by Mimi Sebastian
Not too long ago, I released the final book in my Necromancer Trilogy, The Necromancer’s Redemption. It felt good, but sad to say good-bye to the characters that started me on this long, strange trip 🙂 You can find out more information on The Necromancer’s Redemption and the series on my website www.mimisebastion.com or on Amazon. Below is an excerpt. Thanks and enjoy!
“How are we supposed to locate the Na’thaar? Talk about a microscopic needle in a gargantuan haystack. We could spend weeks combing through this place,” I said, still huffing short breaths.
“Malthus didn’t tell you where to look?” Ewan asked.
“In between his last dying gasps? No,” I replied, desperation driving my snippy response. “Sorry. Given everything we’ve gone through to get here, I’ll be pissed if we don’t find the damn thing.”
We finally reached the top and entered another chamber, empty save a few stone benches. I sat on one to catch my breath.
“Maybe you’re going about this the wrong way. Try probing using Malthus’s essence,” he said.
His suggestion seemed reasonable. The Na’thaar was supposed to store death essence, but after what had happened with the zombie-wolf-beast, I hesitated to shake the essence loose again. I closed my eyes and focused inward, let the essence submerge me until I felt like I was drowning. I panicked, heaved, unable to break the surface. My heart raced. I clawed at the air until a strong, warm hand on my shoulder calmed me. I focused on taking deep breaths and settled back into the sensation of floating in this womb of essence. When I opened my eyes, I could see, but not in the normal sense. Similar to my experience in the portal, everything around me was black except for pulsing streams of light. Ewan squeezed my arm, the only indication he was still with me.
One thick silver line caught my attention and I followed it, not knowing where it would lead us. Ewan’s grip provided my only connection to reality. Shadows and strange whines and clicks sounded in the distance. The shimmers, the occasional scent of rotting sweetness, of decayed beauty, drew my morbid fascination, and compelled me to follow the lights and see what lay beyond.
After what seemed like hours, a small ball of silver light hovered in front of me. I moved to touch it when a voice stopped me.
“I think you found it.”
That voice. So deep. Hands clasped my shoulders. “Listen to me. Come out of it. Open your eyes.”
My eyes? Had they been closed? I slowly dismissed the essence mire. When I finally opened my eyes, we stood in a room decorated like a human corporate office. “Are we still in the Sanctuary?” I asked, blinking.
“Yes, look.” He pointed at a black onyx looking stone sitting on a stack of papers. The Na’thaar. Not your normal paper weight. Xavier’s lover, Colette, had been obsessed with the innocuous stone soon to be in my possession.
I walked to the desk and reached out my hand then pulled it back. This seemed almost too easy. Nothing in the demon realm was easy. I exchanged a look with Ewan and he shrugged. “Looks normal enough.”
“That’s the problem.”
I let my hand hover over the Na’thaar a few seconds. “Here goes nothing.” I grabbed the stone and ran my fingers over it while it lay in my palm. The rock was warm and smooth except for small, red ridges running across the surface. The stone grew warmer and the red lines began pulsing. I tried to place it back on the table, but it had stuck to my hand. My palm burned with a sharp intensity, sending an electric shock up my arm. I shook my hand, but the damn thing wouldn’t budge. I shook harder. The pain intensified and hot tears stung my eyes. Then I screamed. Ewan grabbed my hand, tried to pry the stone off, but he could only stare in shock as the stone appeared to melt and fuse into my skin. My arm shook violently, the pain too much to bear. My legs wobbled and Ewan caught me. “I don’t know what to do,” he said desperately.
I shook my head, unable to speak and just stared at my hand, wide-eyed. Finally, the pain subsided. The searing burn diminished to a dull throb. I blinked, staring in disbelief at my palm, now bearing a smooth, raised circle in the middle, like a silver tumor.
I wriggled out of Ewan’s arms and threw a book at the wall. “What is the friggin’ deal with demon brands and shit . . . this!” I splayed my palm.
Ewan only stared, helpless.
I dropped my hand. “How about a simple piece of jewelry? A necklace. A ring would have been nice.”
Ewan rounded his eyes.
“Right. Ring to rule them all—bad. A bracelet, anyone? No, I get some kind of symbiotic palm burrowing Prometheus goo.”
“Does it still hurt?” he asked. When I didn’t answer, he tried once more. “Ruby,” Ewan said sharply, startling me. I whipped my head up and met his look of concern. “Does it hurt?”
“The occasional throb and twinge.” And something else much more compelling replaced the shock of before, buffered the pain. A maelstrom of death essence churned in this stone embedded in my palm. An unbridled source of power which had driven Colette wild. Christ. No wonder Malthus had kept it hidden.
“Can I touch it?”
I offered him my hand and he very carefully glided his finger over the disc, watching me for any sign of pain, but his touch didn’t cause a reaction. In fact, I didn’t feel anything at all.
“So what are you supposed to do with that?” Ewan asked.
“I’m not really sure. Malthus said I’d need the extra death essence to fix the portal. He said I should use it only when necessary, that it will seek to replenish any death essence used—from the person carrying it—if necessary.”
I stared at my palm. Even full, I could feel the Na’thaar sucking, similar to how I’d imagine it would feel to have octopus tentacles wrapped around my hand. “Unless I feed it more death essence, it will take what it needs from my own soul.”
“And Malthus told you to find it. He knew it would attach itself to you.”
I nodded. Before, I would have been upset, accusing Malthus of another swindle, but I trusted him dead more than I had when he’d been alive. He wouldn’t have resorted to this drastic measure if he hadn’t believed it absolutely necessary.
Maybe if I sent some of Malthus’s essence into it, the uncomfortable sucking sensation, would lessen or go away. I gathered power at the ready. The moment it brushed the Na’thaar, blackness engulfed me.