Chapter 1

A chill was in the air as Decha walked along searching for the Village of Nay-por-ton where a powerful necromancer lived. He had a request for this strange one. The weird stories that Decha recalled about Her-Kez the necromancer had imprinted it on his brain that he was the right man for the job.

Decha's leather clad feet touched the hardened clay of the trail, which recalled to his mind the coldness and stiffness of his dead lover Annadela. He watched her die as Duncan's long sword found its way to her heart. He would have killed Duncan, but the man made his escape as Decha held his beloved and watched as she breathed her last breath. He would see that Duncan would pay for his treachery. He swore a blood oath to the moon goddess Mir-Danda that this be so.

That would have to wait, for now he was on his way to see Her-Kez and find out what could be done to restore Annadela back to life.

Decha walked off the trail and found a place that he could bed down and sleep. He opened his pouch and ate some jerky. The stuff was tough in his mouth, but it would have to do. He had no time to hunt or find an inn. He thought of building a fire, for he was chilled, but thought better of it. He could have been followed by a thief or a highwayman. He had been under too much stress to pay attention to the signs. He gathered leaves and tall grass to use as a blanket. When he was on the ground and warm, drowsiness overtook him.

Decha's mind wondered within itself. He was in the grass with his beloved Annadela. Their daring mission into Skylar's camp had been successful. They had recovered the Jewel of Star-Denta for King Lewin. It was to be used to seal the gateway that the evil one was trying to use in his effort re-enter the world.

"We did it, Decha," smiled Annadela, holding up the purple-colored jewel.

Decha knew it was just a dream. The thinking part of his mind told him so, but to know a fact and to understand that same fact emotionally are two different things. He smiled at Annadela, proud of the fact that they had outwitted Skylar. The warlord was renown for his keen wit and intelligence. A simple herb at a drunken party had ensured that his men would sleep for hours. The events blurred in his mind. The landscape shifted and became distorted. A thief had followed them. A man whom Decha knew personally, Duncan. He had attacked at the right moment, at the height of Decha and Annadela's celebration. Duncan was quick. Decha's eyes could barely follow the movements of Duncan's sword. The sword went through Annadela's chest. It was pulled out, the jewel grabbed, and Duncan was gone. Decha's mind reeled at the horror of the event. Had Duncan really been that fast or was it just this dream playing tricks on his mind? He ran to Annadela's fallen form. He knelt down and took her in his arms. Blood was pouring out of her mouth. The wound had been fatal.

"Annadela! Annadela!" Decha shouted her name over and over. Her lips moved silently, but no words came forth. He kissed her lips and let her fall to the ground. A thought flashed through Decha's mind. The thought was impulsive as it went against the religious teaching that he had been taught as a child. He drew his dagger and sliced off a locket of hair from Annadela's head. He carefully wrapped the locket of hair in a piece of cloth. He had heard that there was a necromancer in Nay-por-ton. It was said that he could restore the dead, all that he needed was a piece of the corpse. It was an act that defied the god of Death, but Decha would not let that trouble him.

He buried his beloved and made a sacred symbol on the ground with his fingertip that honored their patron goddess Mir-Danda. Then he made the vow that he would kill Duncan.

A strange sensation floated through Decha's mind and body. He felt the warmth of a body – a female body. It was pressed against him. He caressed the form against him. It was real. Had Annadela escaped? Had her death been a terrible dream? His hand continued to trace the woman laying next to him. This woman's body was much thinner than Annadela's. It lacked her sensual curves and hard muscles.

Decha jumped up at the shock of realizing that a woman was sleeping beside him.

"What the hell is this!" he shouted.

The woman rolled over and stretched her limbs gingerly, as if she didn't have a care in the world. The morning sun showed Decha that her hair was brown, maybe, with a few streaks of blonde in it. She opened up her moon colored eyes, which marked her as a half breed. Her eyes were that of fairy's, but her face and form were too bulky to be a full blood. And yet, she was much thinner and lighter than a human.

"Calm thyself, human. I was only cold and needed the warmth of your body. I am only part fairy, but that part requires warmth and companionship. Besides, you travel like a tenderfoot, paying little attention to your surroundings."

Decha's face turned red. It was true that he was traveling in a wreckless manner. He swallowed down his hurt pride, for he did not want to anger the young woman. Her fairy's blood would give her strength nearly equal to his.

"My mind is full with hate and remorse. I am on a twofold mission . . . "

Decha broke off right there. He spoke with too much haste. He did not want to reveal the fact that he intended to defy the god of Death, a taboo among his people.

The woman puffed out her small breasts with pride and spoke, "I, too, am on a mission. I seek out a master, since no fairy-man will have me. I seek one out among the humans. My heart soars with joy, for at last I have found one."

"Shouldn't you be with your master then?" Decha asked feeling annoyed at this creature.

"I am. You are he. I swear on Fair-Danda to serve you all your days and to plunge a dagger through my heart upon your death. My keen wit is at your service. My strong arms are yours to command. My flesh is yours if you ever have need of it."

Her voice was giddy with excitement as she spoke the words that would bind her to Decha forever. The warrior was taken back in surprise. There was nothing he could do to free himself from the oath.