Death in the Desert

Intro

The red-orange glow of a campfire was reflected in a set of staring eyes absorbed in a reverie. The night was absolutely still and silent and the empty desert reached out into the darkness. A crescent moon and a galaxy of abundant stars radiated a blue hazy shine off the wave-like dunes.

He let his mind reach out to the peaceful desert and fixed his eyes on the fire. He removed a small pouch from his robe, emptied it into his hand and threw it into the flames. The fire roared and crackled as the powder was consumed. The red flames became like the colour of blood and the orange turned into a deep dark blue. Slowly the flames began to take shape and eyes that hadn't blinked for hours commanded the a dance.

After a few minutes the dancing fire took on a shape of its own, and in the flames a voice could be heard.

Chapter 1

The endless desert stretched out at Edwards feet, the hot sun beating down on his bald head. Long ago he had learned how to control his body and its temperature, and the heat did not touch him. Ahead he beheld a desert city before him. He threw up his hood as he approached the open city gates.

Two guards casually sat under the shaded stone gateway, occasionally getting up to hustle the few travellers who approached. As Edward got closer, the two guards squinted in the sun, and they both unconsciously touched the handles of the rusty swords at their sides.

"What brings ya to Green Eye mister" the guard eyed up and down.

Dark eyes gazed into the guards face and almost startling him said "Just passing through, I'm not looking for trouble. I'm here to trade, that's all". His voice was low pitched, full and rough.

"Good. We don't want no trouble here, you got anything?"

Edward lightly tapped the money pouch at his waist, making a small jingling sound. The guard slowly nodded and for a moment considered asking another question, decided against it and flicked his head in the direction of the city. "Just remember - we don't want no trouble 'roun here".

Edward gave a short nod as he walked through the stone gateway.

After the stranger entered the gate, the guard made his way back into the comfort of the shade. "Heya Frenk. Whada' ya suppose a guy like that is doin' in a place like this?"

Frenk slowly lifted his head, turned and watched the back of a bald head turn into the main road of the city, "I dunno, and I don' wanna know." The guard leaned aside and spat. "You din't ask him for his weapons?"

The guard looked after where Edward had disappeared through the gate "Ye well.. Like ye said Frenk, I don' wanna know."

The market was hot, stuffy and crowded with the merchants yelling trying to attract customers - food, pots and pans, robes, herbs and hundreds of other commonplace items, each one trying to be louder than the next one selling off their wares. Ignoring them, Edward made his way through the bustling entrance until he reached a point in where the market place split. A spectacled shopkeeper sat in front of his stall, small round glasses perched on top of his nose reading one of his books he had for sale. As Edward approached, the shopkeeper put a smile on an unhappy face, pushed his glasses back and picked up a couple of books on his shelf. Pointing to a book he held in his hand he exclaimed while addressing his potential customer "Here mister, this here i greatest desert cookbook ever written! Over 50 recipes for snakes, 40 recipes for rat, and over 100 for those cacti".

As Edward came close to the twitchy old man, he removed a small coin from his pouch. "I'm looking for some rare items. Very rare items."

Seeing the hand come out from under Edwards robe, the shopkeeper caught a glimpse of silver. A small frown crossed his wrinkled face, but barely a moment later his poorly attempted smile was back. "Items of.. Power eh? Well theres G. & G. Gizmo's down the road that way?"

Shaking his head, he made to put the place the coin back into its pouch.

"Ah, I see. Like that is it? There's a place, but its not for the faint hearted, I wouldn' go if I were you though." Edward waited, staring at the bookseller. With a sigh and a small shrug he said "But if you follow this road, you'll come to a barber at anther fork. Take the left one and follow it all the way down there. You'll see a shop called Artifacts, devices and others. I can't promise you nothin' but if anywhere will have what ya lookin' for, it will be in there."

Flicking the coin up the old shopkeeper snatched the silver from the air, but when he looked again he Edward had already started moving down through the market. The bookseller watched him disappear into the crowd.

Chapter 2

The dark, dusty shop was in the middle of a quiet alleyway within the market, and skulls of over a dozen different large creatures were on display in the window. A bell rang as the door swung inward, and the temperature Edward felt the temperature drop considerably as he stepped inside. Exotic smells permeated the shop, not mixing together but rather creating numerous foul odours that would have most people gagging for fresh air. "Yes..?" croaked a tall shadow. From around the corner it made its way behind a counter at the back of the shop "How can I help you?". The creature moved slowly, every movement appeared to be a great effort. His breathing was audible, even as he spoke Edward could still hear his breath.

The monster that presented himself before Edward resembled an embalmed mummy. A few thin wisps of white hair remained, brushed to the side on the top of its head and its dry dull-grey skin stretched over a long, thin face. Ink black eyes stared back at Edward, but it never blinked. When it spoke, faded yellow teeth stood out against the parchment of its skin. Rich blood-red robes decorated with gold glyphs had been sewn onto the robes hid a wrapped up body in faded and dirty yellow-brown cloth. The creature leaned heavily on a strong wooden staff. "You must please excuse my… condition." The creature said as Edward approached. "I am very old, and age does take its toll."

Edward, not phased at all by the grotesquery before him, put his hand into his cloak and placed a large black coin onto the table. "I am looking for information about this sign."

The mummy picked the coin up and held it up close to his eye, studying it coin for a a few seconds. It was a picture of a circle with ten round rings expanding from the centre. He drawled slowly, almost deliberately "This old sign is extinct! The old orders - this one and others claimed to give enlightenment - prophesy even. But they have been wiped out through the ages." The mummy took a deep breath "What you seek is a myth, you will only find death along this road." He put the coin back down on the table and looked Edward in the eye "Do you know what that coin is? Do you know where it came from? That coin is from a dangerous past. You clearly do not know, or you would not have shown such a thing to me."

He turned a full circle with a speed that did not seem possible and in his hand was a glowing amethyst gem on the top of a polished black sceptre, lighting up the monsters eyes like a dark purple fire. In the moment before the mummy could complete its turn Edward had his sword in hand, and met the sceptre as the mummy came around. The sword bounced off the sceptre in a crash of blinding sparks where they met, sending a shock through Edwards arm. The mummy brought the sceptre back down with an extraordinary strength, but Edward was quicker and bringing his sword up he parried the crushing blow in a smooth movement. With a roar of outrage the mummy took a step back before raising the sceptre and pointing it towards Edward. A bright violet ray streamed out of the sceptred gem. Edward dived from where beam was aimed and rolled out of site behind a display counter in the shop. The blast, missing Edward exploded a windowed glass cabinet in the store, sending all sorts of vials and glass hurtling through the shop. In the brief moment Edward lay on the ground, with glass and liquid spraying all around him, he focused his centre.

One deep breath, a moment of concentration and a word of power and Edwards eyes took on a hazy whiteness, blind -but for his hearing and senses, he had taken on a new level of awareness. Not losing a second Edward regained his feet, and keeping low he removed a tiny metal tube from a sleeved pocket and hurled the vial towards the counter where the monster stood waiting, preparing another bolt of energy. The flash-bomb exploded directly on the counter, and the whole room become densely filled with a cloud of white smoke. Any living creature would have been knocked out by the noxious gas, but there were no normal creatures here.

Edward, already having directed energy from his eyes, and into his senses could feel the thickness of the air around him. His fingertips tingled with awareness and he sensed his surroundings with a greater clarity than with site.

The mummy in a rage blindly discharged his deadly weapon, until he hurled it out into the smoke and with a dexterous feat leaped over the counter and grasped his staff with both hands. With sure footing, Edward and the mummy approached each other in the white darkness. Hoping to catch Edward unaware with the long reach of his staff, the mummy brought the staff up over his head, and without losing a moment had his hands on the end of the staff extending his strike almost across the entire room. He swung in a wide arch, gaining enough power in his swing to remove Edwards head as he brought the staff around.

As fast as the staff came up though, Edwards senses had reduced the action into an almost slow motion movement. He could feel and hear the path of the staff - coming right up into the air and could hear it as clear as if he was watching it in slow motion, knowing precisely where it was going. He brought his sword up and cleanly sliced the staff in two, the end of the staff flying with such force struck the wooden wall and flew through it. The mummy was caught unexpectedly off balance, as his force carried through and he toppled over the counter. Edward was on top of the mummy before it had even hit the floor, his leathered boot forcing down on the mummies neck with such great force, it was all the mummy could but instinctively claw at his neck before going limp.

Chapter 3

Edward sat on the ground, crossed legged and eyes closed before the mummy. Coughing and wheezing the mummy tried in vain to reach for his near-broken neck.

The strain in the invisible bonds tied to the mummies hands and feet pulled at Edwards mind. The mummy froze at Edwards rough voice "Your strength is formidable, but it will do you no use here."

The bound mummy gave one last strain in its arms and legs before resigning in his attempt to break free. Turning his head, he looked at Edward in the face, examining him for the first time "So you are a master of the mystical then? No matter- your feeble tricks will not help you."

"No, I am no master, just a student. The powers are what they are." Edwards eyes snapped open. He stretched out his mind once again, concentrating on the leather neck of the mummy. "External thoughts take time, but not too much time." Edwards thoughts tightened around the mummies neck, he could gradually feel the leathery parched rough skin and the deep fibrous muscles beneath and the thought tightened.

The mummy choked, his breath cut off as he could feel the coils of Edwards thoughts grip and tighten around his throat. Neither Edward nor the mummy said a word for a long, dragging moment which seemed to stretch on. Eventually the coils relaxed, but remained loose around his neck.

"Now that we're done with the formalities, where can I find The Necromancer?" The mummy lay there, silent eyes of hate staring back at Edward. Edward let out a weary sigh, and took out a long match, bringing it up in clear view of the mummies sight before striking it and bringing it down towards the mummies discoloured cloth, allowing it to catch alight on the mummies leg.

The flame jumped up and almost immediately began to spread from the dryness of the cloth. The mummy bellowed out a wordless roar the room felt as if it was vibrating as the flame quickly consumed the cloth wrapped leg before it started to spread up toward the knee. The mummy began all at once to splutter out, between groans of pain and the crackling of the fire all the information he could get out "The bar! Damien's Tower! The entrance is in there!" as the the flames crept up hes leg jumping to the other leg and already up to its thigh "He is there once the sun goes down. Thats all I know! I swear to you."

Footsteps banged on the wooden floor, and the sound of metal being drawn came in from the entrance to the shop.

Edward released his hold on the burning mummy, took out a small pouch and emptied it over its burning body to screams of pain from the cremation. The flames roared up spreading completely over the burning body and in seconds the body was turning into dust. Edward launched to his feet as the cries died out, he made his way out behind the last counter and through a back door of the shop. As he stepped out he saw the bookseller he had spoken to earlier at the entrance to another alley indicating to Edward to follow him. Hearing the running pounding of boots and armour from the front of the shop, Edward followed the bookseller.

Chapter 4

Howie, the grey bearded bookseller poured two cups of strong tea.

The small and simple home was not only a home, but also a library. Thousands of books lined the walls from floor to sealing all around the room in clear and ordered rows. Others were piled up in corners, on tables and desks, almost everywhere. Most of the books were torn or missing covers or both. Some were unprofessionally bound, likely the work of Howie himself in an attempt to give the books another few years before disintegrating into dust. A small free standing wood fire stove and oven sat in the centre of the room, with a smoke chute going up out of the side of the house.

Edward picked up a cup together with Howie, bowed his head and lifted the cup in appreciation, and took a deep swallow. The strong bitter taste was refreshing and Edward smiled a rare smile.

"That was no regular shopkeeper you were doing business there ya know young fella." Howie said with a grave look on his face. "Sure he has quite a selection, some books I would care to get my hands on really, but I won't go near that place."

Edward nodded. "I don't think I'll be going back there. That store might be closed for a while."

Howie gave Edward an appraising look as if considering something, blinked quickly and took another sip of his tea. "Can't say I'm unhappy about that. Lou, thats his name the old bag of bones. Lou used to look something like I do, maybe sixty years ago. I lived here all my life and I remember Lou before he became that walking fossil. In sixty I hope I'll be resting peacefully underground, but Lou wasn't having none of that, no sir-ee. Aha, I'm glad that old bag of bones came away short." Howie took a few small sips of his tea while nodding to himself.

Edward felt the atmosphere in the room change. He set his awareness on Howie and instantly felt a heart beating faster and faster, pounding inside his chest. He could sense the anxiety rising and his emotions began to change, the welcoming feeling was replaced by a dread, Howie was thinking something, working up the courage to do. Edward put his cup down and placed his hands on his knees and waited, letting the silence drag on while Howies emotions built.

Howie stuttered for a moment, tripping over some words he was trying to get out before he erupted, shouting out a barrage of almost unintelligible words "My gir-kidnapped they came stole her hurt kill!", it sounded like he was saying five words at once.

Edward waited for more, the tension in the air dissipated and a shamed red face bookseller stared at floor. When Edward realised the outburst was all Howie was going to say he politely cleared his throat "Calm yourself old timer, why don't you start at the beginning."

Howies downcast face lifted slightly so his small eyes peered over the spectacles at Edward. "I. I'm. I'm sorry 'bout that. When I saw what happened to old Lou I just knew I could tell ya, mister you gotta help me!" Tears began rolling down his bright red face. He pulled out a handkerchief and blew his nose.

Edward pushed his cup toward Howie. He removed the kettle of warm tea off the stove top and refilled both cups and took a sip with shaky hands, spilling on his robe. "Err. The beginning?" Howie took a moment to gather his thoughts. "It all started 'bout the time old Lou there became undead Lou. Thats when the Necromancer came to town. He runs this town, even though no one sees him. And oh boy he's powerful - least thats what everyone says. First he comes in and starts doing all sorts'a things to some of the locals. Next thing they workin' for 'im and thats when the disappearances started. Used to be maybe one or two a year and we all thought it they'd ran away, but its been gettin' more and more and more. So now ever' couple months, some of the children go missing. But theres not nothing no one can do, cause hes a wizard and powerful at that, and he's got his goons who have some of his powers and ain't no one whose ever had the skin to take 'em on - n'cept for you now." Howie looked hopefully at Edward as he continued his tale. A frown crossed Edwards face at the mention of a necromancer and dark powers. "That was one of his first goons - old Lou. And last week they, they, took my granddaughter!" Howie paused a moment to cough. When he carried on the story he was getting worked up again, reliving the horrible events. "They came in the night, I didn't even see one of their faces, quiet as a mouse. I only heard them cause I was organising some of my books - they all dressed in black and they looked like demons! They came in here right into her room, snatched her. They kept her quiet. I got up tried to get at her but those monsters they got this strength and speed. There was notin' I could do. And at the full moon they goin' ta kill her! Ever' one knows its on the full moon and underground, and after that well no one sees them kids no more." Howies eyes stared off into space, slow tear rolling down his cheeks, wondering what had become of his granddaughter. Then as a flash of inspiration came to him he turned to Edward "You! You fought one of them, you gotta help her. Poor little girl who knows what they doing to her, and full moons tomorrow night. You have to help her Sir, I'll give you anything, anything." He looked up at Edward with hopeful eyes.

"My order has sworn to fight these dark magics. And besides that, this evil is what I am here to fight. I have my own score to settle." Edward reached into his pocket and took out the small black coin and handed it to Howie. "Have you seen this before?"

Howie gasped as he recognised the coin and recoiled back into his chair, almost afraid to touch it. "Howie picked up the coin, examined it and shook his head."

Edward nodded and picked up the coin and placed it back into a pouch in his robe. "I have been after this evil. They use the darkest magics, and have been at war with my order for fifty years. Twenty years ago they attacked one of our Great Temples - burned it to the ground, defiled our cemetery, burned our holy books and stole our powerful weapons. Most they killed, the children they turned into their slaves and worse. The Masters of my order who were not killed were imprisoned with their dark magics. Those were my family and now I fight to put a stop to their evil and free those who were imprisoned. The terror they brought - the whole land cried out in fear and terror. That coin is one of last signs my order ever existed. The evil know what it is.

Those men who have taken your girl, they are not men. They are demons, and they delight in terror and pain. They feed on it, they need it - as you need water to drink."

Howie nodded, a little more terrified but a glimmer of hope shimmered in his eyes.

Chapter 5

Howie led Edward through the twisting warren of the sewers underneath the city, following a map he consulted every few minutes. The lantern flickered a faint light, only granting light to a few feet around. Howie was mumbling to himself trying to work out which way to go "So we should be right under the market square now, another fifty feet following this tunnel here and we should come out right under Damiens Tower. Woo that smell!" The muck of the sewers sent Howie into a complaining fit every time they stopped, but Edwards control over his faculties did not allow the foulness to affect him.

They approached the end of the tunnel where there should have been a long tunnel and were faced with an old rusted metal door. Howie lowered the light in the lantern so they could barely see the keyhole in the door before them. Reaching into a bag Howie removed a small set of lock picks and began working on the metal door. He whispered softly to Edward "Hopefully the locks not too badly gone, else we gonna have to come up with another plan." After a couple of minutes the door let off a loud click and Howie froze, listening to see if they could hear anything. After it was clear that whatever was on the other side of the door wasn't aware of them he gently pulled the door toward himself. Surprisingly the door swung open without making a sound. Edward placed his hand on Howies shoulder, indicating he should take the lead now.

Edward silently slipped through the door into a dry and open room. A closed wooden door was to their right and the only thing the room contained was a bookcase and two tables. Howie followed and pulled the door closed behind them. After a moment of examining the objects in the room, it was clear this was an alchemy lab. A bookcase was standing against one of the walls and a few books stood on the shelves. Small jars also appeared on some of the shelves, some labelled with ingredients, others empty. Other items scattered about the bookshelf and tables were strainers and some items to mix with and on the centre table a stone tablet, engraved with Kaballistic signs to enhance the alchemical processes. A book stood open next to the tablet, Paralysis, Sleep and other Immobility Charms.

Edward approached the door, lightly turned the handle and opened the door enough to peer through. He heard Howie coming up behind him, felt his nervousness and tension growing. They were looking in on a balcony that looked down onto a large ceremonial chamber. It appeared deserted, yet the chamber was lit all around with burning torches. An large alter was set up at one end of chamber with a ramp leading up to it. The directly facing the alter on the other end of the room was a large black throne, currently vacant. Edward sensed a danger around him, the evil of the place pervaded his conscious.

Edward turned to tell Howie to turn back into the sewers, sensing Howies pounding heart and growing anxiety and a yet unseen danger, but as he did he saw a small heap of yellow powder leave Howies open hand in a cloud of dust which invaded his nose, mouth and eyes. He could only glimpse at Howie reaching out to catch him as he fell.

A slow chant began to grow louder and louder in Edwards ears and his eyes blinked open and he regained consciousness. He was lying on the ground hands shackled behind his back, but otherwise unhurt. He lay perfectly still, adjusting himself to his surroundings. He was against a far corner of the ceremonial chamber, about fifty feet behind the throne. A ceremony was already underway, with men and women wearing masks in that had the faces of frightening demons. They dressed in uniform black ritual robes standing against the sides of the room and singing in unison a chant. All Edward could see of the man sitting on the throne was that he was tall and a large shimmering sword was at his side and a faint yellow flame danced across the blade - there was no doubt that this was the Necromancer. On the altar a small girl of ten years old was surrounded by other women. They were pushing and prodding her - not enough to cause any serious pain, rather provoking the crying and shouting child. Howie was held against a wall between two of the uniformed men.

The figure on the throne spoke in a deep smooth baritone voice, echoing throughout the hall. "The ritual is ready. Bring in the sacrifice." A short disfigured creature limped in from a side room, led by two of the acolytes, almost carrying the figure. It wore a hideous red mask with long black horns and fangs and a black robe hung limply from its shoulders. The chant quickened and took on a more frightful tone and the child on the altar began to whimper in fear. The Necromancer stood and removed a parchment from his robe, opened it and began reading in a terrible baritone echoing through the hall. The chanting faded out and back in with the completion of each verse read by the man on the throne and he slowly moved toward the altar while reading the parchment.

Edward tried to strain against the steel restraints but the metal was thick and fastened. He could only watch in horror. Howie was unshackled but his hands were tied with rope. He watched helplessly sobbing as they led the monster toward his granddaughter. Turning he saw that Edward had his eyes open, Howie crawled on the ground closer to him. The chanting echoed and reverberated throughout the room and Howie tried to say something to Edward but his voice was hoarse and couldn't be heard over the din. He shook his head and cried even louder. Edward sent out a boot, catching Howie in the stomach - hard enough to wind him. Edward turned, indicating his shackles. Howie crept closer, and sat in front of Edwards hands while his tied deft fingers went to work on Edwards chains.

The acolytes surrounding the girl retreated except for one who held the girl down on the alter as the demon and the Necromancer behind approached.

Looking up from the altar where she lay, the girl saw the beast approach her she began to shake in helplessness. The acolyte who held her leaned down and whispered into the girls ear "You have one chance, take this blade and save yourself. The beast will devour you if you don't." The acolyte handed her a small sharp blade, curled her tiny hand around it and whispered one last time "This is it - you must kill it before it can get to you. Be brave" and with that the girl was no longer held down. The demon was still closing in slowly, helped along by the two others at its side. She sat up, tightened her grip on knife and as the monster climbed the ascending ramp up to the alter, the girl gave out a brave scream jumped off the altar and ran, blade held high at the demon. The acolytes holding the demon up did not move at the girls sudden jump and the sharp knife sunk deep into the demons chest where it let out a small pained cry.

Four acolytes came running out to grab hold of the girl, while the two supporting the demon held up a convulsing body. They removed the red horned mask and robe and the eyes of a dying bleeding boy were red and tears streamed out its eyes and blood began to trickle out the corner of his mouth. The acolytes turned the small body over and the blood that was running out of his chest they caught in a silver bowl. The Necromancer had reached the altar. He handed the parchment he was reading from to one of the acolytes and took the bowl in both hands and had a long drink, draining almost half of the bowl. They then took the bowl back to the girl, held out her head so it was looking up and they poured the blood over her face. The child cried a as she struggled and shook her head but the acolytes holding her kept her under the falling crimson font. She fell back onto the altar unconscious and the acolytes let her go.

Chapter 6

Edwards chains fell from his wrists and in a second he was on his feet. Two acolytes flanked the throne, immersed in the ritual and the chanting. Edward quietly came up behind the one closest to where he was chained up and with one smooth fluid motion twisted his neck and the body crumpled to the floor. Edward jumped up to the throne and took up the glowing sword. His hands moulded around the smooth handle grip and the glowing yellow flame for a moment turned a bright white lighting up the room.

The Necromancer turned to see Edward with the white fiery blade on top of the throne and let out a furious roar and the room went silent and the acolytes charged toward Edward.

Edward cut them down as quickly as they approached. The sword had barely any weight and cut through the acolytes flesh as if he was cutting through air. It felt as if it was an extension of himself. Before a minute had past the throne was piled up with the corpses of acolytes. The Necromancer with the red ceremonial dagger in hand stood facing Edward "You are too late. Soon the girl will be even more powerful than you or I, and so will her thirst for blood."

"I have come here to rid the world of your evil, Necromancer. I have come from the Order of the Light to cast you down."

In one movement Necromancer shrugged off his robe, revealing a pale white body, covered in Kaballistic and demonic tattoos "HA! The Order of the Light? You must be all thats left of those pitiful children. We struck you down and you are all thats left of a dead people. Do you like that sword? I bet it belonged one of your masters. I took it from one of their dying hands." The Necromancers smile showed his sharpened teeth as he began to laugh.

"Your time is ended demon". Edward brought up the sword and ran towards the Necromancer.

The pale face grinned and the red stained teeth and blooded chin were a frightening site as the Necromancer came forward to meet Edward. Edwards sword came down with force and met the knife with a sharp metallic crash and sparks flew in all directions but the next strike was coming down and again they crashed. The longer sword had a longer reach but the Necromancers speed was almost faster than the eye. Back and forth they went sometimes the Necromancers speed had the upper hand, getting in close enough to slash into Edward, other times Edwards reach slicing into flesh but none gaining any advantage for a long while. Time past and blood was shed but the battle continued but the unholy powers of the undead appeared to be taking their toll on Edward.

The Necromancers speed had slowly drawn blood from dozens of cuts and a pool of blood was growing where they fought. Edward stumbled under a powerful blow he caught on his sword but already the Necromancers boot caught Edward in the face and he sprawled backward. The Necromancer stood over Edward with that evil grin on his face. "The powers of the dead have conquered your order before and now your light is going to turn out." As he lunged to strike a croaked battle-cry sounded and Edward saw Howie jump up behind the Necromancer and swing his rope around its neck. The Necromancers hand came up to grab Howie and Edward sent the sword snaking out launching himself in a dive throwing the himself behind the blade right through Necromancers body push him backwards. A scream of disbelief reverberated in the chamber and the Necromancer stared at the protruding sword from his chest. He looked up at Edward standing over him and back down as he felt with his hands the black pool fountain that was pouring out of him. Edward in a quick movement pulled out the sword "You and your orders time is at an end." And removed the Necromancers head.

Epilogue

Howie lay on the ground next to the altar, his blood oozing out of his stomach. Edward came close, took off his shirt and placed it under Howies head. "I'm sorry what I'd done ta ya." A wincing pain crossed Howies face and he paused "They promised me they let her go." His frown was a fright as he watched his lifeblood leak out.

Edward came close to him, "Do not fear death for it is just the waking from a dream. Your granddaughter is alive. Go in peace."

Howie let out his final breath and Edward closed his eyes, sat and said a short prayer for the dead. Standing up he walked over to alter where the small child lay covered in blood. She had been fed the blood and she would now thirst for it. He picked the girl up in his cradled arms and left. What would he do when she turned- he didn't know, but he carried her off in his arms.