He recalled kind hands. Gentle. Precise. Living. In his reverie, the masked face of the Necromancer caresses the periosteum of his right humerus, knitting and weaving the necromantic energy tightly up through the calcified articular cartilage and into his clavicle before replacing the frayed robe that covers his bones. He could feel. He knew he could feel and it felt good.
Chitterly did not let on to the Necromancer that he could feel, or think. He only shuddered slightly and set his jaw clicking. She had named him. She called him Chitterly because of the clicking.
“I have no idea why you are clicking so much now. The energies are solid,” she mused to herself. “You still function, but I cannot repair what does not appear damaged.”
His reverie was interrupted and the spark in his eyes grew in intensity as he returned to his surroundings.
He had been hiding in these ruins for several cycles, far away from the last town he had visited. Stay briefly. Make no attachments. The Living are to be feared. They do not Understand. By the sound of the movement, this Living was stumbling rapidly through the uneven ground. Chitterly kept to the back of the mausoleum, his hand holding his component pouch and a spell ready to be cast should he be discovered hiding in the shadows behind the overturned and emptied crypt.
“Help! No! Stay away from me! Somebody, please! Help!”
There were other Undead in this graveyard. He had introduced himself when he arrived in formal Necril, not that they had cared. Now the ghouls had found the injured Living first.
He should have let them feast, but there was something about that voice. Something familiar tugged at his bones and he rose from his shadow and stepped out of the broken gate. He knew the ghouls were past reason when tempted with this much fresh meat. They would not listen.
The first ghoul went down with a flick of his carpal bones, daggers extruding from precise points severing the C7 vertebra and shattering the sphenoid bone. His other gloved phalanges wrapped around his wand and he spoke a single word in the common tongue of the Living. “Burn.”
Flames encompassed the other two ghouls before they could touch the fleshy figure upon the ground.
The Living turned to regard her savior, fear still showing in her eyes from the combat. In his haste, Chitterly had not replaced his mask, and so bare white bone and glowing blue eyes greeted her.
To Chitterly’s surprise, the fear drained. “Thank you,” the woman proclaimed. “I did not think I would survive.” This was not his Necromancer, but her voice was similar. He tilted his head slightly, but sheathed his wand and went to retrieve his throwing knives, making every attempt to walk jerkily and deliberately. He found it best to pretend to be mindless, often being mistaken for the servant of a greater being. Eventually, the Living would wander off and hopefully leave him peacefully.
She regarded this ruse with squinted eyes. “Nice try, skeleton, but you tipped your hand when you killed the ghouls. Now, what is your name and do you have anything to heal me?”
He stopped, and the clicking of his jaw did as well. “Erm, Chitterly, ma’am. And…I do not have anything for flesh, sorry.” He turned to regard her more seriously. “You are not afraid?”
She shook her head. “Hardly. If the ghouls were yours, I would be dead. If you were the servant of a greater being, you would have approached me next. You went for your daggers. You’re alive. Well, you’re thinking for yourself, aren’t you, Chitterly?”
He could only stare. She was perceptive, and he was unused to this. His jaw dropped slightly and he closed it with a final click. He nodded instead. “Yes, ma’am,” he mumbled.
“Gwyn. My name is Gwyn, Chitterly, not ma’am.” She stood up shakily. “Can I hire you to take me to the nearest town? Incognito? I’d prefer not to be found, but I require a healer.”
Chitterly considered this for several moments, clicking his jaw as he thought. Standing up straight, he donned his mask and pulled his hood over his skull before offering a formal bow. “Yes, you can, ma’a…er, Gwyn. And thank you for your kindness.”