The Undiscovered Country

Till Death us do Part

Or maybe not even then.

Mortimer bandaged his hand: note to self, experiment with crushed glass spell components with your gloves on. He was glad he had finished the copying from Master Burns spell book beforehand. He’d hate to soil it – given the master’s sacrifice he suspected the book should be donated to whatever magical institutions lasted beyond this conflict. For just a moment the devil on his shoulder said “and would you be curating it?” he mentally brushed it aside.

He looked around him, his little clearing in the woods was a quiet spot to study and learn, but the dank atmosphere was awful for the old books! Why had the refugees chosen a swampy forest full of orks as a refuge? I mean it IS called witchwood, that should be a hint to stay away! Oh well, Prestidigitation and mending would keep his books and scrolls in good order and there was a plentiful source of test subjects:

He cast his eyes on the half dozen stupefied squirrels, not so much trying to find their nuts, as wondering what a tree was. He also looked at the pile of unmoving squirrels… that would look bad if anyone found them near him. He put them in his bag with the hands, it would be fine, they’d be moving again in a few hours, assuming he’d got the spell right. Dang… Rema would have killed him for that one.

The pint-size spellslinger was packing up when he heard the hesitant footsteps, it was the classic Civi trying to do the sneaking thing, and thus stepping on ever broken twig and startled animal possible.

He hid the evidence. Brought the XML of his Chil Touch to mind, sneaking up badly on the resident Necromancer of the 13th Free Company, was a mistake you made only once… unless he was feeling especially vindictive.

Finally, around the corner stepped a man in a top hat and tails, or, more accurately a man in top hat and tails that have been sleeping on the ground for weeks and dragging them through swampy forests. His wife was also with him, her black satin and lace petticoats had suffered a similar fate.

“Ah! Master Greysproket is it? Excellent day to you sir, my fiancee and I were wondering if we could have a word? About a sensitive matter”

The man in the mud stained tails requested.

“Okay… who’d you lose? Discounts for gnomes, giants I charge extra, you just can’t get the ectoplasm these days!”

There was a moment of, quite reasonable, pause.

“Err… I… Don’t think I understand?”

“I’m a Necromancer, I can bring your loved ones back, but there’s a price I’m afraid. Also! No Orks! Oh I can do the ritual, but this weird skinny ork fucker with a drum keeps breaking up my rituals and going on about spirits when I try it… so no orks!”

The couple flashed a look between themselves, and then the woman tried

“Oh we, don’t need any magic, we were told you where a priest.”

“Me? Relig….” and then he stopped, because it dawn on him, ever since the winter festival that had messed with his mind… the death of Asmodeus on this side of the world, had once again given him divine power as a priest of the Undead Gods.

“Of a kind” he replied instead “But I think you need to speak to the lay-preachers of The One who didn’t die with the clerics covering our retreat, I’m not your conventional….”

“We know….” came the interruption. “A few months back we met a dwarf cleric in the pub, she was inspirational, she showed us that The Morning Star was no enemy of The One, no Villain as the religion makes him out to be, but the other side of the coin, the check and balance. The more we thought about it, the more we found ourselves worshiping, an…. other… option… “ the man hinted at, fearing to say the name.

“Asmodeus?”

The both winced

“Right… he’s a fair guy, total power tap, got some weird ideas about free will, but that shouldn’t come up now”…”Errr, by which I mean; an honoured divine force who I was fortunate to also worship under the Dwarf you speak of, we prayed together.”

Mortimer noticed he was sweating, a mean feat for someone usually perma-chilled by the necromantic power that bubbled inside him.

But at this admission, the couple seemed to visibly relax.

“It’s impossible to get a Asmodean wedding in this group, The One is such a publicity whore.”

Mortimer coughed, as a priest of the Undead Gods’ he felt he had to be a little unbiased. They were after all equally dead where he came from…

“So you’ll do it then? We need to be married before the Horde get us, no of us have very long!

“Well: I don’t know, the Father in the church charges a fee right? I wouldn’t want to undersell his Az’iness by not even asking that, I trade in precious stones?” the midnight clad wizard offered.

“I… don’t think we could stretch that far, I am a simple coffin builder and my wife is a tailor’s daughter, we brought only the stocks of our trade with us to the camp, precious little gold.. Perhaps we could make you a suit? Your robes are a little last season.”

Mortimer was oblivious to the fashion comment, it literally didn’t computer.

“Coffin builder you say? Do you have anything in really good wood, silk lined?”

“I have 1 item in stock, it was rather my pension plan piece but….”

“Can’t put a price on love, right? And how many other priests of Asmodeus are you going to find ‘roun dez parts?

“It’s true, we were astonished when we heard a rumour one was with the refugees, if you can honor us before the Morning Star, we can pay what you ask.

“Amen to that” the robed figure bluffed, failing to realise it meant “we agree”.

The next he knew he was standing outside a roughly sown together marquee at the back of the pub. At day-break there was a moment where the sun pulsed with light, he recited the prayers he had heard from carreg, he cut the hand of the groom (well he wasn’t going to injure himself, and it seemed like a religion of self sacrifice) and reached the end of the rites he had observed… The couple looked at him expectantly.

Yes, because he was of course the best person to ad-lib on human mating rituals? To him it was like understanding that damn fool skinny orks’ dancing.

“Er… by the power vested in me by The Unde…. I mean vastly underrated lord of light, Azmodeus, I now pronounce you Man and Wife, you may, do that lip press thing to the bride everyone likes doing!”

Having finally shrugged off the vestments of a god he suspected he’d help kill, Mortimer tried to slip through the crowd.

Eventually he found a moment to interrupt the groom

“Oh hey! I was wondering it I could give you a little extra task to the coffin you promised…”

The groom looked sutabley afraid, Mortimer handed him a bowl, inside which was dull water, with a square patch of skin floating in it. The Coffin Builder noted a matching bandage around the arm.

“I won’t be needing your payment right away, but if you could put this in there, that would be swell, y’know? It’s What Asmodeus would want…”

His recently married couple totally confused, they retired to their reception, he made his best to leave.

Only making it as far as the gate before a farmer type intercepted him:

“You were a wonderful meister, clearly the gods favour you, I don’t suppose you know anything about blessing crops?”

Mortimer froze for a moment, not at the man, but the size of the gem in his ring….

“Oh I’m an expert at exacting the god’s wrath against weeds… but I’m afraid there’s a price…”

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