Kiss of Death (3)
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Armand began a widdershins circuit through the tall grass, tossing powdered herbs and reagents to either side of himself as he chanted in the chilling language of the ancient dead. Each word sent a refreshing surge of grave-cold energy coursing through him, pushing back the sweltering heat. His flesh itched from the drying sweat.

The curve of his walk brought the rubble of the former church back into view. This wasn't an ideal venue for his work. The dead here were long buried and he would be lucky to have any complete skeleton. Outright cadavers were all but impossible. But, Armand reasoned, at least the land was no longer consecrated.

His circle drew opposite his starting point and he could see the earth beginning to churn, the loamy smell of fertile soil thick in his nostrils. He wrinkled his nose,...

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