Codex Nekromantia: Section 13

"So as you can tell, the revenant is très different from these, what did you call them?" Charles-Henri asked.

"Zombies," Casimir said.

"Oui, zombies. Nous sommes revenants and therefore, nous somme intelligent. You can slow down with the shovel, mon fils," Charles-Henri said to Ravilious. "And allow one of us to have a turn, we have rested for decades. And we owe you a debt for digging us up, even if it was an accident."

Ravilious shook his head and kept up the rhythmic thump of shovel to dirt.

Casimir, Emblem, Charles-Henri and several dozen revenants in French colonial clothing waited on the grass of Le Jardin. Ravilious was waist-deep in the dirt, soaked in sweat and grime, and digging like the revenants that stood nearby wanted to eat his brains, instead of asking him if he'd like a break.

"What is Ravioli digging up, exactly?" Casimir asked, and shivered. He still wore only the paper hospital gown that he'd woken up in hours earlier.

Ravilious flinched at hearing his name misprounounced, but continued to dig.

"A cache of des armes," Charles-Henri replied. He held up his hands in a gesture of loading and firing a muzzle-loader. Casimir noticed that his left hand was quite mangled.

"You were bitten, too?" Casimir asked, holding up his right hand, still wrapped in bandages like a Christmas present that he never wanted to open.

Charles-Henri's eyes brightened, and he grinned to reveal a set of teeth more rotten than any other part of his body.

"Oui! A mighty boar clamped down on my hand. I wrestled the beast for hours. Neither of us would concede. I recall staggering back towards the Fort and falling to the ground at the watchtower, begging my men not to kill the mighty animal. They pried it off of me and I kept it well-fed for the rest of its days. I've never battled a finer opponent. What got you? A boar? A bear? Wolves? Rapid polecat?"

"A zombie," Casimir said.

Charles-Henri leapt backwards.

"Mon dieu! Emblem, come here! You have a bitten man in your midst!"

Ravilious stopped digging, and looked up at Casimir and Charles-Henri.

"The turning happens within a matter of seconds. If he isn't a zombie by now, never shall he be," Ravilious said. The effort of speaking appeared to finish him off. His eyes rolled back in his head, he let go of the shovel and toppled into the edge of the hole that he'd been digging.

"Auguste! Pierre!" Charles-Henri yelled. Two of his men approached him and stood to attention.

"Vous l'aidez. Continuez à creuser!" Charles-Henri said. The men nodded, gently lifted Ravilious from the hole and laid him out on the grass, and began to take turns with the shovel. As they hurled clumps out of the hole, Charles-Henri's eyes shone.

"It gives me great joie de vivre to see things unburied, I must say," Charles-Henri said. "I am being very grave."

He turned towards Casimir, then his eye twitched once, twice and he burst into laughter.

"Allow an old man his jokes, eh?" he said, slapping Casimir on the back.

The shovel thudded against wood. Charles-Henri threw himself towards the hole. Casimir followed and peered in. Auguste and Pierre were on their knees, scooping dirt with their hands to reveal a wood trapdoor with a heavy iron ring bolted to it that was large enough to have belonged to a titan.

"We've found la cache," Charles-Henri said.

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