Fully dressed in elegant robes sampling many blues and purples, a half decomposed man shambled past the two crouched adventurers, holding some sort of smoking piece of metal. On closer inspection, Mu realized the creature was carrying a closed over incense holder, a kind of religious trinket. In the large warrior’s experience, he had only ever seen such things used in church gatherings and at holy temple sites. But Mu supposed that if there was a religious use for an object, it was fair game to any religion, not just the peaceful ones.

Sheila fumbled with something on her belt as the creature made its way into the next room, and after a moment or two, she herself was emitting some sort of strong smelling smoke. As she let her own incense holder fall against her waist, she looked up to see her companion giving her an odd look.

“It helps blend in to their smells, damn it, don’t give me that look! God damn Icarians…” she muttered to herself. Sheila whispered her Shandarian incantation once again, and a blinding blue light began to seep out of the etches and carvings on her sword. After only a few seconds, the entire room was bathed in a brilliant white-blue light, stretching shadows out across the room.

“These shambling things that we’ve seen all around…” she spoke while standing up and slowly edging her way to the next doorway, “They look to be the work of a pretty small time necromancer. Nothing my ol’ edge here can’t take care of, don’t you worry your pretty little head!” She looked back and gave an excited smile back at Mu. The large warrior, still crouched behind a fallen boulder, thought about all the places he’d rather be than in some damp tomb where the dead walked as easily as the living.

“No offense meant by this, I mean i know your people made these types of spells in the first place,” Mu began, “but with so many Shandarians bringing the dead back to life…” he paused and looked at the ground, unsure of how to ask this question. “Exactly how many dead people are just roaming around your cities? I get that it could be useful to have servants, but this is just creepy.” Mu looked back up to hear Sheila’s answer, but very quickly noticed he was alone in the room.

“Yeah that’s about right.” he muttered to himself as he stood up to once again tirelessly follow his companion. Having friends is exhausting, the large man thought to himself. He edged through the next doorway, pushing cobwebs out of the way of his head, and ducked into the darkened hallway. He could no longer see Sheila’s light.

As he moved deeper and deeper into the tunnel, a creeping sense of dread nestled itself in the back of Mu’s mind, as he thought of all the dead bodies within these walls that just might be looking back at him. The further he walked, the less comfortable he felt, and before he knew it, Mu was running through the cold stone tunnel at almost full speed, desperate to find his friend’s magical light again.

************

Sheila stood with her sword pointed at the only other live and awake being in the room, a particularly withered looking old human man who seemed to be very close to joining his own undead ranks himself. She bared her teeth and poked her sword’s edge into the man’s chest, leaning over her jester friend’s unconscious body on a stone altar to do so.

“I’ll ask this one more time. If ye ain’t from Shandar, where exactly did you pick up these here magics?” the tall and intimidating woman only appeared larger and more threatening as the old man attempted to coil backward. His undead creations all stood motionless at the edges of the room, waiting for any sort of command, and one skeleton’s arm suddenly snapped off and clattered to the floor. The man was terrified, and Sheila judged by the terrible craftsmanship of his undead servants that he was not very good at the magic he attempted to harness. 

“It’s a simple question, old man,” she gritted through her teeth.

“Okay, okay!” he cried, “Please just don’t hurt me, I just needed your friend’s body for my next sacrifice, but take him! A grayish colored elf taught me all of this! He called himself—“

At that very moment, a running, terrified Mu barreled into the room, crashing into his companion Sheila from behind. As he ran into her, Sheila’s brightly lit sword slid effortlessly right into the old necromancer’s heart. Blood-filled gurgles replaced the old man’s voice, and before anything else could be done, the life had left his eyes as he fell limp onto the sharpened weapon. The skeletal servants standing around the room simultaneously collapsed into piles of bones and flesh, squelching down onto the cold stone floor.

“What in the hell was that for??” Sheila cried back at Mu, spinning around on a dime. Mu’s previous terror was replaced by an entirely new one, with his friend towering over him, sending fear down his very spine.

“Uhh, I got scared?” the large warrior squeaked. “But hey look! we found our jester! Job well done, I’d say.” he stammered, trying to change the subject.

The old man had now fully crumpled to the floor as a result of Sheila’s changed attention, and as his blood formed into a reflective deep red puddle around him, etch work on the ground began to glow a bright crimson red, and connected etchings all along the floor and walls began to light up in suit. Within just a few seconds, the room was covered in beautiful, yet unknown writings, and the two adventurers felt a low rumble deep beneath their feet.