“I call upon chaos to create undead! Arise, my minions! Arise and slay them all!” The voice of the necromancer echoed like a funeral song through the cave, bouncing off the walls and ringing in our ears. We could not see her beyond the flickering light of our torch, and at first it seemed as though nothing had happened.
I exchanged a few glances with my companions but found little confidence in their nervous expressions. Tightening my grip on my sword and drawing my shield closer to my chest, I strained my eyes to see into the pitch-black tunnel before me. Slowly, as though the noise was being dredged up from the heart of the cave, the soft sound of feet dragging along gravel and rocks being scratched sifted into our ears. I looked at my companions and saw looks of dismayed realization cross over their faces. The necromancer’s spell had worked.
Too cowardly to handle us herself she had desecrated the bodies of the dead and reanimated them to serve her. If we had known any of these people in life, they were unrecognizable now. As they lurched slowly into the circle of light around us I heard a few of my comrade’s gasp in horror at their appearances, and I could hardly blame them.
Decayed flesh hung off the bones of the undead, displaying their ivory white bones and the remains of their innards. Though their eyes had rotted away long ago they still seemed to see us through their empty sockets.
Gritting my teeth, I stepped forward, determined to get rid of these monsters. The undead nearest to me swung a stone mace at my chest, but I blocked it deftly with my shield and hacked him in two with a swipe of my sword. Undead were not difficult opponents, their brains are too rotted and maggot-ridden to direct their actions, but that was not made them such terrifying opponents. While there were only a small handful of us in the cave, the undead could be as numerous as the necromancer desired. She only had to animate more of the corpses she had dredged up and send them in our direction. It was unlikely a single undead would fell one of us in combat, but a horde of them could overwhelm our party in no time.
I tried to conserve my energy, for the darkness hid just how many she had sent to assault us. Beside me my friends were doing the same, but it was clear we could not fight forever. The undead moved with uneven steps toward us with the tireless energy of the afterlife. I suddenly froze as I heard someone cry out in pain. Peering around wildly, I saw that one of the undead had managed to latch its claws into the left arm of our rogue, Ivan. He managed to fight it off before it did him any more harm, but it was clear his arm was too mangled to be of any use now.
“Don’t worry, I’ll take care of him.” Erin, our healer, said before she swept quickly over to Ivan, who was cradling his arm unhappily against his chest. I had no time to thank her, for without Ivan holding one end of the line the undead were beginning to push us back. I managed to cut several more to pieces before one with a significant amount of muscle left undecayed on its form shoved me to the ground. My weapon clattered loudly onto the stone floor beside me and as I looked from it to my opponent I could see there would be no time to recover it before the undead would be upon me.
“I call forth a flame bolt 20!” Shouted Kryssa, our celestial scholar, and I found myself sighing quietly with relief as the undead leering over me was incinerated by her spell. The stream of fire illuminated the cave briefly as it left her hands and I glimpsed a pale face glaring hatefully at me from across the room. As the room faded to darkness once more I was suddenly grasped with comprehension. It was the necromancer!
“She’s here, only a few yards away!” I cried, grabbing my sword and leaping to my feet. The sound of footsteps announced the necromancer had heard my call and, alarmed, began to flee. Determined not to let her escape I attacked her small army with renewed vigor.
Anything my blade did not manage to slice in two was swiftly turned to ash by Kryssa’s magic. Soon the undead lay at our feet, at peace once more. I lunged forward to pursue the cause of this mess but felt a hand firmly grasping my upper arm. Irritated, I swung around and found Kryssa holding onto me.
“We can’t leave those two behind,” She said, nodding at the other end of the tunnel, where Erin was still tending carefully to Ivan’s wound. “We wiped out everything she tried to throw at us,” the woman added reassuringly, “She won’t be coming back to bother the people around here again, because she knows we’ll be here waiting.” Still eager to chase down our foe, but seeing the sense in her words, I nodded and began to walk back to our other two comrades. The necromancer had escaped, but we were confident this was one village she would never torment again.