Rise of the Necromancer Pt. 01byKot_Carson©
Kit Agrabah walked the streets of Almas greeting many of Desna's worshipers – sailors, travelers, merchants, and so on – on his walk to the temple. His white and black robes blew in the calm wind. Although Kit's demeanor was not one to overtly cause trouble, as a Halfling he often found himself in the midst of it. Today was no exception. Rounding a corner into an alleyway between the Almas' central marketplace and tannery he saw two thugs assaulting an elderly woman.
"You'll pay," one said, with a particularly piggish nose. As a Half-Orc, he towered over the short, elderly, human woman.
"I cannot," the woman sobbed in a clear Nexian accent. "The fish do not bite, I nor my husband cannot pay!"
"Then you will bleed," the other man said also with a thick Nexian accent.
Pig-nose pulled a particularly dirty knife from his belt. The other man beat a cudgel against his palm.
"I'm glad you can't pay," Pig-nose said, running the knife along her cheek. "I love when they can't pay." He cocked a brutal smile, clearly enjoying tormenting the woman.
The two men had not noticed the Halfling yet. "She told you she can't pay," Kit said calmly, walking toward the two brutes. He half hoped his training in diplomacy would allow the assault to come to a end without resorting to violence, but realistically he knew this would not be the case.
"What business is it of yours, priest?" asked the Nexian man.
"This doesn't concern you," added Pig-nose.
"The wellbeing of all Andoranian is my business," Kit replied calmly. "Surely you would not harm one her citizens in my presence."
Pig-nose released his grip on the woman and walked toward Kit menacingly. The Nexian pounded his cudgel against the wall, trying to intimidate the priest into submitting and leaving them to their harassment.
"Your intimidation won't work here. Let her go!" Kit said defiantly.
"You and what army?" asked Pig-nose. Clearly, he had the vocabulary of a wizard.
"I need no army to deal with the likes of you weasels." Kit replied, gripping his staff tightly.
"Let her go," Pig-nose told the Nexian. "This one will pay for her disrespect."
"Fine," Kit said, pleased he managed to get their attention away from the captive. He gave a quick prayer to Desna, his patron goddess and readied himself for the thugs assault.
It came swiftly, but his prayer gave him – and the woman – a divine protection against the attack. The knife cut through the robes and glanced off his chainmail underneath. Pig-nose's eyes widened, an armored adversary had caught him off guard. The woman ran, seeking shelter inside the marketplace.
"You se what happens when you attack without thinking?" Kit spun his staff in his hands and smashed the Half-Orc across the face. The blow was stronger than Pig-nose was prepared for; he staggered backward and fell over refuse bin. Blood trickled down from his nose.
"Asshole!" shouted the Nexian. "Don't think because you're a priest we won't kill you!"
Kit gave another short prayer to Desna. Divine energy filled his staff, which began to glow a silvery-blue.
The Nexian swung his cudgel. It was clumsy, and Kit was ready for the impact. He could have easily deflected the blow, but allowing it to strike him would give him an opening to strike his own attack unobstructed. He swung his own staff and connected with the man's stomach. He twisted the staff a second time and felt the impact with the man's chin.
"Urgh," the man grunted, spitting saliva and blood against the adjacent wall. He fell sideways to his knees. "Bastard priest!"
"Get out of here," Kit said calmly. "I don't want to injure you further, but I will if I have to!"
The two men scrambled to their feet. They began to run and Pig-nose hurled his dagger at the priest, but it was easily avoided.
Kit dusted himself off. Only now he noticed that Pig-nose had ripped his robes with his attack. Kit inspected the tear and grumbled to himself. "These were brand new, too," he sighed.
Inside the marketplace a crowed had gathered to watch the scuffle. In the middle the elderly woman watched as her adversaries ran off as quickly as they could. She pushed herself from the crowd and approached Kit.
"I owe you my life, young man," she said.
"Please," Kit replied, still upset about his robes. "It was nothing. Those two won't bother you again. And if they do, come and find me at the observatory."
"Let me give you something for your troubles."
"No ma'am. I do not wish to take anything from you. If you must, donate to the temple, we will see it put to good use."
"No, I must give you something for saving me." She spotted his torn robes. "Let me sew you new robes. Will that suffice?"
Kit thought for a moment. He did not wish to take anything from the woman. However, her offer was fair. If he had not intervened, his robes would still be brand new. "That is very kind of you," he eventually said. "I would appreciate it."
The woman smiled. "I shall bring them to you this afternoon."
"Thank you," Kit said smiling back. "Please come find me inside the observatory."
The temple of Desna was more of an observatory than temple. Murals of the many constellations adorned the walls.
As Kit was studying one of the murals, a young priest in training approached him. "Sir?" the young Half-Elf asked.
"Hm?" Kit replied lost in thought.
"You have a visitor."
"Me?" Kit asked surprised. While contemplating the mysteries of the cosmos, he had nearl forgotten the elderly woman was making him replacement robes.
"Yes sir, it's a Nexian woman."
"Oh," Kit replied, remembering this morning's scuffle. "I'll see her here."
The Half-Elf showed the elderly woman into the main chapel. "He's right there, ma'am."
"Thank you," the woman replied walking toward Kit. She moved more quickly and quietly than her frail frame would imply. Beforehand, Kit had neglected to notice her slightly pointed ears. She was a Half-Elf as well; her elven blood gave her grace beyond her years.
"Aren't they amazing?" Kit asked when she approached.
"The stars?" She replied.
"Yes. You know they say when the rest of our deities were creating Golarion, Desna was busy placing each and every star in the sky."
"There are thousands. Millions!" the woman observed.
"Yes. An each constellation has a meaning."
The two looked at the mural for a moment longer in content silence.
The woman was the first to break the silence. "I have a present for you." She said.
"Thank you," replied Kit, turning and looking up into her eyes. Though she was short for a Half-Elf, she still stood a torso taller than the Halfling.
She presented him with the new robes.
"You made these? They're beautiful." And beautiful they were. The ivory-white cloth was adorned with black and gold trim. The gold formed a long, slender dragon around the collar. The back of the robe was adorned with the very constellations Kit held so dear. "You must be a master seamstress. I cannot accept such a lovely gift."
"You saved my life. It is the least I can do." She practically shoved them into Kit's arms. "Put them on!" she commanded.
"I..." Kit hesitated but did as she instructed.
Arcane energy suffused his body. The feeling was foreign, though not unpleasant.
"They are called The Robes of Constellations. They seemed like a gift fitting for you," she informed him, noticing his shock.
"You're a wizard?!" Kit exclaimed in a hushed tone.
"Let's keep that little secret to ourselves," she replied quietly.
"I don't know what to say."
"Use them in health. You earned them through your selflessness and courage."
Kit was about to say something but the old wizard disappeared in a puff of smoke, leaving him to wonder if such an event really took place. Looking down, he still wore the starry robes, it had actually happened. He wondered why the woman had not dealt with the thugs herself, but perhaps it was a strange test. Perhaps it was a test to see whether someone would intervene and earn her trust. Whatever the case, Kit stood in his robes and observed the heavens.
A moment later the Half-Elf priest in training ran up to him. There was panic in the young man's eyes.
"What's the matter?" ask Kit, concerned.
"Goblins! They're attacking the town!"
"Yes, come you must help! The guards are doing their best and some adventurers are helping as well!"
Kit and his young accomplice ran from the observatory into the city street. It was an orgy of chaos. Gobins ran through the streets, stabbing and slicing everyone in their path.
"What should I do?" asked the Half-Elf.
"Do as you have been trained." Kit instructed. "Tend to the wounded."
"Yes sir," he replied, running toward a group of injured citizens.
Kit ran to an injured man himself. He gave a prayer to Desna and the man's wounds began to heal. "What's happened here?" he asked.
"I don't know!" shouted the man through his pain. "Goblins are everywhere, I don't know how they got into the city!"
Kit began applying healing herbs to the man's wounds, but as we he was doing so a goblin caught him off guard. As the nasty creatures knife pierced his robes and armor the arcane energy shifted. A moment later, Kit found himself a foot away from where he used to be. It seemed The Robes of Constellations did more than mimic the stars above. When he was in danger, the robes teleported him out of harm's way. Very interesting, thought Kit, readying his staff.
He swung his staff in a wide arch, the crack of bone under the strike indicated his connection was pure. The creature let out a guttural scream and collapsed in a heap on the ground. Kit's melee training was going to come in handy today.
"Go help the wounded in the marketplace!" plead the injured man. "I will be fine!"
At the city gates, goblins swarmed inside in a torrent of legs, fangs and cantankerous song. The warrior Tanos Ulremos could understand their awful language; their song was all the more sickening.
A song of slaughtering children, he thought. How fitting. This was no casual observation. It was an assessment of their current situation.
Tanos swung his flail, splitting a goblin's shield and shattering its jaw. "Foul creature," he mused.
"Watch your back, Tanos!" another voice chimed behind him. Two arrows pierced the hide of a goblin pressed to attack Tanos.
"Thanks Nara," Tanos said, spinning around and slamming his flail into the same goblin's head.
The Half-Elf ranger jumped backwards and fired her bow a second time, hitting another goblin between the eyes. She smiled to herself, knowing her skills with a bow were second to none. Though the goblins were piling through the gates in droves, she picked them off with surgical precision.
A goblin sliced at Tanos's but the rusty knife glanced off his branded mail armor. "That all you got?" he asked, swinging his flail one again. The attack missed its mark, but he followed up with a slam of his shield. The blow knocked the creature off its feet. It lay on the ground stunned from the blow, the warrior took the creature's momentary confusion to slam his flail into its chest, crushing its sternum.
The wave of goblins began to thin out, many began to retreat from the city, they knew when they were beat. Their ploy had worked however, creating vast misperception and panic throughout the city. Nobody paid attention to the human stalking his way to the Almas cemetery, flanked by six goblin commandos.
Tanos and Nara breathed a sigh of relief, their foes vanquished and retreated back into the forest they called home. They'd think twice before attackin the city again.
"Are you alright," Nara asked Tanos, restringing her composite longbow.
Blood seeped from the warriors many wounds, but there were a trifle. "No worse for wear," he reassured her.
"That cut looks nasty," said someone behind him. "If you'll allow me, I can patch you up."
Tanos turned and looked down at a small man wearing shimmering robes. "Please. Thank you, priest."
The Halfling took out bandages from his pack and wrapped them around the warrior's calf. "The wound is nothing to worry about, but I would be remiss to point out the filth from the dagger could cause tetanus. If you'll allow me, I'd like to cast a healing spell on you."
"By all means. I appreciate it."
Kit prayed to Desna, and the warrior's wound began to mend. "The leg might be weaker than before. But you should be fine in a day or two. There's no reason you can't use the leg now, though you might still feel some residual pain."
"I'm a warrior," Tanos reminded the priest. "It's not the first time I've felt pain, and hardly going to be the last."
Kit laughed as he continued to patch up some of Tanos' other minor injuries. "You're not hurt are you, miss?"
"Just a few flesh wounds," Nara admitted. "I can wrap them myself."
"As you wish." Kit finished applying the bandages to the warrior and stood up from kneeling. "I must be going to tend to the other wounded. You two can handle yourselves?"
"Yes," Nara replied. "I can tend to some wounded as well. My skills might not match yours, but they will be in good hands."
After tending to the wounded, it was Kit's solemn duty to put to rest those who died during the goblin's attacks. There were few deaths, but the deaths irked him nonetheless.
"Such senseless casualties," he remarked after casting minor spells ensuring they would find their way to Pharasma's Boneyard. Their deeds would be judged by the goddess of death, ensuring their souls made it there was Kit's duty. Something caught his eye at the edge of the cemetery. Footprints in the wet grass lead toward The Devrin family crypt. The Devrin family ruled over Almas in the free nation of Andoran. Though a democracy now, a Devrin still ran the city: Mayor Amos Devrin. Kit would have to report the finding to Father Zantus, as no one should have been in the vicinity during the goblin raid.
Inside the temple, Kit saw two familiar faces: Tanos, the warrior, and Nara, the ranger. They were already talking with Father Zantus.
"You're sure?" Father Zantus asked Nara.
"Yes. Seven footprints. One set is human, or at least humanoid of human height. The others are smaller, probably goblin by their size and shape."
Kit approached the three and asked, "Are you talking about the crypt? I saw footprints too."
"Yes," replied Nara.
"That is a concern," Father Zantus said after a moment of thought. "I want both of you to investigate. Kit, you accompany them."
Kit nodded in agreement. "Why would somebody enter the tomb?" he wondered outloud.
"We've captured some of the nasty brutes," Father Zantus said. "Maybe one of them can shed some light on this. We're holding them in the stalks in the middle of town."
"The that's our first stop," Tanos urged.
"I agree," said Kit.
Three goblins were held prisoner in the stalks. Citizens shouted curses at the filthy creatures; some even hurled rotten fruit.
"Now that won't do," urged the Halfling priest. "We need information from these creatures. Taunting them will ensure we won't receive any."
The crowd grumbled but stopped shouting at the creatures.
"Now then," Kit said walking up to one of the goblins. "Why did you attack our town? What did you hope to gain?"
"Not know," the creature hissed in broken-common. "Longshank hired. Told cause kay-oss."
"You were hired by a human?" Kit asked astonished. "And he told you to create chaos?"
The goblin growled.
The goblin growled again, not sharing any other information.
"What about you?" Kit asked another goblin. "Do you know anything more?"
The second goblin growled, but remained silent.
"This is going nowhere," Tanos said, pulling a knife from his belt. "Let me try." He walked up to the second goblin Kit questioned and put the knife to the base of its ear. "If you value your ear, you'll talk."
The creature squealed. "Not know! Nothing more! Longshank told cause kay-os. Kay-os we cause. Longshank take others to cemetery. Not know why."
"Hm," wondered Tanos. "I think they're telling the truth."
"I agree," said Kit. "Let them go," he told the jailer. He turned to the first goblin prisoner. "Tell your kind of our mercy, if you come back you won't find it again."
"Yes. Mer-see. We tell."
The jailor opened their shackles and released them from their captive states. "You're lucky the priest holds such esteem, creature. If it were I, I'd kill you. Get lost and don't come back or you'll be at the wrong end of a guillotine."
"Yes. Gill-o-tine. We tell."
The goblins ran through town, taking the first opportunity to disappear into the forest. The crowd of onlookers sighed collectively. They too obviously shared the jailer's opinion of what to do with the creatuers. But Kit was a priest who valued acts of good and liberty, he could not allow the creatures to be killed by their captors.
Back in Father Zantus' cathedral, the three told him what they'd found out.
"It seems like your only option is to investigate the crypt," Zantus said to them. "Do you require aid?"
"No sir," Tanos said. "No sense sending priests to their possible deaths. Nara and I will investiage."
"Very good. I want Kit to accompany you. Do you have objections?"
The warrior hesitated. "It could be dangerous. Are you sure that's wise?"
"He could be of help," Nara urged.
"Indeed I can," Kit reassured the warrior. "I know my way around a staff. Plus my healing might come in handy. And... I have a certain understanding of undeath, should we encounter such abominations inside the crypt."
"As do I," remarked Nara. "I've encountered many undead in my travels. Horrid beasts."
"I doubt you'll face anything like that," Zantus assured. It was an empty promise.