Mage: [Friend and ally]'s grave is empty.
Warrior: Find out who was responsible. Then dig more graves. -- RecklessPrudence
It was a long and arduous quest. Hurrying after the tracks until time, weather, and circumstance obliterated them. Asking the locals if anyone had seen anyone who matched the tracks. Following gossip and rumour and delay after delay as close-mouthed folks demanded quests be completed before they divulged their information.
Dealing with the knowledge that their friend and ally was now undead and in the servitude of a necromancer was... somehow worse than knowing that they were dead.
Ruk'har the Invincible got downright poetic about their planned vengeance, that day. Jaroki the Mysterious stayed silent. Something was bothering her about the traces she was picking up. Certainly, she could follow the echoes of Spraud the Bard's body... but there was no lingering whiff of evil to it. But she also knew that there was little she could do about Ruk'har's mood until the end of their search.
A search that came to an end when they realised who was playing in the bar.
Spraud looked strange. Not quite as he was when he was alive. And there was a glow to his eyes that had not been there in life. His flesh was not rotting, and the new amulet at his neck spoke of some truly intense preservation spells. The amulet and Spraud's body were bound to a hooded mage in white. Not the kind of blood-soaked, dusty black of a necromancer who saw the dead as their playthings. Not the bone white of those who preferred to raid crypts for their material.
This was something new. It was the white of a spring snow. There was death there, but it was part of a cycle that promised new life just around the corner.
Spraud waved at them as they approached the stage, but he kept singing. Grinding on the hurdy-gurdy that always earned him money in taverns like this. His song ended and he smiled widely. The same cheeky grin he always had. And even more chilling because it was from a dead man.
"Got myself in a little pickle," he said. "It would have been a pickle barrel, but... Vulturé told me that wasn't necessary."
Ruk'har summed it up best, with what they always said when Spraud had himself in a pickle. "Damnit, bard! How the hell did you do it this time?"
"That is my story," said the one in white. They had a woman's body, but a mannish voice. "I wander in search of those who have, untimely, died. And I help them become back to their lives."
"In servitude?" demanded Jaroki. Her voice got a little more shrieky than she would have liked.
"It's a compromise," said Spraud. "You know how revivifications take five hundred GP worth of diamonds, right?"
"He's only indentured until his skill can pay for the revival," soothed Vulturé. "He's been dead a great many times."
"Aye," growled Ruk'har. "He has... er... how did you put it, Jaroki?"
"The survival capabilities of a meringue duck."
"Hey!" Spraud objected.
The white mage laughed so hard that her hood fell back, revealing the obligatory skull motif decorations of a necromancer in her neat hairstyle. "Oh dear," she cooed. "It sounds like I had best stay with your party. I can be of great assistance to you." She stood to introduce herself. Taller than most men, too. "My name, as you know, is Vulturé. The white necromancer."
Jaroki was counting her coin. "We can probably help with the funds for those diamonds..."
"You could probably raise it in one night if you could get him to stop drinking ale," grumbled Ruk'har. But then, they were cross that they had nobody to be lethally angry at.