“That’s what we’ll be fighting…” I questioned out loud as I watch a hefty Charr in plate armor take a risen head from its body with a clean slice of their sword. There was no blood or entrails leaving the body; it was clear that whomever it had belong to before had died a long time ago. Blackened and lifeless eyes stared in the direction of our group from that severed head. Goosebumps appeared on my arms and I shook the vision from my head.
“It will be up to you to burn the bodies,” Angel said as a reminder to me. I nodded, finally realizing why it was important to burn them instead of just dismembering them. It seemed as though they could stitch body parts together to create a new being. “We have to be careful, though. The smoke and fire could attract more of them. We’ll have to do our best to contain it.
“This is all uncharted land. Do you think we’ll be able to find our way through it?” Ragnvaldr questioned us about a legitimate concern. I had spent a lot of time thinking about this as well, but ultimately I decided it fell on me.
“I studied a lot of maps from the era before Orr was drowned. With any luck, there will still be some landmarks from the pre-sunken land that I can recognize. If not, I still feel confident in my ability to get us further west until we meet the ocean, we can head south from there.” I tried to sound confident in my words. For them.
“Say, where exactly are we going again?” Tobih focused all of his attention on me while we continued to move toward the construct.
“Arah.” Angel and I both replied to him.
We didn’t have a lot of time to explain the location or why that was the place we chose to go. We were being greeted by what I could only assume was a pact member.
“State your business here,” the gruff female charr we had seen fighting earlier had approached us. Of course we were only adventurers and coming to Orr and potentially dying was a concern I’m sure the pact didn’t want to deal with. I wondered how many adventurers had come and met their doom here only to add to the numbers of Zhaitan’s forces.
“We’re on a pilgrimage.” Angel never skipped a beat with her confident answers.
The charr shifted in place and crossed her arms, “I’m sorry, I can’t allow you to go out there right now. We’re setting up here and the last thing we need is for you to bolster their numbers.”
“We really have a place we need to be.” I spoke up but then Angel held her arm out in front of me. She could handle it better than I could is what she was telling me. I stepped down and handed over the conversation to her.
“Surely you can wait a few years for us to take care of this mess.” The charr reasoned. Her tail swished behind her and the ocean caught her eye again.
“We’re already prepared for the worst, charr, and I’m prepared to show you.” Angel looked down at me after saying her words to the pact member. “You’ll know what to do.” Again, she had only her cryptic message to give me, but I trusted her.
“You all stay right here.” The charr demanded and pointed a claw at us. As she turned to leave, Angel had already drawn her greatsword and bolted towards the beach. “Hey!” The words came out of the charr’s mouth a little too late. In one fell swoop of her blade, Angel had hacked apart the undead. I ran forward, enough that I could see the texture of barnacled covered skin, and set the body ablaze. The skin popped as the water powered through the water-logged body. I worked to keep the flames burning long enough to reduce it into unusable material for Zhaitan.
“Impressive display,” the charr noted; Angel returned to her previous station, “But I still can’t let you move on.” Another member of the pact came out to the aid as well. This one was clothed in the familiar robes of the priory.
“Is there a problem?” The human asked the charr.
“These adventurers want to go on a ‘pilgrimage’ through Orr.” The charr scoffed.
Tobih stepped forward this time, “Understand that we really need to do this. This isn’t just some dare or adventure we’re here on. As the leader of Ventari’s Refugees, any information I discover can make it back to my guild and then back into the Pact’s hands.
If any of us were to die out there, each one of us is equipped to handle the bodies in a way necessary to keep us from coming back. We’re ready to learn any other procedures from the Pact that they think we need to know.
Just understand, we will find a way, even if you don’t let us through.”
The human looked deep in thought. “…Ventari’s Refugees… Aren’t you the lot that has been helping us keep the undead at bay in the surrounding area?”
“The very same. Many of my members have taken lessons directly from the Pact to be able to handle these problems. I trust we haven’t been a problem for the Pact?” Tobih was surprisingly well equipped to handle this conversation, more so than the rest of us.
The human nodded while the charr looked a little more confused, “I’ll take you in for now and talk it over with some of the higher-ups. I’m sure we can get you through if you can, indeed, bring us any information back and if the higher-ups allow it. I can’t make any promises on that, though.”
Tobih nodded and looked to the rest of us with a smile, “It helps to make friends.”
The priory-clothed member took us into the unfinished structure that lay in front of us and the charr took her place back on the beach. I looked back to the pile of bone and ash on the beach and fell into a thought; how many drenched bodies would I be burning on our trip?