This entry is part 5 of 6 in the series Ezmereth Nemrin's Story

Shadowy tendrils followed Ezmereth’s blade as it flew out of its sheath. Umbra was its name, a dark blade forged from the Shadowfell by a Shadar-Kai smith from Gloomwrought. It had been passed on to Ezmereth from Ylormik, though how Ylormik had come to posses the blade in the first place was a mystery. It was the blade Ezmereth had trained with, the blade he had used to perfect his art of Sword Magic, and to one day elevate himself above all other Swordmages of the realms, even the elven and eladrin Bladesingers.

The corpses, directed by their more powerful undead master, approached the two Netherese with frightening precision. Ezmereth and Ylormik quickly avoided them, separating themselves by hopping to opposite ends of the room. To one side, the old master began speaking archaic words and performing arcane gestures, while on the other the young pupil sliced through the undead as though their rotting flesh were made of warm butter.

“Foul spirit,” said Ezmereth, looking at the apparition, “there shall be no resurrection of any sort occurring here. Nay, it shall be the undoing of your unnatural existence upon these lands that will occur!”

A force of energy zipped from Ylormik’s fingertips, blasting into the spirit creature. Ezmereth followed this with a charge into the group of undead, slashing at the zombies, each slash revealing decomposing innards that carried with them the uncanny smell of death.

The evil spirit floated upwards and attempted to make its way towards Ezmereth, but the Swordmage’s constant movement around the battlefield made the attempt difficult.

Ylormik took advantage of the situation and burned a group of the zombies with a jet of flame, scorching them to ash. He followed this up with more blasts of magic directed at the spirit, in an attempt to taunt it back towards himself.

“How can there be so many?” Ezmereth wondered. After all, he had easily slashed at more than eight zombies, and at the moment, there should have been none left to fight. The answer came to him as he pierced through one of the zombies, wiggling his sword from left to right, and splitting the monster in two. The two pieces of rotten flesh fell to the ground, only to recombine again into one creature.

Ezmereth looked up at the floating spirit and saw it was not only trying to approach him, but also bringing back its minions as soon as they were destroyed. The realization caused Ezmereth to pause, and soon he found himself overwhelmed by all eight undead creatures.

With Ezmereth occupied, the spirit turned and focused on older, easier prey: the nethermancer. It approached Ylormik, who quickly stepped back, blasting the creature with a force of dark power that sent waves of dark energy rippling through most of the chamber.

The blast exhausted Ylormik, who fell to one knee, but also slowed the spirit, whose progress toward the old nethermancer slowed, and whose control over the zombies that were engaged with Ezmereth wavered for a moment. The control, however, was quickly regained, and the spirit continued its progress towards the old man.

Surrounded by increasingly ferocious zombies, Ezmereth could only watch as the spirit got into striking distance of Ylormik. Then, with nothing but a simple wave of the arm, the spirit struck the old man.

The blow was physically weak, but magically strong, and Ezmereth cringed at the sight of it. He saw his teacher’s body contract in pain as his life force was drained from him, his scared eyes twitching from left to right, searching desperately for a way to escape the spirit’s hold. A moment later, those same eyes were motionless and empty, and the spirit, who now literally held Ylormik’s life in its hands, tossed it into the air as if it were nothing but refuse.

“Master, no!”

Ezmereth, with all the emotions of seeing his tutor slain before him, used his arcane power to disappear in a puff of shadowy substance, teleporting away from the undead surrounding him with the wisp trailing him adjacent to the spirit. He appeared with Umbra poised to strike, plunging it immediately into the spirit.

The spirit wailed in pain, and as it disintegrated, shouted: “The return is inevitable. What I do not accomplish, others shall in my place!”

With its death, all its minions crumbled to the ground.

Ezmereth wearily approached the pale and withered body of what had been his master. Not even a hint of his soul remained in the body to be resurrected; Ylormik was truly dead.

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