"Vand, no!" Soren screamed. Overwhelmed with grief and anger, he dashed to his feet and yelled out one of the most powerful spells he knew.
"Twisting Gale of Light!" his voice resonated throughout the forest like echoes of thunder.
For a moment, everything was very bright, electric and windy. The mage thieves all began to yell and scream at being blinded.
"Sightful in Storms." Derrick countered softly, gripping Kiandra's hand as her back was pressed against his. "Kiandra! Don't let them touch you!" he repeated over the noise.
"Alright! I heard you the first time!" Kiandra yelled back. She could see, but not far. The problem with Soren's spell was that, depending on the potency of the spell, it could last for a long time.
Soren backed up until he was pressed against one side of them, his shoulders shaking. "We have to get out of- Keane, duck!"
The three of them ducked, and Kiandra's hand was torn from Derrick's.
Something flew overhead. Derrick and Soren quickly countered in the direction it came from, and Kiandra pulled up a wall of rock around them.
"What are you doing?" Soren demanded. "Don't you know what mage thieves can do-"
"Cool it, Soren, she doesn't know any better." Derrick interrupted. "Kinadra, take the wall down.
"But it should buy us a minute. We need a strategy!" Kiandra exclaimed.
Something hit the wall of rock, and Derrick put his hand up to reinforce it.
"You want a strategies? Don't let them touch you, don't let them drain your spells, and don't die."
"Keane! Get the wall down, it's gonna drain her!" Soren called over the noise of the mage thieves. "I can cast a confusion spell. We'll get Vand and run."
"I'll freeze the spell until we get out of here-"
"You can do that?" Soren and Kiandra exclaimed in unison.
"-while you two get Vand. Leave the water jug, I'll find it later. Kiandra, get the wall down before they drain it."
"On it." Kiandra wobbled a little.
The three of them stood in a circle, facing outwards.
"Concentrate." Derrick held her hand again.
The wall dropped, and Soren let out the confusion spell.
"These minds of our foes become mottled."
The mage thieves began yelling again, this time unsure of what was happening.
"Spell select, every fleck, freeze!" Derrick yelled.
The mage thieves froze, uncertain of what to do next.
Soren glanced at Derrick in surprise, then ran to his brother.
"Vand!" he began to push on the water jug.
Kiandra rushed to join him. They pushed and shoved, and the jug rolled off of him.
"Get him up." Derrick ordered. "Follow me, quickly."
"How long will the spell hold?" Soren asked once Vand was supported between him and Kiandra.
"As long as I make it hold. Don't touch them."
The mage thieves moved out of the way as they walked, as if under a trance.
"There's quite a few here." Kiandra murmured nervously as they moved through the forest.
"There were around twentyfive, twenty-eight. A pretty big group-" Soren stopped, pulled his brother back up as he buckled. "Come on, Vand. We'll get out soon. It's a pretty big group, we stumbled on them by accident." he finished.
They moved quickly through the forest, not bothering to talk.
After what seemed like all night, Derrick stopped.
They were in the middle of the forest, underneath the shelter of the trees. A glade was nearby, the moonlight reflecting off the small pool.
The night was clear. They were safe.
"I've let off the confusion spell. It should still last for. . . .fifteen minutes, if I'm correct about your potency level?" Derrick turned to face Soren.
"Yes, around there." Soren nodded in agreement. "Kiandra, help me lower him."
"Don't bother." Derrick held up his hand and nodded to Kiandra, who stepped back.
She beckoned to Soren, who looked at her in confusion but stepped aside as well.
Derrick slowly lowered Vand to the ground. "Kiandra, find some wood to start a fire."
He began to sway on his feet, the world swimming around him.
Soren ran forward to catch Derrick, and lowered him against a nearby tree.
"What are you, Keane?" he whispered.