Fighting the Undead

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The first wraith detonated like so much black evil pixie dust. Hubert strode forward, his cape flickering in the wind, arms outstretched and a grimace on his face that did little to mask all the anger and tension which seemed to power his magic.

The necromancer paid little heed to the eradication of his first victim and concentrated the full force of his power onto the second; subsuming himself with the necromantic field.

Ursula moved like dancing mist around him, keeping herself to an insubstantial form matching that of the chill enemy. She raced forward, enveloping a third sentry with her cloud. There was a crackle of energy like crimson lightning that raced through her form, sparking as it met the equally sinister incorporeal makeup of the wraith.

There was a telepathic scream that cut through the thoughts of both Hubert and his vampire aide. It echoed painfully but without meaning, disorientating them both. Huu span, all of his senses stretching to find the source, but there was nothing.

Ursula shimmered, her smoke-shape solidifying for a moment into flesh. The wraith she combated took full advantage and thrust its gaseous hand into her chest to grasp at the heart within. The vampire shrugged off the attack that would have killed any of the living and responded with another barrage of burgundy electricity that tore the invader apart in a burst of charged energy.

We must find Dan, she communicated with urgency, before they move him.

Hubert found himself unable to focus on her words - two more wraiths approaching him at speed. He focused on the shielding techniques he had practised with Edgar and covered himself in an invisible bubble of force. The deadly attackers stopped mere metres from his body, held back by the magical aura.

How far was he from here? he shot back desperately.

Close. I will investigate. Ursula was gone, swiftly dissipating into the night sky and leaving Hubert with all three of the remaining undead.

Safe within his protective barrier, Huu reached out to the closest of the wraiths, working along the fibres of the necromantic field to discover its nature. It was female, he felt. A woman, with a name that started with a K. Katherine? Kesha? Kitty? He couldn't tell. Name her and take control, he told himself. Kelly.

The scream came again, its source still in hiding. Much of its power was drawn away by the dampening effect of the shield, and what was not Huu ignored in his concentration. The wraith that had once been Kelly turned on her former collaborator and twisted her form with its own. Hubert could feel the alien insinuation as the two spirits battled. As their existences touched there was a mutual annihilation and with tiny flares of white light, each diminished.

Kill it, Hubert ordered, and kill yourself doing it.

He had no compassion for these evil creatures. There was no room to remember who they once were nor dwell on what they had become. His experience had taught him that wraiths epitomised the very depths of darkness that necromancy offered and he would not hold back from their total destruction.

The white emanations of their fight grew in number and intensity as they locked each other in fatal struggle. Huu held his gaze, needing to see it done, and did not turn away even as the final flash threatened to blind him.

There was one left.

It wanted to run. Huu could see enough from its spectral stance to acknowledge its fear. Though it faced almost certain eradication, however, it still held ground.

More frightened by whatever controls it, Hubert realised.

The thought was terrifying in itself. This creature had witnessed the final moments of three of its companions by the necromancer's hand; it had good reason to be wary of him, yet it chose to stay rather than disobey its master.

Enough, Hubert sent to the thing directly, not really caring if it could hear him or not. He focused his energy into a single pulse and let the magic cascade forth unhampered. The draining was reckless, but the effect was satisfying. When Huu finally stood and composed himself, there were no threats remaining.

Ursula? he sent.

I am with Dan, the vampire communicated, in that I have been successful. However, I can neither wake him nor move him. Something binds him here. You must come.

I'm on my way.

Hubert could feel the lines which connected him with his ally. He blinked his eyes and ran through the night.

The fight had taken place in a small field beside a wooden building Hubert had seen hundreds of times in passing and never really taken in. He didn't even know its purpose. Community centre? Scout hut? Something like that. There was a children's playground between him and the entrance, and in the darkness the slight movement of the swings in the wind felt eerie and otherworldly. Hubert laughed at himself; moments before he had been fighting powerful undead and now he was shaken by an innocuous playground.

His eyes were drawn to the swing as it drifted back and forth and slowly he became conscious of the form sitting in place there. Dark, insubstantial, evil.

Hubert stared as time ticked slowly in his head. He had stopped moving and was already building the tendrils which formed the shield. In this moment, it was as if everything moved at a pace one hundred times slower than natural. The magic grew around him, forming his protective bubble at what seemed a snail's pace as the thing on the swing turned to face him.

Good evening, Lord Necromancer, came the communication, filled with menace.

Hubert stared in disbelief, unwilling to believe what he saw. Who he saw.

Jenson, he acknowledged, before directing his full magical power as a focused missile at his foe.

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