V: Malignant Intentions

Prologue
A Woman Scorned

The people of Wortemarsh Village were hardy folk. Living on the edge of the notorious Darkfenne had a way of honing one’s survival instincts. They were watchful as well: even on this night of celebration, the watchtower at the swamp’s edge was manned by an archer of considerable skill.

Piotr had, once again, drawn the short straw. “It must be rigged,” he muttered as he shivered against the evening chill. It seemed that every feast day found him alone in the dark, far from the revelry.

Ah well, perhaps it was just as well that he was forced to keep his distance. It prevented any awkward encounters with Annabelle…

The bowman’s thoughts were interrupted when his eagle-sharp eyesight caught a hint of motion—just a shadow against the shadows—near the swamp’s edge. But as the figures emerged into the moonlight, he relaxed, recognizing their garb as that worn by students of the Great Academy in Sortilege, protector of Wortemarsh.

“Now that is strange. What are students doing out here, at this hour?” Piotr wondered. And well he should. The people of this quiet village could not know of the danger that crept their way. Furious at the defeat of her beloved champion, the Bog Queen herself bent a portion of her power in pursuit of revenge!

As he watched, Piotr’s wonder turned to alarm, then to panic. The students did not move like students. No, they…shambled through the night. They moved in a way that he knew too well from the wars. They may have once been students, but now they were something far more dangerous: plague zombies!

Seconds later, the peals of the warning bell cut through the sounds of celebration in Wortemarsh Village. Death had come.