I clutch the leathery arm that hugs me. It is Ash, but not quite Ash. I don’t need our bond healed to know that he is frightened out of his wits. It was in his voice when he spoke, it is in the cries that he makes now. I too am scared. I want to curl up into a ball, to cry, to dissolve and be no more.
I must be strong. Two worlds, no three, the Elves’, the Faeries’ and the Humans’, need my help. The Van Helsing evil stops here – stops with what they did to Ash – What they did to Ash – it makes my blood boil, makes me burn and I can feel the element of fire raising up to consume me.
I will not go to the dark side.
I would be no better.
I find my voice, a quiet whisper, speaking to Ash, using mind and body to try and decipher what it is that’s risen in the swirling blackness before us.
“What is it Ash?” And more importantly. “How do we fight it?”
His response is emotional, more so than words. Fear, deep rooted and seeded fear, childhood pains that pale my own to white. My heart throbs for him, breaks for him, loves him, wished him whole, without nightmares. But first we must emerge from this one.
My hand reaches out and Gloria takes it. Her strength bolsters mine. We must emerge victorious. We WILL emerge victorious.
“Breathe. Be Strong.”
My mantra passes my lips to be heard by those around me. Wind whips my hair back, away from my eyes and I look upon the enemy.
Earth, old and ancient.
Earth, captured and mad.
Earth, bound and determined.
A faint mental shout, though quieted by distance or damping I do not know.
~Dad!~ I respond, hoping he is close ~Do you see it? What is it? How do we beat it?~
~Moving toward it now~ He pauses. ~Ancient golem, stone, very old, very rare, very big~
“No kidding,” My own response is mental and vocal.
He snorts. ~Use wind or water, anything to slow it down, but Do. Not.~ He punctuates his words with silence ~Under any circumstances. Use fire~
“No Fire!” I tell my friends as I let Dad know I understand. “But anything else you can think of to slow it down.”
~Stay long range no matter what I do~
“DAD!” My shout reaches out beyond the mental and I reign myself in, hoping it doesn’t direct any attention our way ~Don’t get yourself killed!~
I can feel Gloria, and even Thalion, strong and confidant, it is Ash who is shivering in fear, lost in memories. I turn to face him, still caught by his arm. I reach up, one hand to caress his cheek as tears caress mine.
~Oh Ash~ I look into his eyes. ~Breathe. Be Strong.~
I pour every ounce of my love for him, through my eyes, through my touch.
The horde screams.
I turn, gathering air and water to fight with me, for I will fight.
We will be free.
All of us.