Sheila’s eyes struggled to adapt to the dark as she scanned the area for her friends. Muffled shouts and crashes sounded out somewhere in front of her, some sounding near, some sounding far. A cold wind howled in the air above the tall crouched woman, her breath became visible in an icy burst in front of her, and the hairs began standing up on the back of her neck. The experienced woman knew the feel of each of these sensations well, and knew them each to occur in the presence of a wandering spirit. She closed her eyes and muttered an old Shandarian incantation, then watched as her blade lit up with a beautifully radiant white light.
The light streaked between the trees as it made its way outward, and Sheila caught a glimpse of movement far in front of her. Running forward, confident of her footing with the newly shining light, Sheila could move much easier and effortlessly overtook the silhouettes shifting in the dark. As she neared, the light on her weapon illuminated a half conscious Mu faintly fighting back as a deathly cold skeleton choked the life out of the large man. Sheila cried out at the sight, and without thinking, tackled the skeleton off on its side.
Upon contact with the ground, the body of the skeleton seemed to just simply break apart into pieces, scattering across the ground as an ordinary pile of bones would. Mu coughed violently and gasped for air with the weight being lifted off of his throat, and the large warrior let out a relieved wheeze. Sheila gasped sharply as she landed roughly on scattered bones and roots.
“Wow, it’s that easy?” Mu coughed, still clutching his throat in pain. Sheila was slow to respond as she looked around, still slightly shocked. She weakly replied with a simple “no”, trailing off as she thought of all the great battles the undead had posed her before. “Something funny’s going on here,” the tall woman muttered as she stood up and brushed dirt off of her clothes and armor.
“That’s a pretty handy sword, there. Is its…glow the reason that just happened?” Mu questioned while collecting his sword on the ground. Sheila stood in thought, with a look of complete bewilderment on her face. Looking back and forth between her sword and the scattered bones on the ground, the confused woman finally responded, “No, its just a light…”
High pitched screams cried out in the dark, and the two spun to face them, realizing in the heat of battle that they had forgotten about their jester. The two looked at each other, then out ahead of them into the shadows past Sheila’s sword glow. Readying their weapons, the two adventurers began their search.
Up ahead, Mu was the first one to spot Luteman’s colorful hat sticking out in the darkness. He could then make out the rest of Luteman, followed by a large walking skeleton holding his arms behind him. The two were headed back in the same direction that Mu and Sheila had come, and the Shandarian woman instinctively began to mutter another incantation, dimming her sword until its light had entirely faded.
The two adventurers crouched in the bushes, as the skeleton walked by with their friend. With their eyes still getting used to the sudden lack of light, neither Mu nor Sheila could see as the skeleton passed. After gathering their senses, the two began following the sound of its footsteps cracking through the brush, and after twenty or thirty minutes, finally the skeleton and its prisoner reached a stone face, with a large rock blocking a barely visible opening. As the skeleton paused, it stood silently in front of the rock, almost expectantly, and the rock almost obediently slid aside, allowing him to enter.
As soon as the jester and his captor had entered, the rock moved to once again block the entryway. Mu ran up to the rock face, sliding his hands along the creases between the rock and the doorway.
“There’s writing on it,” he said, taking quick short breaths as the fear of losing their jester friend was growing. He ran his fingers along the letters, and took a step back. “It’s nothing important,” the warrior muttered. Sheila sheathed her sword and walked up behind the large warrior, waiting for an explanation. Reading aloud for herself, Sheila whispered near Mu’s ear, “Here lies Art MacArthy.”
Sheila mulled on the name written before them, vaguely recognizing it. “Hey Mu!” she proclaimed. “Isn’t he in one of the stories about your sword?”
The large warrior knew the name. Art MacArthy was the closest friend of Liam Hines, one of the first known bearers of the sword. Legend said that Art died in a final battle with Liam that spanned decades. Mu knew this very well. “It’s just a coincidence, this forest must be full of places and things from those stories, it’s the Elder Forest for crying out loud. I have no interest in raiding tombs, so it seems we’ve lost our jester.”
“Well don’t ye think it’d be nice to see an old hero at least?” Sheila prodded Mu. Smiling from ear to ear, she unsheathed her sword and held it out in front of her. “Destiny has brought you here young one,” she said in a mocking tone, “Here at the grave of one hero, another will be born! Our friend is in danger! Now shall we go kick some skeleton asses and get him back?”
Mu looked out into the dark in all other directions around them. He let out a forced sigh, showing all the dissatisfaction he possibly could. Slowly looking back at the boulder sitting in the doorway, he mumbled ,“Yeah, alright.”