Zaron woke suddenly, sweat beading on his forehead, mind racing, out of breath. He rarely found sleep these days, and when he did, it was fitful and filled with visions. Some would call them nightmares. The thought of him having nightmares drew a thin smile. The irony. The smile left his face as quickly as it had formed, leaving behind the gaunt visage of the Necromancer. Zaron sighed. Some days he felt all of the 250 odd years he had walked Athien.
Zaron understood, that despite his considerable powers, the time would one day come where mortality would catch up with him. However he always assumed he would have enough time to take his place amongst the demigods before death came to collect him. He had been planning things meticulously for almost a century, and so far everything had fallen into place. That was until his most recent summoning to the Shadow Plane, where he had seen his own tombstone. There was no mistake, he had seen it clearly with his own eyes.
All the summoned understood that time warped on Between, that you could be forced to wage battle against yourself, transported from a different time on Athien, yet appearing at the same time on Between. The common thought amongst the summoned was that the time warp was restricted to no more than several days, so seeing his own tomb stone was enough to keep Zaron from a restful sleep. Was his mortal body on Athien going to die within days? How far into the future had he been summoned? Zaron had spent countless hours since, scrying his crystal ball, listening to the whispers of the bones of the dead, yet he had learned nothing. There were no signs or warnings to suggest his mortal life was in danger. So how did he see what he did? He knew there was still much to learn about Between, that mysterious plane of shadow.
Zaron had communed with Krognar, the orc demigod, to glean what information he could. Despite having worked closely with Krognar for more than a century, the necromancer had sensed a change in their relationship of late, Krognar had seemed more aloof. In this instance however, the orc was helpful, suggesting he had heard that Ista, the elf demigod, for some time had been experimenting with the time warping powers of Between. The other demigods were wary of her work and the powers it could unlock for her. Zaron had little dealings with Ista. Rightfully so, she did not trust him, and rarely summoned him to do her bidding, however on this occasion he would be forced to try and contact her, there was too much at stake.
Whatever he did, the necromancer knew he could not rest on this. He had spent too long working on plans to enter the immortal ranks, to let it slip away when he was so close. Perhaps Styx knew more, he had not spent much time with his protege of late, she was more than likely working on schemes of her own. Zaron paused for a moment, wiped his brow, and took a deep breath. Things were starting to get interesting.
Narrative by Andrew "Guns" Galea
Miniature painted by Glenn Lamprecht