Chapter Twenty-Eight: The Second War

William Griffon strode out of the mist and smiled at his former fiancée.
‘Miranda Warwick…how nice to see you again. And you’ve brought your friends along…this is shaping up to be a fantastic reunion. Although we seem to be missing someone.’
Miranda gave a primal scream and leapt at Griffon, her twin blades aimed straight at his heart. Griffon made a weary movement with his hand, and his attacker flew across the floodlit courtyard, crashing into several dustbins. He turned to address the sorcerers, who were struggling to get back on their feet.
‘I must thank you for rejuvenating me…all that power… it has been almost millennia since I felt such energy…’ The necromancer’s voice crackled as though charged with electricity, and he gave a hollow laugh.
‘Is it…really worth it William? Isolation…pain…hatred… Many lives have been lost… but you could save hundreds more…’ The Arbiter moved slowly towards Griffon and held out his hand, pleading with the necromancer, who was almost hovering above the ground.
‘And you would grant me a full pardon? Amnesty, freedom to go where I choose?’
‘Of course.’
Griffon laughed again, before his face turned hauntingly serious.
‘I think not.’

Before anyone could react, the newborn necromancer flung his arms skyward and yelled to the night. There was an almighty bang and a great ripple exploded outwards from Griffon, sending everyone toppling to the floor. The necromancer extended his arms and rocks began to tear themselves from the very earth and fly upwards. Miguel and the Arbiter struggled to shield themselves and their allies from the avalanche of debris that had begun to fall upon their heads.
‘Simon…take them and go!’ Miguel yelled over the sound of the falling rubble.
Liberthine nodded, grabbed the still entranced Jason and Bianca and then muttered several times under his breath, gripping his umbrella tightly.

‘No, you can’t get away…you’ll miss the best part!’ Griffon yelled maniacally, any semblance of sanity lost. He hurled several large chunks of brick at the Arbiter, who clung tightly to the unconscious Jason and Bianca and muttered faster and faster, before the three vanished in a flash of light which careered wildly upwards. The bombardment stopped in an instant, and the remaining pieces of rocks and debris fell uselessly to the floor. Griffon lowered his arms and strode towards Miranda.
‘You have lost your husband…and now your son Miranda. Without ever getting to know him. Alexander killed you once, he had to die… as for Jason…I’ll help you find him. He has your fire, your bravery… I’ll be a father to him. I can make it all better…join me…we can erase the wrongs of mankind together.’ He extended his arm to her, smiling almost pleasantly.
‘Never.’ Hissed Miranda. ‘Alexander was always better than you in every way.’ She gave a hollow laugh. ‘You thought you were the only one who could cheat death… but he’s out there too William… and he’ll look down on you and watch you fail.’
Griffon frowned and withdrew his arm.
‘Even in death you couldn’t beat him…. And I’d rather face eternity in limbo with him than a single moment with you alive.’ She grimaced and drove one of the gleaming daggers deep into her chest. Griffon growled in fury, but there was nothing he could do as Miranda Fortuno died for a second time, her beautiful face contorted into a hateful grimace, before she smiled serenely, relaxing peacefully as she fell into death’s embrace.

Silenced, the necromancer paused and strode over to Miguel and Rosemary, who had been thoroughly battered by the bombardment. The sorcerer’s legs were shattered; it seemed unlikely that he would be able to use them again. Rosemary was in shock, she was staring at her fallen friend, unable to speak.
‘Do your worst Griffon.’ Miguel defiantly met his gaze, spitting and gritting his bloodied teeth at the necromancer, who smirked.
‘That’s a rather overused phrase to select as your last. Your old friend Wilde would be disappointed. You used to be quite the wordsmith.’
‘If death means I will be finally rid of your arrogance, kill me now and be done with it.’
‘Kill you?’ Griffon laughed, and the sound echoed through the ruins. ‘You do amuse me.’
He leant in towards his fallen enemy and whispered: ‘I’m not going to kill you Miguel. Where would the pleasure be in that? No…you’re going to watch as the world kneels at my banner while you are forced to stand helplessly by. Then I will have paid you back in kind for helping to destroy my world.’ He drew himself up to his full height and yelled; his voice magnified across the basin.
‘Let the war begin!’

The surviving guards from the facility swiftly gained control of the situation, rounding up the terrified students at gunpoint, while Maurice effortlessly pulled Miguel out from underneath the rubble that had crushed his legs before putting the sorcerer in a fireman’s lift and carrying him off. Griffon made his way over to the students, casting a dark look at Cornelius, who had bowed his head. The majority of them were still recovering from the aftermath of Griffon’s resurrection, and they were too weak and afraid to offer any resistance when he pulled Paul Spencer from their group.
‘Mr. Spencer… my little spy. I hear you’ve become quite the adept in necromancy.’
‘Yes sir.’
Spencer was trembling; he could not look Griffon in the eye.
‘Not afraid to accept praise either. Good, I despise false modesty.’
He paused, and looked Spencer straight in the face. ‘Do you know who I am?’ The youth shook his head. ‘My name is William Griffon… maybe you’ve heard of me?’ Spencer goggled. Griffon had been his role model for all his years at the Facility.
‘Can you lead these students, organise and prepare them for battle?’
‘I will do my best sir.’
‘Good lad.’

It was only after the students had walked away and his enemies had been frogmarched off that Griffon soundlessly lifted Miranda Fortuno’s crumpled form from the ground and gently carried her away.