July 19, 2019, 08:13:59 PM

Author Topic: The Adventures of Vicky and Wilma, Mage-Detectives: A Matter of Life and Death  (Read 1953 times)

Sailor Vulcan

  • Secret Identity: Imaginator
  • Legendary Mage
  • *****
  • Posts: 3128
  • Banana Stickers 3
    • View Profile
The Adventures of Vicky and Wilma, Mage-Detectives

A Matter of Life and Death
Part I

My name is Wilma, and I am now a fully-trained wizard. I recently graduated from Arcanum, the mage's academy in Sortilege, and I'm currently traveling the world in search of knowledge, experience, and mysteries to solve. My annoying roommate of the past few years, Vicky, a necromancer of indeterminate gender, decided to follow me all the way to Wychwood.

Okay, so I let Vicky follow me. They didn't really have anywhere else to go, and we are friends, loathe as I am to admit it.

We had heard rumors of travelers going missing somewhere in the Wychwood, and Vicky insisted that we investigate. I was curious too, but didn't think it was a good idea for us to risk going missing ourselves. That being said, they were still only rumors; we had yet to receive any evidence that distinguished the possibility that people were actually going missing from the possibility that someone was just making up spooky stories. Besides, I'd never been to the Wychwood before. Knowing the two of us, that basically meant we HAD to investigate. We decided to proceed with caution.

"You know, if something kills you in here, I can just bring you back, you know," Vicky told me as we stepped over a vine on the ground.

"Ha. Ha. Ha," I replied. We both knew that Necromancers couldn't really bring people back to life--only manipulate their corpses like puppets.
After a couple months of travelling we were finally in the Wychwood. (It would have taken less time, but we didn't want to traverse through the Darkfenne.)
We found a forest clearing that was overgrown with flowers and vines. In the middle of the clearing was a tall tree with a huge treehouse in it. There was a wooden sign that said, "Straywood embassy (temporary location)".
"Want to meet some elves, Wilma? They might know if there are people disappearing around here."

"That's exactly what I was thinking."

We entered the clearing.

"HALT! STATE YOUR NAMES AND YOUR PURPOSE!"
We looked up at the voice, which seemed to have originated from a TREE.
I was startled to see a talking tree, but I went with it. The question of how and why trees could talk in the Wychwood but couldn't everywhere else was just another mystery that a more experienced wizard would have to solve. Or maybe I would give a try at it when I was older and more experienced.
"Travelers," I answered. "Wilma Plinikin and Vicky Shroud, alumni of Arcanum, Academy of mages in Sortilege. We are on a quest for knowledge, experience and mysteries to solve. We heard that people are disappearing around here. Is that true?"

"YOU SHOULD NOT BE HERE, IN THIS PART OF THE WOODS. IT IS NOT SAFE."

There was a scream, and someone fell from the canopy of the tree. Without a second thought, I ran into the clearing, with Vicky following close behind me.

There was what appeared to be a dead druid on the ground, her leafy clothes corroded by acid and her form rotting. Before our eyes it slowly rose to its feet and its muscles grew. It turned to face us in a combat ready stance. Vicky and I both tensed.

"Zombie brute," Vicky said. "Something seems weird about it though."

The zombie brute lunged at us. I dodged and zapped it with a burst of arcane magic as Vicky grabbed their deathshroud staff out of thin air and swung it at the zombie. The zombie grappled with the necromancer for a moment, and Vicky began to be pushed back from the force of it.

I zapped the zombie again. It lunged at me this time, but I was ready. I hurled a fireball at it point-blank, and it crumpled.

We approached the destroyed zombie cautiously.

"Something still seems weird," said Vicky, tapping their chin. "I can't quite put my finger on it though."

"Out of the way!" a man shouted. The beastmaster pushed past us to kneel down beside the ashes of the druid. He stared at it in shock, then let out a strangled cry.

"Da**it! I'm sorry, Nuriann." Tears streamed down the beastmaster's cheeks.

Then he noticed Vicky, and noticed that they were holding a deathshroud staff.

"YOU! YOU KILLED NURIANN!"

"No, we didn't!" Vicky protested, startled. "She was already dead!"

"DARKFENNE SCUM!"

The beastmaster lunged at Vicky, tackling them to the ground.

"Vicky!" I yelped. I ran forward to help my friend, but there was no need. The beastmaster was forcepushed away from them.

"Ruko! Stop it! I know you're upset, but randomly attacking people isn't going to make things any better!"

I turned around. The voice came from a forcemaster who was running towards us from the base of the tree. A very familiar forcemaster...

"Lunesthia? Is that you?" I asked.

"Wilma?" The forcemaster's mouth stretched into a pained smile to match my own. "What are you doing here?"

"Traveling the world, seeing the sites. Vicky and I heard some rumors that there were people disappearing around here, and we wanted to check it out. We weren't quite expecting something like this, though."

"Same with us," said Lunesthia, gesturing at the beastmaster Ruko and herself. Then her face twisted into a bitter grimace. "Sorry that we're meeting again under such awful circumstances."

I swallowed. "Awful is an understatement. Do you have any idea how she died?"

Lunesthia looked down at the ashes of Nurriann's corpse. "I have some ideas, but I don't know for sure. All I know is that this can only be the handiwork of a dark mage, probably a necromancer." She shook her head. "Nuriann was an old friend of Ruko's. I...can't imagine how he must be feeling right now. To be honest I don't think her death has completely sunk in for me, either. I'm probably going to have nightmares tonight."

"Me too," I said. "I don't handle death very well."

Lunesthia frowned disapprovingly at me.

"Then why do you still hang around with the necromancer?"
"I said I don't handle death well. I didn't say anything about undeath. I mean, the corpses animated by necromancy are just empty shells, and animating them causes no harm to the departed souls which used to inhabit them. It can even be used as a force for good."
I remembered in our first year at the academy when my grandmother was killed. I had tried to find out who had killed her, and all the evidence I could gather on my own narrowed things down to a few suspects. Vicky used necromancy on my grandmother's body to find out exactly when and how she really died, and with their help I solved the mystery. But even then, my grandmother's body being controlled like a puppet and scrutinized, even though she wasn't even inside it anymore...

"It still makes me uncomfortable, though."

"Hmm," Lunesthia tilted her head, deep in thought. "So you actually are friends. I thought he...or she... or whatever was just a tagalong."

"I wish," I snorted.

Suddenly we heard commotion coming from up in the treehouse. Multiple vines shot out of it to dangle from the sides of the platform the treehouse was resting on between the branches, and six people emerged from the treehouse, grabbed the vines and dropped down to the ground at the base of the tree. They let go of the vines as they landed, and the vines vanished.

There were two beastmasters and a druid among them, but there were also delegates of other nations. A Priest of Malakai from Westlock, a Wizard from Sortilege, and a Warlord from the Anvil Throne mountain range.

One of the beastmasters, an elderly man with white hair using a staff of beasts as a cane stepped forward and looked at Ruko, Lunesthia and I. "On behalf of this diplomatic council, I thank you for protecting us from the Darkfenne's assault."

"Hey! I helped too!" said Vicky.

All eyes turned to them. There were looks of shock and outrage upon the diplomats as they noticed Vicky. They all looked tense and afraid, and all of them were getting into battle ready stances, some of them equipping themselves with weapons. The druid  grabbed hold of her vinewhip staff out of thin air, but held it close to herself with her hands at the top of it, ready to push it into the ground. Yet at the same time, she looked uncertain. The wizard gathered crackling arcane magic in his hands. The Warlord from the anvil throne mountains held his axe at the ready. Both of the beastmaster delegates tightened their grips on their staffs. The priest of Malakai equipped himself with his staff of Asyra and was pointing it at Vicky.

"Liar!" said the Priest. "You are a Necromancer of the Darkfenne! No doubt it was you who killed Representative Nurriann!"

"He wasn't," I said. "He's with me."

Now the delegates were pointing their weapons at me as well. Ruko gritted his teeth as Lunesthia frowned, but they did not aim attacks at anyone.

"Wilma," said Vicky. They swallowed. "I need to say something that I should have told you a long time ago, but was too scared to talk about. And I need to say it to all of them, too, not just to you. I'm worried that our lives and freedom might depend on it.”
They paused.

"I was cast out of the Darkfenne. It was I who killed mass-murderer Mortimio II, servant of the Bog Queen. He was my father."

"So then," I said quietly. "Last summer, when you said you were going home to visit your father...?"
Vicky nodded. "I'm sorry I didn't tell you before. I didn't want to get you involved," Vicky shook her head.

"No, that wasn't my main reason. More than giving you plausible deniability and keeping you out of harm's way...I wanted him dead and I wanted to kill him myself."
I stared at Vicky. This was not how they usually acted. They were almost never this serious. Not for the first time, I wondered how well I really knew my friend.
If Vicky was an outcast of the Darkfenne, why were we travelling so close to its borders in the first place? It really didn't seem like a safe thing to do. And why did they bring me with them?
I sighed. “We'll talk later,” I promised.
I turned back to the delegates, who seemed to be going through a variety of different emotions. The wizard looked confused, but nevertheless lowered his hands and dissipated the crackling arcane magic he had gathered there, although he still looked back and forth between Vicky and I, suspiciously. The druid looked nervous and afraid, but was no longer holding her staff tightly to her chest, but instead held it in one arm to her side. The elderly beastmaster's eyebrows had shot up in surprise, and lowered his staff of beasts. The younger beastmaster did not lower her staff of beasts, until the elderly one put his hand on her shoulder, and she grumbled as she put the weapon away. The warlord did not lower his axe. The priest of Malakai did not lower his staff of Asyra.
This led to some arguing between the diplomats.

“Lower your weapons,” said the elderly beastmaster.

“We can't just let them walk free! It's obvious that they're the ones responsible!” said the priest.

“They are not raising their weapons at us,” the Wizard noted.
The anvil throne warlord snorted.

“That doesn't mean a thing. They might have creatures hiding just oustside this clearing, waiting to ambush us. More zombies, perhaps.”
I rolled my eyes.

“If that were the case, you should be pointing your weapons outside the clearing, rather than at us.”

The priest narrowed his eyes at me. “And let you surprise attack us while our backs are turned? Not a chance.”

“You have four other delegates who I presume are perfectly capable of fighting off a creature ambush while you focus on us. And we know that. We're not the ones who brought up the idea of a creature ambush in the first place.”

“Your point?” the Warlord demanded.

I sighed in aggravation. “This is ridiculous! We're both only just graduated from Arcanum, there's two of us and six of you. If we were planning a surprise attack, we would have done it by now. And even then there would be no point in waiting for your backs to turn, since we would have no chance of winning anyways.”

“Unless you are more powerful mages disguised under an illusion,” said the Priest of Malakai.

I glanced over at Vicky and said, sarcastically, “Hey, they're on to us! They're realizing that you're a necromancer who disguised yourself as a necromancer so that they would second guess that you were a necromancer in an attempt by the Darkfenne to ambush this embassy!”

Lunesthia couldn't help but laugh out loud at that one.

“Lower your weapons,” said the Druid, quietly.

The anvil throne warlord and the priest did not lower their weapons.

Trembling, the Druid said in a voice that was probably stronger than she felt, “As the remaining Wychwood representative, I say to lower your weapons, and not raise them again unless we are threatened. The Wychwood does not condone needless fighting within its borders.”

Reluctantly, the priest and warlord lowered their weapons.

The druid sighed, then turned back to Lunesthia, Ruko, Vicky and I. Her nose scrunched up in at least a bit of disgust as her eyes passed over Vicky, and she said, in a tired voice.

"You must be tired."

My stomach rumbled.

Vicky groaned at the sound of my stomach. "Why'd you have to do that? Now she has no choice but to offer us food." Then their stomach grumbled too. I laughed. "Some guests we are, right?" I asked, rhetorically.

The druid's lips twiched as if she wanted to smile, but couldn't. "There are places for guests. In the trees outside this clearing. There is food there." she turned to start walking towards the perimeter of the clearing, beckoning the four of us to follow her.
--------------------------------------
Who killed Representative Nurriann, and why?

Everything might be as it seems, or it might not be. No one, and I mean absolutely NO ONE should be ruled out as a suspect without sufficient justification.

The first person who figures out what's going on here should get a banana sticker! But unfortunately I do not have it within my power to grant that precious, sticky delicacy.

The remainder of this story will be written and posted in parts, and the order of the parts might depend on what theories people come up with.

Post away!
« Last Edit: January 02, 2015, 12:17:38 PM by Sailor Vulcan »
  • Favourite Mage: Salenia Forcemaster
I am Sailor Vulcan! Champion of justice and reason! And yes, I am already aware my uniform is considered flashy, unprofessional, and borderline sexually provocative for my species by most intelligent lifeforms. I did not choose this outfit. Shut up.