This is merely a silly story, and has nothing to do with anything that has ever happened or will ever happen inside the game. Rated PG-13.
Chapter II. Criswell Predicts Edit
It was a wonderful day to be alive, and the undead Scourge cursed this fact as they dug up graves near an abandoned tower west of the ruined Durnholde Keep. They had now managed to hide from not only mountaineers on patrol, but also the forsaken and the humans in the area for almost two weeks.
The head necromancer, commander of the few Hillsbrad Scourge-soldiers, was the somewhat notable Criswell the Horrid, low-ranking member of the Cult of the Damned and an all-around bad person.
Two acolytes noticed that no one with a pulse was watching them, so they snuck off and sat down by a tree while the ghouls carried on their dirty work.
“Have you any idea what they are doing?” asked one of them, staring at the tower, from which strange, low-pitched noises could be heard. The second acolyte shrugged and removed his hood; his face was pale and covered in blisters – he cringed from the sunlight and crawled into the shadow of the tree, growling rude things while rubbing his eyes. “Ever since that ghoul bit you, you’ve been looking sickly,” said the first acolyte, “… maybe you should let the necromancers take a look at you.”
- Are you insane, replied the second one, “… they’ll turn me into one of those shades. I would rather stay human and ill than ghostly and healthy.”
- Maybe being one of those shades isn’t that bad, said the first acolyte. “I mean, they can move very quickly… they enemy cannot see you, well, most of them cannot; and you don’t have to do all this smelly work.”
- Have you even seen one of those things, muttered the sickly acolyte, staring angrily at his companion, “… they can’t taste anything, and they can’t feel anything. The main reason I became an acolyte from the beginning was the dental. And those things don’t have teeth.”
- Still, you will never be promoted, looking like that, laughed the first acolyte, before noticing that a necromancer was approaching them from behind.
The sickly acolyte put his hood back on and the two rose up, facing the necromancer, hailing him with a ‘where shall our blood be spilled?’
The necromancer ordered them back to digging, and then carefully entered the ruined tower, ignoring the skeletal guard trying to form a sentence to say hello.
The tower was a mess, and it smelt like a mixture of rotting flesh and elixirs gone wrong. There were four acolytes desperately trying to clean up after Criswell the Horrid, who was standing at a table, pouring a gooey liquid into a pitcher that he emptied into a small sack that looked as if it were made of human skin. The Horrid one put another pitcher over a campfire to boil, then turned to greet his fellow necromancer, tripping over a cage in the process, allowing the terrified rabbit inside to escape.
Criswell wore a long, blue robe, covered in soot and blood; four small human skulls decorated his belt, to which a number of vials were strapped. He had a long, black beard, but did not wear the traditional necromancer headgear; a golden circlet instead decorated his forehead.
- Heisenborg, I can see you made it here… safe and sound, he said, with a raspy and cold voice. “Excellent. Are you prepared to see the device?”
The two necromancers descended into the basement of the tower, while the four acolytes chased the escaped rabbit. The basement was filled with crates and lockboxes littered with alchemical equipment and strange tools. In the middle of the room there was a pedestal – on it rested a strange orb-like device, similar to a gnomish bomb. It was engulfed in shadow and seemed to emit a strange humming.
- It is very flawed, we are not even completely sure it works, said Criswell, “…but if it does, this could be an incredible breakthrough for us, the bad news is… if we produce too many of these, we will be without a job.”
The other necromancer did not know whether or not to laugh, so he just approached the orb in silence, then asked; “Have you revived anyone yet?”
- One, said Criswell, “…but it turned out excellent, all the limbs were alright, and the brain seemed to be working quite well.”
The other necromancer took the device and held it with both his hands; it was heavy, and very warm.
- How do you activate it, he asked, and stared at Criswell, who took the device from him and started chanting. The orb hummed louder, and a bright, purple flash was seen; the air quickly grew colder for a moment, then turned back to normal.
- If there had been any dead bodies within a certain area, they would now be very much awake, serving us, commented Criswell. Suddenly, two acolytes were heard screaming at the top of their lungs, somewhere outside the tower.
- Oh, that’s right. There are dead bodies within the area. Well, not anymore.
The two necromancers left the device in the basement as they exited the tower and beheld the gruesome sight of five undead monstrosities brutally tearing the two lazy acolytes apart.
- This would never have happened if we were shades, screamed one of them.
- Shut the hell up, yelled the other before they both fell to the ground, drowning in a pool of their own blood, as the working ghouls attacked the undead monstrosities, who slowly fell apart and died. Again.
Criswell the Horrid coughed and scratched his beard, explaining, “The orb has to be within a safe range of the corpses, or the result will be… short-lived and very unsatisfactory. But at least there was no effort involved, and I’ve seen powerful necromancers wake even more useless dead!”
- When can the device be used again, asked the other necromancer, eyeing the dead acolytes worryingly.
- We used it twice, three days ago, with a four hour interval. It… did not go well. We will keep testing it, said Criswell, with a confident tone. “Well, we should all move inside, the commotion might have been heard by the nearby humans, or maybe even the forsaken.”
The two necromancers entered the tower, together with the surviving ghouls, where they were approached by one of the acolyte servants.
- My master, we captured the escaped rabbit and put it back into its cage, he said, smiling at Criswell.
- Yes, yes, very good. You and the others go outside and get your two friends into the meat wagon, then hide it near the tower and cover it with something. Go!
The acolytes trembled with fear and stared at their master, then quickly moved outside.
As the two necromancers again descended into the basement, the newly arrived one asked, “So… back in Silverpine, they were worried. They said you have exhausted important resources, important materials for your little invention. The masters are suspicious, and want to know the requirements for… for that thing.”
The necromancer pointed his long, bony finger at the orb-looking device, and added; “To be precise, they want a list of what materials you need to produce another one. The workers back in the forest say you took very expensive things from them before you left.”
- They were… expensive, but I assure you, it will be worth it, Criswell assured with a grin.
- This little outpost could be discovered at any time, the masters are furious that you are handling this research here… even keeping some of the materials around, said the other necromancer. “Is it true that you used two Void Crystals to complete this thing?”
- Three, actually, said Criswell, “… and a few large, prismatic shards… and quite large amounts of thorium.”
The other necromancer opened his mouth to speak, but Criswell silenced him and showed him to his private corner, where he assembled the magical items.
“I will show you, you will help me – we shall make another one, compare them, research, turn them into flawless machines of unlimited resurrection!”