I am seriously considering placing a sign up outside my front door saying, "All Necromancers Please Knock Three Times." That should give me warning enough so I may vacate the premises via the back door. I had no such warning when Scaramandine II, nicknamed 'Scar' by his "friends," shall I say, came calling recently. His knock was much like any other and thus I had no time to prepare my questions nor steel my nerves to meet one such as he. I am sure my utterly mortified expression amused him.
"Ye are not so hard to find, Chronicler," he said, smiling. "Worry not. May I come in?"
I, of course, would not dare deny him admittance, knowing he could find other far less pleasant means of entry, and would have no scruples in doing so, should he so desire. Besides that, there is a rather warped thrill of danger that I admit I relish when talking with notorious personalities. Therefore, but not without some reserve, I welcomed him into my small home with all due courtesies.
He surveyed the furnishings and offered a simple, "Quaint, yet tasteful" comment. I smiled and offered him a seat and a drink. He accepted both. I asked him what brought him to my home as I poured him a glass of the best wine I had.
"I am aware that once ye spoke with my rival, Armande deSade. Ye gave him a fair hearing, allowing Britannians to judge him by his own words. I thought ye might do the same for me."
I nodded agreement, handed him the glass of wine, and took a seat. "Say on, sir, ye have a captive audience," I replied, with a smile of my own.
He returned the smiled and leaned forward slightly. "We should be judged by our actions, more so than words. Ye may now have opportunity to judge me by mine."
I nodded agreement and asked him to continue.
"Armande de Sade, a villain and an enemy to all, has been destroyed. I used the power of the Orb and the Spell of Focusing to rid the world of him forever. I was about to rid the world of yet another villain when my plans were foiled by those who are guided by a warped sense of 'justice.'"
I had heard Armande was gone--his shade had been seen, bearing all the marks of one who had been made a victim of the Orb of Soul Seeking. No one mourned his passing, just the hideous way it had been affected. I had also heard reports that the Orb was no more, shattered recently as it lay on the ground in Cove by an enchanted war hammer wielded by a simple farmer named Beechel Kire. Yet I was curious to know who would have been his next target, had it not been destroyed, and posed the question to him. He scowled as he spoke and his words spilled out like venom.
"A murdering thief whom the so-called Justice Alliance have had in their fellowship and employ for a long time--Spyte the Knife. Armande and I disagreed over many things. Ridding ourselves of that treacherous assassin was not one of them. I hope those who saved him are pleased with themselves. They will pay the high price of their folly soon enough, though not from me. They will see--they fought the starving serpent to free the ravening panther."
I had to interject at this point and did so knowing it could cost me. Nevertheless, I proceeded to tell Scaramandine that his using the Orb presented a threat to all of us, that it was best destroyed, and even the entity within the Orb itself, Io, was consenting to its destruction.
"There was no threat to anyone undeserving of death. I had complete power over the Orb and the Necromari as well. I went recently to the Mage Tower in Moonglow, where I had performed rituals on the war hammer fashioned by Telos Agralia from the enchanted armor of the fallen paladin Martel Nevarre. But at the Mage Tower I was confronted by its castellan and he refused sale of it to me. I had no choice but to reward his disrespect with a display of violence--yet I did not use the Spell against those who opposed me there, nor did I persist in forcing my way into the tower."
Once again he made reference to an event I did not witness, being ill of late, though my special contacts did bring me word. What he said was true to some extent--the Spell of Focusing was not used against anyone in Moonglow. I noted he used the past tense in describing his "complete power" over the Necromari, his multitudinous, nefarious, and thoroughly fanatical following. I asked him about that.
"The Orb was the focus of my authority over the Necromari. Their fear of it, from me using it to destroy those who opposed me, kept them in line and completely loyal to me. With the Orb gone, after a brief unity we gained after the death of Armande, we have again factionalized. I have spent many days chasing down the ringleaders of the various factions destroying them mercilessly. The acts of wanton destruction at the hands of these renegade factions are not my responsibility--those who opposed me in Cove, who aided in the shattering of the Orb, must bear full and total culpability."
I had heard reports of his plans to seek out and destroy the descendants of those who fought his forbear and namesake, the elder Scaramandine, using the Orb. I wondered if he would tell the truth concerning that.
"Aye, I had considered finding and destroying that pathetic progeny who had fled to the deceptive security of Trammel - but it was not something I was bent on doing. Even if I had, it would be no less than what anyone would do in retaliation for harm to one's own flesh and kin. Why should they not pay for the sins of their fathers? I am paying for mine constantly."
I did not bother mentioning that it was his forbear who had tried traitorously to undermine the authority of the king and subjugate the decent citizens of Minoc, and then, when his duplicity was discovered and he cast down, sought a thoroughly devilish means to wreak his vengeance on the innocent citizens. If he were paying for the "sins" of his forbear, I must conclude that it is deserved, unlike those of his intended victims on Trammel. I decided to change the subject and asked him of Io, the Orb entity, the souls released when the Orb was finally smashed, and the subsequent attack upon Cove.
"Io disappeared at the moment the Orb was shattered, or rather exploded. Long lost souls were released, some clearly wishing to strike back at the living. Whether or not they can possess anyone or assume fleshly form is anyone's guess. I have no idea what became of Io, nor do I have the slightest care."
The attack on Cove was justly deserved. I sent my armies against those who trifled with me and will do so again if I deem it necessary. But listen to me, Chronicler, I do not wish to destroy mindlessly! My only real concern is that all know I will not be held responsible for the chaos that has been unleashed as a result of the Orb's destruction. Ye will report this I trust--word for word?"
I agreed to do so. After little more than small talk, the Necromancer left. He gave me a crystal ball, telling me I could use it to communicate with him if there was a need, and he mentioned he may wish to speak to me, and through me to the citizens of Britannia, once again. I took the object and thanked him, relieved the interview was over.