Drop me a line 29! The Nolavia Curse Part Sixteen.

 

 

Gosh this story is running away from me and becoming increasingly gory. I do apologise but it has a life of it’s own. Please people don’t forget to send me a sentence. I had to find my own today. Come on all my new twitter followers tweet a line to move this story where you want it to go.

 

We set up camp halfway up the mountain. An eclectic mix of tents and elaborate dwellings went up within minutes and soon the air was perfumed with a feast groaning on a pristine white tablecloth. I noticed that most people ate with their wands in their laps. I had not realised how even the magical cling to the old. I was relieved that my mother always cautioned against over reliance on a wand.

“Believe in yourself, Esereht. Know that your power is within not without.” She said it so often that when she died it became my mantra. My father had scoffed and said a wand was easier. They had a formidable argument when he gave me one for my third birthday. He was more interested in potions and spells than practicing magic anyway and left for the Mainland to continue his research when I was sixteen. There was little affection between us. That was my mother’s job and we both felt the emptiness when she departed.

After the first shift keeping guard we crept into our modest tent. Sleep was elusive as memories continued to swirl in my mind. Davalast’s arm encircled me as his breathing deepened. I felt safe in his arms finally slipping into oblivion.

We awoke and breakfasted hastily and resumed our hike up the mountain. We needed to get up and down before nightfall. The temperature had plummeted and we were now using magical energy to keep ourselves warm. Energy that may be required elsewhere.

We made good time and the brisk walk minimised our need for magical warmth. The steep hike started to plateau and the top of Sednasi was lush and covered with extraordinary flowers. Huge blooms of cerise and midnight blue clustered around a tree with bulbous seedpods hanging like Christmas decorations. Carpets of yellow and lavender covered the mountain floor. How would I know the sacred flower? Did I need to pick one of each?

The air smelt sweet from tiny white flowers twisted around thin-stemmed saplings. I reached out to touch one and it snapped at my fingers. I shrank back. The coating prevented any damage but those flowers were not as benign as they looked. I gazed around me and saw other witches and wizards looking alarmed.

“What is it?” I said walking over to a group clustered together.

“The damn thing bit me.” Said an annoyed witch I recognised but had forgotten her name.

“Me too but it couldn’t get through the coating.” Said Loracas, Maya’s husband. Maya and I were at school together and still good friends. Loracas was a bit of a whiner but she loved him so I tried to love him too.

I was relieved that my grandmother’s enchantment was effective when blood-curdling cries came from the tree. We all ran towards it and Golagand was stumbling in amongst the blooms. Blood gushed from his arms and his face was etched in pain and terror. Davalast walked onto the flowers to get to him and they snapped and bit at his ankles. He was well coated and they could not break the skin. He gripped Golagand by the arm and tried to pull him to safety.

“He’s stuck. They have his feet…. Oh God I think they’re eating him?” Davalast said.

“Shield yourself!” I shouted and stuck out with my hand. Fire licked at the flowers but they did not wither or release Golagand. Davalast was trying to hold him up but he was buckling at the knees as the flowers crawled up his legs. “Davalast get out of there. Everyone send a Muster spell. Together!” I yelled. Davalast scrambled away and we all directed a Muster Spell. It is an incredibly powerful spell that pulls everything together. We were trying to pull the flowers away from the boy. Golagand’s shrieking intensified as if it were pulling him apart. He fell writhing abruptly silent as the flowers covered his face and body. Our unrelenting strikes were completely ineffective and we watched in horror as within minutes Golagand disappeared.

 

 

To be continued…

 

 

 

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Drop me a line 28! The Nolavia Curse Part Fifteen

 

Sulphuric smoke eddies swirled about us. Sednasi Mountain loomed imposingly swathed in a blanket of white. We covered our noses with our sleeves and came together. Already we were unprepared for the icy wind thrashing our cloaks about our ankles. Someone shrieked in terror and pain and we whipped around but could see nothing.

“You know who was next to you. Check that they are still there.” I said in panic as I reached for Davalast. He gripped my wrist.

“I’m here.” He said.

“I can’t find Loracas! Loracas!” Maya called in fright.

“I’m here Maya!” He shouted and they whooped when they found each other. People called out names in rising horror as we heard another shriek.

“It’s Mavelock. Mavelock’s gone!” Yelled a woman’s voice.

“Zaleti where are you?” Called a wizard. Nobody answered the calls.

“Grab hold of each other’s hands. Stay together. Ruatnac?” I called.

“I’m here.” The Nirabus answered.

“Please make a circle around us like you did in the forest. We need to make sure nobody else disappears.” I said holding desperately onto Davalast. I tried to clear the smoke with a charm but it would not shift. I could hear muttering and sensed others were trying too.

Within minutes all the witches and wizards were in the middle of a wide square with a Nirabus at each corner. I missed Asudem and Grivette acutely. It was quiet as we strained to hear something that would give us a clue as to what was happening.

“Perhaps if we attack this infernal mist together we will make some headway?” Said Tolenal, one of the older wizards who I trusted implicitly. “Go and stand between the Nirabuses so that you don’t hit anyone with your strike.” He said.

It was a relief that someone was taking over. My mind was devoid of suggestions and I was feeling the pressure of leadership. Not releasing my grip on Davalast we moved to an opening in the square. “Make sure that nobody is in front of you.” Tolenal said again. “At the count of Three…One, two, three!” He shouted and we flung our spell outwards with an almighty crack and the fog evaporated.

Zaleti and Mavelock were gone. Our Mission was not even an hour old but already we had lost two of our group. The magical covering had failed to protect them. I was numb with shock and unsure what to do next. Davalast pulled me to him.

“I think we should get up and down this damn mountain as soon as possible so that we can get out of here. This place gives me the creeps.” He said. I gave him a wry smile. Tolenal strode up to us.

“I think your young chap is right. We can do no good dithering about. Let’s get that confounded flower and we can hunt for Zaleti and Mavelock when we are down again – If they are still alive, which I doubt.” He said. By this time we had conjured fur-lined cloaks and boots and the cold was less of a problem. Even the Nirabuses sported scarves and some sort of adapted beanie.

We walked in lines of four. Most of the witches and wizards held wands. I thought of my wand still in Anaira’s possession and wondered whether she would try to use it against me again. It was quiet except for the scrunch of boots on the powdery snow.

I was ripped from my circling thoughts by a high-pitched whine overhead. We stopped and scanned the heavens.

“Croggles!” Maya screamed and I shivered with apprehension. The sky darkened with flocks of them. Wands crackled and feathers rained down but they kept coming. The Nirabuses wielded their tails with force crumpling them to the ground but the whine intensified as the flock dive bombed into the centre of us. Witches screamed and wizards grunted as sharp talons ripped at faces. A Croggle closed its claws around my shoulder. I felt no pain as the coating held fast but it lifted me off my feet. I hit out and engulfed it in a ball of fire.

“Spin around with fire flares!” I screamed and within minutes the whine stopped and hundreds of charred croggles littered the ground. I looked around at the shocked faces with relief. The coating had succeeded with everyone except for a scratch at Golagand’s ear. I walked over to him.

“You forgot your ear, Golagand.” I said putting my hand over it. The scrape disappeared.

“Thanks, I don’t have a mirror and might have missed a few spots.” He said looking embarrassed. Golagand was a young Wizard more interested in football than magic. We continued our ascent up the mountain warily.

 

 

To be continued….

Drop me a line 27! The Nolavia Curse Part Fourteen.

 

Thank you to all the new Twitter follows. It will be great to get some lines from you to move this story forward. So Please start tweeting. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could use our magic to keep our bodies young and buff, like Esereht. I really must ask her how she does it.

 

It was hard to concentrate after our embarrassing public show of affection. We did not talk of where he was to sleep that night and I prayed he’d made no alternative arrangements. My body had ached for him for too long. Finally we left the Town Square and walked to my house. I conjured a bath overflowing with bubbles. I knew my body was the same in look and feel but I was a very different person from the one he remembered. I was light headed as I stepped into the bath aware of him watching me as he removed his clothes. His body was more muscular than I recalled. He was no longer the boy I once knew either. He stepped into the bath behind me and water tumbled over the edge.

“I hope I’ve left us some water.” He said pulling me against him and cupping my breasts. He kissed my neck and I leant back until all of me fitted with all of him. We were home.

I awoke before him, his arm draped over my hip. He was moulded against me. It felt so natural having him close. Every other man I’d lain with was a visitor. Civility was all that kept me from booting them out as soon as sex was out of the way. With reluctance I lifted his hand from my hip and slipped out of the bed flinging on my dressing gown. Assennav was already up invoking breakfast and the smell of coffee was intoxicating.

“I thought you’d never get up. Davalast obviously keeping…”

“Assennav it’s too early please. We have a lot to do. Let’s just keep focussed. Thank you for breakfast,” I said flushing. She shrugged sauntering to the door. The entire magical community streamed in and I grabbed two cups of coffee and fled back to the bedroom.

My sitting room was chaos. Cloaks and hats knocked over candlesticks and books. Breakfast was becoming more elaborate by the minute as everyone added to the array of dishes on my groaning table. A headache was already throbbing at my temples and the day had only just begun. I was ready to kick them all out but Davalast put a gentle hand on my shoulder.

“Quiet please. Esereht has something to say before we meet on the Town Square ready for take off.” The room fell silent. I scowled at Davalast. Why was I forced into the position of leader of the group? I took a deep breath not sure what it was I should say.

“Good morning everyone. Our mission is to find a plant at the top of Sednasi Mountain. It is not to seek engagement with Anaira. But if we do meet with her I think an enchantment that I learnt only a few days ago will be a useful and valuable precaution…”

The cacophony, as they filed out to magically coat themselves in the privacy of their own homes, was deafening. Davalast and I had already done so for each other making absolutely sure no part of us was left unprotected. It took rather longer than necessary but was infinitely more pleasurable.

Centuries ago magical boundaries were put around the base of Sednasi Mountain by the powerful Wizards of Tolemet and Balecitic, the two cities of the mainland. They recognised that having a stronghold on Nolavia was of tactical advantage for them, but annoying for us. No one I knew had been able to teleport or fly to the top of Sednasi. We would have to travel up the mountain by foot. I was not a fan of physical exercise favouring other modes of transport, preferably ones that required no effort at all and could be undertaken holding a glass of red wine and a muffin.

Davalast answered the soft tap on the door and gasped. I looked up from the last minute packing.

“Ruatnac! It is so good to see you, friend. And Ceratur, Tragnet and Pangelle! I am so sorry about Grivette and Asudem.” I said.

“These are your friends?” Said Davalast.

“It’s a long story. Nirabuses this is Davalast, my…er…boyfriend.” Ruatnac and his friends bowed.

“We have come to join you on this quest.” They announced in unison.

The congregation of beings in the town square was inspirational and the protective dome over our heads was unwavering.

“We go on our mission with all of Nolavia in our hearts knowing that we carry your light with us to dispel any darkness we might encounter. Goodbye dear ones.” I said as Wizard, Witch and Nirabus stood close together to teleport to the foot of Sednasi Mountain.

 

To be continued…

Drop me a line 26! The Nolavia Curse Part Thirteen.

 

I have taken liberties with this sentence sent by Lynne and pushed it further into the episode. It is strange but as this story has developed it is becoming more about the whole rather than the sum of its parts. I realise that time honoured themes are being highlighted as once again good tries to triumph over evil. Esereht has to accept herself and her propensity for love before she can lead others.

 The Nolavia Curse Part Thirteen

 

I touched Davalast on the cheek and his hand covered mine. He leant over and kissed me fleetingly on the lips. I tugged him closer kissing him in a confusion of violence and tenderness that left us both panting.

“So you forgive me Esereht?” Davalast said smiling.

“Whoa, it’s not going to be that easy but you’re now on probation. Although it’s difficult for me to think of anything but us Anaira is no doubt licking her wounds and plotting her next move. I’m tired of being on the offensive. It’s time to take control of the situation.  Are you with me, Davalast?” I said in a voice that was lighter than I felt. I was apprehensive about taking on Anaira so soon after the last time but we needed to be decisive and give her no time to regroup.

“Esereht, I am at your service now and forever. I have learnt a lot in the past seventy-five years not having you to distract me. I am a far more powerful wizard than before. Nothing would give me more satisfaction than helping defeat Anaira.” His face was grim. I nodded and took his hand.

“Come let’s find Assennav and get to work.”

Assennav grinned when she saw us holding hands and I glowered at her. The last thing I needed was any teenage wisecracks. I’d been alone for so long I wasn’t sure how to behave. In some ways I felt younger and more inexperienced than my sixteen-year-old assistant.

“Davalast how did you befriend a dragon? I thought that was impossible?” I said to divert attention.

“Well I’m not sure about other dragons but Anaira’s are disillusioned. She keeps them hungry and tethered by magical rope. I just removed the tether and shared my dinner with one. He declared he owed me and helped me escape.” Davalast said.

“Why didn’t you teleport?” Assennav said and I felt a pang of jealousy again. Why had it take so long for him to leave Anaira’s castle?

“Anaira placed a magical ring around me which prevented any travel. It was a bit like the leashes on the dragons but one I couldn’t break. It fell away the instant she was trapped in the Rack. I bet she wished she had taken all my magic but she was arrogant and enjoyed sparring with me.”

“Do you think we could do that with all her dragons? Lure them into the forest, feed and free them. Wait a minute, how do they go so far away from the castle if they’re tethered?” I couldn’t keep the suspicion out of my voice and Davalast flushed.

“The leashes are to make sure they come back. She makes it as long or as short as she needs. But don’t take my word for it. Let’s go to the forest and you can ask them yourself.” He said bitterly.

“I’m sorry.” I said touching his arm. He didn’t shrug me off but he didn’t take my hand either. We were both hyper sensitive with each other.

“When are we going? I can’t wait to truss that witch up like a Thanksgiving turkey.” Assennav smirked. How quickly the young forget their traumas I thought feeling old suddenly.

“I think we will need everyone to defeat Anaira. Not just the witches and wizards.” I said. Davalast and Assennav looked at each other questioningly and I swear Assennav rolled her eyes. I was too weary to comment. “Call the town crier. Tell everyone to meet at the Town Hall.” I said the weight of the world settling on my shoulders.

Davalast walked over to me putting his arms around my waist and drawing me closer. He smelt of sweat and smoke. His body was taut and muscular against mine as I leant against his chest breathing him back into my soul. We stood, our fingers interlaced as people poured tired and filthy into the town square.

“Please sit everyone. This is Davalast, a wizard I knew many years ago. He’s a good man and will help us to finally bring Anaira to her knees.” People clapped and cheered and Davalast bowed solemnly. “I’ve asked you to be here today because Nolavia belongs to you all. We talk of magical and non-magical people but that is not really true. Everyone has some magic in them.” Confused murmurings erupted from the crowd.

“For some of us magic is so overt that we cannot ignore it and for others it is subtle but there is no question magic resides in us all. The time has come to free it. It starts when you can look at the person sitting next to you and see it in them. When you look and see magic in your neighbour’s eyes then you can believe that magic exists in you too.” I regarded the eager crowd of people that I’d known for years and felt enormous love for them all.

“We need every witch and wizard to join us on our mission to Sednasi but we also need those left behind to hold a powerful magical canopy in place to protect Nolavia. We will teach everyone who is willing to learn. You may not believe it but you are all capable of mastering this spell. It will comfort us to know Nolavia is safe. It will take energy and commitment from you and we cannot predict how long our mission will last. So please think about it before you agree. Whoever is prepared to help please stand to one side? ” Everyone stood up, young and old and cheered.

“Break up into groups of twenty. One witch or wizard per group and keep it simple. No long-winded explanations. Tonight we will take shifts of two hours each to keep the canopy in place. This will give you all enough time to practice. Tomorrow the witches and wizards will leave for Sednasi but you, the people of Nolavia will keep the canopy in place for the entire time we are away. Are you agreed?” The roar of agreement was deafening and gratifying. With this much support Anaira would have a struggle bringing these people under her power.

I looked around the Town Square and saw Davalast staring at me. He smiled and I felt myself lift off the ground. I blushed. This must be what happens when a witch is swept off her feet. A wizard too it seems as Davalast floated over to me. I was hardly aware of the clapping and stomping of feet as our lips met.

 

To be continued…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drop me a line 25! The Nolavia Curse Part Twelve.

 

 

I did not use a given sentence today as this development seemed inevitable. It was time to show Esereht not as some form of ‘White Knight’ but as a woman with all the usual vulnerabilities.

 

The Nolavia Curse Part Twelve

“Esereht?” A voice croaked hesitantly. I looked up into a smoky but recognisable face. It was a face that brought back such anguish I could not bear to look at it. I scrambled up from the wet grass and strode away, tears pouring down my cheeks. Seeing him unleashed the tension of the past few weeks together with sadness I had never given myself permission to feel.

Davalast had been my joy and my love. I wriggled behind the hedgerows of the smouldering Town Hall and sobbed.

“Esereht?” I wiped my eyes.

“Go away Davalast. We have nothing to say.”

“Maybe you don’t but I have so much I need to say to you. Please Esereht come out from the bush.”

“No. I have no interest in what you have to say. Not anymore.” He pushed the bushes aside and sat down next to me his knees pressed against the prickly branches.

“I don’t fit as well as you.” He said. “This always was your favourite place when you were upset. I never could work out the attraction.”

“Why Davalast, why?” I said my eyes streaming once more. I wiped the tears away angrily.

“Esereht you must know I was enchanted by Anaira?” He said reaching for me. All the unexpressed hurts of years burst out in a voice full of bitterness.

“No! That’s too easy Davalast. Everyone knows a wizard cannot be enchanted. You went because you wanted her. You wanted Anaira otherwise she would have had no power over you.” I stood up. Davalast stood too and grabbed hold of my arm.

“Esereht, I don’t know how she did it. I’ve been ashamed for so many years. That’s why I never approached you after… But it’s been too long, a lifetime of years that we could have been together. I came back to Nolavia looking for you. They said you’d gone to Sednasi. I was about to follow you there when Anaira flew in on her dragon and set fires everywhere.” I looked into his beautiful face and saw with surprise his greying hair and the lines around his eyes. Wizards were so much more lax with their appearance than witches but I rather liked this more mature, weathered look.

“I can never trust you again. Anaira is my enemy. You know she murdered my mother. She’s tried to kill me too – many times. You were mine but she took you from me. How will I know that you won’t go to her if she calls? I can never trust you again Davalast.” I shook his hand from my arm and scrambled from behind the bush.

“Esereht, Anaira is my enemy too. She would kill me sooner than look at me. I showed her many years ago that she couldn’t control me.” He came out from the bush and stood in front of me. We stared into each other’s eyes.

“How did she manage in the first place?” I said again. Until I could understand I would never be able to forgive him. He lowered his eyes and spoke softly. I strained to hear him.

“I admit I was intrigued by her. I knew she had killed your mother but she seemed so damaged and misunderstood.” He grimaced. “She played me. I know she did but I never loved her, you must believe me. I have only ever loved you Esereht. I still do.” I sat down on the grass. It was still damp but the rain had stopped. The air was still thick with smoke and a headache was starting behind my eyes. He sat down next to me.

“That’s probably how she managed to enchant me. I was so angry with myself that I believed she needed my sympathy and support when she was pure evil. By the time the fog of her magic lifted I was a prisoner in her castle. For months I practiced resisting her power until I had created a shield that didn’t slip no matter what she did. That was when she realised I was not her ally. She had that disgusting goblin of hers follow me around the castle like a putrid smell. Eventually I befriended one of her dragons and escaped.” Davalast took my hand and this time I did not pull away. “I couldn’t leave until I’d…don’t you remember, Esereht?” He looked intently into my eyes and I did remember.

“The wizard that saved me from Anaira and her torture? That was you?” I said aghast. The wizard had worn a cloak pulled over his eyes and left as soon as the hands of The Rack restrained Anaira.

“Yes. When I found out you were the mysterious prisoner I plotted a way to save you. I was too ashamed to reveal myself and left as soon as I knew you were safe. Time has shown me that shame cannot keep me from you. Not anymore. Esereht please forgive me? I cannot live anymore believing that what I did was unforgivable. Please say you forgive me?”

 

 

To be continued….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drop me a line 24! The Nolavia curse Part Eleven

Shaun sent this line and it is really misleading because this is only the beginning. This sentence helped me to see that everything is perception. We are saved from being overwhelmed when we see only the edges of the next moment.

 

The tide was turning. “At last,” I said breathlessly. I knelt next to Assennav putting my arm around her shoulders. The girl stirred and then threw her arms around me sobbing into my neck. I held her trying to control my own tears. I was trembling and exhausted.

“Oh, Esereht it was awful. I was so frightened.” She said.

“I know we tried to get here as soon as we could. You are safe now.” I said stroking her back. She pulled away suddenly and her voice was sharp and accusing.

“You told me to wait in the cave! It’s your fault. All of it was your fault!” She shouted.

“Now wait a minute, young lady…” I spluttered. Assennav burst into tears again. We were both still traumatised by the events of the last few weeks. Yelling insults at each other would be unhelpful. I stood up and stretched my aching back. Sezloc was still whimpering on the ground like a wounded animal. I walked over to him and he recoiled.

“Hold out your hand, Sezloc.” I said

“No you will hurt me again.” He spoke through clenched teeth.

“I only hurt you because you wanted to hurt me, do you remember?” He said nothing but held out the bloody stump. I covered the jagged flesh with my hand for a few minutes and when I took it away the wound was clean and healed.

“Where’s my hand? Why didn’t you give me a new hand?” Sezloc complained.

“Because you will just use it to do more harm. Let Anaira give you a new hand.” I said walking away.

“Anaira is dead to me.” He said mournfully. “She doesn’t care about me. She promised me you but in the end she left me here to die, with nothing.” Assennav screamed and pointed to scores of dragons crouched on the wall surrounding the castle looking like hungry gargoyles.

“Call off your watchdogs.” I said to Sezloc.

“I have no authority with them.” He said moving nervously to the door. “They only obey Anaira. I suggest we go inside. We will be safe there.” I cursed under my breath. Assennav was still too hurt and I was too exhausted to teleport. Anaira remained a threat and although I yeaned to be safely home I hadn’t forgotten our real mission. I could not abandon Nolavia and the only way was to get the sacred plant on the top of Sednasi Mountain.

The three of us entered the castle. Anaira’s presence was everywhere. I hadn’t realised before how much the portraits looked like her and the eyes vigilantly followed our movements.

I wandered the castle aimlessly while Assennav slept. I thought of Ruatnac and sat in a large ornately carved armchair and closed my eyes.

“Ruatnac where are you?” For moments I heard nothing and then I heard the Nirabus’s voice amongst angry crackling and spitting.

“Esereht, we are in trouble, Nolavia is in trouble! Anaira and her dragons have started fires all over the Island. We are surrounded and…”

“Ruatnac…Ruatnac, can you hear me?” I shouted leaping from the armchair. I should have guessed Anaira wouldn’t be wasting her time licking her wounds. I have to get back to Nolavia. I woke Assennav who looked up disorientated. Her face was ravaged and so much older than before. “I have to go back to Nolavia. Anaira has started fires all over the place. Are you strong enough to teleport or should you stay here?” I said.

“Don’t leave me, Esereht, please I can’t…” She started to cry again.

“Come hold my hand and concentrate on Nolavia.” I said muttering the charm that would teleport us back home. We were already disappearing when Sezloc grabbed my arm.

I sprawled awkwardly onto the green grass around my little house and Assennav grunted as she landed hard on her bottom next to me. Sezloc, the uninvited stowaway landed in the fishpond with a splash.

Acrid black smoke hung in the sky and it was difficult to see. The whole world seemed to be burning. I held out my hand and muttered a spell to clear the air. Now the flames dancing out of windows and doors were clear for all to see.

“Assennav, we need to put out the flames. It’s the reverse spell of making a fire, do you remember?”

“Yes I remember.” She said breathlessly and we ran to the nearest building. People were scattering about in confused circles and the sound of screaming was intermingled with the crackles and sizzles of the fire. We worked rapidly. Assennav was a good student and she dampened just as many flames as I. I summoned all my strength to beckon clouds together and calling Assennav to help we sent a combined flash of energy into the middle of them. With a rumble of thunder the clouds released their bounty of water on Nolavia.

Assennav and I lay down in the village park as the rain poured down all around us. We didn’t have the energy to shield ourselves and she reached her hand out to me. I took it and started to laugh. We had to sit up for fear we would drown from all the water pouring down our throats as we laughed and cried helplessly.

 

 

To be continued….

Drop me a line 23! The Nolavia Curse Part ten.

 

 

 

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…