1 – Why I wish the Gods would let me die

It was times like this I hated my contracts with the gods. The whole 'we'll bring you back to correct our screw ups' thing gets old after the first ten or eleven times. Maybe it was nausea of having my soul stuffed into some body of the newest bandit in the tomb, or its fact I have to teach the new body everything all over again, or the fact I end up getting arrested next time I step foot in a city.

This time was no different.

It was all blurry, but I recognized the shapes, the obsidian coffin that held my last body and my gear, the rack of moth eaten books that lined the walls behind it, the two-headed chimera staring at me.

I grinned and wrapped a numb arm around its ram head's thick neck. It purred from the other head and nuzzled my next as it stood and helped my to my knees. As my vision cleared I took in the details, the faded symbols on the walls, the bloody hoof prints and paw prints on the ground from the chimera defending my tomb. I looked down at myself. Bloody leather armor dawned this new body. I ruffled the hair on my new head and straightened out the break in my nose that hadn't healed since the body's last death. When I flinched the chimera dipped its head in guilt. I rubbed it behind the ears of its lion head. I stepped the few steps up to the raised dais where the coffin was. I pushed the slab of obsidian off the top as I felt a chill behind me.

I was expecting on of the damned gods who'd stuffed me into someone else's body so I didn't say anything as I stripped my last body of my armor. I stiffened as I felt eyes on me. By now I was expecting the classic 'Lunis, you've come back for a reason' speech so I tuned out all sound by attempting to figure out whose body I was stuck in. A young, swashbuckling adventurer, probably not, they had a tendency to wear more than leather and would have carried more than a pair of steel knives. Some infamous bandit gang leader, possibly, the fading scars on my new body suggested getting hurt a few times. I was guessing some low ranking bandit or some neophyte thief who'd gotten in over his head.

A hand touched my shoulder as I finished strapping my sword to my belt and I whipped around, drawing it from its scabbard and taking on a combat ready stance.

An elderly man leapt back, topping down the stairs. He was wearing robes, a mage then, and landed, rear first, in a skeletal corpse, sending bones everywhere. I rubbed his hip as he stood and I took the shield from the coffin.

"I apologize for frightening you, Prince," fuck, that was all that I though, I wasn't some nameless bandit again, but a prince. Why then was a prince in my tomb? I nodded, sheathing my sword and clicking my tongue, which made the chimera look up from its spot in the corner where it had been chewing on a skull. I finished strapping the shield to my arm and picked up my helmet and held it in one hand for a moment as I stepped down and had it taken from my by the chimera's lion head. The robed man flinched as the chimera brushed my skin.

"You're trusting something that attempted to kill you a moment ago Milord?" I quirked an eyebrow and the chimera rubbed against my head with its heads, filling my mind with images of its battle with this body before I'd been given control. He'd fought well, I must say, he even knew a little magic which explained the scorched patches of fur on the chimera's face and chest. I didn't respond but just rubbed the chimera's heads as they found for their master's new body's touch. The robed man gave a cough and I looked up, he motioned for me to follow him. I did so, exiting the chamber where my armor had resided and entering the underground labyrinth that hid my tomb.

The chimera snarled as we stepped out and a pair of armed men lunged at it was spears. I dropped into a couch, bringing my shield arm in front of my body, blocking the blows towards the chimera. Both stepped back and dropped onto one knee as I stood. The robed man promptly went about explaining that the 'two-headed-beast' no longer meant any harm and that 'Prince Giles' whom I guessed was myself, was now fine and wished to leave. The two nodded and stood, both giving a salute and a 'yes ArchMage' before falling into step on either side of me. The on my left I realized was a woman by the fact that she sounded like one and the robed man called her by the name of Claudia. The other was named Fredrick; he seemed to watch me closer than Claudia did.

I think it was the new armor that did it. I wouldn't blame him, it had been a long time, even last time I'd been alive, since Tygan armor had been seen. The steel wasn't anything different than what humans used now, though the spider webbing of a dark blue stone, its name is lost to me, was what must of put him off. I grinned to myself, memories from when I'd had my body, my real body, came back. The haggling over the price of the armor I now wore with the merchant. I'd spent every last coin on it.

When I bumped into the robed man I was bumped back into the real world and out of my thoughts. He stumbled and straightened himself up. We stood at a crossroads in the labyrinth. The guards cursed under their breath, they must have marked the path with torches. I smirked and listened to them argue over which way they'd come. I rolled my eyes and leaned against the wall. The chimera settled between my legs and watched them with more interest that myself. I sighed and straightened myself up again. I'd been studying the floor and the symbols carved into it. With a grin a stood up properly and stepped away from the guards and the robed man before turning down one of the halls. I'd had a secret exit carved in. Just follow the left I though to myself as the guards and the robed man followed me and attempted to get me to stop. I just let a hand lightly brush the left wall and used that to navigate the pitch-blackness around me. The chimera even seemed a little uneasy about being in the dark, why the five foot at the shoulder tall beast would be scared of the dark is a question I have never had answered.

The rushing sound of water mad me walk faster until I was running as fast as my armor would let me. Then there was light and the others also ran for a reason other than to keep up with me. I slowed as I reached the narrow exit of the tomb; I knew that the ledge outside was small, but the others didn't.

I only had a moment in the sun before someone shoved me off the little stone ledge and into the air.