Inspired by a discussion on Legends of Windemere. Possibly to be continued.
The necromancer’s uniform was neat as a pin, his trousers creased, his boots polished, all of the buttons properly fastened. That alone would have made him stand out, this close to the front, even without the black sash of rank. He carried a single travelling bag and had arrived on foot from the forest.
The sentries at the edge of the camp started at his approach. They were days from the nearest village, an Etchian settlement that had so far survived the war by virtue of not having any buildings worth burning. The Fifth Infantry had taken it for what they called an advance resupply post and everyone else called a damned nuisance.
One of the sentries went so far as to jump to her feet, a green recruit too young to remember a time before the war.
The necromancer addressed her solemnly, “Captain Gorrestor, to see your commanding officer.”
She blinked and pointed. Another one of the sentries, a long-limbed redhead, leaned back against the felled tree that she’d made her couch, “The major’s in the mess, most likely. It’s the big tent in the middle. Smells like crap.”
The necromancer turned to her, “Thank you, sergeant.” As he headed off the younger sentry sketched a belated salute, which the necromancer returned, crisply.
Watching the necromancer’s retreating back the third sentry, blond, heavyset, and older than either of the others, observed, “What do you know. We got a man in camp.”
The redhead laughed, “Don’t get too excited. I hear his kind only fucks the dead.”
The blond considered this, then shrugged, “I can hold my breath.”
The mess tent–neater and better smelling than he’d been led to expect–doubled as the squadron’s command center. The necromancer pushed aside the flap and walked inside. A handful of rough wooden tables filled the space, the central one piled with maps and surrounded by the major and her staff.
The necromancer stopped and saluted neatly, “Captain Gorrestor, reporting as ordered.”
The major didn’t return his salute. She was dressed in stain dungarees, a sole oak leaf cluster her only insignia, “Ordered by who?” she asked crossly.
The necromancer reached into his travelling bag to remove a sheaf of papers, adorned by a seal in red wax, “Our Emperor, by way of the Arch Minister of War.”
One of the major’s aids hastened to take the papers and hand them to the major. She glanced over them and then stopped and read more carefully.
“This says you command a company. So where are they?”
The necromancer smiled, “At the moment, they are still in the ground. I am led to believe that there is a burial ground nearby?”
The major considered that, “There was a mining camp near here once, they’ve got a boneyard. Nothing fresh, though, they went bust near a century ago.”
“That will be sufficient.”
Animating the dead became more difficult the longer they were dead, the major knew. She looked at the necromancer with new respect, “I can detail you a couple of riders as an escort. You ever work around dragons before?”
“Not wyverns, Major. I was detailed to the Fifteen Firedrake briefly.”
“”Drakes are bigger, calmer. A wyvern’s mean enough to bite it’s own face off, and too dumb to notice it hurts. You don’t ever let your guard down around one that’s not hooded. My girls are champs at keeping the bastards in line, but if you get too close to one that’s feeling frisky and you’ll be doing your mojo one handed.”
“Understood, Major,” the necromancer replied gravely, “Would it be possible for me to begin my work today?”
“Yeah, no problem,” she turned to her executive officer, “Wake up Tucker and Katz, tell them they get to run Captain Death to the old mine.”