All at once, Will was exposed to a clamour of voices, the sudden clarity of sunlight, and the chilling Winter air. It felt as if he'd been reborn, breaking into a different world, and he gasped like it was his first breath of life. He spluttered as water spurted from his throat and nose, his arms falling limp with exhaustion.
'Quickly! Quickly!' he heard Tayna calling to the others. Silex leant over the water and grabbed hold of Will's strap, dragging him through the water to the edge, Sayara along with him. He turned so that he could hoist himself up, but Silex took care of it, he had incredible strength, able to lift them both with barely any effort apparent on his face.
'Zestasia!' said Erin, her magickal voice sounding muffled like she was underwater. She held her hand out, palm facing a patch of grass near them, the snow quickly melted away, the ground sizzling with heat. Will dragged himself there, Sayara at his side. Laguna didn't leave the water, she crossed her arms on the edge and looked worriedly at what was happening, her eyelashes already frosting over.
Everybody crowded around them, Will bent over and coughed up the water clogging his lungs, and it suddenly struck his memory - Sayara. He turned around to find her, and his eyes widened in horror.
She was lying spread on the ground, one arm against her chest where her black costume hugged her figure. Her head drooped, turned to face him, her wet hair a darker shade and trailed like netting over her face. Her skin was as deathly white as snow, her lips cracked and almost blue.
No, she can't be. It's not possible. His mind reached out for her, scrambling to feel her emotions or hear her thoughts. He couldn't feel anything, not even a twinge of energy in her. Somebody gasped behind him, he looked up and saw Tayna, her hand over her mouth, her eyes watery and horror-stricken.
'You can't be...' he said, though his voice was slurred. 'You're not...'
Erin crouched down beside him, reaching for his arm, 'Will, you should -,'
'No!' he snapped, whipping his arm away and shuffling closer towards Sayara. Ice water coursing from his hair splashed onto the hollow of her neck, but she didn't even flinch. Tayna sniffled and turned into Andrel, he wrapped an arm around her waist and pulled her into his chest. In an unfeeling part of his mind, Will mused that their argument had been resolved.
Will took hold of Sayara's hand, feeling for a pulse, he gasped; nothing. He felt hollow, as if all warmth had been drained away. He kept hold of her hand, it was lifeless, like holding onto rubber. He bowed his head and felt tears rising in his eyes.