"Brother..."

An endless expanse of snow and ice. A raging blizzard. He could only faintly see the outlines of the two figures in the distance, one male, one female. The male, powerfully built, stood at the edge of the cliff, looking out at the pure white sky, while the female crouched down, looking at the drop.

"What is it, sister?"

"I can see it clearly... its about to begin..."

"Our second chance?"

"Our only chance."

"Will we live?"

"No, we will not. We will always be dead. But so will everything else. We will reign over the land of the dead. It will be our world. Our world of perfect evil."

"Is this a true vision?"

"It is an opportunity, not a certainty. We will have to create our world. We must make our move soon."

"Of course. Tell me what to do and I will do it."

"Summon the others. Make sure they join us in our new home. Also, contact the mystic. He must come with us, too."

"Brother... We are not alone..."

The woman turned around, looking directly at him, then her brother turned around as well. He made to run but was paralysed by an indescribable fear. He could not see their faces but could feel their malevolence, a cold, dark shadow.

"A child. He is near death. We will consume his soul."

"No! Ignore him! There is another. He is one of us. We must reach him! Now! Brother, NOW!"


"Hey, kid!"

Kirk screamed and whacked the man across the face. Had he not been wearing a mask, Schumizer would have been sporting a broken nose, some loose teeth or at the very least, a nasty bruise. As it was, he had to straighten his dislodged mask. He regarded the boy, whose eyes were terrified. He sprang into a fighting stance, his left arm covering his face. His right arm hung limply at his side. He recognised Schumizer and dropped his guard – slightly.

"What's wrong. Seen a ghost?" Schumizer looked around, "Oh... well, we do seem to be in a crypt... in that case... ew, what the hell is all over my clothes?"

Schumizer wiped down his tunic and trousers, which were covered in something damp, foul-smelling and a putrid shade of green. The floor was completely flooded with a mixture of stagnant water, moss and mould. The graves themselves were cracked, eroded and, in some places, completely collapsed. Objects that looked suspiciously like bones, rags and other human remains poked from the rubble. The stench was making him nauseous.

"DON'T STAND ON THAT!" screamed Kirk. Schumizer jumped away just as the floor tile he was about to put his weight on crumbled under his feet and a large tombstone fell from above. It would have crushed him, had he been a second slower. There was an audible click and a new tile reappeared, along with a new tombstone, as he noticed when he looked up.

"That was deliberate!" he complained.

"It keeps out grave robbers." said Kirk.

"Who would come this far out of the way to rob a bunch of badly maintained graves?"

"People who know what's in them. Uncle Klarth. Lavians. Lady."

"Lady? THE Lady? You've actually met THE..."

"We have to get out of here."

"I agree." Schumizer turned his nose up, "But my antigravitic field is out of power. The strain of lifting you and slowing both our falls was too much for it. Why'd you let go like that? We could have both died!"

"I didn't! The ring broke!"

"Don't lie! I saw you lose your grip! Is your arm okay?" Kirk was still holding it limp and was now trying to conceal the fact with all the skill and subtlety of a panicked ten year old.

"Nothing is wrong with my arm! At least it works better than your Auntie... your floaty thing!"

"Ah, so you admit it doesn't work!"

"I'm not weak! Kurtliegens are not weak!"

"Kirk!" Schumizer said, in what he hoped was a reassuring manner, "All human beings are weak. They're small and squishy, they can't fly, they need sleep all the time, they die if you shove a sword through them or drop them off a cliff or set them on fire. That's why we need things like antigravitic field."

The boy didn't laugh or even look vaguely impressed, "But some humans are weaker than others. Kurtliegens must not be weak humans. I think that father sold me because of my weakness."

"Oh, so you admit that he sold you!"

"I'm not a proper Kurtliegen. He wouldn't sell me if I was."

"Nonsense! With that kind of twisted, depraved thinking, you're JUST like..." he stopped, then put a finger to his lips, "What was that sound?"

Kirk looked even more terrified, "Its found us!"

"What's found us!"

"Er... remember when you made the bad joke about ghosts?"