Acid colored flames guided Abathor through the rest of the frozen wasteland. Though it was a small campfire, it was enough to illuminate two figures waiting patiently next to a set of unearthed drake bones arranged in order. One was very obviously Esreiella, but the other was no one he could recognize. Largely because of the leather and chain coif that shadowed his face, but eyes were set with a deathly glow that spoke of the man�s nature.


�I suppose I won�t have to send a fel hunter after you. Shame that. Have you met Uncle Ulfric?� She lifted a gloved hand to the broad man standing at her side. His eyes remained locked on the mage, eerily staring and hardly moving even as frost accumulated on his plate armor.


�No, I can�t say that I have.� Abathor admitted through the scarf that covered his mouth.


�He�s the perfect participant in this little project. See, when I was a little girl, Uncle Ulfric decided to renounce his titles and claims to pursue a higher calling. He joined the priesthood and devoted his life to the Light. To show his devotion, he took a vow of silence, and to this day, he remains true to it. Tonight, he�ll be playing the role of reanimator and you�ll be bind the arcane essence back into this wonderful creature.� The green fire light gave her face a sinister quality as she spoke, and she did it with such boldness that her threat was still present.


�This is� this is not something you should be dabbling in, Esreiella.� Abathor protested, but she raised a hand for silence.


�Do not begin to lecture me on forces that should not be tampered with. I�m something of an expert on that particular subject. If you like, I can set a fel hunter out to make sure you play your part. Will that be necessary?�


�No.� He turned his eyes to the permafrost with a frown. A muffled hiss came from behind his scarf and a grimace of pain gave away the state of his mouth. The warlock had left him with significant bruising and jagged, cracked teeth as a verification to her threat.


�Good. Get to work.�


Abathor noted the finality to her words, they left no more room for arguments no matter how much he disagreed with the desecration of old bones. He was not willing to face her wrath either, and the guilt that welled up inside of him had been just enough to urge him on. Blood was on his hands, after all, and that was a fact that even he could not push to the side.


He obediently acted upon her orders while the death knight and warlock took their place. Esreiella stood directly in front of the drake�s skull while Ulfric and Abathor each took a side. The mage stretched his hand to the bones while Ulfric planted his rune sword, tip down, into the frozen soil. Esreiella fished a small glass bottle from the inside of her cloak as a sudden burst of arcane flared to life in the area. She thumbed the cork off the container as her lips began to move with harsh sounding, foreign words. Though he could not interpret them, he could at least tell it was the demonic language.

Abathor�s heart thundered in his chest and Esreiella tipped contents of the bottle onto the drake�s skull. Arcane light illuminated the substance, revealing the rich red that splattered the skull with a syrupy thickness in the low temperatures. However, her words and the blood seemed part of two different spells. Ulfric had remained still, hand on the planted sword and staring at the mage the entire time until finally the contents of the bottle had been emptied.


Foul necromancy, corrupting fel magic, and raw arcane power erupted into the air and mingled together. Old tissue that lingered pulsed with undead life, stretched and grew to link together the bones. Membranes formed into wings that twitched with the magic that forced it into an abominable state of renewal. Eyes, no more than blue lights within black sockets, ignited as the beast fought to regain control of itself against death.


One at a time, wings beat and hammered against the ground and struggled for synchronization. An ethereal sound filled the night as the drake�s maw opened wide to roar with anger and frustration. Claws dug into the soil and limbs shook to gain ground.


A powerful gust rushed out in all directions as its wings finally found togetherness in pace. The thin membranes, finally forme, stretched against the air as bones collectively rose in eldritch life.


It did not immediately soar to the skies, but it turned its ghastly eyes down at the chanting warlock. Abathor�s breath caught in his throat as he finally dared to look at her and the white wisps of magic that seeped from her form.


Her arms stretched out wide as violet runes carved into the inside of the drake�s ribs blazed bright through the contained arcane magic. The channeled wisps of the warlock�s soul gravitated to the demonic carvings, bound themselves to the markings, and solidified into glassy, purple runes.


The magic ceased. The creature was reanimated and mostly at the expense of Abathor�s energy. He clutched a hand to his chest, breathing hard through his scarf with beads of cold sweat rolling down his pale face. Ulfric returned to his stoic stance and Esreiella remained locked in a battle of wills with the frost wyrm.


For a long moment, neither moved save for the beat of the wyrm�s wings. In an instant, it surged forward, head and horns ramming Esreiella in the chest to the ground. She gasped and wheezed for breath, but no fear crossed her face.


Abathor quietly prayed to various deities. The Light, Elune, spirits, the Sun, and even the damned Loa. If any one of them could listen to him at that moment, he wished, above all things, that the creature she had brought into the world would kill her then and there. Some hope even sparked to life inside of his chest as he watched it crawl over her and press its teeth into her cheeks.


Her lungs ached for air and begged her to take more breaths to make up for what had been knocked from her chest. The tips of razor sharp teeth grazed over her skin, but no matter what, she never flinched. Esreiella remained neutral, refusing to let fear take away her daring expression.


Not all battles were fought with steel and numbers, and though they remained still, it was one of the fiercest conflicts she had ever been immersed in. Determination to prevail and refusal to bend to the frost wyrm�s fear tactics eventually won the creature over. It folded its wings in and lowered its head as it stepped back.


�Abathor�� Esreiella rasped before she finally took a deep breath. The mage�s sinking heart kept him from acknowledging her as she pulled herself to her feet. �If I ever see you again, I�ll kill you. Leave.�


Abathor did not argue with her stance nor did he care to see if the threat held any truth in her expression. Not that she had bothered to look at the cowardly mage given that her attention was squarely fixed on the frost wyrm. He simply turned and moved with haste in the direction from where he came.


The deaths of five warlocks, separation from Adrian, and six months running in fear begged her to take one more glance at the fleeing mage. Her jaw clenched as bitter tears started to form in her eyes, but she refused to let them fall. No more crying, she promised herself and began her spell.


The mage managed to gain a good distance from the group before he broke into a sprint. He needed to get somewhere safe before he could try to teleport. Any amount of time spent on the ground channeling a spell was time he spent exposed and vulnerable.

Alas, all hope of running died out when he saw the vague green light forming at the edges of his shadow. His feet slowed until he was standing still and watching the light get bright and brighter. Abathor closed his eyes and felt himself void. It was the last warm feeling he experienced before the impact of a large fel fire bolt struck him squarely in the spine and left nothing but bits of meat and bone in a long smear of blood.

Author Esreiella
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