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Challenge #01156-C061: Eternal Knight

I like the idea of an undead paladin. They didn't rise because of some dark god or ritual or necromantic power but by four little words. I. Am. Not. Done. -- RecklessPrudence

The Serf-Page called Scun had watched the Mighty Torpen die. Nobody could possibly survive that many arrows and spears. And yet, Scun watched him fight on. The battle raged on and on as Orc after Orc fell to his blade. Long past the time that Torpen should have collapsed from lack of blood.

Finally, the enemy broke and fled the field. Scun rushed from his place with a skinful of ale and a basket of cakes. And some nuns following with lint, bandages and salve.

Scun did not believe that his master was going to live long, but By The Light, he would not see his master die in discomfort.

And in approaching his master, Scun heard a chant. Four words. With varying emphasis. Over and over again.

"I am not done."

He was leaning on a broken halberd. His legs shaking with the effort of staying upright.

"The battle is over, master," said Scun. He raised a moist sponge to his lord's lips while the other hand worked on the buckles of his armour. "We're just going... we're going to make you comfortable..."

"I... am not... done."

"Nay, master. You are still with us, and that will cheer the troops. You need healing... You need--*" Scun's voice choked and died in his throat.

One of the arrows had gone straight through his head.

It should have killed him. It certainly put out his eye.

And the one that remained...

Glowed.

Red.

Scun took three steps back. Cried, "Mercy! Gods have mercy!"

And Torpen seemed to notice, too. "But..." he objected. "I'm not done..."

The nun and a host of her sisters hustled the husk of Torpen off the field before anyone else could see. Bound the helpless Scun in Holding and Silence spells until the hysteria died out.

Deep in the sanctuary of the healing tent and tarpaulin temple, Nuns rushed in and out of one warded room. Scun watched his master's armour come together on a stand. All the new holes in it seemed all the more terrifying without Torpen in it.

The Lady Erintude's favour, tattered and bloodied, still hung from the right vambrace. Scun could see three of the dandelions she had stitched into the fabric with her own hand. One was now as ruddy as a rose. He watched the blood turn brown as nuns scurried between it and him.

If my master is undead, thought Scun, am I still bound to him? Who will look after me, now? Must I follow him through evil? If I die, will I go to hell now?

Scun was no stranger to the sight of Torpen in bandages. What was different were the runes of Patch and Preserve stitched into the linen. He had a charm about his neck that was normally found tied to meat to help it keep.

"Scun," said his master's voice. "You are bound to me until one of us dies. While I am undead. If you choose not to serve me, furthermore, I will grant you freedom. And land."

"Master... I swore myself to you until you were finished. And you are not finished. So long as you lead me not towards evil, I will serve you."

Torpen wrote up the papers of freedom, anyway. Scun was a Freeman who owned four acres, with house and the right to a mule. And the right to a pig. And the right to choose a wife. Only some of which, he chose to claim immediately.

Torpen, once undead, was just as generous as he had been when alive. Between battles, he would guard Scunhold against evil, because he was not done. And when Scun began to fail from old age, his son took up the mantle of servant.

*

There is always evil. The Loyal Order of Scunson does help me, but I am not done.

I can keep evil from our borders. Wherever there is a fight to quell it, I am there. My flesh is gone, and my armour has been replaced, but I shall always fight.

I. Am. Not. Done.

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