Arthur had gone insane.
Over the years I had learned that his standards for comfort and personal safety were so low that he practically had no judgment, and thus I did not come to the realization he’d lost his mind as soon as one would have expected. It wasn’t until the last of our starting party, that obnoxious Priestess, finally expired and I had decided that we had enough corpses (the galley had left port with a crew of 80+ after all) that I realized Arthur had lost touch with things.
After dawn that morning I went to dispose of the rankest specimens, but just as I started to pitch overboard one particularly bloated and festering little galley slave, Arthur’s axe comes flying end over end at me. The axe popped the bloated corpse like a boil and nearly took my hand off.
"No one gets off this boat unless he pays the tolls of the salt tongs!" he yelled or perhaps it was some other madman’s nonsense. I looked back and there he stood at the ships stern; a two meter visage of masculine perfection. His eyes were still a blazing blue completely devoid of doubt or weakness and his posture showed no sign of fatigue. He held on to the rudder with one hand, and the other beckoned me forward.
"Witch!"and at that moment I decide that I would not be continuing to Isla Croix with Arthur."bring me my axe and those lose riggings. For the rest of yous, either we reach Isla Croix or you all die at the oars."Arthur had always lacked a sense of irony, and apparently insanity had not mellowed him out.
My options for getting off the boat were limited. I could wait for Arthur to tire and then animate some crew to steer me back to port. If it had been anybody but Arthur that would have been reasonable, but that man had the spirit and constitution of a God. I doubt he would have even noticed if he did die, and even then I am sure the Dark Mother herself would be afraid to take him unless he had been beaten. Plus, the buffs provided by all the magical items he wore meant that he could go weeks without rest. I could have animated the crew into my favorite flavors of horrors and have them try and kill or subdue Arthur. But that would have been too much of a gamble, they may not defeat Arthur and the battle could just as well destroy the ship. I had already tried to poison that man, once years ago, and numerous other things that would kill a dozen normal men would not even distract my Arthur. What I really needed was another boat, one that didn’t need a crew.
Excerpt fromBitch to LichHeather of Dach’s autobiography.
Heather’s Ship of Corpses a spell for nautically minded necromancers
Description: This spell generates an undead ship, made from corpses, controlled by the enslaved minds of fallen sailors and under command of the caster. When the casting of this spell is completed a group of flesh and bone corpses will fling themselves into a nearby body of water, and merge their bones, skin and organs into a ship. The ship’s design and appearance is based upon the knowledge of the corpses animated. (e.g. a group of Viking may generate a long ship, Polynesians a deep sea canoe, American Confederates an ironclad or a blockade runner). At least one of the corpses must have possessed a good deal of nautical knowledge in life. The number of corpses animated, and the power of the caster limit the ships size.
The Ship: The ship starts most often as bloody mess of skin and bone, but will eventually become bleached enough to be white/yellow assemblage of tanned flesh and bone. While the ship may resemble any model of ship, it is essentially a skin or leather craft held together by magic. The bones form the frame of the ship, oars and masts if necessary, and the skin of the corpse is then stretched over the bone frame to form a water tight hull and/or sails. Some possessions of the corpses such as clothing or tools may be incorporated into the ship. The ship needs no crew, but rather pilots itself with the skill and capabilities held by the corpses in life. Thus if the crew of a pirate ship is slain and reanimated into a corpse ship, the resulting Corpse Ship possess all the skills and knowledge of that pirate crew. The Corpse ship is a hive mind, but prior to the completion of the spell the caster must designate one mind to serve as captain. The ship is capable of perceiving the world around it as well as living men, and it is capable of making decisions. It is by design not capable of disobeying the caster.
Casting time: Heathers original spell took several hours to cast, but once casting is completed the actions of the corpses and the generation of the ship occur in under a minute (assuming the corpse are in or next to the water).
Duration: The ships generated by this spell have all fallen apart immediately after the caster has stopped directing magical energies towards maintaining the ship. This may be due to the fact that the spirits bound to the ship wish to be released. If the spirits decide they would rather persist in this cursed undead ship form, then perhaps the ship would last indefinitely.
Range: The caster’s voice must able to reach all the undead he/she wishes to bind to the ship. The caster also controls the ship with his or her voice. If the caster is rendered mute or out of ear shot he or she cannot control the ship.
Material Components: A whole bunch of corpses, at least one of which was an experienced seamen, who in life spoke the same language as the caster.
Capabilities: The capabilities of the ship are limited by the starting material and the power of the caster.