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A note from Avitue

Introducing, a major character. (Who'd have guessed!?)

"Whereas the Cabal of Flesh Artisans had many members who were regularly replaced, and the true form of the Spirit Servant was that of the collective disembodied souls of all the previous holders of the title that cling to each other and survived together, the Bone Lord's nature proved to be a far greater mystery to unravel.

 

What little is known for certain, is that the Bone Lord was likely originally a smaller breed of therian, and that he had existed and ruled his parcel of land since before our empire existed. His appearance, that of an undead, strongly contradicted his obvious intelligence and sentience, and the most plausible theory we had was that his soul somehow managed to survive on while it inhabited his mortal remains." - report by Nikolas Feydorov Aglev, spymaster for the Elmaiya Empire, circa 27 VA.

 

"Was that truly necessary, mother?" Diarmuid asked after they made the trip from the chapel back to their residence.

 

Aideen had practically hidden herself during the trip, as she wore a hooded cloak and was placed in the center of their group as they walked, shielded from sight by her father and brother's bodies, as well as the two templars who had been present in the chapel, plus the one that had gone to fetch her father and grandfather.

 

Once they had reached their residence, Ciarran had the templars swear on their lives that they would keep today's matters to themselves, before he allowed them to leave, and the family was left alone in their residence.

 

It was a humble residence, a simple two-story house made mostly of wood, with barely a luxury in sight, but the Fiachnas had always lived frugal lives, despite their high status in the land they had led to its independence.

 

The family of six seated themselves around the dinner table, as they looked at one another and waited for someone to break the silence, which Diarmuid had done. Technically, the house was Ciarran and Aoife's house, as Theodin usually preferred to sleep at a bedroom attached to his office, and Faerghus had technically moved out of the house since he was made leader of the second templars two years ago, often spending more time in his office as well.

 

"To keep today's happening a secret for now is paramount," replied Aoife firmly. "You should be well aware how most of the populace still view any undead as abominations to be exterminated, especially those that used to be close to your uncle."

 

"Mother has a point, Diarmuid," added Faerghus. "It would have caused panic, and perhaps riots if word got out that our little sister has risen as an undead, even if she remains who she was within."

 

"And we can not afford such a potential trouble at the moment," added the pope with a sigh. "At least not on our own. I hope your honored master will have a solution for us when he arrives tomorrow, Aoife."

 

"I hope for the same, father-in-law."

 

Aideen mostly remained silent and just listened as her family wracked their brains over the sadly complicated political situation the nascent nation faced. While they had stood united in purpose during the rebellion, it had not taken long after the independence before differences of opinions started to fray that unity at the edges.

 

She had heard the stories from her grandfather, that one of the biggest disagreements was between her uncle Caelleach and her father, when her father had chosen to seal the informal alliance they had with the Bone Lord by marrying her mother, who was one of the Bone Lord's personal disciples.

 

Uncle Caelleach had a firm stance against any undead, and had only tolerated Aoife's presence during the rebellion out of necessity. Her grandfather the pope on the other hand had a more pragmatic worry, namely that the nascent nation would not have been able to survive on their own, and thus was adamant that they maintained their alliance with the Bone Lord.

 

That father and mother actually loved each other was a good fortune in that regard.

 

In the end a compromise was reached, and grandfather had negotiated passage for Caelleach and most of his ardent supporters through Ptolodecca until they reached the port, where a fleet of ships stocked full of provisions awaited them. Caelleach would thus take his men and forge out his own life in new lands.

 

As for Aideen, she just felt her unbeating heart warm up, as her family - other than her grandfather's unexpected exorcism attempt, which to be fair he had reason to attempt - had not once blamed, much less cursed her for what she had become, and they welcomed her back into their fold as if nothing had happened.

 

Even Diarmuid's crestfallen look of grief had mostly faded by now, and he laughed when Aideen teased him about his budding relationship with one of his soldiers.

 

Aideen just felt glad that she was born to her family in times like these.

 

------------------------------

 

Early in the next morning, a black carriage drawn by four equally black stallions stopped before the Fiachna residence. The carriage was escorted through the city by no less than a dozen templars, who formed a cordon around the carriage, blocking others from seeing the person descending from it, and bowed with respect.

 

A small, skeletal foot clicked on the ground, as a diminutive figure - probably just one meter tall at the top of his skull - descended with ease from the carriage. He walked towards the door, which opened just before he reached it, as Aoife came to greet him.

 

"Welcome, Master," she said to the skeletal figure with a deep bow. "Please come inside, and do forgive our lacking accomodations in this humble abode of ours."

 

"Oh shush, girl, how many times do I have to tell you to relax?" Said the diminutive figure with a chitter. "I received your last message before I reached town, so how is she doing?"

 

"Aideen seems fine, if still in shock over what happened," said Aoife as she closed the door behind her. "I still don't get how this is possible though."

 

"I will see for myself later," said the figure calmly. "Ah, there are the kids."

 

Aideen and Diarmuid came down the stairs behind their father, who had gone upstairs and fetched them the moment Aoife felt the presence of her master's mana. Ciarran bowed to the presence of the figure, and behind him Aideen and Diarmuid followed suit.

 

"We greet the Bone Lord," they said as they bowed.

 

The Bone Lord was far from an imposing figure, barely one meter tall, and of small frame. What most found eerie however, was how his corporeal form was a walking, talking skeleton, with green soulfires within his eye sockets. His skull's shape hinted at some resemblance with creatures such as racoons, or weasels, yet it was different at the same time.

 

Even so, he was the Bone Lord, ruler of Ptolodecca, and probably the greatest necromancer that had ever walked the world.

 

"Come on now, cease with the formality," he said with a wave of his hand. "What did I tell you kids to call me, huh?"

 

"G- Grandpa Aarin," Aideen said as she went forward, knelt, and hugged the diminutive figure, who hugged her back warmly - or as warm as a skeleton could be. Diarmuid followed suit though with more reluctance.

 

Other than the Fiachna family, only the Bone Lord's personal disciples - which he treated like his own children - and a couple trusted officials of his knew of his true name. A name long forgotten by history, for so long had he existed that all records of it had been lost to the sands of time.

 

He was Nec Aarin, the Bone Lord, sovereign of the thousand skeletons, and sole ruler of Ptolodecca.

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Avitue

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