11 July (Continued)
It was the middle of the night when Belgarde rose from his bed. The inn was silent aside from the snoring of the other guests that could be heard through the thin walls. A glance out the window showed the moon to have almost reached its highest point for the night. “We have ze plenty of time,” Belgarde thought aloud.
With a gentle nudge, Belgarde roused Soveliss from his meditation. “Hmmmm? It’s time?” Soveliss mumbled as he slowly opened his eyes.
“Come mon ami, zere iz work to be done if we are to be bringing ze Baron’z zon back from ze dead,” Belgarde replied with another less gentle nudge.
“Under the moon it is then?” asked Soveliss as he stretched his legs and arms from his dormant state.
“Ze Belgarde iz afraid not. Eet zeemz we will be robbing ze grave if we are wanting to bring zis Etheran back. Dark work requirez ze dark hour. Bezidez, calling back ze zpirit iz no eazy tazk, eet would be bezt if zere waz no one around to dizturb uz,” answered Belgarde.
They both agreed things would be much easier if the others had been more receptive of their plan to bring the baron’s son back to life. It was sad that they couldn’t see the potential profit and honor afforded them by doing so. Gathering the necessary supplies for the ritual, the two made their way out of the inn while Soveliss strummed a soft melody on his lute, invoking a sleeping charm to put to rest any who might still be awake.
The night air was cool as they stepped outside and made their way to the the town’s graveyard. They found the caretaker’s shed to be locked, but with a few moments of concentration Soveliss had it open. “You know old friend, it would seem that once again we are just the two to get things back on the right track.” Grabbing a pair of shovels, the duo made their way to the freshly dug grave of Etheran, where his head was lain to rest.
Sovellis made sure that no one was about at the late hour as Belgarde began to shovel dirt to the side of the grave. Taking turns, the two eventually managed to clear the grave of earth and pull Etheran’s battered head from its resting place. Panting from exhaustion Belgarde gasped, “Ze eazy work iz done…now for ze hard part.”
Sovellis cleared a space to lay Etheran’s head in preparation to being reunited with his body as Belgarde began to arrange the necessary components. In a large bowl he mixed the silvery residuum with small amount of cool water, forming a viscous paste. Belgarde took utensils and marked the head with the proper runes traced all about it as Soveliss built up a fire, feeding it with logs stolen from stacks of cut wood sitting outside various houses.
As the two stripped and prepared their own bodies for the ritual Soveliss joked about being lucky that the darkness would hide them from prying eyes. Smirking, Belgarde quickly went over the intricacies of the ritual with Soveliss once more, instructing him on where to stand and what to do. Soveliss helped check off and make sure all was correct with his recent understanding of the ritual.
As before, the ritual began slowly, with but a low hum and swaying of bodies. Belgarde kept and eye on Soveliss, making sure that their steps were in time. He had nothing to worry about, the bard’s own musical talents saw him through the beginning of the ritual and eventually the rhythm took control of their bodies. The music lifted from the two and their bardic training carried the tune soulfully into the night.
. . . . . . .
After the lights dimmed, and the tune subsided from both their voices Belgarde and Soveliss looked back to the resting place of Etheran’s head. In its place lay a healthy young man’s body which was flush with life. The two ritualists stepped closer to their handiwork to examine and make sure the life once more flowed.
As they approached and looked at each other and then back to the body, Etheran’s eyes shot open and he choked for a second as though breathing was foreign. “Duuuuude. That sucked!” he choked out. Soveliss and Belgarde looked to each other again and smiled. Etheran suddenly noticed his surroundings, looked to his naked body, then to the two naked men before him, then smeared the paste on his face and looked slightly horrified for a moment.
“It iz alright Etheran! You live!” Belgarde stated joyfully. The two bringers of life extended hands to lift Etheran to his feet. The man scooted back a few paces and looked the two up and down.
“What happened?” he asked.
“You died young man! You died by troll,” Soveliss stated matter-of-factly. “I’m sure it was legendary, but we had to bring you back!” excitement brimmed on the bards words.
“I believe your dragonborn friend iz mizzing you az well?” Belgarde chimed in.
“The time for stories will come soon though,” Soveliss smiled.
“Yez, firzt we muzt get you tooo… How do you zay? A warm plaze?” Belgarde exclaimed with a smile.
The two excitedly helped the poor boy to his feet and turned to their piles of clothing and began to re-dress, stopping occasionally to laugh and look about at each other and the ritual site, joyous in their accomplishment. Belgarde handed a set of baggy clothing to Etheran who began to dress hastily. “Zo, ze tavern? For zome ale and food,” Belgarde intoned.
“Yes, our treat, the sun is rising and the others will be up soon if not already. I cannot wait to see the look on their faces!” Soveliss exclaimed.
Soveliss pulled out his cittern and strummed a cheerful tune as they made their way back into town, Etheran walked between them as Belgarde followed up with his tambourine, the music and rhyme of song lightening their steps. The troubadours, entertainers extraordinaire, gathered many a curious glance from freshly awake town-folk as they made their merry way back to the tavern to greet their grumpy companions. Neither Belgarde nor Soveliss could wait to get back and hear the tale of Etheran!