Kesh gave me this line; a truth that I hope will get Esereht out of her predicament.
Passion rules over reason, I thought desperately. How could I get Anaira to release me at her own volition? She wanted so badly to destroy me; perhaps I could turn that to my advantage.
“Well, Anaira this is a great compliment. You have taken my wand and you bind me like a cur because you know I would defeat you if we were on equal terms. Your magic has lost its power. Now I see why you are so afraid. If Nolavia only knew they had nothing to fear from you. Why, I think if Assennav were not so wounded she could defeat you too.” I said.
Anaira turned from Assennav and strode over to me, her fur-lined boots squeaking on the frozen ground. I forced myself to look into her eyes without blinking.
“Esereht I shall enjoy ripping you apart, dear cousin. You are just as weak as your pathetic mother and must I remind you how she fared? I dismembered her piece by piece as she pleaded with me to let her die. You shall do the same. She thought she could take my power from me and you are just as deluded. I am the only witch worthy of ruling Nolavia and soon everyone will realise that. You and your community building, it’s a joke!” She spat on the ground. “ I will once again make Nolavia a strong and feared nation and I will start with your death.”
Her face was level with mine and I did the only thing I could, I sent a fire flare from my eyes to hers. She yelled out in surprise and pulled her head back just in time but her hair burst into flames. She doused the flames with a dazed chant. Her hair shriveled exposing a vulnerably pink scalp. Anaira stepped away from me her eyebrow-less face confused. She recovered herself and I prepared to be ripped apart. I had gone too far.
Anaira stood quietly for a moment observing me. Then she tapped her head and luxurious Auburn curls covered her scalp and tumbled down her back and shapely eyebrows once more adorned her face. She touched her head again and her hair was white as before.
“Oh dear, I rather preferred the red.” I said with cheerfulness that I did not feel.
“Don’t you see Esereht that you cannot destroy me? Anything you do I can revert. But I do not like to be played with and I am tired of your games.” She flicked her wand.
The hands tightened around my wrists and ankles. I closed my eyes and breathed deeply waiting for the pain to begin. Nothing happened. The hands tried to pull, jerking and straining but my body refused to stretch. The protective covering had worked. Anaira stamped her feet, ground her teeth and sent shock wave after shock wave my way. I twisted and writhed until the hands shattered and I clattered to the ground. I stood up and shook the snow from my now ragged cloak. My body was bruised all over but I ignored the discomfort and walked towards Anaira confidently.
She backed away, her mouth agape. She spun and ran from me screaming for her dragons. I stood calmly as she ran in circles. All calm coldness was gone and her cheeks were flushed. I rapidly created a fire canopy over Assennav and one for myself to protect us from dragon fire but I did not look away from Anaira. She was frightened and her eyes darted this way and that. I raised my hand and she created a shield. One dragon screeched swooping down in front of her emitting a stream of fire that pushed me back. I could see hundreds of black shapes converging in the sky. Anaira leapt on the dragons back as Sezloc scuttled towards her.
“Anaira, mistress please don’t forget about me.” He cried out, his bloody stump still oozing as he held out his arms beseechingly. She kicked out at him with her boot and he fell into a heap, wailing like a child. The dragon flapped his great wings and they ascended into the grey sky.
To be continued…