Demrin sat in his usual corner of The Pig’s Head, watching everything, listening to everyone. It was a habit of his, and his magic heightened his senses considerably so it was not as if he could help it. He was a Warlock, and had held the position for nearly forty years, since he had completed his apprenticeship. Soon after, his master had died, making him the only Warlock in these parts.
He heard the barman’s advice to the two people looking for jobs; they appeared to be brother and sister. Demrin laughed, ‘It’s not safe’ was an understatement. Living in these parts was perilous at the best of times, even for those with magic or some other power, never mind for humans. He knew they were humans; there was no trace of any power about them.
Turning his gaze away from them, Demrin glanced around the pub again until something else caught his interest. Two figures were huddled a few tables away from his. Their heads were close together, their voices hushed. One had a dark hood drawn up, completely hiding its head, the other was a bedraggled kid, scrawny with shadows beneath his eyes.
Demrin saw something pass from the hand of the hooded figure to the hand of the kid. A fight broke out between two drunks at the bar and the hooded figure was forced to raise its voice to be heard over the noise.
“Deliver that to the Warlock’s apartment and I shall return your brother to you. He has long been a thorn in my side, thwarting my plans and making life most inconvenient. Of course there are others, but you do this for me, you will have your brother exactly as he was when I took him”.
The kid nodded and stood. He quickly left the pub, vanishing through the door. Demrin perused the employer of the kid. It was evidently someone he had crossed more than once, which was quite a few people, and creatures for that matter. Demrin suspected it was the necromancer, John Scott, judging by the way he hid his face in darkness. Either it was him, or a demon of some sort no doubt.
The figure rose and made for the exit. Demrin followed, his black robes allowing him to blend into the shadows of the building. The Cloaked figure performed the same trick and they both exited the building without attracting attention. The hooded figure turned into an alley, where Demrin followed. It was a dead end. The figure turned to face him and dropped its hood.
It was the necromancer. With a flick of his right hand, a sword of shadows formed there. Flicking his left hand, a demon was summoned from the shadows in the alley, followed by another. Demrin reached into his robes and unsheathed his silver dagger. It was a weapon that was effective against demons and the darkness. It could harm them; a normal blade would just melt. Grasping it in his right hand, Demrin hurled a ball of fire with his left. It struck one of the demons full on, throwing it back into the wall, the flames spreading to engulf it. Demrin was running, as was Scott. He brought his dagger up to meet the blade of shadows. Black sparks erupted as the blades clashed. The second demon rushed him from the side, catching him off balance and throwing him to the ground. Its claws raked his chest, piercing his skin. His flesh burned, but Demrin blocked out the pain. He hurled a blast of shadow at the demon and it was instantly vaporized; a weak demon by Scott’s standards.
Demrin rolled to his feet, parried a strike of the shadow blade and sliced at the necromancers legs. Scott grunted as the blade opened a wound, then hurled shadow at Demrin. He was thrown backwards, right out into the street again. The necromancer was there as Demrin tried to rise. He slashed again with the shadow blade and ripped through the muscles in Demrin’s left shoulder. Now fighting one handed, Demrin knew had had to think of something, fast.
He called up a wind which buffeted Scott, holding him in place. The wind grew in power, forcing the necromancer back. He snarled at Demrin, his face full of hatred. The necromancer threw a shadow ball at Demrin, which he caught on the blade of the silver dagger.
Scott snarled again.
“This isn’t over, Demrin, it’s only just begun!”
The necromancer sank into the ground, a pool of shadow opening up below him. As the crown of his head disappeared, the pool vanished, leaving no trace of Scott anywhere.
Demrin winced as his shoulder throbbed. He recited a minor healing spell, the best he could do himself. The wound healed over and the muscles began to stitch themselves together, but he could do no more himself. It would do for now. He was more worried about what Scott had said. What had only just begun? What was John Scott planning? Who else was involved?