**Continued from Part III**
When she had said the final word, the magic words echoed through Rowan’s mind. She could hardly believe that she had said all of them, but they had rolled off her tongue with such ease. She’d never said anything like that before. The room darkened around her, as though the candles had gone out, yet she could see their light right in front of her. They were like anchors, while the rest of her drifted off, as though to another realm.
She began to realize that perhaps that was the very intent of the spell. She was trying to contact the dead, after all, and what better way to do that than to visit their world? She felt wrapped in shadows, caught up in their embrace, a feeling at once velvety and cold. It frightened her as much as it comforted her.
As she looked up from the candlelight, she had a very strong sense that she was somewhere that she oughtn’t to be. All she could do was remind herself that she wasn’t trying to intrude, that all she wanted to do was talk to her friend one more time.
“Karabala….” she whispered, her voice trembling, both from the cold and from the vastness of the darkness that surrounded her. “Please be kind to me.”
“A cold place like this doesn’t understand kindness.”
This– the voice that boomed as though from the deepest of places– nearly made Rowan scream. She covered her mouth just to keep herself quiet.
“You’re not dead,” the voice went on. At first, it had sounded like it was all around her. Now, it seemed to come from one direction: right in front of her, and getting closer. “What are you doing here?”
If a voice could cross its arms, surely this one just had. Rowan dared not refuse to answer it.
“I- I’m just here to see my friend,” she stammered out.
“Is she playing around with black magic, too?” the voice demanded. It was far worse than her parents yelling at her.
“N-no…” She hesitated, wondering whether she should be saying ‘sir’ whenever she spoke. “She died recently, you see.”
“There are more dead every day,” the voice replied. “That’s the thing about the Necropolis: the dead just keep coming. In Life, you’re born, and then you die.”
“None of the dead move on?” she asked it, for a moment forgetting her fear.
“It depends,” the voice replied. Rowan had the distinct feeling that he had shrugged. “I’m more curious about why you thought coming here would be a good idea.”
“I just want to see my friend,” Rowan repeated.
At last, the figure that encompassed that voice, that terribly deep voice, stepped out of the shadows. His frame was immense; he stood at least six feet tall, and his arms were more muscle than anything else. He stared down at her with arms shrouded in darkness, only the faintest hint of green shining through. Rowan could hardly tell his hair from the darkness, the way it was so black and so long.
He watched her for a long moment, making her wonder whether he was glaring at her or just looking her over.
Then she gasped, realization coming over her like a flood.
“Peter…” She gasped, her voice hardly more than a whisper.
**Continued in Part V**
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