There were sounds behind her of the lichen being crushed and fallen stalactite snapped underfoot. Tyrrae tried to blend into the shadows, but worried the light was too bright. A figure stooped over to stay hidden moved forward almost even with her. It stared intently at the two girls. The face had protruding teeth from the lower jaw and spiky hair as dark as its skin. It wore hard leather that looked terribly uncomfortable to the silk adored Tyrrae, but had obviously been worn enough to become a second skin. He carried a large axe painted black like the rest of him, and his grip was steady and firm. This was not the nervous wariness of the splint mail clad guards in the Royal Quarter- who were unused to regular battle- this was someone used to killing and designed with the hurt in mind. Intent on his quarry, he had already made a serious mistake.
Slowly, Tyrrae eased her fingers into her belt pouch and pulled out a pinch of powder. The dried bits of blood and bone from Grandfather would summon his spirit to her side in an instant, but it would be better if she were not seen. Summoning a servant was useless if she were killed in the process, and this was the first time she had tried putting her knowledge to the test. Truthfully, she did not know if she had cast the spells correctly or if she had made some small error. She waited, breathing slow shallow breaths, as the thing moved forward. As soon as it was no longer in easy range of Tyrrae, she acted. Throwing the powder, she commanded the summoned skeleton to attack. "As you wish, Great One," the spirit spoke, and charged.
The young women heard the voice, took one look, dropped their buckets and ran. The beast dodged the first onslaught of the skeleton while pulling back his axe. He swung as he stepped forward, fully intending to slice the skeleton in two. But the axe slid neatly between the ribs and was not able to cut the bones. Instead, the axe became trapped within the ribcage, and the beast swung skeleton and axe. The skeleton grabbed for the beast's ears and twisted painfully. "Bad orc," it said, "no biscuit." The orc roared, dropping the axe, and ran back the way it had come.
The skeleton carefully worked the axe out of its innards while returning to Tyrrae. He dropped it at her feet. She was exultant. Triumphant. But curious.
"Grandfather?" she asked, "why are you speaking? I've never heard any of our servants speak before."
"It's in the book child! We get to speak only the first time we are summoned. And the amount of time we appear relies on the amount of powder used. That wasn't much, so we haven't much time."
Tyrrae lightly touched his arm. "I have so many questions to ask you, that surely only you would know.”
"We haven't time for that either. I just wanted to say thank you. I hated that slow dying. This is much better. No more pain."
Tyrrae smiled. "Good." She thought of everything she had subjected his body to in order to achieve this moment. The effort had been worth it. She had done it once successfully. She could do it many times over now.
"I could kiss you, but I don't have lips. At last, I have found my sense of humor, and now you won't be able to share my jokes!" and he crumpled to dust again before her eyes.