Just after darkness fell, Jonny, the beggar started his usual rounds to pick up scraps and what was thrown out of the kitchen at the Old Skull. He was a simple man, rarely got into trouble and only wanted to be left alone, unless there was someone who cared for the unfortunate. Perhaps some person with a heart could see the tragedy that life can bring, and is moved to share some small token of wealth.
"A few gold for the downtrodden?", came a rough voice from a shadow behind the Inn.
Jonny looked up to see a shape in the shadows, like that of a man, shrouded in black haze. Jonny knew no fear because he did not understand danger, so he approached the figure. As he looked into the darkness, he could make out a gold coin being held out for him.
With a smile on his face, Jonny stepped up and reached to take the coin with no concern at all, with a smile at his good fortune.
A hand shot forth from the black and gripped Jonny's neck! The very touch of it on his skin was like a burning ice that seemed to paralyze deep and fast. He tried to scream but no sound could come as he felt his bones bend towards the grip, muscles tearing, the life in him ripping away. Unable to move, fight or flee, Jonny lost all sight and awareness and soon the scream of his pain ended.
The dried husk of his body was dropped into a trash can with rotting food.
* * * *
"Tellin all of ya! I was there and I know what others wish they knew!"
The old man sits in a booth at the Old Skull Inn, drinking more than a wise man would. Both hands hidden by gloves that he would occasionally tug at.
"I dont understand why nobody seems ta give a rats butt about where thirteen lich plylacteries are held!
. . . . that's right. I seen it with my own eyes, i have. I walked on the floor and looked into the vault.
I mean , you would think some doo gooder type would want to mount up some kinda mission and go to destroy them. But, nobody cares any more. Nobody cares about me any more. That's dam right. I gave my all to the movement and now its deader than the dam liches we used to set the stones."
As he drank his fourth bottle, he began to mumble about the promises made and how his time was short, and how one phylactery might have been for him. . . so much lost . . .so much . . .