© 2010 Hank Quense
After a sleepless night, Romeo wandered the streets of Verbona in a brain-dead fog of desperation. His beloved was imprisoned and he couldn’t rescue her until he discovered her whereabouts. For all he knew, her brothers might have advanced her wedding. She might already be a reluctant bride.
He felt a hand on his arm. It belonged to an elderly elf crone who looked familiar.
“Remember me?” the crone said. “I’m Juliet’s servant.”
“Where is she?” Romeo’s heart surged with joy. The servant could lead him to his beloved.
“She feared her brothers would kill you last night.” Tears formed in the crone’s eyes. “But when I saw the condition of those three, I knew you weren’t dead, and I came looking for you.”
“Where is she?”
“She said she couldn’t live without you.”
“Where is she?” He stamped his foot.
“She took poison last night, rather than marry Count Paris this morning.”
“Dead?” Romeo slumped against a wall.
“Her brothers were most irate at her actions.” The crone sighed. “They’ve already placed her in the family crypt. Without even holding a proper funeral ceremony. They even removed her toe rings.”
Romeo slid to the ground and held his head. All his dreams were dust.
“Listen to me,” the crone said. “Dreadmona holds you responsible for Juliet’s death and she wants revenge. She plans to hang you upside down over a fire.”
If Dreadmona killed him, maybe he’d find Juliet. He wanted to be with her, no matter her condition or state. She made any situation bearable. If he killed himself in the mines, it would be a lot quicker than getting caught by the troll. He made a face. There must be a better way. One that didn’t involve getting killed.
It took a while, but finally he came up with a plan. He returned home to grab the bag of coins he had saved. Romeo ran to the district populated by immigrants. After an hour of searching the side streets and alleys, he found the shop he sought.
When he entered, an elderly dwarf eyed him suspiciously.
“Are you the wizard, MacBath?” Romeo asked the kilt-wearing dwarf. A strange plant bent long tendrils towards him. The vine sniffed his body and he could hear tiny teeth clicking behind the blood-red petals of a flower bud.
“Leave the customer alone!” The wizard whacked the plant with a wand and turned to Romeo. “You’re wanting something?”
“Aye. I need something precious. Something that you can provide.”
“Precious somethings cost a lot of money.” MacBath combed his flowing white beard with the fingers of his left hand.
“I’m prepared to pay.”
“And what is it you want so badly?”
“I want you to animate my dead beloved.”
“You’re wanting me to break the law? Making an undead is illegal.”
“I know. That’s why you charge so much.”
“This is true.” MacBath nodded. “I charge a hundred silver pennies.”
“Laddie, are you sure you want this lady brought back?”
“Let me get some things and we’ll bring back your lover.”