mysterious frankie fleshes out Everdraed's Dude, I Think My Necromancer is a Hoarder (from Goldmine page two):
"The problem with undead necromancers," began Lord Magister Krellgar, "is simply that; they're undead. Having been through thousands of years of cultural sturm and drang, they've experienced countless periods when material components were scarce. The logical recourse - to store vast amounts of needed resources - becomes convoluted and they end up developing psychological attachments to everything that enters their dread spires! We living simply can have no personal insight on the effect eternity has on an ageless, but ostensibly human, mind."
"I see," hissed the Dark Lord, straightening his crimson robes.
"It's a wonder so many necromancers are free of the affliction."
The Dark Lord rose and began to pace. The resounding footfalls echoed off the vaulted ceiling of Krellgar's Oubliette of Terror and Social Services.
"What I need to know, Magister, is this; what can be done to allay this pox? If I am to make good on my promise to the Bear Lords of the Southern Kingdoms, that I will sack their towns and coax a scream from the throats of their women and children with the point of a blade by next season, I need a standing army of undead... which doesn't seem likely when my chief necromancer's altar of obscene reanimation is half buried under three tons of mannequin parts and pizza boxes!" He spit venom while enunciating the last word. It burst into a plume of bale-fire as it struck the corner of Magister's desk.
Lord Magister tented his fingers, "I understand how you are feeling. You are angry. Full of hatred for this man for what he's..."
"OF COURSE I AM, YOU ADDLEPATED CHICKEN HEAD! I'M THE PHYSICAL MANIFESTATION OF HATRED IN THE LIVING REALMS! IT'S RIGHT IN MY TITLE! DARK LORD SSYTHYTH, LEFT ARM OF INVIDIOUSNESS AND WOE!"
"...If you'll allow me to finish, my Lord?" Krellgar gestured to the chair and the Dark Lord begrudgingly resumed sitting.
"As I was saying; you're think you're full of hatred for this man, but it is not so. This hatred you feel is a psychological smoke screen; it protects you from what you're really feeling."
"You feel helpless, my Lord; helpless to come to the aid of a friend. And don't tell me you are beyond friends and he is nothing more than a tool to you; I've seen the two of you in the torture gardens, flaying skin from virgins all the while making idle chatter about your hobbies. Right now he is beyond your help, and it makes you scared and helpless. Hating him keeps you safe from the terror you feel."
The room grew silent. The Dark Lord at first appeared livid at the accusation, but Magister Krellgar regarded him passively as he sipped his tea from the Number 1 Magister mug he had received at the office party last year. Eventually his anger seemed to wither, and as it did, he appeared to sink into himself, dark shadows pooling around the roiling embers of his eyes. A single poisonous green tear oozed out, and he quickly wiped it away.
When the Dark Lord began to speak again, his voice had changed. It was quiet and the tortured screams of the damned, which normally danced and wove between his words, was missing.
"I've done so much. I am an archon of evil; the architect of the downfall of Machenarch and the destroyer of the yellow sun of the planet of spires. I've overthrown demigods and crushed heroes beneath my war boots in gore-dimmed fields of apocalyptic battle. I've always known there was nothing I could not do ... except save my friend, apparently!"
With this, he began to weep openly. The Dark Lord leaned forward, placing the palms of his clawed hands to his face, and began to shudder as he sobbed. The Magister stood then, and he navigated around his desk to be at the Dark Lord's side.
He gently placed his hands on Ssythyth's shoulders. "My Lord. It is not too late to save him. You simply have not the training necessary to facilitate a recovery. With my help, we can intervene before it is too late, and with counseling and support he can recover. This I swear to you."
The Dark Lord looked up, green streaks of ichor staining his pale face. "Truly?" his voice sounded hopeful.
"Indeed, my Lord. Now..." Magister gagged. "...Now, I think I need to have some air. It seems your tears are made of cyanide and it's making it difficult for me to, er, live."
The Necromancer's essence swam upwards toward consciousness through the colorless void of meditation. He surged first up into the vault of his skull, then tendrils of control began seeping downward to the chest, from there trickles of his very being permeated the limbs and, finally, he once again inhabited the living realm in body and spirit. But what was this blackness the he saw before him? Was he trapped between worlds?
No, he was not. He felt the cage of his corporeal form pressing against his spirit and when he willed it so, he fingers moved, but there was something constricting the greater movement of his limbs and a great weight pressed against his skull and blotted out the light.
"No'moshik Aranoi Re'ah'ushta!" he uttered the force spell, directing it toward the object lying across his head. Once his vision returned, he saw what appeared to be the one of the prams he had been storing in a pile by his meditation chair, charred and smoking against the far wall across from where he now found himself trapped.
The meditation chair, he thought frantically, turning his gaze to the bone-latticed throne. The straps must have broken while I was meditating and I fell into my things! He struggled to move his arms and failed. Inspecting his current position, he found himself trapped beneath a mattress, fifteen large burlap sacks of rope that could definitely be used sometime in the future, for maybe a project or something, and half a basalt statue of a naked child urinating he had found at the dump. There must have been a landslide, he thought, and he moaned out of consternation more than anything; this would take so long to sort again.
Again he uttered the spell of force, this time directed at the mattress. It jumped suddenly, careened through the air, smashing into a pile of baby diapers and sending them scattering. But before he could lift his free arm there was a rumbling behind him and a wave of assorted garbage and bric-a-brac came crashing down of him like a wave, burying him further.
I must have disturbed the piles with the evocation. Blast it all! It will take ages to free myself using force magic alone ... and I might damage the snow globes in the process!
The necromancer closed his eyes and snaked out greasy tendrils of his essence to the zombie assistants. "Come to me," he whispered. "Heed my call and help me get out of this pile of precious collectibles and things I might need later!"
But it was for naught. The zombies tried as best they could to answer the call, but they too we buried, down in the mausoleums, beneath several thousand flimsy recyclable plastic chalices the Necromancer could not bear to part with.
"If I ever get out of this," The Necromancer said aloud to no one in particular. "I am so going to get my shit straightened out!"
Dark Lord Ssythyth stood high upon the mobile crenelation of living, writhing horror, watching the battle in the field with dismay. Without the undead archers and ravaging ghouls he had requested earlier in the season, the battle was quickly turning in favor of the Bear Lord's barbarian hordes.
"I curse his rattling bones with every fiber of my being... Lieutenant Skorm, Rathwhick; to me, NOW!"
The two dark elves turned on their heels and rapidly approached.
"My Lord?" Said Skorm.
"I come when you call, oh Dark Lord of the outer reaches." said Rathwhick, making an elaborate bow.
Ssythyth barred his teeth. "I didn't call you to my side for a show, you putrescent little boil of an elf. I want a report!"
Both elves shifted uneasily in their creaking leathers. "Yes, Lord," said Rathwick and averted his darting eyes to the loam.
"Well, my lord... the Western forces are still holding strong against the Bear Lords; luckily the orc slaves hate humans more than they do us and are giving quite a fight. To the north, however, the corrupted knights of Yith'sher'ad are not faring as well... it seems the Grizzler has entered the fray and is making short work of our encampments... on the other hand..."
"I KNOW HOW WE FARE! DO YOU FORGET I POSSES THE CALINTIE'R EYE, WHICH SEES ALL WITHIN A FIFTY MILE RADIUS OF ITS BEARER? WHAT OF THE DRAX'ULL THE UNDYING? WHERE ARE MY UNDEAD ARMIES?"
"Oh... them." Muttered Rathwhick.
"YES, YOU POINT-EARED FLATULENCE-SUCKER! THEM!"
"Well... funny thing about them" Said Skorm.
The Dark Lord narrowed his eyes and growled.
"I don't think they'll be coming, my lord."
"Explain! Did the Necromancer not complete my army as he promised?" Ssythyth snarled.
"Oh nonono, he finished them. Or at least I believe so... but, the last I heard the Necromancer has been a bit... odd as of late and I don't think we can depend upon him."
"No, definitely not, er, Milord." agreed Rathwhick "A bit odd, I would agree... oh, say, look over there!" he pointed to the south, where a tiny figure was hobbling toward them.
"What is it?" said Skorm.
"I know precisely what it is." Said Ssythyth. "It's that rotten cat of his."
"Sir?" Rathwhick wore confusion on his face unabashedly.
"The cat! The Necromancer's awful cat! You know, I bought him that cat for Christmas decades ago when he first began acting... odd, as you say."
"Is that so?" Said Rathwick, picking at a scab on his chin,
"Oh yes," said the Dark Lord. "Oh yes indeed. I thought it might be good for him to have a living thing for company. I thought it might lift him out of what I then thought was simply a funk. At first he took to it, but when I next paid him a visit, the mess in his spire had become unmanageable and the cat was nowhere to be found. I questioned him as to its whereabouts and he merely shrugged and went back to sorting snarls of rent chain mail into piles. I spent the better part of the day searching through the filth, until finally I discovered it, crushed beneath a upturned calamity of ruined horseshoes and wagon wheels."
"That's... certainly something." Said Skorm.
"Oh yes, Lord. Truly disquieting." Said Rathwhick
"Indeed. When I brought it to his attention, he simply raised the beast as a ghoul and went back to puttering in the rubble. With every return trip to the spire, I would find the pitiful thing crushed under some new heap of garbage and he would invariably raise it again. I'm surprised it holds together at all... oh for Hatred's sake; it's front leg is off. Skorm, go fetch it and don't forget to bring the leg."
"At once, Dark Lord!" said Skorm and he rushed off to collect the ruined cat.
Rathwhick shifted uncomfortably as they watched Skorm retrieve the animal and begin his return trip. "So, er, Immutable Voice of all Wretchedness... er, about the battle..."
"If you value your organs of generation, you will stop using them to annoy the piss out of me. Right. Now."
"Ah... yes, Lord."
As Skorm made his final approach he smiled and shouted "Lord, Lord I have it!" He placed the rotted carcass at their feet. "And it really smells!" His smile quickly faded as he realized what he had said.
"Of course it smells! It's a dead cat, moron! I had ought to..." he stopped as something caught his eye. "What's it have around its neck?"
"Infernal one, I believe it's a note!" said Rathwhick, and before he could draw another breath, Ssythyth brought his mace down upon the lieutenant's head, shattering his helm and driving bits of hair and skull deep into his brain. He died instantly, a look of stupid confusion still upon his face. Skorm gasped and stepped back, bringing his hands up to his face in defense before remembering himself and feigning a pose of nonchalance.
"I told the fool to be quiet, Skorm," said the Dark Lord.
"Of course, Lord. Very good of you to crush his skull like that. Would you like me to read the note, sir?"
"I would," said Ssythyth, as he cleaned the bits of elf from his mace with an oiled rag.
"Very w-well, Lord." He bent and gingerly plucked the note from the collar of the cat. As he did, bits of dirty orange fur came off the withered old cat and it gave a weak meow. He unfolded the note and began reading.
"Lord, it says that" He scanned the note, eyes widening as he processed the spidery writing contained within, "that Drax'Ull will not be committing his forces to the fray."
The Dark Lord sighed and dropped his mace to the ground where it made a wet plopping sound. He put his thumb and forefinger to his nose and pinched. "Does he give a reason why?"
"Well... it says here that a dragon has moved into a nearby castle and he is sure that it covets his many... 'treasures'. He is keeping the undead army camped at the spire, to guard his holdings."
"His many... his many treasures. I just don't know what to do anymore and... " Ssythyth turned so that his back to Skorm. "Skorm?"
"Bring me wine. Lots and lots of wine."
"Yes, Lord," Skorm said before slinking away to the battlement.
After years of being misunderstood, I had hoped we finally had "our" story. I was wrong.
He had a yellow inflatable tube around his waist, the kind with a comical duck head. There was a tiny fish in one of his hands, and a trident in the other. In the background a squirrel wearing shades was water skiing.
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