in a word, death

She had not survived the jaws of the dragon and placated its anger to be threatened and struck down by mere mortals.  She would not back away, as prudent as it would be.  She quickly surveyed her prey, for the roles had reversed once the fire within her had started to burn wildly, and understood that they knew, despite their numerical advantage, that she was a real danger to them all.

Her ex-apprentice was first to act, he stepped sideways and threw his arms out towards her.  Lightning sizzled from his fingertips and the electricity’s charged fingertips reached for her.  A wave of her hand and the arcs bent backward to strike those standing on either side of the wizard.  One managed to deflect the energy.  The other had been so focused on the spell it was attempting to cast that the bolt caught him unaware and sent him tumbling to the ground.  The smell of charred flesh immediately filled the air and steam rose in waves from his burned flesh.  Evidently he had misplaced his trust in any protection spells he had cast ahead of the melee.

The four remaining adversaries quickly scrambled away, creating distance between themselves so that kind of blowback couldn’t happen again.  The sorceress used the moment of panic and movement to unleash a spell of her own.  She pointed at her original betrayer, the wizard she had once apprenticed, and spoke the single word of dark magic that would stop his heart.

“Xmaerth.”

He fell, mid-step, clutching at his breast.  His protection spells disappeared along with his life, and his body crashed into the mud.  Drops splashed against his pale skin and his sightless eyes sank into the muck.  It wasn’t the torturous death she had wanted in her revenge upon him, but she was satisfied that he would trouble her no more.

She was allowed no time to revel in the minor victory as three spells were slung at her nearly simultaneously.  The archaic weavings of protection she still had wrapped around her absorbed the fireball that had meant to consume her.  Compared to the heat of the dragon’s flames, the fireball wasn’t uncomfortable and was barely discernible at all.  That allowed her to notice the ground sinking beneath her feet as a spell tried to pull her into the earth.  A quick counterspell and the sorceress was freed of its grasp, and then she deflected another burst of lightning.  However, rather than being able to turn it back upon her attacker, she only managed to send the bolts spiraling into the empty river bed.  The standing pools of water sizzled and sent steam spraying towards the heavens.

The sorceress spun to catch the movement of each of the three that still stood against her.  They had finally taken up good positions so she couldn’t not face any of them directly without turning her back on at least one of the others.  She had no recourse left but to clear the field of battle long enough to retreat.  Raising her hands to the heavens she chanted the words, then calling on the last of the energy burning in her soul, she brought her arms down, palms pointed to the ground.  A concussive boom echoed maddeningly, and the ground shifted from the force of the magical blow, as a circle of fire swept away from the witch.  The flames burned everything they touched: grass, earth, water, and stone.  Nothing could resist its appetite.

As her adversaries were distracted saving themselves from the heavenly cleansing fire, she stepped into a hidden portal and safely passed through to her study, where she once again lost consciousness sprawled on the floor.

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14 thoughts on “in a word, death

  1. Nicely done! Two out of five dead is good going for a worn out woman. Plus it also proves that you shouldn’t meddle in the affairs of a woman, for you are merely a male and therefore a serious nuisance who deserves to be turned into chop suey.

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