I continue on! Half written at lunch and half late tonight. Tomorrow will be challenging as I have a lunch thing… But until then:
Seven Part 5
© 2018 Patrick Hester – All Rights Reserved
“We should just storm the tower now,” Seven said while Julian tended her wounds. He’d made a foul smelling poultice and insisted on smearing it all over her back, side and arm, covering them with tight bandages.
Julian gave her a look that could’ve melted iron ore, but she replied only by jutting her chin out. He rolled his dark eyes and they sparkled with mirth.
“I’m fine,” she said. The conviction of her statement faltered as she hissed in pain while Julian spread the foul concoction across her burned and scarred palms. “That’s cheating.”
His shoulders jumped in a silent chuckle.
Still, once the burning abated, her palms did feel better. The skin wasn’t hardening the way she’d seen other burns do, which was good. She would need to weird her swords soon.
When he finished seeing to her wounds, Julian took a seat across from the little campfire he’d built and stared at her. After a moment, his fingers began moving.
We have lost the element of surprise, he said. By destroying the Shades, the Sorcerer will know.
“Shades?” she asked. “Those shadow things? What were they?”
The Shades of the dead chained to this land, forced to guard it against intrusion.
“This is a thing that magic can do?” Seven asked.
Some magic, Julian replied. But it is an evil thing. I would not do it. I felt the despair and pain within the Shades, how they suffered. It drove them mad. I had to release them.
“I see,” Seven said, though she did not entirely mean it. How could one chain a Shade to land? How could doing so make it suffer? She shook her head. “Are there more of them out there waiting for us?”
Perhaps, he said. I can’t sense them if they are. Could barely sense the one who attacked you. Like an itch I could not scratch.
Dismissing what she could not control, Seven turned her eyes to where the tower stood, though she could not see it in the dark and at this distance. Julian had insisted they retreat – retreat! And on foot, no less. His horse had ran off as soon as he dismounted. She growled.
Pain? Julian asked.
“No,” she snapped. “What can you tell me about that tower?”
“Nothing?” she asked. “You’re a Mage, he’s a Sorcerer and you can tell me nothing?”
A moment where the only sound came from the popping fire.
You think magic somehow unites this creature and I?
His head stooped a little closer to the fire. No. I explained this already. He is a Blood Sorcerer, I am not.
“Magic is magic,” she said with a dismissive wave of her hand.
“No it is not,” he said, voice low but clear.
Seven did not have time to consider this before the campfire roared, flames climbing twice as tall as she herself stood. With this tower of flame came a blast of wind that knocked her backwards several paces. The flame spun in a whirlwind, color shifting from orange to white to green and back again.
The display lasted a few moments, flames licking at the sky. As quick as they came, the flames died and the campfire became just that again. Seven blinked, white and purple spots across her vision.
Julian sat exactly where he’d been, in exactly the same position as before.
I apologize, his fingers flashed. I lost my temper.
Mouth agape, Seven stood up and made a point of brushing dust and grass from her armor before retaking her spot across the now normal campfire again.
“Yes,” she said. “Well. We all lose our temper now and then. Gods know I have.”
When you lose your temper, you can’t accidentally burn the forest to the ground.
Seven considered this for a moment. “I could if I had enough lamp oil.”
Julian froze, then his shoulders heaved again in silent yet raucous laughter.
Seven grinned and waited for the fit to release him before saying, “Thank you, Julian. My swords would not have hurt those Shadows. You saved us both.”
Shades, not Shadows, he said.
“Whatever they’re called,” she said. Considering the Shades, her mind whirled. “What if the tower is full of those things? I’ll be next to useless.”
I don’t think it will be. He had soldiers at the cavern, and he is a Lord. He must have guards and servants.
“Guards would be better,” Seven said. “I don’t fancy killing servants. They’re probably slaves. Do you know anything about these Blood Sorcerers that might be of help?”
Julian tilted his head. He will have a room where he performs his rituals. Usually these places are within the earth where the Sorcerer can channel the natural energy of the earth. But I think this one has his room in the heights of the tower. Perhaps to harness sun or moon energies.
“This is a thing he can do?”
It is a thing I read about. Whether he can or cannot do it, I don’t know.
“So,” Seven mused. “We will either have to fight or way down into the dungeons, or beyond, or up into the upper tower. Both have challenges.”
We should wait a day or two.
For your hands to heal, at least. You can’t hold a sword right now.
Grudgingly, Seven nodded. “Two days. No more. I would have answers and vengeance.”
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