Dawn of the D'oh
As your spirit leaves Valhalla, down the tunnel of light that leads to your new incarnation, you feel a sudden gut-twisting wrenching and everything goes black.
A dry voice chuckles in your ear: "Nice try, adventurer, but it won't be that easy. You thought you'd take on a fresh, uncorrupted mortal form? A fresh-faced young warrior, strong and vital, ready to destroy my undead hordes and ruin my delicious plans? That won't do. That won't do at all. I have a much better idea."
You feel your soul enter a body; the sensation is very familiar, and yet… wrong. Your head pounds, and a deep gnawing ache grows in the pit of your stomach. You strain to see, but everything is still pitch black.
"Welcome home, <playername>," the voice in your ear says, then chuckles again. "I'm afraid you'll find, however, that things aren't quite as you left them. Time takes its toll, after all."
You thrust your hands out in front of you, and meet immediate resistance -- a rough wooden… wall? Door? You push at it, but your muscles feel so much weaker than you remember. The ache in your stomach continues to swell, and as you regain your memories of bodily sensations, you recognize the feeling as hunger. But you've never been this hungry before. You begin to pound and claw at the wall, hunger and claustrophobia giving rise to panic.
"It's been a long time, you know," the voice comments, as wood splinters and cracks beneath your fingers. Dry grit rains into your face, and you cough and splutter as it fills your mouth. "Just imagine how surprised everyone will be to see you again!" You thrash and claw and force your way through the dirt. "Won't it be fun to see the expressions on their faces, when they realize that this time, you're fighting on my side?"
The mocking laughter rings in your ears and then fades as you break free of your confinement, forcing your way into open air, dragging your weak body out of that black hole and into the moonlight. As you climb to your feet, slowly and unsteadily, panting for breath that suddenly seems oddly unnecessary, your gaze falls on a small stone monument:
A True Warrior
and Friend of the Kingdom
You stare at the familiar scenery -- familiar, that is, except for the gravestone. They buried you at your old campsite? That… that was nice of them. It's a nice gravestone, too. You read it again, trying to calm yourself, trying not to completely freak out. Oh god, you're hungry. Never been so hungry. Never imagined being so hungry.
"Who's that?" calls a voice behind you. You spin around to face an elderly man with a rake, peering at you in the darkness. "Come to visit one o' the graves? Friend o' yours?"
"Who --" you croak, then cough and clear your throat. "Who are you?"
"Me? Just ol' Barney. They pay me to keep the weeds offa the gravestones. You all right, <fella/miss>? You don't look so good."
"Actually, I'm really starving, Barney. Do you… do you have some food? Anything?"
"Well now, I got a half a sandwich left over from my luAAAIIIIEEEEEE!"
You leap backwards in shock, letting go of the old man, who slumps to the ground with blood pouring from his neck. You put your hands to your face, and they come back red. Swallowing convulsively, you feel a warmth flow down your throat. The overpowering hunger abates, ever so slightly.
The urge to completely freak out comes back, rather stronger than before.
No particular direction, no particular destination, just away. Away from your campsite, away from the gravestone, away from the old man. The old man's body.
After a time, you collapse to your knees, atop a small hill overlooking Seaside Town. You can see it much more clearly than you would have expected to be able to, in the dim moonlight.
It's a mess.
No lights are on. Most of the windows and doors are boarded up; those that aren't are smashed open. The League of Chef-Magi is a pile of smoking wreckage.
And shuffling through the streets -- stumbling, shambling -- you see zombies. Zombies by the score, and not a single sign of life.
And then a voice behind you says:
You turn to see old Barney shuffling toward you. His skin is pale, his eyes glazed over. The spurting wound in his neck has slowed to a trickle; if the state of his clothing is anything to judge by, it's because there's nothing left in there to spurt.
"Oh god," you say. "…Hi, Barney. You're a zombie too now, huh?"
"I'm so, so sorry."
He stares at you for a moment, with no particular expression on his face. Then he sort of shrugs. "Graaaaagh," he says again.
"…Can you not talk?" you ask.
"How come I can talk, and you can't?"
"Huh. Okay, well, I guess I'd better try and figure out what's going on and if there's any way to fix it. And see if… see if I can do anything about this hunger…" You start down the hill, and Barney shuffles after you. "Are you coming too?"
"Graaaaagh." And although he can't talk, you feel a slight touch, a faintly-sensed emotional bond -- a bond such as a wild dog might have to the leader of its pack.
"Well, all right then," you say, picking up the rake that Barney dragged along with him. "Let's go."
You acquire a skill: Recruit Zombie
|You acquire an item: Barney's rake
And, if you own a box of bear arms:
Huh. It appears that they buried you with your bear arms. Or should you say they 'bear-ied' you with them. Ha ha.
|You acquire an item: box of bear arms
|You acquire an item: left bear arm
|You acquire an item: right bear arm
Occurs upon starting the Zombie Slayer challenge path
You acquire the box of bear arms if you had repacked your arms before ascending, or you receive the arms directly if they were not repackaged.