Henrik Makes a Move
Henrik stood upon the forecastle of the Highspire, his blackened armor smoking as he surveyed the ghouls working the ship. Edmund paced back and forth on the deck, his hulking undead form oozing black pus as he barked orders to the undead crew. It was completely unnecessary, since the crew was bound to Henrik’s will and to Nightbringer, but ever since the change Edmund was incessantly chatty. Even without functional vocal cords.
Henrik’s eyes drifted up to the gibbets hanging from the masts. The rotted forms of Hania, Aiko, and Courtland swung freely in them, slowly decomposing as the gulls picked at them. Reflexively, Henrik found himself clenching his mailed fist over Nightbringer.
“A pity, that accursed godling sunk his claws into them before we could fully convert them to our cause, eh Seymour?” Henrik looked to the grizzled former captain of the guard, now revitalized as a vampire.
Seymour’s gaunt skin tightened into a predatory smile. “Indeed sir. Their power would have been quite useful. “
“None the less, we shall not need them. Alaron shall be ours once more!”
Henrik awoke with a start, a cold sweat running down his brow. Nightbringer was gripped firmly in his fist, his knuckles white from clutching the hilt. As Henrik looked at the tome he had been studying, something clicked. Wheels and gears whirled in his head, and something came to the forefront. Closing the tome with a snap, Henrik stalked out of his room and to the hold.
In the dark depths of the ship’s hold, Henrik found what he was looking for: a human skull, the remnants of a certain ghost. Henrik hefted Nightbringer, the black blade seeming to draw in the flickering light of the lantern. Pointing the blade at the skull, Henrik rested the tip on Thruvian’s skull and found himself uttering an incantation, foreign to his mortal mind and yet flowing from his lips like the black waters of the river Styx. The incantation complete, Henrik focused for a moment, issuing a mental summons to the ghost to appear before him when alone. In a moment, Thruvian appeared before Henrik, an agonized look on his face”
“What have you done?!”
The bound spirit found itself unable to vocalize anything, as Nightbringer’s spell froze its will.
Nodding in approval, Henrik began giving the ghost instructions: “You shall continue your work upon the ship as her captain and navigator as though nothing has happened. You shall be my sleeper agent, and give no indication of that without further command from me. Finally, you shall teach me everything you know of undeath, and the ancient Highspirian language. “
The ancient spirit nodded slowly in understanding. “As you command, Master.”
“Excellent. Meet me in my quarters in an hour. We have much to discuss.”
Thruvian gave a stiff salute, and then faded from existence. With a sick grin, Henrik spun on his heel, an almost imperceptible black spot on Redwater’s skull where Nightbringer had touched it. Sheathing Nightbringer, Henrik found himself stroking the handle as he returned to his cabin… there was much to do. Much, indeed.