381. Totems of corrupt intent

5

It is a question so compelling it drives me on through the horror that surrounds me…

The necromancers of the Withered Hand Cult have overrun the port town of Tava’s Blessing in Northern Alik’r, killing almost every living thing, be it man, mer or beast.  Almost all, for the heir to the Redguard throne has somehow managed to survive the massacre, holding off the cultists in a warehouse with a small group of retainers.

Hammerfell is a land that  does not look kindly upon magicka-users, considering them at best unnatural. Necromancers they consider to be downright immoral, believing that they desecrate the mortal’s natural journey from life to death to the Far Shores. Even mages and sorcerers look unkindly upon the act of manipulating souls of mortals to reanimate their corpses.

Yet even the greatest of their orders are not foolish enough to underestimate the undaunted will of the necromancer.  For every attempt to raise the dead is thwart with dangers, not least the risk of a failed binding, or a corpse too far separated from life that it results in a feral undead who is just as likely to turn on its reanimator as obey them. The scouring sands of the Alik’r however preserves its corpses for centuries, allowing the skilled necromancer to successfully harvest the souls of warriors long since passed.

The first thing I noticed when I entered Tava’s Blessing was the smell, it struck hard like a punch in the nose, and it took me a while to overcome the involuntary gagging.  I am used to death, and I am used to corpses, yet the stench of rotten meat and burnt skin hangs thick here. It sits upon the air like a heavy blanket, suffocating my every breath.

There is an almost deafening buzz of tiny wings as thick clouds of insects creep across the town like black ghosts, gorging upon the bloated bodies, entrails, and coagulating blood left to fester in the streets.  Uncertain squawks and bickering of carrion birds can be heard from the near-by rooftops, unsure whether it is safe for them to swoop and scavenge, wary of the cultists who wander amidst the carnage chanting and hissing in what seems a gibberish language.

Dressed all in drab leathers, stained and caked with dried, blackened blood; bonelords and brutes, rogues and mystics, sorcerers and defilers, the host of the Withered Hand, gather in small groups, pilling corpses around ghastly totems, preparing ritual for corrupt intent.  

And all the while I am driven to fight my way through this horror that surrounds me by that one compelling question….. 

Why have the necromancers not raised the dead of Tava’s Blessing?

S.K

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