Two horses walked slowly down the winding road, nervously staring at the dozens of mindless undead in the fields around them. Their riders were none too happy with the zombies either.
"They profane the dead to farm? I always heard of zombie plantations, but seeing them for myself…"
Jeremy Fairchild tucked his holy symbol of Cayden Cailean into his shirt. The Gebbites were a nation of evil, and though he and Amnor Sen were only passing through, they didn't want to cause any problems by waving around the symbol of a good deity. Jeremy let a grunt slip from him. One good channel… that's all it would take and the stain of undeath would be washed from this area.
Yet that would draw far too much attention, likely getting them killed. They were just one paladin and one cleric. Hardly enough to change an entire nation.
No, they would do much more good at the Worldwound, Amnor Sen crafting his weapons and Jeremy healing the wounded adventurers.
"It's the safest way to Absalom," his companion spoke up.
"I call shit. You just wanted to see what we're fighting against. Are you happy now?"
Amnor Sen sighed, fingers tapping on the haft of his glaive, resting over a saddlebag. The elven paladin looked around them in disgust, the very thought of undead sickening him to the core. Making the scene even worse was the sinking sun, casting an almost cheerful look to the world around them.
"Fine, maybe I did. It's too late to turn back now. I just wish I could see the beauty in undeath. I don't get it…"
"Beauty in undeath? Love, I think you have finally lost your mind," Jeremy said, shaking his head.
"Perhaps I have. This is disgusting. And it hurts me to say that. But I cannot believe Shelyn wishes undead creatures to profane the land."
The paladin was having a crisis of conscience. And Jeremy felt bad for him. Yet Amnor Sen was the one who had suggested this. Jeremy would have been happy to stay in Anuli, proselytizing to the people who lived there.
"Leave it to a Shelynite to try to find a redeeming quality in undeath…" he sighed.
"If I recall, that is what drew you to me in the first place. The insistence that everything has beauty if you search for it."
"No, what drew me to you was the exquisite quality of your smithing. What made me stay was the beauty of your soul," Jeremy corrected.
"Come for the armour, stay for the pounding, right?" Amnor Sen smirked.
"Smite me, oh smith of the gods," Jeremy teased back. "You know, I think you missed a few kinks when pounding me last night…"
He frowned slightly, looking through a field of skeletons.
"Is that a cat?"
Amnor Sen looked over where Jeremy pointed, frowning at the sight of a zombie in torn clothing. Sure enough, a tail was hanging limply behind the zombie, like a dead snake.
"That is so sad… Remember that catfolk we met in Anuli? The one that told you Cayden Cailean was a drunk?"
"Oh yeah. We had to explain to her that he was a proud drunk," Jeremy shook his head. "'Your god is a drunken disgrace!' Seriously. Like that isn't a point of pride for us."
"How did one get shackled into undead slavery?"
"I am not sure. Maybe she was sold and then brought in before dying and being raised? It looks like her throat was torn out," Amnor Sen frowned. "Such a waste of life…"
He looked up at the setting sun.
"We should find a place to camp for the night," the paladin said. "And I'll take the first watch. Away from the zombies."
"Why don't we continue for another mile?" Jeremy suggested. "Maybe we can find a tavern to stay at."
"I doubt it, but it would be nice to sleep on an actual bed. Okay, another mile," Amnor Sen agreed.
The mile passed quickly, and the two got off the road, moving slowly through tall grass. Thankfully, the area seemed clear of undead, and soon they were getting off their mounts.
Jeremy set up camp while Amnor Sen saw to the horses. Sitting together, the two broke open some trail rations, sharing a small loaf of bread and a sausage.
"We'll need to stop in a town soon," Amnor Sen said, munching on the meat. "I'm getting tired of stale bread. Maybe we could pick up some cheese or something."
"What about some nice Varisian wine?"
Amnor Sen shook his head sharply.
"Not happening until we're further north. I'm not spending twenty gold on a bottle of sour grapes. Besides, wouldn't you rather have wine from Galt?"
"Of course I want wine from Galt, but that's never going to happen," Jeremy scoffed.
"Who knows, maybe it will. Now, eat your sausage or you won't get the other sausage," Amnor Sen smirked.
Jeremy mumbled something, his face suddenly paling.
"Amnor Sen, did you notice anything weird about that plantation?"
"Besides the zombies running around?"
"Besides them, yes."
"There were a lot of animal pens. And not much harvesting of grain. Maybe it was a meat farm," the paladin shrugged. "There's nothing unusual about that."
"But… what kind of meat would undead eat?" Jeremy prodded.
Amnor Sen paused mid bite. He looked down at his sausage, looking rather green.
"I… I believe I have eaten my fill," he said quietly, folding the food back up.
"Why don't I take the first watch?" Jeremy said. "You get some sleep, okay?"
"You need your sleep to cast spells-"
"I'll get enough sleep, I promise."
Huffing quietly, Amnor Sen layed out a bedroll, crawling into it. Jeremy sat next to him, working the elf over with his hands. He knew the ache of carrying chain on your back for miles, they had been doing it together after all. The least the man could do was provide a little comfort for the elf, and try to ease his transition into sleep. After his revelation, Jeremy knew Amnor Sen would have trouble falling asleep.