In a sense, Ulman Dark could return life to the dead. It was a risky proposition, though. Risky in the sense that it rarely worked as expected…if it worked at all. The cost had to be paid up front, just in case worse turned to worst.
Hel Hold’s latest “crop” returned to Zelkor’s Ferry carrying both parts of Ben. None knew if both parts would be required by the necromancer, should he be able to perform some miraculous cure. It seemed prudent to bring both parts, if only in that Ben probably wanted them together in death as in life.
Ulman advised against a resurrection, citing the poor probability of success and the rather mundane result of raising a dead thing back to a living thing. He noted that it would be more interesting to attempt to create a deader thing from the dead. Something with a bit more power and some nice dangling rotted flesh.
The crop decided against the advice, and straws were drawn to see who would have to donate living tissue and blood to aid in the coming ritual. Well, not exactly straws. Everyone who could invest gold, silver or gems got to keep their blood. Barak, the penniless, got to donate.
Days passed, and Ben began to really put a stink on. Barak looked wane from the daily leechings, transfusions, and ingestions of gag-inducing concoctions. On the day everyone believed was the last that Barak could endure, Ben’s eyes fluttered open.
Ulman was grieved, even as the party cheered his success. As a necromancer of some great capability, he sensed that something was missing from Ben. An examination revealed that Ben’s soul was missing. Ulman was not surprised, as he had long believed that those who died in and around Zelkor’s Ferry were cursed to have their souls stolen away by the old ruin near the Mouth of Doom.
Suspenseful music seemed to suddenly fill the air as Ulman explained that a nearby ruin once served as the secret exit from a Temple dedicated to Orcus. The priests there had grown wilder and more dangerous to the surrounding lands until the Jarl was forced to deal with them. A band of heroes endowed with the light of the divine was tasked to bring down the evil temple.
They slew every remaining priest in that place, and destroyed every reminder of its wickedness. But, in their fervor to rid themselves of the unholy worshippers, they left behind the high-priest’s symbolic token to his ghastly god, Orcus. Ulman recounted how he believed the rod still existed, there in the Temple ruins. The rod, he said, was surrounded by the bones of the dead priests and drew the escaping souls of those killed in the local area to itself. A soul so drawn was trapped in the chamber of the priests and could not travel to its ultimate destination.
Ulman then told you that Ben’s soul was trapped in that ruin. It could be rescued, though. All you had to do was enter the probably abandoned sinister dark hole in the earth and ferret out a room full of skeletons hiding the almost certainly very deadly rod of Orcus.
Easy-peasy, lemon squeezy.