The crimes against Jakun were stacking up staggeringly fast. Amnor Sen needed to stop this, to help the amurran atone for his sins.
He stood beside his horse, a soft brush knocking off the dirt from miles on the road. The motion was calming, repetitive, and it helped him think straight.
"How do I help the undead Zephyr? He can be helped, I know he can. But Shelyn won't show me the way. Have I lost favour with her? She can't want me to destroy him. Jakun has fine calligraphy, just looking at the way he wrote in my journal. Maybe it's not a lot, but it is still art."
Zephyr snorted, stomping at the dead grass at his feet. He wasn't able to shed any new light on the paladin's troubles, but Amnor Sen felt a little better getting his concerns out.
"It's not like any of this was his fault either. Would it be a mercy to let him rest? He clings to life and I am loathe to end it. But if it is already ended…"
The elf sighed, listening to the quiet rustling of grass blowing in the wind. Part of him wished desperately that he'd taken Jeremy's advice and trekked through the Mwangi Expanse. Facing down snakes and giant man-eating reptiles suddenly seemed much easier a task.
Zephyr's head turned, his nose flaring slightly. Nearby, Jakun sat up suddenly, looking around in alarm.
"They're here…" the cat choked out, climbing to his feet.
"What are you talking about?" Amnor Sen said, setting the brush beside his bag.
Something stepped out of the amurran, solidifying under the elf's horrified gaze. He lunged for his glaive, staring at the werewolf standing beside Jakun.
"Calm down. Save your fight for the skeletons coming after us," the undead werewolf said, rolling her eyes.
Jakun shook Jeremy awake as Amnor Sen tried to figure out what in the Nine Hells was happening.
"Undead. Twenty of them, maybe more. Loran doesn't give up that easily," the werewolf scowled.
Jeremy grunted, shaking his head. He stood up, reaching for his sword.
"Best suit up then, huh? Jakun, stay out of the way… and keep the ghost away from me," he said, deciding to deal with one thing at a time.
Amnor Sen grabbed his mail, sliding the chain shirt over his gambeson. He gripped his weapon, searching the night for the promised undead. He had questions for the ghost… and for Jakun. But now was not the best time.
The clacking of bones sounded, Jeremy taking a deep breath. There was a sudden cackle, and even Jakun flinched at the noise, his ghostly companion looking rather concerned.
"He sent his entire fucking guard force. All this for a book?"
"Them too…" Jakun grunted, waving at Amnor Sen and Jeremy.
"Well he's not having me. I can't go without drink for a day; there is no way I would last as a slave," Jeremy said. "So…"
He lifted his wooden mug, the sound of liquid filling it.
"For the Drunk God's glory!"
He took a swig, Amnor Sen shaking his head. The paladin had no idea how his beloved could fight like a drunken dancer, but if it kept them alive, he certainly wouldn't complain.
A skeleton appeared in the tall dead grass, an arrow following. It struck Amnor Sen in his shoulder, sticking precariously from his mail. The elf winced at the blow, knocking the missile off his armour before moving between Jakun and the skeleton. Five others appeared, a cacophony of bones shambling toward them, an inexorable threat that would see them all dead. Or worse.
Jeremy held out his mug toward the skeletons.
"By the Drunk God's blessing, I purge your stain from this land!" he bellowed.
Energy rippled from him in a massive wave, the skeletons shattering upon contact. Behind the cleric, Jakun screamed in agony, falling to his knees as he was bathed in the burning energy.
"Try it again Jeremy. We want to see if we can destroy the cat we rescued," Amnor Sen snapped.
"I told him to stay out of the way," the cleric shot back, dodging another arrow. "Fuck, who's shooting us?"
"A ghast," the werewolf said, moving past him. "Part of Loran's special guard, ghast and three ghouls. I'll see what I can do about them."
"Anya…" Jakun croaked, clambering back to his feet.
The ghost ignored him, rushing past another wave of skeletons. Jakun stumbled after her, Amnor Sen grabbing at the cat.
"You, stay by the horses. Make sure they don't run off," the elf said sharply, pushing the neko toward the animals.
Jeremy channeled another wave of positive energy, aiming it at the skeletons. He grunted as the energy only destroyed three of them, the remaining three stumbling through. A scimitar rose in one's hands, Amnor Sen leaping forward to bring his glaive through the undead's spine.
A skeletal hyena suddenly leapt through the battlefield, lunging at yet another wave of skeletons. Jeremy held off another blast of energy, looking back at Jakun in concern.
The catfolk was focusing, a pained look on his face and a hand on his chest. He let out a sudden wail, clutching his head.
"Amnor Sen! We need to end this!" Jeremy yelled, his sword stabbing ineffectively through a skeleton's ribs.
"What do you think I'm doing?!"
The paladin darted around the hyena, driving the haft of his glaive through a skeleton's head as the hyena bowled another undead to the ground. The glaive rose and fell, cutting through the skeleton, ensuring it would never move again. Yet more were there to take its place, hacking the hyena to pieces in a rain of vicious blows, as a sob from Jakun lamented his fallen friend.
More skeletons came, forcing Jeremy and Amnor Sen back even as the cleric's energy flexed and the paladin's blade fell. They were losing, no matter how hard they fought. Resources depleting, outnumbered, neither Amnor Sen nor Jeremy could see a way out of this. Their doom was at hand.