Yeitic Morte was a busy man these days. For the last several weeks he had been puzzling over a conundrum that had been presented to him by a distant relation to a foreign prince. This in and of itself was not really that unique or interesting. Yeitic spent a lot of his time puzzling over complex and difficult quandaries, and a good number of these were brought to Yeitic’s attention by prominent people not native to his own land. What made any of it interesting is that these problems were all about the undead.
The enigmatic necromancer who was known to one and all simply as either Yeitic or more casually and dismissively as “Morty” was easily the most quickly identifiable person in the whole of Mort-Vivant. His professional trade in knowing and studying all things pertaining to demons, devils and the undead was strictly forbidden in almost every neighboring country. Even in Mort-Vivant it wasn’t exactly what one would call a welcome profession, but there wasn’t much in the way of a central governing figure here to enforce rules about such things.
This meant that Yeitic was frequently sought after by those in other lands that could not under their own laws pursue the sort of investigations that Yeitic could in Mort-Vivant. The powerful lords of Fanolania were among his best clients. In Fanolania the practice of necromancy was punishable by death when done outside of its related applications of healing the injured and curing the ill. Anything in the sphere of summoning spirits, animating corpses, or using dark arts to inflict pain and suffering was inconceivable. It was because of this that a Fanolanian elf who identified himself only as Kailu had months ago sought out and found Yeitic in order to have him conduct an investigation into a problem that was vexing the Fanolanians at the highest possible level.
The problem that Kailu laid out for Yeitic was at once intriguing and dangerous. There had appeared in nearby realms foul and deadly apparitions that might be undead but also might be some sort of summoned extraplanar entities working under the foul influence of a lich that has apparently set up shop in the Wenigzustand. This lich was known by several nicknames now, including the Viceroy and the Green King, but its true name remained a mystery. Lately though the Green King had been seen in the company of what could only be described as horrors in the guise of well known former adventurers. It was already known by the Fanolanians that the Green King had managed to attain some sort of control over these adventurers when they were alive and well. Their fates were unknown, but all of them had slipped into obscurity with amazing speed and reappeared as these terrifying monsters.
The former adventurers had all been women, and one of the many questions that Kailu asked Yeitic to delve into was whether or not this had any relevance. One had been a druid, another a thief, and the third a bard. In their new forms though the women were nightmarish mockeries of their former professions. The druid was seen as something akin to a ghoulish pagan priestess that was more likely to drain the life from a forest than she was to keep it in balance. The thief was now able to turn into a kind of vampiric mist and used her deadly stiletto to attack with unhinged savagery from even the thinnest of shadows. And the bard was more closely identified as a sort of banshee who could kill instantly with her keening wail. But were they truly undead? Could they be combatted as if they were vampires or banshees or liches? Kailu paid handsomely in advance for this work and Yeitic gleefully delved into it with a passion that would have been seen as evil in most any other place outside of Mort-Vivant.
It was after this meeting that Yeitic set out to see for himself what all was going on. The bulk of the action was taking place in the realm of Forêt Verte which sat to the east of Mort-Vivant so it wasn’t much of a trip. As was his custom Yeitic animated a couple of horse skeletons and made the trip to see what was going on firsthand. Once he crossed over into Forêt Verte he was almost immediately set upon and killed by undead bullywugs. Yeitic hated when this happened. The next day Yeitic awoke and managed to get to his feet not far from where he had been felled. He spent an hour or so looking for his skeletal mounts before he finally found them. Luckily the bullywug zombies hadn’t bothered his materials and research equipment and Yeitic continued on.
He made it almost a full four hours before he was killed again. This time it was at the hands of the former druid herself, and Yeitic was able to take a good many mental notes as she drained him of life and left his corpse in the dirt of the heavily forested realm. Like most of the times he died Yeitic suffered terribly. The knowledge that he would be inexplicably raised to life within a day or two was never of any comfort whatsoever. Pain was still pain and in this case it was unbearable. It was as though the monster was draining his life as well as his will to live. She appeared to be human, but had all of the trappings of being some sort of ghoul or ghast. She didn’t even need to touch him in order to slay him. Her eyes were covered in a bloody blindfold as if to hide the fact that her eyes had been removed violently and yet she seemed to be able to see him perfectly. Yeitic noted though that she couldn’t seem to see his undead horses and sure enough when he managed to rouse himself after being dead for three days he found his undead horses standing right there where he had fallen. Yeitic took a potion to ease his pounding headache and set back to his research.
Yeitic managed to hole up for several days before he died again. The third time on this trip wasn’t due to a horror or terror, though. Yeitic had been climbing a tree to get a better view of his surroundings when he lost his footing and fell, breaking his neck. He awoke the next day with a powerful kink in his neck but no other ill effects. By now Yeitic had enough information to begin formulating a theory and he would have to do more reading before he was able to cement any conclusions.
That had been a few months ago. Since then Yeitic hadn’t heard anything from the elf named Kailu. Yeitic had continued his work though and had managed to come up with a workable theory about how the Green King had created and now controlled the abominations that were plaguing Forêt Verte and beyond. As soon as Kailu showed up to get the results the world would know as well.