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Surprising Return


With great difficulty the weakening spirit floated unseen by mortal eyes on its long journey across the lands. The occasional healer took note, sensing the ethereal presence of the being but it refused their offer for revival. What point would it serve to regain flesh and blood if only to perish brutally again? No, the spirit would continue on to return to the source, the one who could explain and, perhaps, forgive.

The moon gates posed difficulties to be sure, and only by a forced entry into rather witless humans, sharing bodily space with their spirit temporarily, could it travel along. Often, even then, their destination was not the desired one, so there were many entries and hasty exits, drawing away more of its strength to maintain a hold, a presence, in this mortal realm. It did not know how much more time it had to persist herein, but it knew that time was running out – the ultimate call and transition to the spirit world where it would take up permanent residence with those long dead.

Finally it found a host who moved to the chosen destination: Luna, the paladin city – not its favorite place, but a vital one necessary to complete the journey. A brief trek north, northeast, and it saw the castle looming darkly in the distance.

The Elder observed the spirit approach his domain and revoked the wards that repelled such spirits but just for this one, allowing it to enter and approach him.

“Ah, Aylyssa. Ye have returned as I knew ye would. Thy time is at hand. Within an hour ye shall join the dead in the spirit realm forever. The only reason ye have survived this long is due to my hold over thee, giving thee spiritual sustenance to prolong thy stay. I brought ye closer, away from the two ye spoke with last eve, lest ye reveal too much to them. Yet even now that is waning; ye are nigh to oblivion. What is it ye want of me? Need I ask?”

The spirit of Aylyssa spoke, and he understood: “I wish to remain here. Let me not go there; I am not ready, milord,” she begged. “Please, keep me here even as your lowest vassal, I swear to serve you loyally.”

“As ye did before, warning the woman of the curse I put upon the necklace? She will surely report it and they will remove it, allowing its innate power to fulfill its purpose when fully enchanted by another’s manipulations. Ye have intruded into my plans and I am offended, Aylyssa. Why should I save thee?”

“I swear I will never do such a thing again, milord. I will serve you and make up for my foolish sentimentality. It led me to betray you. It shall never happen again!”

Scaramandine stood up and began an incantation. It took a few moments but when completed she stood before him in physical form, not the flesh and blood of her former state, but as an undead, a zombie-like, though sentient, living corpse. He then sat back down and smiled. “Ye shall indeed serve me, but as this. Cover thy form as best ye may among the living and pray they do not detect it. Go and prepare thyself for my service. I give thee a fortnight for this. When I call, ye shall come to me. Furthermore, I forbid any vengeance against my servant, should ye ever discover who it was that I ordered to slay thee at the shrine. Agree ye to this?”

Aghast at her current condition, but in no pain and having no fear of being whisked away from this realm into the unknown, she nodded and kneeled. “I agree. I live to serve you henceforth.”

His bony hand waved her away and she departed, hating him now all the more.



Deminatza had seen the dead before, it was the downside of being a healer yet not unexpected, but not one so disfigured. She could not comprehend why someone would commit such a horrific act. She was covered with the dirt from the grave that she and Scar dug for the body that was found near the Shrine of Spirituality.

Scar found her standing in the middle of the room trembling. He set down the pitcher of wine and goblets on the vanity and strode over to her. She looked to him, her face wet with tears, her eyes filled with pain and confusion. “My body refuses to heed me.”

He wiped away her tears and nodded knowingly, she was in a state of shock. “This I can do, milady,” he said gently as he helped her undress. “You are safe,” he whispered assuredly as he lifted and carried her to the bath, then gently lowered her into its warm waters.

He retrieved one of the wine filled goblets, offered it, in which she gratefully accepted and drained its contents it in one pull. Managing to mask his mild mirth and merriment at discovering this modern feat, he also understood the maelstrom of emotions she was attempting to marshal. He handed her another glass, then picked up the vanity chair and placed it at the head of the tub.

Demi looked over her shoulder, noting Scar rolling up his sleeves, while admiring his chiseled face, and the black goatee that he often stroked unconsciously when he was deep in thought. She was grateful that he was here. She didn’t want to be alone, yet also knew he had matters he needed to attend to.

“Beloved, thou doest need not stay. I am well enough to manage. Thy duty-”

“My duty is to you, my love, first and always. I promise never to neglect you for anything nor anyone," he said, smiling, caressing her cheek tenderly with his fingertips. Once he settled into the chair, Demi reached up to catch the back of his neck, gently guided him to lower his head as she leaned back against the tub to meet him halfway and kissed him. She released her hold as she pulled away and whispered, “Gramercy."

She turned to face forward, took another swig of wine, and settled into the bath as Scar massaged her temples which eased most of the tension away. The two revisited the evening’s events and decided they would speak to Scar’s fellowship of the recent discovery and development.