Aiwendil had left us on awakening, and we had let him, so focussed were we on chasing after Ramin. I could easily see what the old woman had meant about his path being easy to follow. The footsteps of the unicorn seemed to glow silver to me, and I had a feeling I was not the only one, that any who had a touch of magic were seeing it. The others just had to trust to us.
We rode hard, following the trail with no knowledge of whether we were gaining or not. He had had a night's start on us, but we were pushing the horses, our horses which had been brought by the elves into the city, hard, though not so hard that they would collapse.
It was beyond dark when we finally called a stop. We had to let the horses rest, if not ourselves. Armes volunteered for first watch and the rest of us settled in for an uneasy sleep.
It couldn't have been more than an hour later when I suddenly started awake, my senses drawn down the path we had been following. Something was drawing magic down there, something truly evil. Deep within me I knew this was the peril from which we had to save Ramin. I quickly woke the others, and we rode, frantically with me in the lead. While the others could not sense the magic, they could see the urgency within me.
We didn't have to ride for long, maybe half an hour, before we stumbled on Ramin's own camp. The unicorn was nowhere in sight, but Ramin was. His body seemed to be floating in the air, surrounded by a thick cloud of shadow, with red eyes peering at us from just above Ramin's head. I could tell that it had been feeding on his life force.
"Ramin!" Naria called, and would have run to him, if not for Armes suddenly reaching out to prevent her. "It'll get you too princess" she said urgently, before turning to me. "Can you do something?"
"I'd feel better if we had Aiwendil, but I can try. This demon is stronger than the one we faced before, and it has been feeding on Ramin as well," I murmured. "I don't know where to even hit it."
"The eyes," Vilhelm suddenly piped up. "It is weakest in the eyes." The old man had seemed to have a lot of knowledge on various things so far, so I trusted him on this.
I began to gather the energy needed to me, but was still watching frantically at the creature. "I don't think I can do it,"I suddenly said. "Not without hitting Ramin."
Armes glanced at me, then at the creature. "I'll distract it," she replied letting Naria go and pulling out her bow. While the arrows would only prove a nuisance to the creature we hoped it would be enough to let Ramin go.
Straight and true she let one fly, followed quickly by another. Both hit the creature square between the eyes, passing through the shadow that was it before hitting the ground behind it. But it was enough, for in that instant the creature dropped Ramin and turned its eyes to Armes, beginning to slowly advance on her.
Naria ran quickly to Ramin's now unconscious body, followed shortly by Aileah who had the hope of trying to heal him. Vilhelm had stepped way back and Jadir had now moved protectively in front of Armes.
"You going to do something or not mage?" he shouted at me, where I stood. I shook my head.
"Not yet. I don't have enough yet, and its not close enough,"I murmured, drawing more and more energy. I needed to hit this creature with as much power as I possibly could.
"Well its getting closer," Jadir pointed out, stepping back and forcing Armes to take a step back now. He was right, the creature was now only a few feet away. But I just needed a few more seconds.
Over near Ramin I could hear Aileah shout in frustration "I can't get him to wake. There is nothing physically wrong with him that I haven't mended a little, but he still won't wake."
Naria glanced at Ramin in worry, then thought back to some of the old legends, in which the hero was always woken by a kiss by the one she loved. She leaned over her human and carefully planted her lips on his hoping it would work.
At that second I suddenly felt I had the energy I needed. Raising my hands, and screaming at the creature "I defy you!", in an act similar to the last time we faced such a creature I threw all my strength into a singular burst of light magic. My eyes seemed to glow for a second from the power, unknown to me.
The creature seemed to shrink into itself, until it was no bigger now than a child, then flew up to the clouds. "Is it gone?" Jadir asked.
I nodded. "For now. But I only weakened it. It'll be..." my words were cut off as I fainted clean away collapsing onto the ground.
Just as I fell into unconscious, Ramin awoke.