"Gak!" I lurched upright, head spinning and reaching subconsciously for my sword.
What was happening? Where was I? Were we being attacked? My mind was a blurr of multicoloured mist and fuzzy images. I rubbed my eyes and tried to stand up, blinking stupidly and trying to see what was going on.
My collision with the ground was swift and painful.Unfortunately, in my zombie-like state, I had completely forgotten that I had fallen asleep halfway up an oak tree. Thankfully, Larn broke my fall nicely.
"What the hell -!" I yelped, scrambling untidily to my feet, ignoring Larn's grumbles. "What's going on?"
Elorie was lying flat on her back in the grass, limbs spreadeagled, sobbing and shaking like an autumn leaf in a gale. Jared, who had presumably been sleeping beside her, was kneeling next to her in a state of utter confusion. Sarin was on her feet, looking equally stunned. I turned to her.
"What was that all about?" I asked, rubbing the new bruises on my shoulder.
"She's Seen something." said Sarin. "And I don't think it was very pleasant."
Oh really? I'd have thought that screaming at the top of her lungs meant she was having a fabulous dream full of rainbows and fluffy bunnies. I huffed and looked down at Elorie. Her eyes were screwed shut as her fingers dug into the ground, as if it were the only thing keeping her attached to the earth.
"No," she moaned, "no, no, no, please no. Don't, don't, don't... NO!"
Suddenly her eyes snapped open, wild and alight with animal terror. She lurched upright like a broken marionette and stood, looking at each of us in turn. We froze. Jared raised a hand, but evidently thought better of it. Elorie's eyes bored into each of us in turn, her thin body shaking like a leaf.
"It is coming," she hissed. I shuddered, the sheer terror in her voice made every hair in my body stand on end.
"It is coming." she said again, still in that same chilling hiss. "Blood must seal the gate, and the fallen shall rise no more."
Then she collapsed. Sarin - whose reflexes were quicker than mine, show forwards and grabbed the girl as she fell to earth. Jared scrambled over to join her, and Larn grabbed his blanket from the floor and covered Elorie with it. I stood there, rooted to the spot, uttery unable to move. Elorie's words had chilled me to the core, and a terrible dread had wrapped itself around me like a wet cloak.
Blood must seal the gate, and the fallen shall rise no more.
A sudden lightheadness took hold of me. I opened my mouth, looking to make some caustic remark to make light of the whole situation. But I didn't.