Ghosts (From the Archives)

The first ghost was an easy hit as it rounded the top of the staircase. Raela loosed the arrow and began searching for the second ghost that she could sense was lurking round the corner.

Wait for it, she thought to herself. Her breathing slowed, as she concentrated on the stone bricks that made up the corner of the wall-

Her instincts saved her as she dived the left, missing the ghostly sword that cleaved through the air where she had been standing moments before. Dimissing her bow with a wave of her hand, Raela summoned her sword with a quick flick of her wrist, hands closing in around the hilt as it vaporised from thin air.

The sword glowed red, a result of Raela’s natural fire magics, as it bit through the uneathly ghost spirit that barely had a chance to react before it was dismissed out of existence.

Now they’re getting smarter, Raela thought, they can stop me sensing them.

Training took over, as Raela spun to deflect the blow from the ghost she hadn’t yet killed. Technically, dismissing a spirit back to the land of the dead didn’t kill it, and Master Wells would have a field day if she ever thought Raela had used such a term. However, Raela figured that if you stuck a sword through something and it disappeared then it was as good as dead. That meant she killed it.

This ghost, like the others, was dressed in the armour in which she died. The breastplate and sword were enough to tell Raela that this ghost had died hundreds of years ago, only to be reanimated by the necromancer Leeiloz last month in his attempt to cause as much damage as he could before the Protectorate caught him. No one liked a rogue necromancer, and certainly not the Protectorate whose purpose was to protect the lands from those who would do evil with magic.

Raela parried with the ghost, smoothly moving in a dance like fashion as her sword blocked the ghosts sluggish attacks. It wasn’t the ghost’s fault really, Leeiloz hadn’t done a good job with raising these spirits. They were slow and uncoordinated, which was Raela had been sent to deal with them in the first place.

After all, where best to send a Protector in training than out in the field? The Arch-protectors liked their trainees to learn on the job, there was only so much you could learn from a textbook.

Raela easily slid her sword under the ghost’s blade, into their shimmering breast. Magic flared along the sword, triggering the dismissing spell that Raela had enchanted along its length.

The ghost disappeared into thin air, leaving behind only a cold trace in the air around Raela. Even now, after all these years, Raela found dismissing spirits strangely unnerving.

You can’t be brought back, Raela thought to herself, in an attempt to comfort herself. That was the deal she had made upon entering the Protectorate. You gave your soul to Evar, God of the Dead, and in return he granted you the powers that were beyond this world.

Still, it was a cold comfort. Her soul was dammed for all eternity after all.

Raela shook her head, gesturing to dismiss her ethereal sword. She had a job to do, and deeper in these caves, more ghosts needed to be sent back into the arms of death.

This flashfiction was first posted in 2016

Featured Image by Alice Hampson on Unsplash

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