Manoach made a slow-clapping motion. “Clever, Mr Waterman, but how long will it last, do you think? Two demons? Three? Then the remaining one will tear out your soul by the roots and seal it away for eternity. It might have been painless but now?” He shook his head, though Harold was certain the sadness he displayed was fake. “Now you'll be aware of your powerlessness for all eternity.”
“You think so?” Harold didn't dare look toward the altar in case he drew Manoach's attention to Gillian and Lucy but he seriously hoped they were having more success than he was. He was still beset by a dozen or more of the ancient's legionnaires. He lunged to his right and dispatched a second demon, then a third to his left with his return. He backed off another pace while he sheathed and unsheathed the blade. “It's good for three at least, by the look of it, and now I've renewed the coating.”
With a nod from Manoach the remaining demons attacked en masse. Harold became a twirling, stabbing, slashing blur of motion and although he felt the cold touch of the demons on his body several times he never felt the promised agony of his soul being extracted which was, frankly, quite a relief. It was some minutes later – though it felt like hours – that Harold stood facing Manoach again, This time only a single shadow remained to mask the skull and give it the appearance of humanity. It looked rather like a living X-ray.
He risked a glance to his right. Gillian was free and standing a few feet away, holding Lucy's hand.