oodbead nodded and Bone-Send pulled another lever, causing chains to raise the lid of a large casket in the corner.  A horrible looking corpse lay with crossed arms inside it.  The necromancer grabbed a bone from his sash and started chanting.
     “By dark gods and the force of death/
     By entropy, the dying of all light/
     Bound you are to this bone/
     Rise up now this night!”
     Like one of Woodbead’s spells, a trained eye could see reality rippling into the bone, but this time it would appear to go from white to completely dark by the energy of the spell.  The necromancer then tossed it on the chest of the dead man, causing it’s empty eye sockets to open.  The mouth opened too, in a broken jaw of few teeth and emitted a lost, soulful wail.
     “Arise!  Sleep the sleep of death no more!  I command thee!”
      The zombie climbed out from the casket and shuffled towards the mages.  “Let us write down the complex instructions for the shepherd to read, for this one’s capabilities are limited, especially in speech.”
The zombie climbed out from the casket and shuffled towards the mages.     After a long climb up the stairs, then across the bridge, then down the stairs to the harbor, the mages set the undead servant off into the night on his task.  His task was to take Woodbead’s boat and go to a nearby island that was used for grazing animals that the guild already had frequent business with.  Ayeesha’s dragon alone had ensured that the herder could send his kids to a good school to get into guilds of their choices.  He was then to knock on the door, giving the awakened shepherd the bag with the payment and the instructions.  After the farmer had drugged four sheep and placed them in the boat, the undead would then take them back to the origin point where another servant would take the boat to the island.
     Woodbead moved to hand the animated corpse the oars, but Bone-Send waved him away.  He untied the rope from the post rather than the boat, and held the end in front of the zombie.  Eagerly, the thing opened its mouth and clutched the rope in a fantasticly strong grip.  It then jumped into the water and started paddling rapidly, its head bobbing inches below the surface.  Woodbead remarked that it was making better time than his rowing.  Still talking the details of the day, Woodbead found himself taking the same long trip back to his friend’s room.
     “You know, Bone, we should be a little more considerate of Phillen,” Woodbead referred to the shepherd.  “We make him very well off for his profession, constantly buying lambs at better than market price to feed Ayeesha’s dragon or for a roast of our own, but things like this must play on his nerves.”
     “Ah, he’s said to me that he prefers my servants to her dragon.  That beastie has literally scared sheep to death.  Besides, we all do favors.  I helped him contact his dead uncle to find the location of where he stashed some gold before he died.  The sight of that metal quickly removed his prejudice of my fine art!”
     “Speaking of favors-”  Bone-Send waved one bony finger in the air as he re-entered his room. “When you go back to Crag City, I might soon follow, for I planned to vacation there.  Although you owe it to me as a friend, it goes more so now that you owe me some hospitality.  And to guide me around the city!”
     Woodbead knew what that meant.  Bone-Send was more lusty than he, and would want to get into one of the better “Houses of Comfort” in his home town.  The necromancer was kinky and had got them both kicked out of a similar house in Misttown when he had asked a girl to “Play dead.”  What was worse was that a drunken Confederacy Kolonol was in the room next door and chased them around the city, shouting at their “vile immorality”.  Misttown was a free city-state, like Crag City, but the Confederacy had far more influence there, so they had to bear it.
     “Then again,” Woodbead thought to himself, “my town is quite wretched.  There’s a big ‘goth’ scene there, too.  He’ll get some followers with luck.”
     “Well, good evening friend, for it is past midnight now!”  Bone-Send turned to feel a rough crystal ball embedded in a skull.
     “I swear, you enjoy viewing the man’s face as that thing wakes him up in the middle of the night!”  Woodbead said as he left.
     To this, the necromancer started a crazed, screeching laugh that Woodbead could hear all the way up the first flight of stairs.   He climbed up the dark staircase, taking care to be quiet now that most of his guild was fast asleep.  At last he reached Ayeesha’s room at the very top, under an expensive roof of glass for all her plants.  The luxurious tent that she slept in was empty, but Woodbead noticed all the plants that he had collected were carefully placed in glass tubes and jars, moist in soaked cotton.  Looking closer, some of the Lilath flowers had already started to grow new roots.  He also noticed a note placed on top of his bag.
     “3B-see me” it said.
     Another flight of stairs, but this time mercifully down.  Living there for years, Woodbead knew that room to be a bathing area with a heated tub.
     As he approached the door, he could see dim light from within and feel the heat from the warm water.  The “Do Not Disturb” sign was on the door, but Ayeesha’s voice quietly called him in before he could knock.
Inside, Ayeesha was naked in the bath, a dozen candles lighting the circular room from the walls.  Already, she had cleaned herself and was applying lotion to her body.  She had many bruises, mainly on her hands and arms from trying to hold onto her dragon that had now turned deep purple.
     “Come in and join me, I need my back massaged.”  Ayeesha politely demanded.
Come in and join me, I need my back massaged.
     In the morning, though nearer to noon, Woodbead awoke next to her back in her room.  As day arrived, many flowers there naturally opened, giving the room a fresh, clean scent.  From a parting in the curtains, he could see the sun light through the mists of the plain, and some of the taller islands in the background.  He hurt all over, mainly from the endless climbing he did all the previous day.
     Woodbead looked at Ayeesha’s naked, nearly white body.  Most of her bruises had already healed, but it was more the totally innocent expression on her sleeping face that got his attention, even in contrast to her large breasts.
     He went over to the window, and checked the small island nearby with a larger spyglass in the room.  The dragon was still sleeping, though small gusts of smoke assured that it was quite alive.  Four sheep were wandering around the island, grazing on the grass, though they kept far away from the dragon.  His rowboat was undamaged and on the beach.
     Woodbead put on a robe, and sat on a chair, admiring the woman who had been his companion again for a night.
      “She’s won,” he thought.  “No way she couldn’t have climbed that mountain herself.  I’m sure she has a pair of boots somewhere.  I’m going, but she knows I wanted to forget her.  I won’t be able to forget her now.”

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