Shadowed Moon Chapter 18

Fiction By Kay J Fields // 3/9/2011

 

Within a minute of the start of the fight I was rolling on the ground, clutching my shoulder and sick with the realization that I had failed. I had failed Faylin, who desperately wanted this murderer stopped. I had failed Ditri and all the rest, who believed I was the answer of a promise given long ago. And the HolyOne, the Creator of all things; I had failed Him as well. And all the while, Kellen’s voice roared out in his easy triumph.
As I struggled to open my eyes so I could see my enemy, his laughing abruptly stopped. I spotted him, standing less than a foot away, staring down at me strangely.
            “What—?” he began but never finished as he ducked his head and covered his face as if blinded. I took the opportunity and struggled to stand, my left arm hanging uselessly at my side.
            Kellen quickly recovered but looked at me warily; obviously suspecting me of some trickery alike to his own. I smiled through the pain for something was happening here and it gave me courage. Courage and hope. “You really think you could win so easily?” I asked, recovering my sword.
            “Perhaps I wouldn’t have to teach you in the use of magic after all. You seem quite able already.” he answered.
            “Maybe, or maybe there are other things at work here besides just you and me.” I said, awkwardly standing with my sword drawn. It was meant as a two-handed blade and the weight was uncomfortable in my palm. Still, something had obviously broken down Kellen’s guard and I was not ready to let that opening slip by.
            Kellen had recuperated his own strength and ego sufficiently enough by now to advance. “Or perhaps you got lucky. Either way, I don’t care what some prophesy says. I don’t care who you and all those other blithering fools think you are and think is happening. You are all terribly mistaken and I’m going to enjoy watching your little resistance die with you.” Somehow the blackness in his eyes grew all the more dark and his blade hummed like a beehive as he held it out, a smile curving his lips. “You might be able to put on a nice light show, but you have seen nothing of my powers yet.” The blade swirled in the air of its own accord and Kellen let it go. For a second it hung in midair, then he grasped it at the hilt again.
            “Sorcery and tricks, that is all and nothing more. You are just a man and your power isn’t so great as you like to think.” I replied.
            Kellen attacked again, this time with more than his sword. The heavy weight returned, pressing and pulling at me from every side until it felt like I had been entangled in some sort of web. Kellen stood, his sword upheld, his other hand outstretched, and manipulated the air around me. Wind swirled the loose shale and pebbles on the mountain until they joined in a vortex that surrounded me. The wind tore at my clothes, my hair, clods of dirt and grass rushing up from the ground until I could see nothing but the debris. From outside the roaring cloud, I barely heard him laugh the words “Foolish child.”
            Foolish, yes. But helpless? We’ll see about that. I thought, hugging my sword to my chest so that my arm wasn’t twisted to the point of breaking in the wind. I didn’t know the first thing about magic—apart from the fact that my ability to communicate with other creatures seemed to stem from magic. Yet I felt that whatever Kellen flung at me would be useless to him. Help me defeat him, once and for all. Right now. Over and done, no more fighting and struggling. I prayed silently. Please.
            I readied myself for anything. A blast. Lightning and thunder, an earthquake. Even angels to soar from the heavens. But the Maker’s answer seemed far away. The vortex continued and my breath was sapped away. I staggered, again dropping the sword as the cloud around me darkened and thickened. My hands went to my throat as the constricting force grew stronger still. But still I watched. It would happen. Kellen would be stopped.
When my air ran out, so did my strength and I fell, barely conscious. No, no! Please, help me, I pleaded. My eyes were open long enough to see the dim shadow of Kellen against his whirling cloud. Then everything blackened out. Maybe Kellen is right, I thought dimly. Maybe we are all wrong and I’m just another big mistake made by a hopeful bunch of believers.
“But you are not.” someone whispered into my ear. Thinking this was my rescue, I forced myself to stay aware, sensing a presence around me but unable to see who it was. The voice, whoever it belonged to, continued. “No magic—however strong it may be—can stop the plans of the One God, the Lord over life and death, the Creator, the Sustainer. You know this. Yet, still you doubt.”
However hard I willed myself to stay awake, to listen to the words, my strength had finally ebbed and I knew nothing more.
 
 
It is a very strange feeling when you believe yourself to be dead and suddenly find that you are laying on a cold, hard rock, surrounded by faces staring at you and pain rocketing though your skull. Indeed, at that moment, you almost wish you were dead. When I had opened my eyes a crack, sunlight poured in and I winced. “Ow.”
            “Lara!” one of the staring faces exclaimed.
            “Isn’t she dead?’’ asked a much younger voice.
            “Azteric, hush.”
            “She ought to be dead.” commented another.
            “Faylin!”
            “It’s true.” Faylin replied.
            “Right now we have to get Lara out of here and see to her shoulder.”
            “And my head,” I croaked.
Faylin chuckled. “It’s true.” he repeated. “You should be dead. But, you aren’t, so I suppose we’ll have to look after you some more.”
            Someone cleared their throat. “Would you all be so kind as to help me move her; gently? Who knows what Kellen might have done to her and I would rather not break her back.”
I recognized Grinl’s doddering tone this time and smiled weakly. “You’re sweet.”
            “She’s delirious.” Faylin growled.
            I laughed and every nerve in my body protested vehemently. “Oh. Ow.”
            “Yes, we know.” Faylin said and his dry chuckle echoed in my ears. I hurt. Everywhere and in every bone of body, in every pulse, in every twitch. But, as Faylin pointed out so kindly, I should have been dead. And I wasn’t. Hot pain laced up my back and into my shoulder as I was suddenly moved. Actually, death might have been favorable.
            And yet, I thought, Kellen and I fought and...and though I didn’t win, I am still alive. The significance of this rang through my head. What stopped him from killing me? And why did he come in the first place? Ah, to persuade me. At least that didn’t work; even if I do feel somewhat like a pincushion right now.
The familiar screech of Narris sounded nearby; followed by the excitable, stuttering Catalee but I was too exhausted to listen to the words and felt my head loll to one side, coming to rest on a scaly dragon. The pulsating warmth from the dragon’s inner fire spread over me and somewhat eased the pain. It lulled me into deeper sleep.