Children of the Night

From the pages of Halda's Journal, Part 4

lightning strikes

A search of Karinsky’s house revealed a stash of his personal writings.  Much of it was insane gibberish about how he was destined for immortality and an evil power which would usher in a new age of darkness.  But we discovered that he met regularly with his master “Dominicus” at the shrine of a saint in the Caliphas Cemetery.  It seemed a logical place for him to go in a situation like this, so we headed there.

Throughout I said little.  To the others I must have seemed lost in thought.  So many changes had happened in the last year I had spent almost no time exploring the limits of my psionic powers.  I had progressed very little since the training I received at the Temple of Irori.  Truth be told, I had gotten complacent.  And that complacency had now come back to bite me in the battle against the zombies.  Perhaps my deity, whose domain included self-improvement, was trying to tell me something.

I focused on the psychic energy pulsing within my mind.  Rather than simply projecting it, I tried to shape it.  With a little practice I found the energy could be molded, compressed or stretched.  I began to believe I could transmute it into physical form.  That required a different mental pathway from what I was used to. 

After Atherton and Elias talked the guards into letting us pass, we attempted to stealth through the cemetery.  Sulayn, Persephone and I were quiet.  As for the others – CLOMP CLOMP CLANK CLANK – the less said the better.  There was no chance we would gain the element of surprise with all the noise Atherton, Elias and Vargan were making. 

Sure enough, Karinsky was prepared.  We spotted him talking to an ominous shadowy figure which the shrine obscured from our view.  Upon seeing us he cackled and uttered an incantation.  A half-dozen armed skeleton warriors appeared.  They advanced on us, their empty eye sockets glinting with malevolence. 

The time had come.  My mind strained as I tried to channel psionic energy through an unfamiliar mental pathway.  Arcs of psychic lightning shot from me and slammed into two of the skeletons.  The first began to convulse as if in shock.  The second shattered into hundreds of bone fragments.

Success!  Using The Power this way felt crackling, tingling and dynamic — different from anything I had done before.  The sensation was almost addictive. 

I saw that Persephone and Sulayn had advanced on Karinsky.  Blood dripped from the hits they had landed on him.  He turned and began to run.  Not so fast, I thought.  I channeled more bolts of lightning in his direction.  But hitting a running Karinsky was not as easy as the slow-moving skeletons.  My bolts struck the ground, missing Karinsky by several feet.

Karinsky whirled around and seeing no one between us, charged me.  Fortunately this necromancer was not a very strong warrior.  His attack bounced off my leather armor. 

I responded by transmuting the strongest bolts of lightning I could.  But I channeled more energy than I could handle.  Pain spiked through my head and for a few seconds I was aware of nothing but the burning feeling that accompanied a psychic backlash. 

When I came to I saw Karinsky lying in the grass.  Black scorch marks lined his skin from which faint wisps of smoke rose.  The scent of ozone was mixed with the smell of burnt flesh. 

A quick medical examination showed Karinsky was still alive.  Vargan stabilized him and we carted him off to the wine cellar of the Lowls Estate.  After a prolonged argument, we agreed to not kill Karinsky.  We would put him in a sanatorium in exchange for telling us the location of The Dawn’s Requiem.  He agreed to this.  I would rather have turned him over to Whiteshaw and collected the reward for the Hawthorne Murders, but Atherton said some bullshit about defrauding the crown.  Whatever.  Vicar Moldenhauer would have agreed with me that the wounds on the bodies were consistent with the Hawthorne Murders.  Nobles don’t understand what it is like to have to work for a living.

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