered the sinister lich. “She watches Oaks and the gypsies as we speak, in Ilshenar.”

Thorne nodded as he set aside the last of the damaged armor, taking out his cloak and donning it once more. “Then while you gather forces here, I will go to the Abbey in Trammel. There are some who might be convinced to fight Oaks if given the proper motivation.

“Just be mindful of prying eyes, Collector,” the lich replied to the nobleman. “You will do best to go disguised. The Rose may question you if it’s discovered we seek the angel’s head.”

Thorne nodded. “I’ve worked in the shadows for years, dear friend,” he said with a smirk. “I know my trade.”

“Remember your oath to him,” the lich said as he raised his staff in the air. “And remember the price of failure. “Khaldun is no paradise for the damned.”

The lich brought his staff down, causing a cloud of sulfurous smoke to envelop him as he vanished, whisked away to his destination.

—Ilshenar: Yesterday—

A thin smile came over they young lass’ face as she walked down the road from the Twin Oaks tavern without a care in the world. Pixies and shadow wisps floated by, the silent but ever present sentinels of the Forest Lord.

Just a small distance north, a band of fellow gypsies had set up camp on the outskirts of the Spider Forest. Sounds of merriment and commerce lingered as passersby took advantage of the caravan’s presence to restock on supplies.

She whistled an old tune as she watched them descended on the camp like locusts. Specters, bogles, wraiths, skeletons swarmed the wagons. Sounds of joy were quickly replaced with the brutal wretched screaming of the undead and the pleading cries of the gypsies as one by one they and any whom had gathered to do business with them were slaughtered.

All the while, she whistled her merry tune, a haunted smile in here eyes as she took in the beauty of the massacre. She approached the bloody scene with a casual pace, the spirits and skeletons quickly scurrying off to dark shadows in the woods. The young woman reached into a small bag she kept tied to her waist, retrieving a handful of dark crystals from it.

Shadow wisp corpses were deposited amongst the remains of the fallen innocent as she chanted an incantation which possessed an unearthly melody. The bodies of the dead glowed momentarily with a dim light before the crystallized wisp corpses reacted, containing the spirits of the dead within them.

Moments later, the crystals were retrieved and placed back in the pouch. The ancient lich needed souls, and this pathetic band of gypsies would suit him just fine, she mused.

As the young woman continued north into the Spider Forest, the skeletons and zombified corpses of the recently fallen rose to slowly follow in her wake.

Her army was growing, and her lord’s day drew nearer with every life she took.

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