“Well, we can't stay here. Moon will come back eventually,” Margus said.
“We have to find Dixie and my panel,” Heather urged.
“We can’t go to the other side. Moon’s goons are in there,” he replied
Heather angrily paced as she tried to work out a plan. There had to be a way to get into the other wing of the town hall without being seen. When she couldn't think of one, she decided the best thing to do now was get out before Moon came back.
“I don’t hear anybody in the hall,” Eribold said. “We should go now.”
Heather shook her head but followed as Eribold cracked the door open and peeked into the hall. He leaned out and then waved them to follow. Quickly they made their way down the all heading for a door at the end. As they went, she looked out the windows into the yard behind the hall.
“Wait!” Heather gasped.
“Lass, you need to keep your voice down,” Margus complained.
“What if Dixie isn’t in the hall? What if she’s in the tunnels?”
Margus looked at Eribold, and the bald man sighed. “Why didn't we think to look there?”
“Even if we had, the tunnels might not be any safer,” Margus said. “We have no idea what’s down there.”
“We have to try,” Heather said.
“Listen, Eribold, and I are still level one. We got nothing to lose if Moon resets us, but you! You do remember what Moon wants you for?” Margus asked. “Your life is on the line here.”
“Moon might be a monster, but I'm not,” Heather said. “I am not going to leave somebody behind who was trying to be kind. We owe it to her to try, even if it means Moon catches me again.”
“She's right,” Eribold said. “We should at least try.”
“Fine,” Margus said. “Just get us out of blasted the hallway before somebody sees us.”
Eribold nodded and let them to the side door and carefully looked outside.
“Nobody is here,” he said as he looked around. “Let's go around back and see if we can get into the tunnels.”
Heather crouched low as Eribold led the way, and they slipped into the shadows. The rear yard was a formal garden with thick hedges that provided ample places to hide.
“Where is the entrance?” Heather asked as she strained to see into the yard.
“It’s near the back of the yard,” Margus said. “Right where the hedge wall ends.
“Do you see anybody in the yard?” Eribold asked.
“Not a thing,” Margus said as he stood on his toes to look over the hedge.
“Oh, can you see in the dark too?”
“Aye, the dwarves spend a lot of time underground. We can see fairly well in the dark.”
“Are you Scottish?” Heather asked.
“He’s just committed to the character,” Eribold laughed.
“At least I have a character,” Margus replied. “You're just a gray-skinned human. You look like a statue in the right light.”
Heather tried not to giggle as Eribold shook his head and led the way.
They crept through the shadows until they passed a short hedge and saw a dark tunnel into the earth.
“It’s just a hole,” Eribold said.
“It's sloped so we can go in,” Margus said as he looked from the side. “Just keep your head down.”
“Easy for you to say,” Eribold joked.
“Oh, it's going to be short jokes now, is it?”
“Are you two friends?” Heather asked as she listened to the banter.
“Been for years,” Eribold said. “We played in the same gaming group.”
“We can talk all about the past later,” Margus said as he crept to the ramp. “It's dark, but there are lights deeper in. I will lead from here and take point.”
Heather nodded and crept out as Margus took his axe in hand and led the way down.
They descended into the tunnel that was just a foot over Eribold's head. It was carved out of dirt and clay and smelled of the earth. As Margus said, there were torches spaced down a winding tunnel breaking the darkness up with pools of light. Heather felt her heart racing to be down in the tunnels. These weren't like Franks tunnels that had a strange sort of dim light. These were halls so dark she couldn't see the walls in some places.
Margus led some twenty paces ahead, looking around at times as if studying the walls. Sometimes he stopped to take a closer look before moving on.
“Why does he keep stopping?” Heather whispered to Eribold.
“His type of dwarf has something called tunnel sight. He can detect recent work on a tunnel, or even spot secret doors. He must see something strange, and he is just checking.”
“So what if somebody has done more digging recently?” Heather asked.
Eribold turned to glance at her. “It could mean a trap.”
“A trap?” Heather gasped as she suddenly felt unsafe.
“Lot’s of people put traps on things they want to hide,” Eribold said. “And this is something Moon wants to hide.”
Heather nodded but looked around more aggressively as if a pit was going to open up under her feet.
Margus rounded a bend ahead of them and vanished from sight a moment until they came around and found him standing at an intersection.
“Which way?” Eribold whispered.
“How should I bloody well know?” Margus replied. “These tunnels go on a lot further than I thought they would.”
“Why would they be digging such big tunnels?” Heather asked.
“I have no buggering idea, and I don’t think finding out will put my mind at ease,”
“They must have a purpose,” Eribold said. “It might be important.”
“The only thing that's important right now is finding Dixie,” Heather said.
“Well, flip a coin then, left or right?” Margus asked.
Heather stepped up and looked down both tunnels into blackness broken by more torches.
“Is there any way to tell if somebody has been down here recently?”
“I can look to see which tracks are most recent,” Margus replied as he studied the ground. “Two booted feet went down the right passage most recently,” he added after a few moments of looking.
“Then we should go that way,” Heather said. “If they are keeping somebody down here. They might be bringing them food and water.”
Eribold nodded. “It’s a better plan than guessing.”
“Right it is then,” Margus said with a shake of his beard and set off.
They let him get ahead and then followed from a safe distance. The hallway started to take on a stale smell that grew stronger as they approached a brighter light ahead.
Margus eventually stood up on his toes and came running back.
“What is it?” Heather asked.
“There is something built up there. I can see timbers on the floor and some barrels and equipment. From the looks of it, the floor goes down another ramp as well.”
“Did you see any guards?” Eribold asked.
“No, but I can’t see around the walls. It opens up into a room. I am going to sneak up to the corner and take a look. You two hide in the dark back here and wait for me to signal.”
“You're going to try and sneak in?” Eribold asked. “You're as quiet as an elephant wearing bells.”
“I told ya I didn't pick a stealth class, and if you want to go first, be my guest,” Margus offered.
Eribold held up his hands in defeat, and Margus went back down the tunnel. He stopped at the edge of the room and looked inside.
Heather held her breath as he slipped into the room and vanished. A minute later, he appeared in the doorway and waved at them. They both made their way to the dwarf with haste.
“What is it?” Eribold asked.
“I think it’s a prison,” Margus said as they looked into the room.
The room was a long rectangle with a ramp down the middle. It went down to a lower floor and ran between two rows of crude cells. There were five on each side, and each had a single small door.
“She must be here,” Heather said as she peered down the ramp.
“There is only one way to find out,” Margus said as he led the way down the ramp. The hall was twenty feet wide, and the cells were separated by bars placed a hands width apart and framed in oak timbers. The first three cells on each side were empty, but there in the fourth one on the left was Dixie sitting on a pile of straw looking miserable.
“Got yourself into a mess now did ya?” Margus asked.
“Margus!” she cried as she jumped up. She looked dirty and had rings under her eyes, but otherwise, she looked no worse for wear. She ran to the bars and reached out for help.
“How do we get the cells open?” Heather asked.
“Can you cast that spell again?” Margus asked, looking at Eribold.
“I’m afraid not,” he said. “It only works on simple locks anyway.”
“Then how?” Heather asked.
“Thexis has the keys,” Dixie said.
Margus shook his head. “That’s the last one were going to deal with tonight.”
“You’re wrong about that,” a click laden voice said as a black form dropped out of the shadows from above.
Margus swung instinctively, but Thexis tangled his axe in two blades and immediately lashed out with the other two. Margus was wide open as the blades raced in, but two pale arms reached out of the cell behind Thexis and yanked him back.
“Argh!” Thexis cried as he battered free of the arms. “Disgusting thing!”
Margus fell back to Eribold and Heather as Thexis broke from the grasp of a pale human. He turned his insect gaze on the three and raised his blades.
“Moon said you two were clueless and would be easy prey,” Thexis said. “I guess she needs to add stupid to the list.”
He raced in blades leading the way as Margus set his feet to meet the charge. Eribold fell into a magical chant as his hands began to glow blue, but Thexis was faster. He lashed out with his knives just as Heather threw herself in the way. Thexis nearly fell into Heather to break his momentum as she covered her face with her arms.
“Sorry, Moon wants you alive,” Thexis hissed as he grabbed her arm and threw her aside. She crashed into a cell behind him as he renewed his attack on the others.
“Ow!” she groaned as she tried to sit up.
“Are you alright?” A soft voice asked.
Heather looked up into two black eyes set in a pale human face. Its skin was blotched with black and green, and it had a scar down one cheek and across a lip. Heather jerked upright and turned to face the woman in the cell.
“Are you a zombie?” Heather asked.
The zombie woman nodded. “My name is Quinny.”
Heather heard Eribold cry out, and she looked to the right to see him stumbling away, clutching his arm. Margus was swinging his axe wildly, but it was clear Thexis was toying with him.
“What are you doing here?” Heather asked, turning back to the woman in the cage.
“A woman named Moon tricked me into her town. She said monster players were welcome. When I came, they captured me and brought me here. They said they had somebody who needed to level up, and I was going to help her do it.”
Heather realized this was one of the two players Moon referred to when she said Heather would have to kill them. She looked over her shoulder to see Dixie pressed against the bars watching the battle. Dixie must have been the other.
“How do I get you out?” she asked.
The zombie woman pointed to Thexis and a small ring of keys on the insectoids belt.
“You need the keys,” the zombie said.
Heather watched a second longer and realized she was never going to get them from Thexis. She cried in frustration as she realized how useless she was in battle. She didn't know what to do until she looked at the zombie. An idea formed in her head, but she realized one thing was missing.
“I wish we had a graveyard!” Heather growled as the battle raged on while she helplessly stood by.
“What good will a graveyard do you?” the zombie woman asked.
“I need a grave to cast a spell,” Heather said.
“Any grave?” the woman asked.
“Any,” Heather said as Thexis cut Margus across the arm.
“They bury bodies in the last cell,” the zombie said. “Does that count?”
Heather looked up with wide eyes and nodded. “I think so. I have an idea, but I need your help!”
“I will do anything if you can get me out of here,” the woman pleaded.
Heather nodded and reached out a hand as she fell into her chant.
“You two should have left town when you found out,” Thexis said as he kicked Margus over.
“I didn’t want to miss my chance to squash a roach,” Margus mocked.
“Funny,” Thexis said. “But my race comes with four arms. I can out damage anybody in close combat. You never had a chance.”
“That’s only because I forgot my bug spray,” Margus replied as he got back to his feet.
Thexis shook his head and raced in. Margus deflected one blow, but the second and third hit home, cutting his arm and leg. He toppled to his knees as Thexis stood over him.
“Well, at least we won't have to go far to feed the zombie,” Thexis laughed right before a rock hit his head. He turned to see Heather with another rock in hand. She hurled it with all her might causing him to duck.
“You ugly bug!” Heather yelled. “I can't believe you picked such an ugly race.” She threw a third stone, but her aim was so poor Thexis didn't bother to dodge.
“You’re have a friend whose a ghoul and your calling me ugly?” Thexis laughed. “I would love to kill you, but Moon says that will send you back to a spawn with your panel,” Thexis said. He quickly turned around and stabbed Margus in the side. “You stay there. I'm not done with you yet.”
He stood tall and skittered toward Heather, who threw another stone.
“You realize I have a hard shell? Your stones can’t hurt me.”
“Your just a big ant,” Heather said. “And ants are only good for squashing.”
Thexis let out a chuckle that sounded like crickets chirping. He stalked toward Heather with two knives raised. “I can’t kill you, but Moon didn’t say anything about wounding you.”
Heather watched his dark eyes as the torchlight reflected in them. He stood in the center of the hallway and then Heather yelled.
Thexis threw his head left to the diminutive woman in the cell who looked just as shocked as he was.
Heather practically tackled him and grabbed at his belt, yanking the keys off. She tried to fit them in the lock of the zombie's cell quickly.
“Oh no, you don't!” Thexis yelled as he grabbed Heather around the waist and yanked her away. Heather threw the keys at the cell in desperation, and they dropped just inside the bars. Thexis heaved her into the hall and reached in to grab the keys just as the zombie inside let out a terrible roar. A hand with a grip of stone wrapped around his arm and dragged him into the bars of the cell with such force heather heard him crunch.
“What?” Thexis cried. “How are you suddenly so strong?”
He looked to the left, where Heather was on her hands and knees.
“It’s called Howl from the grave,” she said. “You really shouldn’t bury bodies where a necromancer can use them.”
Thexis cried out as an arm reached through the bars and wrapped around his chest. He thrashed and tried to stab at the zombie whose eyes glowed with a terrible light as she crushed him against the bars of the cell.
Heather tried not to hear his shell cracking as Quinny began to pull parts of Thexis through the cell bars. Instead, she crawled past the grisly scene to the keys and then ran to Dixie.
“Hurry!” Dixie insisted. “Margus is badly hurt!”
“I'm trying!” Heather cried as she fumbled with the lock. She finally got the key in and turned it freeing Dixie. The small horned woman immediately ran to the dwarf who was lying on the ground gasping.
“Lay still!” Dixie said as she fell into a spell of healing.
Heather was satisfied that Margus and Eribold would be fine under Dixie’s care. She turned her attention instead to the zombie woman in the cell across from her. She tried not to see the slumped form of Thexis and went to the door.
“You're a necromancer?” the zombie woman asked.
“For now,” Heather said as she fumbled with the key.
“But there are no necromancers. They're banned.”
“So everybody keeps telling me,” Heather said as she opened the lock.
The door swung open, and the woman stood inside the cell, looking out as if confused.
“Come on. We're getting out,” Heather said.
“You're not afraid of me?”
Heather shook her head. “My best friend in this world is a ghoul. Your not nearly as terrifying as he is.”
“Heather,” Dixie called from down the hall. “I have them healed. We need to go!”
“Aye lass, let’s get out of here while we still can,” Margus added.
Heather nodded and turned back to Quinny. “Come on. I will introduce you to Frank.”
Quinny nodded as she stepped out of the cell and followed Heather down the hall.
“This is Quinny,” Heather said to the others. “She is coming with us.”
“Any friend of Heather’s is a friend of mine,” Margus said. “Now, let's get out.”
Heather nodded, and they ran down the tunnel and hopefully freedom.
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.