Harry sets a park on fire... and pulls a Braveheart. Also, whumpage and mystery happens.
The thirty foot treant’s huge leafy fist swiped down at me, flying just over my head with the force of a jetliner. My head rang from one blow already, and my left ear dripped warm blood as I dipped to one side, grabbed my mother’s amulet out of habit, and considered drawing on the power of the Winter Mantle as I urged my burning legs to run faster.
The wind whipped my face. I spun, then sprinted off toward the tree line in the opposite direction of the treant. My eyes stung as the crisp fall air changed direction abruptly, and the torturous clomping footsteps that told me the treant was still there just... stopped.
But I didn’t. Oh no. You couldn’t pay me.
Closing my eyes in pure exhilaration, I ran blind, using my ears for direction as I pulled myself into the shadow of a tree I’d been aiming for and flapped my hand behind me, strengthening the spell I’d just prepared with the adrenaline-zapped shreds of my will.
“Noctus ex illuminus!” I croaked, nearly peeing myself as I felt the treant’s ambling car-sized footsteps stomp toward my hiding place through the vibrating ground.
A shimmering figure, handsome and tall and a little bit rugged in his black shirt and duster, popped into place beside me and waited, staring at me and grinning.
“One more step, big and ugly,” I murmured, grinning up at my double, “Just. One. More.”
I chanced a glance back around the thick oak, saw nothing. I turned to face the forest, away from the thin open edge of the tree line. My breath came heavy and hitched, and my ribs felt like the murder bone from Space Odyssey.