Chapter 28:

Chapter 28


The dust settled. Rocks rained from the sky. Smoke cleared. Only two bodies remained standing. Necros and Vera, eyes locked on each other. Isaac and Elizabeth were down for the count, broken, beaten. They shook like fragile leaves, struggling to stand back up. Vera looked down at her fallen friends, then back up at Necros. She caught her breath and steeled her nerves.

"That was quite the spell, Necros. But it wasn't enough to knock me down. So, what's your move?" Necros started to lose himself. He shook with anger. Fury filled his marrow. But then, he reeled himself back in. An idea popped into his mind.

"Have I ever told you my origins, mage?" He said, calmly. Vera raised an eyebrow.

"What?" She asked, hesitantly, thrown completely off.

"My origins. Do you know of them? Has anyone ever told you of them? Your family? The council?"


"Would you like me to enlighten you?" He asked, nefarious intentions seeping through his words like a pollutant. Vera didn't respond, but she did ever so slightly lower her guard. "I wasn't always a necromancer, you see. And clearly, I wasn't always a lich. Necros isn't even my real name! It was given to me after I crossed through the afterlife. Do you want to know what my real name was?" Everyone paused. "It was Emrys Ancalagon."

"Wait..." Isaac whispered. A chill ran down his spine. Elizabeth looked at him confused.

"Do you know who I was in my past life?" Necros asked again. Vera slowly shook her head. Necros raised his hand. "I was the infamous dragon slayer of Strathum!" He snapped his fingers. Suddenly, the earth began to shake. The heroes of Ethros looked on in horror. Emerging from the soil and ash, soon towering over each and every mortal and immortal, a skeletal dragon rose from the grave. Its eyes glowed the same sickly green as Necros. Its body stood and moved just like his as well, all bone with no muscle or ligaments to connect them. It let out a horrifying screech. Vera stepped back, jaw dropped, eyes pulsing, hands trembling. "So..." Necros began. "What's your move?" She threw out a frost spell in a panic. The dragon shouted and the spell dissipated.

"Oh crap!" Green flames billowed in the dragon's ribs. The flowed up and out the beast's mouth. Vera quickly placed a bubble over Isaac and Elizabeth. The flames consumed her.

"Vera!" Isaac called out. The fire cleared. She was still standing, but barely. Vera stumbled back and forth. Her clothes and skin were scorched and blackened.

"Still standing huh? No worries, hit her again." Necros commanded. The dragon obliged. Isaac and Elizabeth watched as fire remanifested within the skeleton and Vera prepared to protect everyone but herself.

"Damnit! Hold on!" Isaac used all of his strength to stand. He lunged back, escaping the confines of the protective bubble. The flames touched the ground and quickly spread. Vera braced herself. She closed her eyes, accepting the searing pain. But it never came. Vera opened her eyes and beheld her protector. Isaac blocked the flames with his shield.

"Isaac..." She whispered.

"This isn't over yet! We can still beat him!" Vera nodded. "I'll distract the dragon. You take on the dead man."

"Dead man? You've got a walking corpse on your side too! It's a dead man party! And honestly, who could ask for more." Just as he finished, something hit Necros in the frontal bone. A scalpel.

"I'm not just a walking corpse." Elizabeth said. "I'm a doctor and their support." Vera charged up her staff. A discharge of electricity left the tip. It zipped, zigged, and zagged through the air, hitting directly on the scalpel like a lightning rod. Necros was shocked to oblivion. The bone dragon snapped at Isaac. It chased the knight around, biting and swiping at him as he ran around the battlefield. In a fit of rage, Necros launched a volley of magic arrows. Vera responded with a volley of her own. The two colliding and exploding in the air with such intense light. Vera and Necros continued to cast spell after spell at each other. Fire, ice, stone, energy.

"Succumb to the void!"

"Bask in heaven's light!" Darkness and light surround the two mages. Like opposing waves, they crashed together and mixed.

"Mortis amplexus!"

"Benedictio vitae!" Beams of pure, concentrated life and death shot out from each mage's staff. Clashing and pushing off each other, they balanced in the center. A stray bolt from each spell arched over and struck the antithesis opponent. Both gave up and inspected their arms, Vera's scarred, Necros' wrapped in vegetation.

"Eldritch corruption!!!"

"Purifying aura!!!" The realms began to shake. Lovecraftian, cosmic eyes peered in from the unknown. Angelic wings shieled all those worthy. Corruption magic and purification magic finally clash. And when they do, when darkness chases light, when life dances around death, when horror follows sanctity, when the unnatural attempts the natural, destruction proceeds balance. Upheaval annihilation. The battlefield consumed in total decimation. An aethereal blast briefly leaving everything in a monochromical state.

"Damn purification magic! Always a pain in my ass!" And just when things started to settle down, a monster descended from the heavens. A familiar, distinctive roar. The dying dragon was back, and it tackled the bone dragon to the ground. "Oh great! And if that wasn't enough!" The bone dragon shook off its new attacker. The two locked eyes, puffing smoke from their nostrils. "Now I've got to deal with my past."

"Past? Wait you know that dragon?" Elizabeth asked.

"The one beast I failed to hunt. I would've had it if Xeothum didn't pass his stupid laws, dragonborn bastard. He blocked my trade! Ruined my work! Can you blame me for trying to assassinate him?!"

"Assassinate?!" Vera screamed.

"This bastard was the catalyst of tension between Ethros and Strathum." Isaac explained. "Vera, rip him limb from limb." Vera fired off a series of magic missiles. Necros cast a protective barrier to block them. The two dragons continued to brawl, biting and tearing into each other. Vera stomped her foot, and a chunk of stone came up from under Necros' feet, hitting him in the mandible. His barrier fell. He held onto his skull to keep it from flying off. A dragon's tail swung by and smacked Necros to the ground. A vine sprouted from the ground. It wrapped around Necros' neck and kept him bound to the earth. The dying dragon wedged its claws into the bone dragon's ribs. And pulled and tore them out. As the bone dragon screeched, the dying dragon bit onto its opponent's lower jaws and ripped it out. The bone dragon fell and lost its magical bindings as the dying dragon roared in one last triumph. The skeleton came crashing down onto Necros. Crushed under tons of vertebrae, he was pinned. There was no way he could avoid Vera's final spell.

"Obliterate." She announced calmly. Necros' pupils shrank. The same spell she used to end their last battle has come back to haunt him. The tiny orb flew towards an incapacitated Necros, and detonated right in front of him. Vera made sure to use her last bit of stamina and mana to shield herself and her friends. The blast sent Necros flying back. He collided with the ground with a hard thud and continued to skip across the dirt. Once he came to a stop, he frantically picked himself up. Fleeing the fight, he cast his getaway portal. But before he could step away, he was halted. A certain doctor firmly grasped Necros' neck vertebrae and lifted him into the air. Elizabeth covered her mouth in shock and the rest of the heroes stepped back.

"Necros, when I said return with a corpse, I didn't mean you. Where are you going?" Grimwald asked, calmly.

"I was just uh... retreating to get more space, sir."

"Really, because it looks to me like you failed."

"What? Me?! Failed?! No!" He laughed nervously. Grimwald tightened his grip on Necros.

"You know, you liches do fascinate me. You have no internal anatomy to speak of, and yet when put under significant stress, you are under the impression that you do. Like right now for instance. You and I both know that you have no respiratory system. But when I TIGHTEN my grip on what would be your neck, you start to choke and cough as if you could breathe in the first place. I'm willing to bet that even your quote-on-quote heart rate skyrockets just at the mere thought of me, hm?" He dropped Necros, and the lich rubs his neck. "Why don't you join me and Dullahan for some... experiments? I'm sure it will be ENLIGHTENING!" A strange, horrific energy filled the air around the two. Necros crawled backwards a few steps, daring not to let his eye sockets off of Grimwald.

"W-Wait sir! The heroes are still here! And they're exhausted from fighting me! We can still get you that scroll!" Grimwald starred down at Necros, glanced up at the terrified heroes, and then looked back at Necros.

"No, Necros. I'm not here to clean up your mistakes. If I'm going to kill them, it will be on my own terms. UNDERSTAND?" Necros dared not to speak. He silently got dragged into the portal, all the while mouthing 'Help me'. The portal closed. The clash between casters concluded. And the adventure continued.