“I think it looks good,” Frank said as he scratched his head.
“I'm a little disappointed,” Heather replied as she looked at the squat little tower.
“You're a first-level builder. It will get bigger as you spend points on it.”
Heather nodded as she looked up at the unimpressive building. It was perfectly round and made of rough gray stone cut into blocks. It went up what looked like three levels that had no discernible features. Each level had two windows that were little more than slits no wider than her fist.
“Those are so you can shoot arrows out,” Frank said when she called attention to them.
“I don’t shoot arrows,” she said with a sigh.
“I think you can get skeleton archers later,” Frank pointed out.
She stared at the structure and wondered if maybe she should have gone with the haunted forest instead. They placed the tower on the far side of the graveyard opposite the front gate. To their surprise, it included its own tiny graveyard that circled the building. She had no option to adjust the size of the yard only the building, so it got slightly larger and expanded out as her tower grew larger.
Frank spent a couple of his points to create a break in his fence so she could align the path to her door with it. He adjusted the mossy stone path in the graveyard, so it connected to hers.
She found it odd how Frank had to go to his lair to adjust anything. He told her it was because only the chosen had panels, and he had to use the lair to see the graveyard, whatever that meant.
The only interesting feature came from the graveyard itself. A dead tree that stood to the left of the door provided some minor contrast to the otherwise bleak stone.
“Well, I suppose we should go in,” she suggested not wanting to keep her disappointment waiting.
Inside was more of the same. The ground floor was a single large, poorly lit room. Aside from the two window slits, its only unique feature was a stairway that wound up the inner wall. To both of their surprise, there was a trap door in the back that went down to a single small earth room with nothing in it.
“I could connect that to my tunnels at least,” Frank suggested. “Then we could move between your tower and the crypt unseen.”
Heather sighed and went up the stairs to the second floor. This space was more interesting, at least. The room was divided in two by a single wall with an open arched doorway. Each room had only one of the narrow windows, making them darker than the room below. The stairs went up one more level to another space divided, just like the lower floor. Here they found a ladder to a trap door in the ceiling. They climbed up the ladder to the roof and looked out over the countryside.
“You can see most of the graveyard from here,” Frank said.
“You can see most of the graveyard from inside the graveyard,” Heather argued.
“I haven’t made it bigger yet because I’m saving.”
“For a dungeon heart,” Heather finished for him.
“If we keep getting visitors, it will get bigger,” he said.
“I suppose the tower will get bigger too,” Heather sighed.
“You're not happy with it, are you?”
She looked around the top of the featureless tower and shook her head. “I know the pictures on the panel showed the fancy tower fully upgraded, but I still expected better than this.”
“You can add things to it still,” Frank pointed out. “You have some points to furnish your lair.”
“But how do I get stuff for the rest?”
“You can buy furniture and things with the gold we have, and as you level up your building class, you will get more points and options.”
“How do I do that though?” she asked, annoyed.
Frank scratched at his head with a long finger. “Well for me and the dungeon types you get it when people visit your dungeon to adventure there. Those guys who came to the graveyard gave me a little.”
“But how do I get any?” she asked.
“I guess they have to attack your tower,” he suggested.
“My empty tower?” she pointed out.
“You should be able to pick some kind of minion or a room that spawns them. That’s what the tombs in my graveyard do. Each one spawns three skeletons.”
She shrugged and looked at her panel and picked through the list of things she could do.
“I can pick something called a skull cage that will spawn skeletons of my own,” she said. “Oh and I can place a tomb in the surrounding yard like you can.”
“You should do that. Put it outside your door, so they stand guard,” he suggested.
“But I want a bathtub!” she complained. “If I buy these things I can't have a tub and a bed.”
“Maybe you can skip the bed, and we can buy you one in town with the gold?”
Heather looked at the panel and the long list of things she wanted. With a sigh, she returned to the upper room and placed a tiny bed and a chest of drawers with only two drawers. She then went down the stairs and outside to find a spot to place a tomb.
“Will you just pick a spot,” Frank said an hour later when she still hadn’t placed it.
“I want it to be perfect,” she said as she fiddled with aligning it with the tree.
“You have tried that spot four times already and said you didn’t like it each time,” he pointed out.
“Well, I want to try it a fifth time. It might look better now.”
“Why would it look any better now?”
“Because it might!” she snapped and placed the object.
Heather walked around it as she considered the location. Thankfully her tombs were different than Franks. His were more like stone coffins while hers were sunken stone slabs with a black obelisk at one end. Hers even had a green mist that crawled around the base that made Frank jealous.
“They're perfect,” she announced and stepped back.
“You’re sure this time?”
“Do you really want me to second guess myself?” she asked.
He threw up his hands and shook his head. “No, let’s just go look for that town, the sun is about to move to noon already.”
She looked up and went to agree when her stomach interrupted with a growl.
“Oh, I forgot I need to eat.”
“You forgot you need to eat?”
“Don’t you forget? Or do you even eat?” she asked.
“I feed off the graveyard remember?”
She wasn't sure she wanted to know what that meant and let the topic drop. As her stomach rumbled again, she remembered that Frank said adventurers often had foodstuffs. She asked him if it was still there and he took back to his lair. Under the table were several backpacks of dried fruits, bread, and hard cheese. She sampled some of it with a frown, but her stomach insisted on being fed, so she forced it down.
This mandated a visit to the stream to hydrate after eating the dry foods.
“Can we go now?” Frank asked, impatiently.
“Yes, we can go. I am sorry I have to eat to live,” she snapped. “As they walked back to the graveyard. “I meant to ask you something,” she added as they arrived at the gate. “Why don’t your skeletons attack me?”
“I told them not to,” he said.
He nodded and walked past the gate. “I added you to the friend's list.”
“I have a friend's list?”
“Now that you have a lair you do,” he said. “That way, people can visit you without being attacked by your skeletons.”
“So they have to be my friends first?” she asked.
“I think you can set your guards to passive, so they won't attack unless attacked first,” he said.
She made a note to look into that later as they walked away from the graveyard. She spun around
“So this village isn’t far away?”
Frank tossed his head a bit. “It's not as far as the spawn. Half a day's walk, maybe.”
“But it's past noon already,” she said. “We won't be there until night.”
“That’s because you took forever to place your stuff.”
“I want it to be perfect,” she quipped. “If I have to live here it can at least be how I want it.”
Frank shrugged as he always did and led the way taking her north to find the town. They spoke a little about how to expand the graveyard and what sorts of furniture she wanted to buy. Eventually they reached the edge of a forest of tall oak trees and Frank led the way in. They spoke some more about food, and he argued with her about planting flowers. She realized as she spoke that they were walking to the town with nothing but her panel.
“We forgot the armor,” she said, pointing back to the graveyard.
“I want to make sure the town is still there,” he said. “I don't want to carry all that to find out it's gone.”
“Oh,” she said with a nod. “So we're not going to buy anything?”
“Of course we are,” he said.
“But, we don’t have to armor to sell.”
“I brought some gold,” he replied and produced a small bag of coins. “This should be enough to buy you some furniture and a few other things.”
“You brought this so I could get stuff?” she asked as she took the leather pouch from him.
He nodded his head, and his pointed ears bounced. “I don't need things like you do, and I doubt they sell dungeon decorations.”
“What if they do?” she asked.
“Then we will come back with more money in a day or two,” he replied.
She shrugged and opened the pouch to look at the pile of coins inside.
“Is this a lot?”
“It's fifty gold coins,” he said. “That will buy a lot of basic stuff or a few fancy things.”
“Like a new dress?” she asked with hope in her heart.
“You will find all sorts of dressmakers in the city,” he suggested.
“I am not going to the city. Maybe someday when I am higher level, but for right now I the village will suffice.”
He shrugged and waddled on. “I don't know what they have. I only watched it from a distance one night. Back then, it was only five buildings. One was a tiny inn, another was the council house, and the rest were just tiny homes. One had sheep in the yard.”
“So it’s not a very big village,” she said as her dreams faded away.
“That was six months ago. Players can build fast when they work together. It could be ten times that size by now,” he said. “And now that we know we can combine our building traits, it might be even bigger.”
She felt happier at that thought. Maybe they would have a tub maker if that was such a thing. But if they did, how would she get it home? Could frank carry it? As she pondered how to tie a copper tub his back, her world suddenly went upside down.
“Fraaaank!” she squealed as a hidden rope tightened around her leg and yanked her from her feet. In seconds she was upside down hanging from a tree branch with her hair trailing down.
“Heather!” Frank cried as he scrambled around below.
Heather thrashed, unable to right herself as she dangled like an ornament from the tree. She tried to bend over and reach her leg but couldn't quite make it.
“Hold on, Heather! I will get you down,” Frank said from below.
She twisted round to try to see what he was doing, but she slowly spun in the air, making it challenging to keep an eye on him. As her gaze was forced around, she looked out and saw movement in the trees.
“Frank!” she cried. “Somebody is out there!”
She heard a ‘twhip' sound and an arrow sailed underneath her.
“It’s a hunter,” Frank said from someplace below. “You stepped in his snare trap.”
She struggled to right herself and look back at the shooter but only managed to spin faster as another arrow flew in.
“Stop shooting at Frank!” shouted, hoping to get some response.
“I don’t think they are going to listen to you,” Frank replied from someplace below.
“This is so frustrating!” she cried as she spun helplessly. “Get me down!” As if her demand was answered, she suddenly lurched down a bit and then dropped slowly, bit by bit. She was grateful when her hands finally reached the ground, and she was able to stabilize herself. A moment later, she was low enough to put her feet down.
“Miss, don’t move!” a voice shouted out as another arrow went by.
She turned to follow the arrow's path to see it strike a tree Frank was hiding behind. She could see the rope at his feet and followed its length up into the trees and back down to her feet. A simple snare trap but one big enough for a human. As she pondered why she saw Frank cower behind the tree as another arrow struck it.
“Stop shooting at my friend!” she yelled again as she turned in the direction of the hidden shooter.
“Lady run!” a voice called out. “We will keep the ghoul from reaching you!”
She put her hands to her hips and glared at the distant trees. “That ghoul is Frank, and he is my friend!”
There was a moment of silence before two people crept of the distant brush.
“The ghouls your friend?” a woman with red hair and pointed ears asked. She wore leathers the color of the forest and had leaves and flowers tied in her long hair. In her hand was a beautiful golden bow with silver lines. The man next to her was a little taller with golden hair and pointed ears. He too wore leathers the color of the forest but held a long spear.
“Yes he is,” Heather stated as she glanced back at him. “He is a monster player, and he’s very nice.”
The two elves exchanged looks, and the man shrugged. The woman held her bow at the ready but kept it pointed down as she took a step forward.
“What are you two doing in the woods?”
“We are looking for a town he saw once a long time ago. I was hoping I could buy a dress and maybe some better food,” Heather said.
“It was just a few miles over the hill,” Frank added, pointing from behind the tree.
“The town is called Twilightfalls,” the woman said. “But you will have better luck finding a leprechaun than a dress. Even food is hard to come by.”
“So it’s still a small town?” Heather asked.
The man shook his head. “It's fairly large, but it's been under near-constant attack by rival players. Just a few days ago they raided the town and destroyed half the buildings.”
“The town's Governess doesn't have the resources to keep rebuilding it,” the woman said. “Some of us pitched in to try and help, but any time we make any progress, we get raided again.”
“People are jerks,” Heather sighed.
“Aye,” the man said. “We have been out setting traps and laying in wait hoping to snare some of them. We hadn't seen you before, so we assumed you were with them.”
“We just wanted to buy some stuff,” Frank said.
The two elves nodded, and the women leaned over to whisper in the man's ear before he nodded again.
“We will escort you in then,” she said. “Wouldn’t want the people to get jumpy about a monster player walking into town.”
“I don’t know if we can trust them,” Frank said.
Heather turned to look at him and shrugged. “They didn't have to stop shooting at you, or me for that matter. Besides, this is your chance to go to a town and be friendly” He didn't seem at all happy about that idea, but he reluctantly agreed.
They approached the tow elves as the woman lowered her bow.
“So what are you playing then?” the woman asked Heather.
“Me?” she said, slightly startled. “I'm a-*”
“Sorceress,” Frank finished.
“A sorceress,” the elven woman repeated with a smile. “You picked a hard class to play, but one with a lot of rewards at higher levels.”
“I hear you can change into an eagle at a higher level,” the male said.
“I guess so,” Heather replied with a glance at Frank. He shook his head at her and put a finger over his lips to indicate she should be quiet. She wasn't sure what was bothering him but decided to continue with the ruse until she could find out.
“Well, since we are escorting you in, I'm Nanya,” the woman said. “And this handsome fellow is Kerrigorn.”
Heather smiled at the first civil response she had gotten since being here and replied.
“I'm Heather, and this is Frank.”
They nodded in greeting and turned to lead them on.
They walked for nearly as hour as Nanya and Kerrigorn told them all about the town and the troubles with the raiders. As the two spoke, Heather urged Frank to slow his step and drop back a little so she could whisper to him.
Frank leaned over and tied to whisper back. “Just tell people your a sorceress and a recluse. Don’t mention the other class.”
“Why?” Heather said, keeping her voice low.
“Didn't you hear what all those other people said. That class is banned for some reason. I don't know why so better not to tell them.”
Heather thought back to how many people had called her necromancer, and then subsequently said it was forbidden or banned. As she thought about it, she realized that some people might be very hostile to her if they knew. People just suspecting her caused them to attack like the paladin on the road.
“But why didn’t they assume I was one like everybody else did?”
Frank shrugged. “Maybe because of your dress?”
Heather looked down and remembered her sunny pink dress with white trim. “Oh,” she said as she flared the skirt out.
“People expect that class to wear black and have bones all over it,” Frank said. “At least that’s what all the video games look like.”
Before Heather could reply the group stopped and Nanya swept an arm out.
“Well, here she is,” Nanya said from the top of a rise in the land. Frank and Heather walked up and looked down into a quiet forest valley, and Heather tilted her head.
“This is a town?” Heather asked as she glanced at Frank.
“It was,” Kerrigorn said and started walking down the slope.
Heather sighed as they followed the elves into the ruins that was Twilightfalls and silently scratched finding a tub off her list.
Support "Heather the Necromancer"
- Eastern United States- Thats all your getting.
- newbie writer, wise old story teller.
I am a fan of fantasy and romance stories. I have been writing from a very early age and love to tell stories. I lack a good education in grammar however and I have been struggling to teach myself.
I love dragons and have for years been working on a story where they featured heavily. This is the culmination of that work. I hope it measures up to some kind of standard and that you the reader deeply enjoy it.
I have no awards to brag about. I have no education to brag about. I haven’t written any award-winning books or articles in major publications. I am just an obscure storyteller shouting his story from the void in the hopes that somebody will hear it.
Thank you so much for reading my story. Sharing what I have and finding a way to focus on it for the future is all I ever wanted to do.