The Gnome and Wizard’s Pact Part 2
A necrotic stench rolled off of the dead troll. Spiritshale stuck deeply into its crevices, the head missing with a putrid purple viscera funneled upwards. A black, vaporous mist rolled off the carcass. Corpse cleaners came about the festering cadaver, and began to feast upon it. Their pincers large and scarab like, they took chunks of flesh from the rotting troll. Suddenly, and with little warning evening in the pitch-black darkness, a hand smashed the one bug, and squished it into the ground. The other corpses cleaners felt their dead comrade, and quickly took the squish chunks, leaving the site of the massacre. The hand glistened with a sort of black shine, as the purplish blood mixed with the Spiritshale, and the necrotic snot-filled sickness. It became one with the corpse, and the monster stood up, once more alive, but no longer its true self. Now, it was something far more terrifying than a troll. It was undead, and being lead by some dark force...something unnatural to even this most surreal world.
“Blood! Blood!” the resurrected troll screamed, its head still split, but slowly coming together. There was a notion in its feature: it wanted the gnome, It must have the gnome, then it could finally rest in its eternal hell. For trolls, the seventh layer of hell would be a glorious paradise, and the bigger trolls would always torture the lesser demons. This troll, who was known as Gnacht in its former life, was now Vakran, the summoner of the dead. A powerful necromancer being, which lived not in one plane of existence, but all, and none. It showed up as a vapor, a cold, a twisted stomach, or even the vomit of a restless fey. Vakran had come, out of the appointment of some greater creature, powerful in magic, a doomsayer to whichever pathetic creature was idiotic enough to cause the master's ire.
The beast now known as Vakran stood up and shuffled forward. Like a baby gaining control over their own facsimiles, the undead troll pressed forward. Blood was all it could think about, blood was all it craved. Desiring something like a sweet little gnome would satisfy the hunger...but the gnome that had did Gnacht in? Would satisfy Vakran both in hunger, and vengeful satisfaction.
“What...is...Axnum?” the creature’s old mind questioned the new orders, but the answer did not come, for it was not knowledge needed for the troll to complete its task. When Vakran is summoned, Vakran does only its purpose, so then it can be returned to neither light nor dark, but that little glimpse in-between. The troll, once Gnacht scanned the darkness of the cavern, and with a guidance beyond its own comprehension, headed towards Candermaul Bowers.
Borgot Nifflehammer awoke with a sudden jolt. The backbreaking bed he had, a slab of concrete, had never been comfortable, but the sudden jolt awake from the nightmarish visions was what made his back twist in agony. He saw the bustling city still moving with authority, like blood sifting through a giant’s veins, everything flowed naturally towards the epicenter: The Market de’Shale, the most egregious wealthiest part of Candermaul Bowers. All roads led to the market, and no coin piece nor sniverlinbond was far from a new home it a fool were to stroll about in the market. Borgot didn’t have much time to spare, and for a gnome that was more a thinker than doer, it was unscrupulous of him to think more now when debts were owed.
Debts were something gnomes refused to have, and he being a rather peculiar gnome, hated owing such a powerful nemesis in the wizard. He packed up all his supplies, and the money he had, and strolled out of the dwelling. The wheelbarrow was less of a burden with some rest under his belt, even if it was more tireless sleep than he’d hoped, but the barrow moved. With rather swift push, he was off to his first stop: the coven of the necromancers. They were about a half days’ walk, but Borgot had been capable of pushing himself to get there in but a quarter of the time. He had done so with larger caches, but he also knew the fragility and value of his load, so he walked with a spot of caution.
He took a long road up and down the mountainous terrain, purposefully adding a bit of a traverse to his trek, so to avoid the Terra elves. Their milky white eyes, and ashen skin, with ruby ears were like monsters of both beauty and horror. He didn’t want o have quarrel with them, and he made his way towards the necromancers coven. Not even the bravest of brave dwarves would step foot there. Granted, the dwarves were far-more superstitious than even the most clerical of gnomes...but the group of eclectic oddities that made up a great deal of the necromancers was enough to keep more level-headed creatures from wandering purposefully into their encampment.
Just as Borgot reached the edge of the Candermaul Bowers city limits, leading into the wilds of the Darkest, a near solid pitch-black cave system; where few creatures dared to wonder, the Terras have made their way to the gilded gates of the Candermaul Bowers. The elves were dressed in royal gowning, looking cordial, and gallantly moving into the city. Crowds parted for their approach, as if watching the gods come down from off the mountains, and pushing from out of the rocks. It was a spectacle for the gnomes. Dwarves, not as impressed, but they still moved aside, as they cared more for their business than their pride. These weren’t typical elves, and although they were tall and beautiful, their elegance was not fragility, great powers were hidden in those slim frames.
“Thank you all for this courteous welcome! WE bring about some fine wares from our home! Please, come forth for trade, for we are in a good need of foreign potpourri. Miasmaen beckons for the finest dwarven weapons! The greatest of gnomish tools! Our houses are in need of renovation, we hope to hire many come stay in our palaces! Magic can only craft so well, but our needs for the professional craftsmanship of a gnome’s hands is what we truly must find! WE hope that Candermaul Bowers will supply us with the best Fondergrund has to offer!”
The Terra belted it out in a strong, masculine voice that carried outward, hiding itself inside every gnome’s dwelling, every Dwarf’s burrow, and every shopkeeper heard the clang of coins and greedily clamored towards the elves. Terra paid in platinum, and their magically enhanced armors and plating was sought after by even the most laymen of dwarf.
“We are the Terra! From the ground we come, and from the ground we return! We believe in commerce with other races, for we must all share this under-continent, because the alternative is one we do not wish to see! War must not come, for the above world, those who dwell on the surface with their hideous light god, which blinds us all, shall never be but an enemy to us underground! So please, send us your greatest, and we shall send them home with resources to make us equals in friendship, and prepared for any adversary to dare venture forth into the Miasmaen or Candermaul Bowers!”
A cheer from the gnomes arose, and a clap from the dwarves came in agreement, but always suspicious of what these elves claimed. Their ancestors have fought wars with elves for eons, as old as drawven-kind had existed, elven kind had sought war. Why would these Terras be any different? Why would they even dare to act as though they couldn’t just take what they wanted. The Terra outnumbered them five-to-one, and were treacherous beasts in battle. Even by elf-standards, they were ruthless. Killing each other for sport, and murdering off whole families just because it would appease their goddess. They had great magic, powers beyond the comprehension of even the most mystical of dwarves, or devout of gnomes. They were like beautiful fabrications which should not exist in such a dark, damp place. As immaculate as The Candermaul Bowers were in architecture and culture, the clean, almost pristine mirage that made up the Terras...was alien, beautifully alien, outshining everything around them. It was infallible that the Terras could ever need anything, or find anything of value in Candermaul, and to even ask for builders and craftsmen? Outlandish would be an understatement. Yet the greed of dwarves knew no limits, and elven coin was as good as any. Gnomes were peaceful and always aimed to please, helping neighbors, foreign and domestic, they couldn’t possibly turn down a being in need. Except Borgot, he was apt to leave because he only served Borgot. He knew his life would be surrendered, and no Elf, Terra or otherwise, would pay his debt in full. The necromancers however…
Necromancers don’t always intervene, but Vakran had been summoned, and it was not his authority to choose a side. His powers are greater than any, having survived Death itself, but now plagued to be ever-called upon by the most powerful of necromancers, wizards, and sorcerers alike. SO in-between the realms of the living and the dead he resided, until forced to come alive once more into full, and carry out the deeds bestowed upon him...his blessing and his curse. The vessel he had been forced to choose however was something all-too altruistic for revenge. The wizard saw the fiendish irony, and this walking monstrosity of a troll was already difficult to kill, now impossible. The dueling minds fought for control of a singular thought, and the troll, diseased by something far-beyond even Vakran’s understanding, hadn’t noticed the evil stench that came off the corpse. Instead, Vakran fought for an imposed will over the being, and the fracture of the troll’s pea-sized brain seemed more difficult than it should’ve been, as though something else occupied its thoughts well-enough to feign off complete control.
Vakran was rather annoyed, even angered by this revelation that such a dumb animal could be able to battle his superior consciousness. For millennia he had learned the sacred, devious art of necromancy, a troll avatar with barely a spittle of brain left from its former life should be even more a meat puppet than a fresh corpse with a full-brain intact. The monster was like a second voice in his head, rather than Vakran guiding his toy, it felt his toy was just waiting, biding its time to play with him. This was very unlikely, as a monster of such low intellect in life, could never fight off a necromancer of his stature in death...and yet something rubbed Vakran wrong...this whole thing stinks to high hell, and it sure wasn’t the troll mucking up the air. Vakran was beginning to suspect that his presence was not to hunt down a gnome. He was already thinking that perhaps, he may have been had.