“Not the prince, not the prince,” screamed the old hag.
The demons from the entrance sprang from the walls and came at Thomas.
“Attack the demons,” he commanded his risen and they went into action, putting themselves between their master and the creatures. Thomas ran forward and swung at the nesferatu. The same clawed spectral hands began to claw at Thomas, but his sword worked against them and they retreated into the substance from which they came.
The nesferatu swung at the necromancer and opened Thomas’s chest with the claws of his fingernails.
Thomas swung at the demon lord, but the blade passed through it harmlessly. Marina had lied. He could do nothing against this thing.
Then Thomas felt the leather amulet burn his skin deeper. His mind raced. Backing up against the onyx bowl as it spewed forth its shrouding vapors, he watched the demon lord. The eyes of the thing glowed red and it smiled in a hungry satisfaction.
If the bowl is his power… He turned and swung with both hands down onto the side of it.
The sword shattered. Both the clawed hands of the demon lord raked down the necromancer’s back, causing him to arch backward and yell in pain. The bowl imploded and then shards of the black rock flew in every direction. The boiling, dark green mist poured from the base of the bowl as if liquid. From the remains of the giant dish, something crawled, pulling itself up on thin, torn arms. Its eyes were the solid black of hate and anger.
“I shall rend your soul, necromancer.” The nesferatu spoke the words softly, but Thomas felt the power they carried reverberate in his bones. Then he burst into light the color of the mist, surrounding them.
When this happened, the demons from the entrance scampered up the walls and fled from the cavern. His risen, about to follow, stopped as Thomas commanded.
Thomas looked to find the prince dragging a still jabbering Andrea to her feet.
The creature on the remains of the bowl opened it mouth and turned toward the prince.
“Christoff,” the necromancer said, careful not to speak too loudly, for fear of attracting the attention of the new beast.
The prince lifted his head at hearing his name, but froze half-erect, as the thing caught his gaze.
Thomas moved to put himself between the prince and the thing dragging itself forward. Thomas thought the language the demon lord spoke similar to that which the nesferatu spoke moments before, like something a reflection would say. The prince focused on Thomas.
Grabbing the girls other arm, Thomas pulled the two into action. Nothing stopped them. No hands from the mist reached out from the shroud. All else had fled. Everything seemed absent, gone at the sensing of this new ruler. As fast as they could drag the still dazed girl, they headed for the entrance back into the tunnels leading to the power-blasted crater outside.
“Is it really you, Christoff,” whispered the girl. “Is it you this time?”
“Yes, love,” answered the prince. “You’ve got to run.”
Looking over his shoulder, Thomas saw the new demon drag itself out of the bowl shards and into the concealment of the fog. As it submerged itself, the necromancer saw it legs shredded below the knees.
“We’ve gotta move faster,” Thomas said. “Let’s go, let’s go. Move move move! Risen, attack the demon.”
The new demon halted as the risen attacked him, but only for an instant before they burst into dust.
James J Crofoot started working at 11 years old and never stopped. He’s been a sailor in the U.S. Navy, worked in video tape production, made money investing in stocks, and traveled throughout the US as a truck driver and an army brat. He’s been to all four corners of the US and to the top of every major mountain range in the United States.
Through it all, writing has been his first love, companion, and constant friend.
He has so many stories to tell, he plans to spend the rest of his life writing.
Born in Germany he currently resides in the "Great Mitten" that is Michigan. He resides with his insane family consisting of his sister, two spoiled but loving nieces, a brother in law, and two dogs.
He hopes you’ll enjoy his books while sipping tea, coffee, or cocoa on a rainy day.