The necromancer bent low over the body of the noblewoman, his dark eyes drinking in every detail with fervor.
A light, gauzy, cloth had been thrown over her and even with only the dim light of his flickering torch he could see every tantalising inch of her: from her glossy raven-coloured hair, her cool alabaster skin and the rosy tips.
And soon all of her would be his.
"Master- are you ready?" there was a bestial rumble from behind him and the sorcerer stood abruptly, angers at the interruption.
"Yes, yes - you have prepeared the rites as I ordered? good, good - let us begin then."'
Morgur-Zeel Alis, the necromancer raised both gloved hands to the silver mask that encased his entire face and carefully undid the laces that bound it over his face.
Months ago he had spied this beauty: Alita el-buderia, eldest daughter of the visiting ambassador of far off, Tyr-Sog, she and her father were newly arrived in the city and he had spotted her across the room at some reception.
The tall wizard let out a long breath as he thought back to that night. She had looked radiant, clad in light, flowing silks of the eastern kingdoms, her hair artfully pinned back in a web of jewels.
But his advances had been rebuffed - her mind poisoned by the honeyed words dripped into her ears by those fawning dogs - those popinjays and lizard eyed peacocks.
It had been a simple matter to enter her room in a shadowy form and administer the potion into her winecup.
Now, looking at her still lovely form he was overjoyed that death had not marred her beauty.
"Master! We must hurry - the temple guards could be here any moment," his assistant quipped.
The pair had drawn the circle and dabbed the mixture of blood and crushed root to the corner of the dead woman's mouth. It was time to begin.
With quick movements, Alis removed his mask and passed the face covering of beaten silver to his assistant.
The mask had been hammered into the leering visage of a jackal and inlaid with tiny diamonds and the torchlight reflected off it.
Alis pretended not to notice his apprentice's slight wince when he glimpsed his master's visage.
"ah -ana-al-anak-al ut -DRAK!" the necromancer spoke the words of power and could instantly feel the temperature in the chamber drop.
The flickering torches suddenly dimmed. He quickly tugged off his left glove, holding out his hand he waited patiently as the assistant drew the dagger across his palm, allowing several drops of blood to fall onto the corpse.
"ah-ana- al-anak-al ut- FEELIOR!" he barked - instantly there was the prickly of energy... and then nothing.
"Morgur-Zeel - you pox faced bastard! Stop right there!"
The necromancer whirled around to find Lord el-buderia and half a dozen of his retainers - all clad in leather breastplates and armed with swords - blocking the portal to the tomb.
"What are you doing with my daughter?" the lord snarled, drawing his short sword.
The necromancer held up a warding hand - that was instantly encased in swirling, eldric green light.
Behind him Alita moaned softly and sat bolt upright on the slab.
Wizard (necromancer): 3
Fearsome Looks, Magic of the Sorcerer-Kings, Learned
Flaws: Unsettling, Arrogant
Equipment: Silver mask, staff, dagger, spells books and other instruments.
Morgur-Zeel Alis is a powerful necromancer who has gained much power in his study of the dark arts. Originally from a small town in the Kothian Confederation he was born to a minor noble house.
All that is known is that there was an incident when he was about 16 and Alis was banished by his family - stories told in taverns told of a dead sister and a horrible accident that left him horribly mutilated. But no one knows for sure.
But more than a decade later Alis returned to the Kothian lands a powerful sorcery with the ability to bend minds, warp wood and steel and - it is whispered - raise the dead from their rest.
His time in exile had left him a bitter, twisted man and in a fit of rage he struck his father, vowing to never ever step foot in the same house.
The next morning everyone who bore the Alis name was discovered dead in their beds without a mark on them.
He is a tall, thin man, who mostly gets around draped in dark but richly worked robes and always his mask.
Few have seen his face and of those that have... they prefer not to talk of it. The mask of beaten silver has been cunningly worked into the visage of a jackal - a scavenger dog-thing of the east and crusted with small diamonds near the eyes.
Simple slits have been cut for eye, mouth and nose holes.
Alis has a tower in Oxy but is known to travel the lands, accompanied by loyal retainers and assistants - all that is known is that he has an insatiable appetite for new subjects for his experiments.
He has been known to appear at the gates of a city or a lord's standing and demand whatever he wants: wine, women, gold. And it is a wise person that gives him what he wants.