The sudden zombie attack and reemergence of the Black Arm Gang caused the Phoenix gang to abandon southwest Varrock to concentrate on protecting their assets in the southeast quadrant of the city. The Raven sisters, de facto leaders of the Black Arms, are free to patrol the neighborhoods, free from the fear that a Phoenix crossbow waits in every shadow for them. Some of those crossbows had even stepped into the light and begged to be taken in by the Black Arms. Funny that a dark cloud such as a zombie invasion would have a silver lining.
It is during one such patrol that a local woman approaches them. The sisters, however, are cautious. Although Keli had demonstrated almost godlike mastery over the undead, zombies that she had missed the first, second and third time around still popped up regularly. Of course, it is Keli who first notices the approaching figure isn't one of the undead. Subtly, she signals to Katrine that they are safe. Relatively speaking.
"There you are! I've been looking for you two to thank you," the woman says.
Katrine and Keli both give the woman a confused look.
"For getting rid of the zombies?" the woman hints. "I don't want to think about what would have happened if we had to wait for the town guards to do something."
Katrine smiles and says. "Well, this is Black Arm territory now, and we protect what is ours. This place needs protection."
Keli nods silently in approval.
"I want to give you this." The woman hands over a bundle to Katrine. "It's a loaf of bread and a trout; Its not much, but it is all I have at the moment."
Keli sniffs at the bundle and says, "Thanks!"
"Yes... Thanks...," echoes Katrine as she unwraps the bundle. She is a tad bit skeptical but the woman is gone before Katrine thinks up anything else to say.
Keli's picks out the trout. "So, we got a territory now," she comments. "And the gratitude of the people. Not bad." Keli bites into the trout.
Katrine looks at Keli, half concerned, half disgusted. "That thing is raw... You aren't even bothering to take out the bones."
"I am chewing them," Keli answers. "They are tiny and brittle and I have big strong teeth. That is what they are for. When did you become such a picky eater?"
"When did you become such a voracious eater?" Katrine retorts. The bread smells of fish, but Katrine breaks off a chunk to eat anyhow. "So why are you having the guys plant those stakes in graveyards?"
"It is something I saw in the magic books," Keli answers. "The symbols on them are supposed to keep the dead in their graves. It should stop new undead from popping up. We ought to put some in the eastern graveyard too."
"Why? We should let the Phoenix gang deal with it themselves," Katrine says indignantly. "Are you seriously eating that fish head?"
"Brittle bones; strong teeth. How else am I supposed to get at the BRAAAIIINNNNSSS? You know how yummy the brains are, but we are not really in a place were we can sit down and crack open the skull."
"That's not funny, Keli."
"It would be fun to watch the Phoenix Gang fight off the zombies for a bit longer, but do you really want to give Lucien a better chance at getting Straven's half of the shield? Besides, I don't want zombies crossing over to our side of the city from theirs."
"You know, it doesn't have to be their side."
"Someday, it won't. Someday."
In Varrock castle, King Roald Remanis III, barely in the third year of his reign, holds council with his advisors.
"Your Majesty, the situation in southern Varrock is just going to get worse. There are zombies coming out of there now, and what is worse, there is a new gang loose in the streets and they are doing what the Guard should be doing," complains Lord Leptoc.
"And what is that?" asks the young king.
"The Guard should be handling the zombie problem. The Guard should be handling the gang problem."
"It sounds like the problem is taking care of itself, Draul."
"For Saradomin's sake, in a few years Southern Varrock is going to be totally outside of your control. Varrock has enemies, Zamorakian enemies, and the chaos and lawlessness in the southern part of the city is exactly the environment in which they thrive."
"Lord Leptoc, may I remind you that the years when the Inquisition did as they pleased are over," scolds Lady Gilroy. "Varrock is a cosmopolitan city and Zamorakians are welcome here."
"One would think they would be more comfortable living in the lawless wilderness that under the laws of a city and the rule of a king." Lord Leptoc retorts. "Why would they come to a city, except to destroy it?"
"Lord Leptoc..." says Lady Gilroy, sternly.
"Your Majesty, will you at least see to it that your father's wish to have the shield of Arrav restored to the museum be fulfilled?" asks Leptoc.
"Let me remind you," the young king seethes, "and everyone else here that I intend to see that wish fulfilled and that the bounty for retrieving the shield is 1200 gold pieces. You deal with the Phoenix gang."
Draul Leptoc buries his face in his hands in frustration.
Lord Despaard speaks up. "If I may speak, I may have somehing that might shed light on this situation."
King Roald nods toward Despaard.
"I found these placed around a cemetery," says Lord Despaard, holding up stakes decorated with burned in symbols.
King Roald calls for the Palace Librarian. Momentarily, she arrives, and he points her over to Lord Despaard. She examines the stakes he brought in and announces, "This appears to be the symbol of the Devourer based on how I assume these were placed in the ground. But who are the Black Arm Gang?"
"That sounds vaguely ominous," King Roald says.
"These indeed were planted in the ground, pointy end down, in a cemetery," Despaard informs the librarian.
"Really? The Devourer is a Menaphite goddess of death and destruction. She's not very popular in Menaphos or anywhere in the desert now. She used to be the goddess of rebirth, but it would make a more sensible grave marker if these where planted upside down. That way it would show the symbol of her brother, the Guide of the Dead. I didn't know there was a Menaphite population in the city," says the librarian.
"Well, there is the result of welcoming all into this cosmopolitan city. Some Menaphite is invoking a goddess of death and destruction in order to resurrect an undead army within our very city walls," comments Lord Leptoc. "Those aren't grave markers."
"Zombies?" asks the librarian, alarmed.
"There is a light zombie problem in the south of the city," King Roald says.
"No, no," the librarian shakes her head. "The Devourer was the goddess of rebirth, and she is supposed to have an animosity toward the undead and necromancers. You may have pulled out wards that were supposed to prevent the dead from rising, Lord Despaard."
Lord Despaard's eyes widen. "I had better put these back."
"No," King Roald says. "Not before giving two to me. As much as a travesty that planting a foreign god's symbol on the royal burial grounds would be, it would be a greater travesty if our former kings were disturbed in their rest by a necromancer. You may also want to plant some in the northern cemetery to protect your families before returning the stakes to the place you found them."
"But I did find them in the northern cemetery," Despaard says. "I was visiting my father."
An urgent knocking comes from the council chamber doors. King Roald nods his approval and the doors are opened to reveal the Captain or the Guard. "Your Majesty, scouts are reporting that a zombie army is gathering in the wilderness directly to the north of us," the captain informs. "They are armored."
"Dear Saradomin save us."
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