The Battle Begins

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He's in there. Zack pointed with a single finger to the wooden temporary gate of the construction site.

Hubert looked through the rain at the little boy. Ursula had helped Zack use his impressive telepathic and telekinetic powers to fashion his remembered form and use it to envelop his new true nature. Inside the image of the boy was his brain, still floating with green energy inside a jar. They couldn't see that, though, because it was hidden from the minds of all who looked upon it.

Zack's illusion was good, but not perfect. He stood in the downpour without a hair out of place. Dry and calm.

Hubert was neither dry nor calm. He nodded ascent to Ursula and she pushed the gate forward, wood splintering against the lock as she ignored the barring attempt and just ploughed on through.

"Jenson!" Hubert called out across the dark night. The noise of the rain prevented his shout from carrying far, but he doubted he needed it anyway. Their presence would be well known by now.

He strode forward, stepping over the uneven ground scattered with broken brick and sodden mud. In front of him were a pair of construction vehicles; a digger and a dump truck. They lay discarded now, however, the necromantic energy which tasted dirty on his tongue pointing him to the half-complete building to his right. All framework and no substance, it looked like a multi-storey car park missing ramps and a substantial quantity of flooring.

"Jenson!" he cried out again.

Three wraiths launched from the ground in front of him, moving through the dirt with the same effortless speed they could manage in the air. They reached for him as one, tendrils that had the memory of arms pushing to his chest without warning.

There was an explosion of silent blackness as they struck his shielding. The prepared magic of the necromancer weaved without prejudice into their lifeless clouds and tore them from reality. As quickly as they had come, they were gone.

"Going to have to do better than that," Hubert murmured, but he was scared. The shield had taken an hour of work to build and it was gone now.

Ursula streamed in front of him. Like their previous fight, she had dispelled her usual form for a smoke-like cloud of crackling power that darted across the sky. Two more wraiths appeared and she engaged them both without pause. Behind them, three zombies lifted from the ground and stumbled forward.

Hubert felt Edgar's hand on his arm. He turned to look straight into the grinning skull. Zack, next to the skeleton, held out a short sword and round buckler that Edgar took. The sword had his red gem dice embedded into the hilt, spinning freely in the setting, the shield had the image of the same memento on the face, the 20 facing forward. Edgar lifted up the weapons and ran forward, crossing the gap between the necromancer and the trio of zombies in bounds.

There was a sudden grumble of an engine. Hubert and Zack turned at once to look at the digger that swung in their direction, the headlights momentarily blinding them with their unexpected appearance.

"Haha!" Zack clapped his hands together in glee and seemed to concentrate for a moment. From behind them came a similar roaring sound and Huu ducked as the monster truck, Blaze, leaped over their forms to land between them and the approaching construction vehicles.

"To make a rocket launcher, say 'ROCKET LAUNCHER'," echoed a strangely cheery voice across the site.

"ROCKET LAUNCHER!" shouted Zack obediently.

Hubert watched as the massive anthropomorphic monster truck was enhanced by an oversized bazooka. Blaze wasted no time in firing the weapon and the ground shuddered with the explosion. Impossibly bright light and the echoing blast took over his senses as everything around him was engulfed in the chaos. Desperate, Hubert fought to keep his focus on something. His eyes picked out another wraith coming towards them, the black shadow eerie against the fire of the background. It was one of six and their focus was similarly precise.

The necromancer strode towards them with the confidence of a man accepting of his role. He held out his left hand, muttered an incantation that helped him channel the necromantic field and watched as the wraith on the edge stopped moving. In fractions of a second, its normally-incorporeal body turned to a rough stone before crashing to the ground and shattering into pieces. The remaining five didn't pause, but two more suffered the same defeat before closing any substantial distance.

Suddenly Edgar was there. His sword was thick with the congealed blood from the zombie fight, but he seemed unharmed. He lunged at his closest wraith even as it turned to him and the die that formed the pommel of his sword spun vigorously before settling on a number. The 20 was easily visible as the blade cut straight through the blackness of Edgar's adversary. Tendrils of light reached from the sword and another wraith was gone, turned to nothing but glittering sparkles.

Two wraiths reached Hubert. The palm of his hand touched the face of one as he pushed forward with another layer of magic. At once he felt a freezing chill pass up his arm before his own defences kicked in and combated the poison. He screamed simultaneously with the wraith whose call was silenced as it was forever lost by his touch.

Hubert dropped to his knees in a wet puddle as the final spirit came at him. Without time to prepare another spell, he looked up at certain death. A crackle of red lightning tore between his eyes and the undead and Ursula's smokey form wrapped around the creature. A heartbeat later and all fell silent. The vampire's form solidified and she fell onto him unceremoniously.

Get up! she commanded urgently, scrambling to do so herself, There are more!

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