(Continues from free falling)
I writhed until the invisible hand dragging me from the bloody field (and my corporeal existence) released me. I sprawled in the snow and threw myself into a roll. Lucky I did because a blast of purplish evilness missed my hindquarters by a fraction of an inch. Had I not been toting twenty pounds of armor, I would have rolled to my feet but the articulated joints don’t offer enough flexibility for such smooth transitions. So I flailed my way to vertical using whatever came to hand. In this case, my blade stood in as a crutch, and I pushed myself erect.
Kaydara crumpled. Blood welled out of the white witch’s chest soaking her gown. Her lips shaped words as she paled and her skin took on the no-color of pristine snow. I stared at her aghast. Ironwoods were impossible to kill especially the women of their line unless she’d passed on the mantle of her power to another. But she had no daughter–or did she? Was there an Ironwood whelp out there crying for her dying mother? There had to be since Ironwood males were sterile and thank God for that miracle. Kaydara’s twin brother was one scary guy with a limited capacity for sanity.
Light exploded on the horizon blinding me. I cried out and scrubbed my eyes determined to see. Blindness on a battlefield was a fatal condition. But the afterimage of a man combusting from the force of the magic expelled from his body refused to leave my sight. A shockwave knocked me to my knees. My soul screamed. Kaydara’s brother was a Guardian too. With his last breath, he’d unleashed a spell killing him and doing what to the rest of us?
Pain jackhammered my heart, pulverizing it. And I had my answer. The last link broke shattering the Guardians as an institution. Had Kaydran Ironwood betrayed us in his final hour? Had he destroyed Shayari? Or was someone else to blame?
I felt the king die and his sword, Ironheart, impale itself in a stone to wait for a new King to draw it because none now living deserved it. At least we still had our Queen, the Queen of All Trees. She howled with me sending our grief-stricken message to the bearers of fate–those bitches. How could they allow such a tragedy to unfold?
The fool sorcerer raised his hand aiming his foul magery at my Queen. Oh no, you don’t. I cleaved his arm off at the shoulder. The purplish power coalescing on his palm detonated harmlessly in the bloody snow. I raised my sword to sever his head from his body before those swirling red eyes generated some other magical foulness.
Something huge gored me from behind driving its tusks through my belly. I chopped the horns’ tips off and sank into the bloody snow. Pain wracked my leaking guts. I bled blood and body fluids. I was mortally wounded but I refused to go gentle into that goodnight. I would go cursing and carving my way through the enemy until I expelled my last breath.
But Kaydara’s quiet chanting caught me and spun me about before I could make good on my threat. I resisted, but she held me fast by her wicked magery until my strength flagged. My blade had no damned magic tricks to lend. I met her swirling eyes.
“You’re a real bitch. I just thought you should know, death bed confessions and all that crap.”
Kaydara laughed and spat blood. She caught my hand in hers and squeezed, her pain-drawn face becoming serious again. “You’re more than a memory. You are the Guardians. You have to live so the legend can live on. To be the bearer of Legend is to be the legend.” She coughed.
I blinked at her speech and opened my mouth as her words sank in. At least now I knew why my crystal sword had no magical chops. It was too busy maintaining the legend. In my next life, I want one of the cool swords that can teleport on command. I separated from my body before I could demand she make it so.
Out of body and out of time, I fell across a threshold into another world.
Find the earlier parts of this series here.
If you missed a part, worry not. This will be available from Amazon in 2017.
The adventure continues tomorrow.
For the November Notes Writing Challenge hosted by Sarah Doughty of Heartstring Eulogies and Rosema of A Reading Writer.