The Storm

  Asce ducked behind the corner of a small stone building, cursing under her breath. That was close! 
  "What is going on over there!?" The archer behind her shouted through the howling wind.
  "That's why she's here! There's supposed to be some major necromantic power in that space!" The apprentice shouted back, her voice muffled by her cowl. She rubbed her eyes, trying to erase the yellow-green after-images that obscured her view.
  The overwhelming smell of ozone still permeated the whole area. For just a moment, the black storm overhead had exploded in blue-white light as a massive electrical current ripped through the clouds, striking four ancient pillars in the forest clearing Asce had just left.
  Tirani had charged right into the middle of the pillar formation, among the crowd of bones and dilapidated armor that covered the permafrost. Asce cursed herself for not the first time that day. If she had just kept the grimoir in hand long enough to return home, they wouldn't be out here in this aweful gale.
  "Hey, what's this!?" The archer yelled. Asce couldn't tell what it was. She could barely see the man through the thick snowfall. 
  "Something old and shiny! Probably expensive! I don't care what it is! Get it out of here!" she commanded. Directing these hirelings was becoming easier with every excursion. Maybe spending time with the Summoner had made her more calloused. Asce had come to see these creatures as barely worth their gold wages. One step above the mindless shark-like demon dogs they used. She didn't even know this one's name.
  As she turned back to see whether her master had made any progress, her breath caught in her throat. Just beyond the dark and twisted form of a withered tree, several unnatural shapes loomed out of the storm. Ruined flesh hung from humanoid skeletons that shambled into view, hollowed eye sockets glowing with green malevolence.
  There were seven... no... eight of them. Ghoulish pointed teeth in their slavering maws, led by a figure dressed in a regal purple gown. A queen of festering undeath. Where she commanded, the lesser shamblers obeyed, all of them moving slowly across a blasted hillock towards their prey.
  Tirani gave a sharp whistle and barked a command. The two demon dogs that had been with her quickly changed course, running and howling to engage this new threat. The Summoner continued to wrestle in the arcane space within the pillars. Asce could see that the bones and armor had come to life, assembling skeletal warriors protecting whatever treasures lay nearby.
  A short series of loud yips brought Asce's attention away from her master and towards her own escort. Taking a few steps to peer around the opposite corner of the ruined wall that was her shelter, she spared a breath to shout at the dullard behind her, who was standing and staring at the undead horde approaching. 
  "If you don't get that back home, I'll use your guts for a homunculus!" the apprentice threatened. It was a testament to her growing power that the more experienced man started trecking away in response, finally disappearing into the snowstorm. Asce grinned to her self in satisfaction.
  Finally, she saw her semi-canine protector. It was staring down three more ghastly figures that had approached from the direction opposite the ghoul queen, barking a warning and growling a threat. The remains of another demon dog were strewn about the snow and dripping from undead claws and teeth. 
  Using the butt of her staff, the young summoner drew a quick rune in the snow and channeled her essence through the mark, calling a servant from the abyss. The sigil glowed violet for a moment in response, the snow sizzling and steaming. Suddenly, the demon dog's flesh began to swell. Its muscles and sinews grew massive, stretching the skin to nearly bursting. Its panicked yips became a low and powerful bark that echoed from ruins unseen.  With unholy glee, the possessed beast lept into the fray, pale violet energy trailing from its slavering maw.
  Asce heard hardscrabble steps approaching to her left, and she whipped her staff around, ready to defend herself against this new attacker. With a sigh of relief, she saw Tirani dashing towards her across the stony ground. As she came close, she leaned heavily on her staff, panting in the cold.
  "Got it. Let's go." She commanded, pointing away from the arcane towers and their undead guardians. Asce started to move away, using her staff to avoid the least stable ground ahead.
  Just before the battleground faded into the fury of the storm, Asce could see her master's summoned monster struggling to hold the moving dead at bay. The ghoul queen's guard had almost all fallen, but it was clear the demon would not be able to hold them for long. 
  As the two spellcasters moved further away, Asce could still hear the booming call of her demon dog. She hoped that it survived to return home.
  "Hmm..." she thought to herself. "The dogs are definately better than the men."