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Despite the mismatched legs and the body that felt old and mummified, Gwydion discovered he had unnatural strength or that Baynard didn’t weigh that much. The imp like creature had passed out after revealing that Gwydion was returned from the dead. This did not bode well for Gwydion. As a necromancer he knew it was impossible to actually bring someone back from the dead, reanimating dead flesh was one thing, but returning the soul was another. The price for returning a soul was often more than anyone wanted to pay, and even then it was quite possible that all you’ve done is made a deal with the king of demons.

The entrance of the cave was not far from the altar room where he’d awoken. It was daylight, blinding and hot, as if they were in the desert. As soon as he carried Baynard into the sunshine the imp like creature began to sizzle and burn as if his gray flesh was being burned with acid. Baynard writhed in his arms and Gwydion quickly brought the creature back into the darkness of the cave entrance. Baynard’s face, chest an arm and a leg were blistered and blackened. Gwydion wasn’t feeling sadness or remorse or really anything for that matter about his old apprentice. Gwydion simply wanted to know what had happened and Baynard, unconscious as he was, had the answers.

Gwydion pulled the cape from his shoulders covering Baynard with it, he tried to set out again in the sunlight a second time. Baynard was not burning in his arms this time. Gwydion now took in his surroundings as he squinted. A wasteland stretched out before him. The ground was dried and cracked dirt, a pool of what looked like hot tar was not far away, bleached bones of what looked like giant animals were around the pools. Gwydion had no idea where he was, or which way to go.

Gwydion did not recognize the wasteland, but at the moment he wasn’t trusting his memory. He carried Baynard for what seemed like hours without tiring and without noticing thirst or hunger.

The town was abandoned, decrepit and old. The houses were nothing more than just shells, roofs long gone, blown away or rotted or burned. A sign hung by one rusted chain, the paint upon it was long peeled and missing, but Gwydion recognized a blacksmith when he saw one. Not bothering to put Baynard down he wandered through the town looking for shelter. The sun was setting and though Gywdion had not seen anything alive in the wasteland, not lizards upon the ground or buzzards in the sky, he was not going to take chances.

It was a root cellar, filled with collapsed shelves that had once contained jars of various vegetables. Many of the jars were broken on the floor, their contents shriveled and dried. A pile of bones lay in a heap in a corner. He placed Baynard upon the cool dirt floor, and walked to the bones, he lifted the smallest of the three skulls. It belonged to an infant, perhaps a family had died down here, but what were they hiding from? What had killed them? Some of the shelves still contained intact jars, covered in decades of dust or was it centuries?

Gwydion rummaged through the bones, searching, picking up the finger bones until he had thirteen. He searched the rest of the cellar. It wasn’t large, having been dug by hand from the earth and found nothing of real use. He left Baynard in the cellar to examine the blacksmith’s house. It did not contain a cellar, and the house itself was too collapsed for Gwydion to enter, but it wasn’t necessarily the house that Gwydion was interested in. A necromancer was nothing without an athame, and he had hoped that the Blacksmith might still have a dagger or that could serve as a ceremonial blade until he reclaimed his own.

“My, how far you’ve fallen,” Gwydion whispered to himself as he picked up the only type of small knife he had found so far in the empty village, a fillet knife. He shrugged and slipped it into the sash that held his robes to his waist. He could make a knife the bones he’d found in the cellar but that would take time. He needed to awaken Baynard and finally get some answers.