Aglaril Cycle:Chapter 06 The Willow Rod by Rich Feitelberg

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What in Zortan's name is wrong? thought the bald man.

Evan knew. The holy water Lan had used to cleanse the field had counteracted the blood and the necromancers' earlier preparations. The bald man was not strong enough to complete his summoning.

The bald man cursed again, realizing that somehow the blood's effect had been negated. "You Michaelines will pay for my failure," he screamed. He glanced at Evan who was still making his way around the edge of the field.

"Who better to kill first than the leader of these interlopers?" mumbled the necromancer. Then the bald man glanced at Lan. The Michaeline knight was about to hurl a knife.

Lan completed the throw and the bald man laughed silently.

How easy to sidestep the attack, he thought. Obviously, the knight is more dangerous to me. So he will die first.

Evan saw Lan throw his knife and the necromancer focus on his friend. The bald man's back was now facing Evan. Immediately the priest saw the opening he was looking for and changed direction, running directly at his enemy.

Evan watched the necromancer and hoped there was enough time to reach the man. Fear swelled up inside him as he saw the bald man point the willow rod at Lan.

I'm running out of time, thought Evan. In another second the necromancer will fire his weapon.

Evan pushed himself to run harder and prayed he would be fast enough. Gritting his teeth, Evan felt his lungs ache and his legs throb but this did not deter him. Evan drew his dagger after three more strides and leapt.

The necromancer turned his head to see what Evan was doing. Though he wanted to avoid surprises, he was too late. Wide-eyes and a furrowed brow froze on the necromancer's face as he stared at the sight of Evan airborne and coming directly at him. An instant later, Evan tackled him, sending the willow branch flying, and stabbed his opponent before he could muster another spell in place of the fire bolt.

Lan watched Evan tackle the necromancer and ran toward the combatants, sword in hand. From the other side of the field other knights finally began to appear.

With his right arm, the necromancer punched Evan in the face and broke free.

Even as the necromancer began to stand, Lan pressed his sword against the man's chest. "Move, and I'll run you through," said Lan.

"You can try," said the bald man taking a step back and waving his right hand.

Lan lunged but his sword passed through empty air. The necromancer had faded away like a ghost.

"By St. Michael's sword," said Ambrose, who had arrived at the scene. "I've not seen anything like that before."

"No," said Lan.

Evan groaned as Sir Geoffrey helped him up.

"He got away?" asked Evan.

"Yes," said Lan. "He just vanished."

"Well, at least we stopped them from doing whatever they were planning," said Evan rubbing his face where he had been hit. "Let's get on with the blessing of the field. And let's find that wand of his."

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