Denard Holland is surprised.
He had just retired from service, and moved into this remote village with his newlywed wife. But before him, on the outskirts of the village are piles of human bones.
The residents were equally shocked, and their surprise only escalated upon recognising the decaying clothes wrapped around each skeleton. Apparently, they were supposed to be buried in the village graveyard.
What Denard was more concerned about were not their identities, but the weapons that accompanied each one. It’s obviously the work of a necromancer, and the villagers were a hair’s breadth away from being massacred.
He’s glad it wasn’t so. Otherwise, he would have had to sacrifice himself to protect his beloved.
But, why did the attack fail? The necromancer was obviously able to raise and lead them, so why did he stop?
Supposedly, one of the hunters returning late last night had witnessed the entire incident. The hunter stealthily rushed back to alert everybody, but by the time he returned the skeletons had begun their charge. That was when the necromancer was stabbed in the back by one of his own risen. Thinking the skeletons had gone berserk, he continued to wake everyone, but by then the necromancer was gone and the skeletons had stopped.
Denard looks down at the bloodied patch of soil and grass at his feet. It seems the hunter’s story was true.
The villagers begin returning the bodies to their graves. It’s must be disconcerting to bury their loved ones once more, he thought. But there is still an empty grave.
They could not find the body of Todd, the deceased son of the village elder. Naturally, the villagers assume he was the one who killed the necromancer, and believe he had revolted against his summoner to protect his cherished home. The village elder and his brother were very proud as a result, and held a commemorative ritual to give their thanks and put his wandering soul to rest.
This ritual will later become an annual event.
An undead villager regaining his will to protect his loved ones? The idea is too fantastic, but it is also the most believable.
This time was a miracle.
As the last embers of the bonfire die away, Denard looks back at his smiling wife, and swears in his heart to protect her and the village with all his being.