The First Lich Lord - C.182


To me, the fight had been a little disappointing. Though I guess in the grand scheme of things its better to be bored than the fight be too hard. A prompt appeared for all of us asking about claiming the dungeon. I declined, selecting the option where the power reverted back to Shadehki. My dungeon lord trait wouldve even allowed me to appoint another creature in my stead, but it just wasnt worth it in comparison to powering up a friendly god.

Upon death, the boss had broken apart into ravens that flew back to the coffin. Expecting that was where the loot was, I approached along with Maxwell and Raven, Shamgar didnt particularly care.

We were disappointed. The only thing in the coffin was a dried up body. It was rather well intact for as long ago as I assumed Shadehki had died. The body wasnt human, or any of the other standard races. It was some kind of bird creature, which made sense. I had no doubt using that body in the creation of a minion would result in something very powerful, but I stopped myself from taking it.

If the point was to bring power back to Shadehki, I was pretty certain stealing his former body from his tomb which was a holy place for his followers would not help. Disappointed that we didnt get any loot, thoroughly exploring the room and finding nothing, we left.

Right as we stepped back outside, I heard a gruff, angry voice. Be we gone you stupid birds, why would you bring me here? I dont know why I put up with you anymore. A man dressed in ragged robes that were patched together out of many small animal hides stood just beyond the small tunnel. His hair was wild and gray, his skin wrinkled, his eyes sunken, though they had a glint to them. His shouting and fighting with the ravens stopped and they set him down. I see. So someone new has come to claim the power here. I guess Im supposed to stop you.

Magic was building around him, and it wasnt just death. I spoke before he could act. Wait! The old man stilled, and Raven, who had just appeared out of the shadows, eyes fixed on him, ceased her stealthy encroachment. Shadehki brought me here, I did not claim the holy site. Im the one who gave him his first temple back.

A Lich, the old man mumbled to himself. I guess thats why the ravens been telling me to be open minded. He was clearly not addressing me as he rambled on. Wait for hundreds of years, no, I cant do it, someone else has to do it, our time will come.

I looked at Maxwell as Raven backed off, sheathing her sickles behind her back. The ramblings of the old became disjointed, and Maxwell and shared a what the fuck expression.

Maxwell spoke, Excuse me, sir, who are you, what is going on?

The man did not respond until a massive raven landed in front of him and cawed so loud that the fur of the mans cloak rippled. Fine, go away stupid bird. He shooed at the raven and it took to flight. Names Ervig, he said, and the way he spoke to us made me question how long it had been since hed spoken to someone other than ravens. Followed beak face before ascension. Waited in swamp for help after fall.

How long ago? I asked carefully.

Much sleep, he kind of answered before barreling forward. Never expected Lich to help. That beak face wants me to give you things then you leave, much work to do.

What things, what work, can we help? I asked.

Did he reach his word capacity? Maxwell asked, watching Ervig shamble around kicking over rocks and making grunting sounds.

Maybe? I shrugged. I focused on the man to scan him. Yes, it was rude, but I had too many questions and I doubted I was going to get answers.

Hermit High Priest

Level: ???

High priests are powerful servants of their gods. Their powers can vary widely based on the god they serve and how they serve that god. A hermit high priest has spent a large amount of time by himself with only the gods voice in his head. Sometimes they go mad and sometimes this gives them even greater power.

The question marks for the level wouldve made me sweat, if I still sweated. When question marks were there, it meant they were a lot more powerful than I was. Being in the dungeon had been how I was able to tell how strong Theonis was. This man likely was even more powerful than him though, because I had grown enough that I should have been able to get a reading on someone as strong as Theonis.

What were we supposed to do? The strange man knocked on a piece of bark before moving and knocking again. He then seemed to like what he found and pressed a series of spots. A cupboard popped open. From it he pulled out a bundle.

Ervig unrolled the bundleit was a series of rods with strings connecting them together. Hanging on the rods and strings were large black feathers, each as long as my forearm. Another black rod snapped into place holding the shorter rods spaced out. It was a banner made of feathers. Another black rod came from the cupboard that snapped together and the banner was placed on top of it.

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Still grumbling to himself, Ervig stomped over to the path and channeled magic into the banner. Necrotic energy flooded over the area. Since it wasnt directed at the living, Maxwell and Raven were fine. Instead, it flowed into the ground.

The next thing I knew, all across the ground from the ruins of the temple to the berm that was a former wall, skeletal hands broke through. I doubted such an old graveyard would have any useful bodies, but I was wrong. Many of the skeletons that climbed up had flesh still attached, and they were all wrapped in cloth. Theyd been mummified.

The banner was left standing as Ervig returned to his cupboard where he rummaged around and pulled out another wrapped bundle. All of us just watched the hermit with fascination. The skeleton horde he summoned, for there was a lot of them, was forming up into neat columns when he returned and retrieved the banner.

When he returned to us, he thrust the banner out to Shamgar and the bundle to me. He then, glaring at us, pointed toward the road. We got the hint and mounted up. Shadow and the exterrier had observed the exchange with interest while Maxwells horse, Granite, had hid behind them.

Friendly chap, Maxwell said as we rode out through the horde of skeletons. Already I could see them being put to work restoring the temple. What did he give you?

Lets see. The wrapping was very thick, which became clear why a few moments later. At its center was a small, carved human skull made from some kind of bone. It easily fit in the palm of my hand. And the death energy it gave off was impressive. Scanning it got very little and I immediately began to wrap it back up, knowing it would affect Maxwell and Raven. (f)reewe(b)novel

What was that? Raven was riding behind me, not wanting to get lost in the thick fog we were encased in.

I didnt get much, it just said death god bone carving, I have no idea anything more than that, I said. The bundle went into my bag of holding.

Any guesses? Maxwell asked. Like, why would they want you to have it?

I have no idea, I guess I could possibly use it to become an elder Lich. I had another guess as well, but I kept it to myself.

Shamgar handed me the banner and I inspected it. I had to be careful of the trees we were approaching, so I held it horizontal to Shadow, Raven supporting one end of it.

Shadehkis Banner of the Blessed Dead

Weapon Class: Banner

Rarity: Legendary

Soul Compression stage one completion not required

This banner was made using feathers taken from Shadehkis mortal body after he ascended. While as a god he is a harbinger of death, in life he was also a shepherd of the dead. The feathers and rods of the banner can hold large amounts of death energy.


Death Energy Siphon: When in the presence of large amounts of death energy the staff will passably absorbed it into itself.

Toll of the Dead: Any living that falls within the area affected by this banner will contribute death mana to the banner in their death.

Call of the Dead: Shadehki was not only a powerful necromancer but a true master of his craft. He raised and commanded hordes of the undead. The staff has been imbued with his mastery of the magic and skill. If activated the staff will raise any body within a fifty meter range, or within a battlefield assuming enough mana is available.

Blessings of the Dead: Shadehki could make even the weakest of zombies a threat. This banner passively strengthens all undead both physically and mentally within a 100 meter range, or for whatever operational unit it is used with. This is done at all times as long as the staff has death energy. This can have long-term effects on both mindless undead and living dead.

Command of the Dead: Shadehkis command over the mindless hordes was absolute. Any uncontrolled mindless undead within line of sight of the banner will be taken under control. It will also improve the coordination of any mindless undead under the influence of the banner.

I couldnt be happier with this banner, I relayed what it said to Maxwell and Raven. While the bone carving was frustrating, the power of this banner was great. Passively raising undead was awesome. And what we had seen Ervig do with it already indicated the speed. He had created literally hundreds of mindless undead within only a few seconds. He had not cast a spell, the banner had done the work.

The blessings of the dead was probably the most interesting. The fact that it specifically said operational unit meant I could use it on my entire army. Technically an entire field army was a single operational unit. Some testing would be done to see if the effect was greater if it was over less troops or if there was a higher energy expenditure when there were more troops. If the cost wasnt great, I would use this all of the time. The little note about having long-term effects made me wonder if that meant it would turn mindless into living undead eventually.

When we returned to the army, I gave Abimelech thumbs up. The stop was a hundred percent worth the diversion, Abi, youre going to love this banner.

Abimelech did love the banner, so much so that in the next graveyard we visited, she insisted I make as powerful a banner bearer as I could make to constantly protect and fly the banner over the army.

One downside was the death energy expenditure for having it over my entire army was greater than I could keep up with. But I had a stash of death cores. Id been absorbing some to keep my tier 1 death core progressing since that strengthened me overall, but I had more than I wanted to absorb.

Still, it wasnt good for me to deplete my stores. That meant I needed to be more cognizant about creating as many death cores as I could. After every battle I always made sure to push the sense that allowed me to pull death cores to me. Overall, however, my contributions to battles were normally buffing spells, though with four necromancers that was becoming less necessary. Essentially, my direct kills were not always high.

It was going to take about ten death cores a day from creatures over level fifty to keep the banner running. Long-term it would not be possible to keep up forever, not in this region anyways. While the enemies we were fighting were strong enough, the average level of creatures and other potential sources werent. For now, I had enough to keep the banner running until the next battle. If I didnt get enough cores, then I might have to adjust the practice of always having it up.

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