He dropped her unexpectedly and she fell on her knee. She screamed again, her face to the ground. When she looked up, she was staring up at a wand. She had never seen one before, she was fixated on the tip that was inches from her face. Will had been forced to watch helplessly, knowing he could do nothing to help, still he couldn't help himself try and swipe the wand out of his hand, but his hand turned to mist.
'I wasn't supposed to kill you,' said the half-faced man vehemently, 'but you've really pissed me off. The others will be furious at me, so maybe I should make an example of you. A beautiful girl like you...I know plenty who would want somebody like you...'
'Please, please, I won't bother you. I won't fight, I promise,' Tayna pleaded. She remembered what her mother had said to her, "you're the only ones who can stop them!"
'That may be so, but plenty would follow you against us. But imagine the chaos when the royal families discover another of them has been wiped out. Maegard will be ours!' His eyes glazed dreamily, imagining domination and power. Tayna eyed the wand stiffly, but Will saw her groping for something in the gravel, hiding her hand from sight. 'I will not forget the gift you have given me, your blood will renew me for months; I thank you.' The half-faced man raised his wand to attack just as Tayna's hand closed n something. Her body screaming in protest, she launched herself toward, plunging the object upwards into his body.
He cried out, and Tayna pulled the object out; the dagger. The same dagger that had cut her and was crusted with her blood, bright blue, and now glistened with his, thick and deep red. The half-faced man gripped his side, with each breath his wound leaked crimson blood, seeping through his fingers, puddling on the gravel. But by the time he had regained the strength to attack again; Tayna was already running.
She ran as quickly as she could out of Castia's boundary, into the thick, ashen sm0g - but as Will tried to follow her, everything turned to smoke and he was lost in darkness again.
* * *
The smoke began to swirl into new objects, some of it dissipated to reveal an overgrown woodland path with roots and vines reaching across a dirt path. As the trees arched toward the sky, one wisp of smoke became Tayna, hunched and exhausted as she forced herself to walk onwards.
Already, the cut on her cheek was beginning to heal, and she smelt heavily of smoke. The fire had singed off some of her hair, now it barely touched her shoulders. Her dress was burnt, her shoes were gone and her feet were sore and bleeding. The burns on her arms and neck shone, her body seemed to be going limp as if she would fall over at any moment. Will couldn’t take his attention off her eyes, they were no longer a sparkling honey colour, they were black and void, like there was nothing within her. She held the dagger, clutching it with the little feeling left in her body. She’d been walking for days, never stopping or sleeping in fear that they would come after her, they’d ridden through the countryside a few times and she’d run and hidden as best she could.
With a heavy sigh, she fell to her side on the thin, dewy grass that cooled her burnt, red skin. Will held out his arms to stop her, but he became mist and she fell through him. He sank onto the ground beside her, she curled up with only two fingers holding the dagger, her breathing high and heavy.
Will realised that all those times he didn't think Tayna would understand, he'd been wrong. At this moment, Tayna was completely alone in the world – as he’d felt at the Fish and Spear when Paradam told him the truth. Now he realised, there was nobody in the world who understood him better than Tayna Ilmatar.