03 The Witch of the Isle

Revision for “03 The Witch of the Isle” created on August 4, 2021 @ 10:46:02

03 The Witch of the Isle
By EM Malachi <p class="normal">The bolt of raw mana tore through the daemon’s unnatural essence. The fiend gave a final roar and collapsed in a pile of burning embers on the dock. The monstrous skull was the last part to crumble to ash.</p> <p class="normal">As the air cleared of Wildfire’s dense smoke, Lady Tessa let herself finally breathe. A knight pulled off the burning gauntlet that held his sword. A bucket line of the island’s merchants appeared and began dousing stray flames. A young squire stood shakily at attention, despite being badly burned. Lady Tessa flipped through her book to spells to help with burns and injuries.</p> <p class="normal">As she healed the knights from the Hold, Lady Tessa remembered when she first came to the island as a young bride, so many years ago. The people of Serpent’s Hold distrusted magic. Their lord and commander marrying a “witch” had been a huge scandal. It had taken a visit from her friend, the King of Britannia, for them to even look her in the eye. It had been a few more years before they would allow her to mend their injuries with magic.</p> <p class="normal">Alarm bells pulled Tessa from her reverie. Several knights ran to help, but it would take them a few minutes to get to the makeshift field hospital on the other side of the island. With her magic, she could be there instantly.</p> <p class="normal">Her rune dropped Tessa into a conflagration. She started quenching the fire, yard by yard, making a path into the keep that held the field hospital. She entered the courtyard in time to summon a wall of energy to shield a healer trying to protect his patients from the flames.</p> <p class="normal">In the center of the inferno was a woman in a dark robe. Drusilla pointed her crooked athame at Tessa, and the fire complied, slithering forward like a snake.</p> <p class="normal">“Kal Vas Xen An Flam!” Tessa’s magic called to the deep seas around the Isle of Deeds, and they provided her a champion. The giant water elemental quenched the oncoming flames. Mage and elemental turned their magic on the Dark Monk.</p> <p class="normal">Tessa felt a sharp pain in her leg and looked down to a small dart. From the parapet, another woman appeared, with a handful of darts. The Dark Monk Solaria laughed as she joined her sister. “That summon won’t last long once you swallow your tongue.” She pulled a vial from behind her ear.</p> <p class="normal">Drusilla held up a hand. “Reiya will want her alive. Her blood’s potency will help light the flames along the Dark Path.”</p> <p class="normal">Tessa dropped her spellbook and wrenched the dart from her thigh. The pain was terrible, but it gave her a brief rush. She assailed the monks with small spells to distract them. “You should leave now.” She stumbled, but caught herself.</p> <p class="normal">Solaria laughed and then screamed as a crossbow bolt tore into her abdomen. The Knights of the Hold had arrived.</p> <p class="normal">“Sister!” Drusilla let the flames subside to cast a healing spell on her kin. Before she could summon Wildfire again, a knight’s blade cleaved her athame in half. The monk sisters pulled runes from their pockets.</p> <p class="normal">Before they could escape, Tessa used her last strength and mana to command her elemental to break like a wave upon the monks, throwing them over a wall into the waters below the keep. She then collapsed.</p> <p class="normal">A knight dropped his spear to catch Tessa and carry her to a cot. As she faded into unconsciousness, she looked at the circle of worried knights around her. They would never completely trust magic, but they trusted her. Tessa was their witch.</p>

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August 4, 2021 @ 10:46:02 Mariah