Reversing the Wheel of Time

Gordrog finished his chant. Traveling to the distant grave had taken all day. There had been hours of preparation. The candles had been placed at the precise locations to funnel the spirit of the dead back into its abandoned body. The incense had been checked to be just right. The skull of power had been polished and placed upon the ground. The long chant had left his throat dry and cracked. Now, as he uttered the final black syllable, lightning tore open the sky and struck the grave before him with an ear-splitting roar.

In response, a leathery hand shot out of the ground and pulled back downwards, establishing its grip. Inches away, its twin did the same, and together they pulled free the rest of the mummified corpse, clods of earth crumbling away. The hollow sockets turned towards Gordrog, silently demanding his reasons for reaching across the veil.

"In life, you undertook a great task, old man, but you overreached your grasp, and death took you before you could finish. I, foolishly, have followed in your trail and run it to its end, but I will not be stymied. By the black arts I have summoned you to the lands of the living to complete your work. Do you accept the terms of your binding?"

The dead man faced Gordrog for a moment, then his shruken jaw ground against his skull and rasped out a single parched word. "Advance."

Gordrog stepped forward, but the corpse shook its head. "No, I want an advance."

"Huh?" The necromancer was at a loss for words.

"An advance. Hundred thousand. If you're bringing me back from the dead for this, demand has gotta be outrageous. Sales are gonna be through the roof."

Gordrog could get the gold, though he was loathe to spend it. Still, it would pay itself back many times over. "Very well, but I get to be your publisher."

"For the lands of the living. I keep rights of first publication in the realms beyond."

"Done." As he clasped the dead man's hand, a smile spread over Gordrog's face. At long last, he would know how his favorite tale ended…