Sunset left a rose and purple glow in the western sky while overhead a deep purple spread from the east. Shadows grew longer in the city of Ordu-Aganei and brightly colored lamps were lit, reviving the vivid hues of the buildings with an entirely new dancing array of color.
In a large grassy field near the trade district the wagons of the sole caravan were circled around a central camp fire, and off to one side of the blaze a group of figures assembled in a circle.
The corpse lay atop a quilt set upon the ground. Light from the nearby flame danced across the lines of care and worry that had etched Bevelek’s face in life, giving the illusion that he was still breathing and might wake at any moment. But while Gentle Repose had ensured that Bevelek’s body remained viable, his soul had departed.
Vankor leaned in, pushing against the robed figure that knelt beside his brother, breaking her concentration.
“I need a little space,” Qatana admonished, “I have never attempted anything like this before.”
Vankor stepped back to the circle next to Sandru, who looked on with concern. The entire caravan was present, gathered around their fallen comrade while Qatana finished preparing for the casting of Raise Dead.
She took what looked like a scarf of deep green silk from her pack, on which was embroidered an arrow in silver thread, and laid it across Bevelek’s chest, with the arrow pointing toward his feet.
Pookie urgently whispered, “It’s pointing the wrong way!”
Qatana repositioned the arrow such that it pointed towards Bevelek’s head, and pulled forth a large diamond that flickered with fire in the torch light.
“What is the cloth for?” Koya asked.
“It is to remind me which way we’re trying to go with this,” Qatana replied.
Koya furrowed her brow, but thought better of responding.
Qatana began to chant, and while the others could hear her, they could not make out the words, although she did repeat the names of Bevelek and Groetus frequently. She gracefully passed her hands over the body, gently swaying in time to her chant.
The diamond turned as black as coal and then crumbled to dust.
A thin film of mist formed above Bevelek’s body and slowly encased him, like a cocoon or a spider’s webbing. It constricted tightly around his body until his face became a fiendishly grinning skull.
Vankor let out a gasp and cried out, “What the hells are you doing…”
But he was cut short by Qatana’s forceful shout: “Behold the benevolence of Groetus!”
The mist dissolved and there lay the body the same as before.
Koya knelt down before Bevelek and stared intently into his face. “He is breathing.”
A sudden fit of coughing and Bevelek sat bolt upright. “I don’t feel so well.”