“Well,” I said, “Gyles Kershaw fled England and Cromwell’s dogs hoping for a place where his alchemy lab wouldn’t be burned down every other fortnight.”

A thoughtful pause. “I guess…he didn’t find it?”

“Oh, he most certainly did,” I said. “He unlocked the secret of life eternal, in point of fact, and was able to achieve powers unthought-of by mortal man through dark elixirs and covenants with the lords of shadow.”

The grave was silent a moment. “Well, speaking with the dead was clearly one of them.”

“I chose the powers I was sure would be the most useful, and would strike fear into the hearts of mortals. The ability to speak to people over long distances without error. The ability to imbue any vehicle I chose with motive power. The ability to cause terrible wounds at a distance. And of course conjuring light and flame at will.”

Maddy was silent from below again. I thought that she was being timid, but after a moment I realized that she was struggling not to laugh. “So…cell phones, cars, guns, lighters, and flashlights?” she said.

“It was a lot more impressive in 1692,” I snapped. “How was I to know that human ingenuity would render each of them meaningless in less than 400 years? Deathlessness was not something I had the training for, and the shadow lord gave me maybe five minutes to choose my powers.”

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