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Necromancing Xuun Pt.4: Gold Bit Gambit

It was time to put his plan into action. After his morning meditation on the deeperWhat gold bits buy mysteries of the Black Faith he took out his serrated knife and began to carefully cut a single gold piece into pieces of eight. Jíen then left his tomb and walked to the bazaar. It wasn’t long before after harassing a few ragamuffins that he found a group of street-rats eager for his gold bits. He told his new contact, the eldest of the group complete with a tattoo of rat’s silhouette on the side of his hand (a mark of the Ratters’ Guild), that he would pay in gold bits for a black gem, no questions asked. The necromancer told them he frequents the Troll and to find him there to get paid.

A little while later, the young necromancer walked into the Whiskey Troll Tavern and noticed that even without the oppressive atmosphere of smoke it stunk quite a bit of piss and rotten ale. He also noticed that his companions had indeed survived their little mission from last night. He walked over and the other two had some harsh words for him, he tried to explain himself and kept a friendly tone. Trantox the assassin and Dravor the blackguard didn’t understand a word from the necromancer’s mouth and vice versa.

Somehow, all thought that everything had been smoothed over or that they had won at an argument or got the other party to agree to something. Regardless, they were a trio again. They sat and ate a breakfast of hot ale-mash with bits of fried meat (probably rat), ale and some whiskey. The necromancer however went light on the booze preferring to drink the cheapest grog he could get.

It wasn’t long before the first of two street kids walked in delivering for 1 gold bit, a rounded onyx obviously pried from some larger treasure. Trantox and Dravor left sometime just before midday. A little while later outside the day turned gray, humid, and dark without warning and then a sudden thunderstorm dumped warm rain turning the uncobbled streets to mud.

Shortly after the second pickpocket had walked out with his gold bit, the blackguard and the assassin came back wetted by the downpour. They again sat and ordered food and drink; they appeared to have quite a bit of money on their persons. It wasn’t long after that that a tall sun-darkened southlander with a shaved pate wrapped in a black robe walked in from the rain and directly to the dark trio’s table.

The tall man smiling made eye contact with Dravor and referred to him a few times as ‘brother’. Four others similarly dressed and lightly armed were behind him. Jíen couldn’t understand much but when the man introduced himself to the rest of the group he caught the name Exvorum. Exvorum and his men joined the trio for a few hours of friendly chatter and some whiskies.

By evening the tavern was crowded, loud with brusque voices, and fogged with smoke. Fauns, some half-giants, Scaels, and gypsies had flooded into the place all arriving in town as fans of the annual gladiatorial games. Jíen took his leave after purchasing a bottle of whiskey and made his way back to the charnel house.

It wasn’t long before he found himself chatting up the attendant of the astudan, Exandor. Of course, their conversation turned towards past champion level gladiators who’d died and were buried in the graveyard.

Exandor: “Baercor the skull-breaker. I think he died about 2 seasons ago, big funeral. Lotsa flowers, the mourners certainly earned their pay that day. A fine funeral indeed.” His bottom lip bulged with pride with that final phrase.

A few minutes after that Jíen left the half-drunk bottle with the inebriated Exandor and used his skeletal minion to excavate the grave of the gladiator Baercor. The corpse was in surprisingly good condition having mostly dried-up rather than rotted. Even his equipment was more-or-less intact. He had been buried with the implements of his profession, a dire-mace, a short-sword, a chain shirt bearing the damage of the fatal wound, an open helm, and a Westlander war-belt.

The Deadlands necromancer took most of the remaining night to ply his trade and convert the corpse into something useful, a variation of a Dread-Guard using the black gems he had obtained from the street urchins. Surprisingly both gems were genuine. The creature when finished was a mindless automation for the most part but its shriveled bluish flesh was hardened like leather and its strength slightly greater than it had been in life.

Jíen had also carved, with his serrated dagger, a magic rune into the creature’s forehead during its creation, a Disguise Undead spell. The creature would appear as a living man of a somewhat generic appearance but appropriate to his size and massive build. Jíen wouldn’t have been too surprised to learn that the gladiator had giant’s blood in his veins.

There was enough time left before dawn for the young mage to catch some sleep before he had to go to the arena to register his fighter as Bludbaer the Dire and himself as Bludbaer’s manager. He would use the tiger-eye gem snatched from one of the hooded thief’s corpses (see Necromancing Xuun Pt.2: Squatters’ Rights). The proper games would begin in a week’s time. He thought, “ha! This’ll be easy money!”

It was near noontime when Jíen had finished putting the last few steps of his plan into action having registered his fighter for the games and was headed back to the Whiskey Troll Tavern to meet up with his compatriots with his minion and new gladiator in tow. It wasn’t long after his arrival at the Troll before fight-fans were offering drinks to his undead-fighter so Jíen had them give the creature red wine as it was “his favorite”.

Cris (the GM): “Ha-ha, like blood!”

Me (Jíen’s Player): “Well, yeah, can’t have him get wounded in the games and have no blood. Someone might get suspicious!”

The GM made a note after that crack.

After a while, Dravor wanted in on the swindle and offered to “sponsor” the young necromancer’s fighter. Of course, the necromancer would have to help the blackguard in taking out a “competitor” first. They had just finished shaking hands on it when a gaggle of armored Hyvalians clattered in. Jíen’s shadowed eyes nearly bulged from their sockets when he saw them.

There was a mutual amount of hate between most, if not all, Hyvalians and Deadlanders caused by the Necromancer Rebellion that had occurred over 500 years past. It had resulted in the loss of a significant portion of the Hyval landmass to the Solkang Ocean splitting the Deadlands from the mainland. It was still a sore spot between cultures.

The Hyvalians’ white surcoats bore the golden chalice and sunrays against azure of the Hyvalian Theocracy. The leader was in full plate armor and great helm apparently a paladin and the other four were Templars in full-suits of chainmail with steel open helms on their heads. The paladins armor squeaked with his raised arm as did his gauntlet when his finger thrust in Jíen’s direction.

Paladin: “We are here to purge this community of the evil that has infected it! We start with you!”

What Jíen had failed to note was that the paladin’s golden scabbard had a single gem of obsidian set into it. The gold mounting damaged from a failed attempt at prying it off. There were also two other empty settings from which the gems had been pried.

Trantox the assassin had already slunk away unseen.

To Be Continued…

Necromancing Xuun Pt.3: Back Alley Rumble

Early evening in the taproom of the Whiskey Troll Tavern and it was jumping. There were crowds of heavily salted and slightly pickled pirates, small groups of cloaked figures plotting who knows what, and large huddles of fight fans. These gladiator groupies had faces smeared with paint the colors of their favorite fighter. Jíen sat at a small table near the ever gaping entrance of the place, his cloaked and cowled skeletal minion behind him posed as a servant.

Through the pungent haze of pipe-smoke the young necromancer observed a hemp merchant a gold necklace dangling on his leather-clad chest and a porter hauling a small locked chest on his shoulder following. Following them attempting to be inconspicuous were Jíen’s companions, Trantox the assassin (played by Jenn), and Dravor the blackguard (played by Gil). The dark pair ducked over to and sat down at the necromancer’s table. The conspicuous pair kept an eye on the porter and merchant whom disappeared into the backroom of the place guided by one whom Jíen assumed to be the owner.

Trantox and Dravor were babbling something about the merchant to Jíen but he was unable to understand the Westlander tongue especially through their thick Poisonwood accents. It was about a half an hour before the merchant and his porter came from the back and sat for a few jacks of ale & whiskey. After about another half an hour the porter and merchant took their leave of the tavern. Jíen’s companions patted the necromancer on the shoulder to follow as they crept up from their seats to follow the seemingly clueless merchant.

Outside the purple moon and its ring were already beginning to appear in the golden horizon as the hemp merchant rejoined his men, 6 porters in total and 3 armed bodyguards. This group proceeded to a caravan of wagons gathered near a wide pavement at the end of the street. Each wagon on their sides had a green hemp leaf painted on a brown field bounded by a loop of twisted yellow rope. The Ivoran caravan had a group of 8 armed guards in chain mail, steel caps on their heads, armed with short spears. The caravan master was a broad fellow with a long peppered mustache and a longsword and bowie knife as sidearms.

As Jíen and his companions observed from afar the merchant paid his porters and they left the company no doubt heading towards less notorious taverns than the Troll. The merchant proceeded to talk to the heavyset caravan master for several minutes then the merchant and his 3 bodyguards walked away back down a wide and busy side avenue as the sky darkened. The hemp merchant and his men were heading to the north end of town. Dravor told the necromancer that they were going to the Golden Feather Inn.

By this time Jíen had learned that the hemp merchant’s name was Ranor. In addition, blackguard Dravor had wordlessly communicated to the necromancer that they were to kill the merchant by dragging his finger across his own throat then rubbing his thumb and forefinger together.

As the dark trio followed them through the bustling crowd the merchant and his guards suddenly turned into an alley as if by some strange fortune two large overturned wagons completely blocked the street. The merchant kept rapidly rounding the turns through the maze of narrowing filth choked alleyways of Ezmer until the only people that could be seen traversing the back-ways were the dark trio and the merchant and his men.

So of course caught at this impasse the merchant, who unfortunately was no fool, turned his men shuffled around him and the blackguard immediately threw a spell at the largest and foremost bodyguard.

The large man was engulfed in blood red flames which burst from his body scorching the other 2 guards. Trantox the assassin dipped his dagger into a vial marked with the Hyvalian characters for black-lotus. So, Jíen cast a Wound spell quickly at their target just a second before Ranor and his guards pulled their weapons. Unfortunately the merchant was able to shake off most of the spell-effect.

The Deadlands necromancer with his minion at his left side stood behind the assassin with his golden poison-dipped dagger and the bronze-armored blackguard. The merchant and his scorched guard were equipped with copper studded soft leather cuirasses with chain mail patches about the shoulders and over their bellies as well as bronze studded leather bracers and bronze leg guards over their knee-high blacked leather boots. The big burnt guard pulled his great axe from his back after having smashed himself into a full gutter-barrel extinguishing the evil flames in the filthy blackwater. The second guard pulled his great sword, and the third aimed his crossbow. Merchant Ranor pulled a shortsword and stepped over to the guard with the crossbow.

The guard armed with the great sword charged Dravor the blackguard whom failed to parry in time with his own massive weapon, a horse-cutter zanbato, and felt the bite of the more standard heavy bladed weapon. A crossbow bolt flew at Trantox putting a nick into the assassin’s ear. The Poisonwood assassin immediately dashed further into the alley towards the guard armed with the crossbow and his intended prey.

Jíen took a step forward to touch the great sword wielding guard with a Crippling Touch spell but missed. Dravor swung his zanbato at the same guard hacking into his cuirass and drawing some blood. The still smoking head guard with his great axe moved back 10 ft. towards his master. The guard with the crossbow moved up and readied to load his weapon. The guard dueling with Dravor took a swing with his massive weapon and getting through the blackguard’s defenses wounded him horribly.

Me (Jíen’s Player): “Trantox WTF! Get in there and stab the dude with yer dagger so we can get outta here!”

Jenn (Trantox’s Player)(having just seen the damage dealt to Dravor): “No way I’m getting close to those guys! I’m out numbered!”

Trantox deftly switched up his weapons and used his already loaded crossbow to fire a bolt into the back of the great sword wielding guard. Jíen tried to grasp the same guard again but again was too slow to land his spell. Dravor in a desperate move tried to disarm the guard of his great sword but failed miserably. Trantox using his unequaled skills with his weapon put another bolt into the back of the same guard. As the guard winced when the arrow nailed his flesh, Dravor swung with all his might opening a hideous wound in the man’s chest but the guard was still standing.

Dravor clumsily struck again at the guard, both men equally wounded and both very near death, but the guard knocked it aside easily. The guard with the great axe and Ranor the hemp merchant both moved in the opposite direction of their attackers out of the alley and into the street.  A crossbow bolt flew and imbedded itself in a graffiti decorated adobe wall near Jíen. The shooter-guard then proceeded to reload. Seeing that the battle was a bit too evenly matched for his comfort the necromancer decided to flee.

Jíen and his minion flew through the twists and turns of the dreary maze of alleys and streets until the young Deadlander was positive of no pursuit. If his companions survived, he was certain they wouldn’t, he was pretty sure he could smooth over any ill-feelings brought about by his strategic withdrawal.

In the meantime he tried to hook up with a contact, one Korvo-Doom, in the slavers’ quarter but found the slaver’s place locked up tight, it was night after all. So the disappointed mage slunk back to his crypt and before settling in to sleep he spent the last of his spells by infusing them into some of the thieves’ bones he had acquired. After he added 3 bone-wands to his gear, 2 charged with the Wound spell and 1 with Exsanguination he reclined to enjoy a well-earned rest.

As he lay down however, he thought that he might want to start formulating a plan.

To Be Continued…

Necromancing Xuun Pt.2: Squatters’ Rights

The dark trio of Jíen the necromancer (played by me), Trantox the assassin (played by Fate of the hoods as they vs. the squatter heroesJenn), and Dravor the blackguard (played by Gil) found themselves settling into their bedrolls in a barren room of a deserted adobe apartment building. A few piles of detritus and some debris from the crumbling wall-plaster the only décor. Each settled into their own corner to sleep.

Later, Jíen was shocked awake by Dranor’s shouts. The necromancer awoke to find his companions cornered on the opposite side of the room from him by four black-hooded dagger-wielding rogues. They had not stumbled onto the young necromancer since he had camped out by the entrance and they had apparently gained entry through one or both of the glassless shudder-less windows along the outside wall. Jíen’s skeletal minion was standing between him and the group of hoods.

The necromancer leapt to his feet and cast an empowered Wound spell on the nearest thief. The sudden twinge of the masked man’s body told Jíen his spell had been effective. His skeletal minion continued to guard its master against approach. Trantox ducked behind the larger Dravor to load his crossbow.

A hood stabbed Dranor and another jabbed Trantox hurting him badly with a lightning fast flash of the blade. Another turned and lashed out at the minion, which parried the clumsy blow easily with its boney claws. The thief who had felt the sting of the necromancer’s magic turned and stabbed Jíen wounding him while Dravor clinched a thief’s dagger on a parry. Jíen stepped back and cast Animate Necrosis on his attacker. The necromancer’s back mashed against the damp disintegrating plaster, but the resultant scabby tendril failed to take hold of the man’s throat.

Trantox stepped out to shoot a thief whom tried to parry the crossbow itself but failed miserably getting shot and badly wounded in the process. The thief clinched by Dravor’s axe wrenched his dagger free and his dagger stung at the black guard whom barley was able to knock the blade aside. Trantox pulled his silver dagger and slashed but the hood dodged his blow easily.

The hood on the minion stabbed it piercing the black robes but hit nothing as the blade slid easily between its bleached ribs. Jíen’s attacker stepped in for a kill shot but the gruesome tendril sticking out of his shirt found its grip around his throat and squeezed the last bit of life out of him. The strangled corpse fell at the necromancer’s feet.

Dravor hacked one of the hoods down with a mighty swing and the assassin put another quarrel into one that was hitherto untouched. The thief on Jíen’s minion stabbed the creature again to no effect then it retorted by clawing him. Dranor swung on the thief that had run up to Trantox as the assassin was still badly wounded but his blow was parried. Trantox then got another bolt off from his crossbow nailing his attacker seriously injuring him.

One of the hooded men tried to make a run for it as the battle turned but Dranor took the opportunity to cleave his yellow spine in two. The last hood prepared to defend himself as he looked for a way out of the gauntlet. Dranor’s axe missed its mark as it whistled in from the side but Trantox’s blade found its mark nearly killing the thief. The hood sidestepped and prepared to leap from the nearest window.

Jíen threw a spell in the wounded hood’s direction and as his body convulsed a torrent of blood forced from the petty thug’s body flew directly into the necromancer’s mouth and down his throat, Jíen’s wounds instantly healing. Even so, the last hood, the largest of the former four, was still able to make a desperate leap at the window the two bleeding halves of his body impacting into the wooden windowsill with a thud. Dranor had chopped him apart while he was still in midair.

It took only a few minutes for the trio to loot the bodies. Afterwards the necromancer immediately went to work on the corpses digging out a few long-bones for use as Bone Wands later. The three tried to recoup some sleep for the last few hours before dawn and then parted ways as soon as the purple moon was full against the golden morning horizon. They would meet back up later at the Whiskey Troll Tavern around midday.

Jíen with his disguised minion in tow found his way across town to the charnel house in the east end situated right next to the very crowded cemetery. After a few more minutes he had found the proprietor and mentioning Rantcor’s name introduced himself. The proprietor was a tall, skinny Ivoran fellow with a baldhead and sumptuous oiled brown beard named Exandnor. However, the only business the Ivoran crypt-keeper seemed to be interested in was the delivery of fresh intact corpses “no questions asked”.

Just when Jíen thought that the bard’s tip was turning out to be fruitless the Ivoran offered the necromancer an empty tomb to sleep in which slouched near the center of the cemetery. The name inscribed on the small sunken mausoleum was Ranor Long-Rider. The dead-lander thanked Exandnor for his kindness and after inspecting the new digs went on his way to the tavern.

On the way to tavern however he had to cut through the town bazaar which was already reeking with its hoards of tradesmen, merchants, rubes, thieves, and whores. He passed close by to where a gypsy clan was entertaining, juggling and the like. Their children were moving in and out of the small unwashed crowd that had gathered. “Thieving no doubt” Jíen thought.

So mostly for sh*ts and giggles as one of the earthy haired bumpy-headed urchins passed by him (they were a noticeable mating of faun, human, and naga) he quickly pat the boy on the head all the while subtly casting a Contagion spell, nothing serious only a fever possibly lethal still highly contagious though. After that, feeling wholly satisfied with himself the necromancer continued on his way to the Whiskey Troll his black draped skeletal minion following closely on his heels.

To Be Continued…

Necromancing Xuun Pt.1: Crackin’ Skulls

The bard, the group’s contact, had appeared as if from nowhere and sat conversing with Black Skulls Tattoohis other two companions (Dravor played by Gil and Trantox by Jenn) in their language, Poison-tongue. Jíen couldn’t understand as he only spoke, at the moment anyway, the Deadlands tongue an archaic Hyvalian dialect. He did however notice the bits of other numerous conversations, mostly in Ivoran (another dialect of Hyvalian) that floated upon the heady and noisome atmosphere like so much flotsam. He had pieced together something from the general murmur about a missing hill-giant captain of the guard. Nothing really interesting.

His shadow-drowned eyeballs rolled about the place. In the corner by the gaping doorway, an old portcullis no doubt, stood a perpetually empty table, its boards strangely dry and carved with a decorative image, which he could not presently make out but it looked like an expertly carved clown. Meanwhile a ruckus began near to their table as 2 groups of pirates began a drinking contest against each other. A few were speaking in the Deadlands tongue.

The necromancer’s patience was at an end as the bard and Trantox seemed to be gabbing. Jíen turned to the bard, Rantcor, and asked what they were talking about finishing with, “I’m here for a job not conversation!”

Rantcor briefly conversed with the necromancer in broken Hyvalian about his range of skills the bard ending the talk with mention of “possible extermination work”. The bard then turned to Trantox and gave him directions to someplace called “The Broken String” and to be there at midnight, from what the necromancer could make out anyway.

A group of rat-catchers tumbled in ready to pay for drinks in rat-tails loudly talking rumors and conjecturing on the fate of one Nezor. A short while after Rantcor departed Dravor got up from the table and began to preach to various bar patrons which attracted Jíen’s attention as it wasn’t about the Black Faith, the theosophy of the Deadlands.

So, the necromancer sauntered over to the pirates that he had heard chattering in his language and sat down. They had black-skulls tattooed on their chests and arms. He quickly got on their good sides after buying a round and then casually mentioned that the big ugly guy in black-painted bronze armor was a Blackguard who was bringing down bad luck and curses on the head of every sailor in the place. He went on to say what the guy was preaching was offensive to the goddess of the sea, Ranah the patroness of sailors and favorite deity of most sailors that port in Xuun.

It wasn’t long before the whole group, all 7 of them, stood up and surrounded Dravor who didn’t take them telling him to shut-up about his religion very well. Jíen just sat back and enjoyed the show.

The Black Skulls charged Dravor with their fists flying who then attempted to drive off his assailants by intimidating them which worked too well. All 7 of the pirates skidded to a halt on the ale-soaked floor and drew their cutlasses forcing Dravor to draw his massive zanbato. One hacked his mark into Dravor’s side with a cutlass, the Blackguard knocked aside another’s dagger blade, and then yet another’s cutlass clinched his zanbato when he responded.

Trantox seeing his companion in trouble prowled up behind one of the pirates and stuck him with his silver dagger badly wounding the Black Skull. Trantox barely dodged the reciprocal blow from the wounded pirate’s slat-scored dagger. Dravor easily broke the clinch on his weapon but then got nailed by the clinching pirate with a critical blow forcing him back and giving pause as he attempted to recover.

Dravor was able to shake off that savage blow completely. Observing that his companions weren’t as tough as they thought they were and realizing his little bit of fun may have gone a bit too far Jíen cast Animate Necrosis on the dagger-wounded pirate. His red dagger wound turned black and small tendrils tore out of his flesh and began strangling him. Trantox took the opportunity to stab the man again and again finally killing him.

Dravor parried more cutlass blows and Trantox took a lucky dagger jab to the ribs wounding him badly. Dravor then chopped into another Black Skull wounding him unto death. Seeing the fight was swinging to his companions’ favor Jíen grew bored and took his skeletal minion, still disguised in padded robes, out to look for The Broken String.

It wasn’t long before the Deadlands necromancer found the place which appeared only as placard swinging over an empty doorway between buildings that led to a spiral stone-step which wound down into a small dimly lit taproom with incense spiced air and an oddly and severely subdued atmosphere. “At least it doesn’t stink”, Jíen thought. There were curtained booths along the wall opposite the bar. At the bar there was an unconscious patron and tending a bored looking faun.

Jíen bought 3 glasses of “average” wine and waited at the bar for his companions. They arrived not long after looking worse for the wear. They slurped down their glasses in a single gulp and ordered more. Trantox after his second glass traded a Yellow Lotus blossom to the bartender for a full bottle of the stuff. Come midnight the dark trio’s contact showed up.

Rantcor passed a strangely struck coin to the faunic bartender whom nodded in the affirmative and gave him a bottle of dark wine. He then led the trio into one of the private booths. He had a job and as he told it to the other two he repeated every sentence again translating for Jíen.

Rantcor: “There’s a hemp merchant named Ranor, heard of him? No? Okay. Ranor needs to be killed. He’s staying at the Golden Feather Inn & Tavern. Bounty’s 500 gold pieces.”

The bard mentions during a period of translation to Jíen that he may have a special job coming up in a little while and to go to the charnel house on the north end of town and mention “ghoul-work”. After giving the trio the skinny the bard stays until his bottle is empty in the median trying to talk Poisonwood politics with the assassin and the blackguard. Before he left Rantcor mentioned that if the group needed a place to stay there was a squat in a two-story adobe apartment nearby which he was sure was fairly safe to sleep in.

To Be Continued…

Necromancing Xuun: Intro

Well, after the unintended (I hope) ending of the previous campaign A Giant in Xuun, Cris decided to give another go at GMing since he “had a lot more writing” left over that our characters never even touched on. So, Jenn, Gil, and I wrote up some new “evil” characters for further adventures in the coastal swamp City of Xuun. I decided on a necromancer from the Deadlands from far side of the world of Eu.

Bozhívostró JielínvoNecromancer Jien

Also known as Jíen or Xinn, he is a native of the Deadlands born to poor but landed farmers. He took the surname of his step-father (Bozhívostró) whom officially adopted him shortly after marrying his mother not long after Jíen’s birth. His true father’s identity is unknown to him though he is very aware of his adoption.

His adoptive father and his mother survive on their poor farm growing herbs & vegetables in the poor soil of the Deadlands. Both are somewhat ineffectual towards Jielínvo favoring instead his two younger brothers, the true heirs of his adoptive father’s property. In a vain effort to please his parents Jíen thrust himself into books and learning diving straight into an academic life even having shown enough promise to be recruited and examined by the provincial temple where he was allowed to study the necromantic arts.

A few days after his final exam and as he contemplated a life of civil service, his step-father took him to the docks, tossed him a small coin purse, and pointed out a ship. “That’s your ship”, he said and left the young necromancer to his fate. He had been indentured by his step-father to the ship’s captain as an apprentice Zombie Master. This black vessel, the Silver Owl Mercantile, would be his home for the next 5 years.

The Silver Owl

The silver owl is a fair sized ship with a junk rigging, crimson sails with the white face of an owl painted on the main sail. The ship is equipped to haul trade-goods (mostly noxious alchemical raw materials, slaves, and zombies). It is outfitted to handle a small number of living slaves in the holds and what is called a ‘Bone-Castle’, a chamber in the fore-castle used to store corpses & skeletons.

Jíen’s duties included keeping the active and inactive zombie crew well-brined as well as assisting the ship’s Zombie Master in controlling and combating the undead and any unfriendly spirits that may endanger the ship.

During his 5 years of contractual service he served mainly as the ship’s Apprentice Zombie Master but was occasionally called upon to take on the duties of a regular crewman whenever the need arose. The ship hauled its cargo to trade under cover of darkness to privately owned Hyvalian ships while in the Solkang Ocean. It also acted as an officially licensed privateer vessel along the Chengorré Coast in the Dread Sound.

The ship skirted the Imperial Seas going southeast and harbored in Crescent Moon for a time. From there it sailed back west to such parts as Tower Town and then south to the Mere to act as a slaving vessel. The acquired slave-cargo was then sold off in cities along the Serpent Coast. From the Serpent Coast the ship transported a few strong boxes, guild-marked, to Ezmer along with a couple of mysterious passengers.

Costing an Arm

A failed attack on a smaller Creschan vessel resulted in significant losses among the regular crew, thusly Jíen had to serve out-of-capacity as a sailor during a particularly nasty thunderstorm. As a result Jíen’s right arm got tangled in a rope and tore from the shoulder by the flailing rigging. It was nearly a month before the Master Necromancer could fully repair the damage. The young necromancer’s arm however was lost to the warm waters of the Great Outer Ocean.

It was while the ship was ported in Ezmer that Jíen’s contract was up and even though he was offered a standard contract to remain as one of the crew he decided to part ways with the ship disembarking to seek his fortunes in the bustling streets of Ezmer. Here he was able to find various jobs and made a few contacts including knowledge of a powerful slaver named Korvo-Doom, a name he was already familiar with as the Silver Owl often did business with Korvo’s associates in the Screaming Demon Company.

Traveling to Xuun

When things stagnated in Ezmer and the authorities began to take notice of him he decided to travel further north to Xuun on the first available trade caravan. He also heard of rumors among Ezmer’s mages of a powerful Naga mage known only as “Shadow-Scale” whom may be lurking in the city of Xuun as well as the contact information for another well-connected mage named Korfin. He had hoped that his contacts might provide some kind of employment opportunities fit for one of his talents, if anything he was confident that he could find work in the charnel house.

Dress for Undeath

The emblem Jíen wears on the chest of his black robes, puts on his spell books, and uses as his maker’s mark he took from an engraving on a nameless tombstone. It is of an owl & raven back-to-back facing left & right respectively with a lidless eye balanced between them. Over his robes and in addition to a grey waist-sash he wears a high-quality magic rhino-hide belt studded with moonstones and a blue-steel buckle that he had come upon on a lucky trade. He still wears the seaman’s seal-skins over his legs tied above the knee and a dagger with a serrated blade and spiked pommel dangles at his side.

On his face he wears a carven leather face-mask fashioned after an owl’s stylized countenance with a lidless eye carved at the center of the forehead. That he wears mainly to disguise the fact that in place of his eyeballs are two pools of lifeless shadow due to his Eldritch Ability of Eyes of the Dead. This ability has its advantages for a necromancer but renders the world at large a misty, grey, lifeless, and lonely place. Following him is his skeletal minion hidden in an identical black robe and a grey cloak and cowl.

Enter the Necromancer

Not long after arriving in Xuun, Jíen found himself sitting at an ale-soaked table in a smoky dive called the Whiskey-Troll Tavern. The place was over-crowded with gladiators and their managers/owners among them adding overloud business-chatter to the drunken clatter. Across the damp board from the one-armed necromancer sat a couple of rough customers. A short red-haired guy in black studded leather armor with a bronze facemask fashioned after the likeness of a lamb named Trantox, an assassin (played by Jenn) and a bigger guy in bronze armor painted black with a disfigured face named Dravor, a black guard (played by Gil). Both were ruffians from Posionwood. All three dark candlelit and pipe-smoke-limned figures awaited their mutual contact to show while they soaked in the reeking ambience of the place. They were waiting for a bard named Rantcor (former secret contact of the late Cantra).

To Be Continued…