Chapter 17 - Part 1

Telthar’rion ran over to where Aveyna lay, and attempted to wake her, placing one hand behind her head and raising it gently, so that her head now leant against his shoulder. He repeated her name over and over, and he began to despair, when her eyes flickered open, her face appearing tired and dirty, a low moan escaping her throat. She coughed, before asking,

“Telthar’rion? Is that you?” He lowered his voice to a whisper.

“Yes, Aveyna. I’m here to help you.” Aveyna smiled, before Telthar’rion continued,“What happened?” Aveyna gently pursed her lips, looking at the ground as she said,

“One of the Stygians cast a spell upon me, so that I was no longer capable of fighting.” Telthar’rion nodded slowly, ignoring her clean blade and feeling her cold, clammy skin. He rose slowly, holding out his hand for Aveyna to hold. She did so, clutching it for support as she stood, her legs weak and her fingers shaking. She surveyed the scene with her tired eyes, she saw Alyxandra had given up with her bow - she was currently encircled by a number of Stygians who had made their way onto the rooftop she had been standing on; she now used her blade in close range combat, slicing and piercing those who opposed her. However, she appeared to be tired, her hair clinging to her neck and her jaw tense. She looked further and saw Yvellen and Luan fighting a small band of them too, fighting hard despite their fatigue. Aranaytha was the only one who seemed to be full of energy, striking and blocking with fluid brilliancy.

Telthar’rion turned to speak to her once more, saying, “Stand back, Aveyna.” She obeyed him, watching as his eyes began to glow the brightest, bloodiest red, his staff began to shake in his grasp and he began to shout in Old Elvish, his voice raw and his mouth wide. As he did so, the tip of his staff began to glow, becoming warmer and warmer, until eventually, it burst into flame, sending a huge wave of heavenly fire into the midst of the Stygians, sentencing them to an unglorified end, pain and burning, until eventually, the flames died away, leaving only ash in its wake.

A moment of silence ensued. Then, from behind the cloud of ash, Alyxandra, Aranaytha, Luan and Yvellen appeared, their faces full of fatigue and their smiles shaking. They had apprehended the enemy forces, and as a result, their eyes glimmered with the happiness that their protection of Raiholt had brought. They studied the damage that had been caused by the large scale conflict; the cobbles were littered with bodies and some buildings had sustained minor damage, but the town had been relatively unscathed by the attack.

Eventually, the six of them were a group once more, panting and breathless, but their smiles, ineffable to others, but crystal clear to those in that close-knit unit, were now etched, almost permanently, into their faces.

The End

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