The Callindra Chronicles Book 2: The Rise of Evil – Chapter 24

As she approached, pain seared her body. The air around the creature burned and her tiara began sprouting tendrils that attempted to heal the damage. Spinning Brightfang in a tight arc she struck at the creature’s leg but it contemptuously brushed her off with a massive fist, sending her cartwheeling away.

Slamming her hand down, Callindra flipped back onto her feet and skidded to a stop. Swinging Brightfang in a complicated series of arcs she began chanting, bending the winds and the weave to her will. The arcane sigils on the blade shone with flickering white light and the sword itself started to tremble violently under the pressure of the forces being focused upon it. Sweat broke out on her brow as she invoked the most powerful spell she knew. She was so intent on casting she didn’t notice her brother exiting a small tent next to The Drunken Thief.

Without warning a giant wave of mud erupted from the ground as Vilhylm, wearing a mask that seemed to be made of dripping clods of dirt, lifted it to hurl at The Ravenger. Before it could reach the creature it hardened into a solid wall from the heat the monster was generating. Dreadful intelligence pulsed behind its eyes; it knew Callindra was using powerful magic. With a single punch it shattered the wall between them, sending chunks of hardened mud flying. The winds whirled and deflected the larger pieces but couldn’t protect her from the other massive fist that slammed into her chest, rendering her unconscious.

A familiar golden light shone gently in her eyes and Callindra knew Tryst had arrived to give her healing.

“Thanks brother. With your help we won’t be defeated.” She stood on shaky legs, “Damn, he hit me harder than I thought.” Breathing was painful, she was sure she had cracked ribs. Several cracked ribs if the grating sound when she readied her sword was anything to judge by.

“We have to run! This is hopeless, there’s no way we can beat it!” Vilhylm was looking at the shattered remains of his most powerful attack, holding a javelin in either hand.

“Running away is for the weak! Besides even if we run it’s fast enough to take at least one of us down.” She inhaled deeply, the pollen from the tiny flowers blooming on her brow acting as a slight anesthetic and taking the edge off the pain. “The only kind of running I’m going to do is running straight at it.” Callindra sprinted towards the monster but it brushed the attack off without even looking at her, turning its back to her to focus on her brothers.

“Don’t underestimate me you bastard!” Reaching into the sealed case at her belt, Callindra withdrew a piece of vellum, yellowed with age and began reciting the arcana scribed upon it. The symbols began twisting around The Ravenger, breaking through a barrier of magic resistance and nearly transforming it into an unmoving statue of stone.

The creature roared in rage as the fires burning on the surface of its skin guttered and flickered, the spell coming close to putting them out. It raised its huge fists to slam them into Tryst, smashing him against the protection spell that surrounded The Drunken Thief.

“Don’t you dare turn your back on me like I’m some insignificant insect! Turn and FACE ME!”  She shouted.

Callindra’s body protested the movement but she forced it to move, attacking The Ravenger from behind. She dropped to one knee to avoid the backswing on another massive punch and slashed it behind the left knee. A fountain of scorching ichor fanned out from the wound but the Winds finally remembered their loyalty and protected her from the scalding substance.

Now that she had its attention Callindra was having wondering if maybe this had been the worst in a string of reckless decisions she had made. With a look bordering on pity The Ravenger backhanded her, shattering her already cracked ribs and flinging her aside. That look of pity burned in Callindra’s memory as consciousness blessedly fled.

Durrak put his hammer down and quenched the draw knife he had made in the warm water next to his forge.  The water hissed and bubbled, the steel cooling and hardening as he carefully moved it about to keep air pockets from forming and fracturing the glowing steel.  After a few moments of cooling, he pulled it out and took it to his grindstone and pumped the pedal a few times to get it spinning.  With extra care for the hardened, pattern welded steel he put an edge that could wound the wind on it.

With a smile, the young Dwarf tested the edge by yanking a hair from his beard and dropping it on the upturned blade.  It parted easily.

“Darling, are you coming in for dinner?”  Belladin called from the doorway in Dwarvish.  She stood leaning against the door frame, her hand resting comfortably on the swell of her pregnant stomach with a smile on her face.

“My beloved, my cazadora, I will be in just as soon as I oil this blade.”  He replied with a smile.  In the year since he had begun working as a smith, he and Belladin had courted and married.  While Durrak couldn’t deny that she had actively pursued him in a manner that her family had been slightly scandalized by, he was deliriously happy.

“Oh is that for Tilda?”  She asked, looking at the whirling patterns in the steel of the knife blade.  “It’s beautiful!  She will love it.”

“I hope so.”  He said with a chuckle, “This is a very good piece.  One of my best.”

“Every new piece you make is better than the last.”  She said, smiling and melting his heart.

“Cazadora I did make my masterpiece when forged your ring.”  Durrak said, switching to common because she liked his accent.  “It do be my finest work, I never will make better.”

She looked at the twisting, twining vines of Brightstar flowers that wound around her finger wrought in the finest gold.  Each leaf was carved from flawless jade and each flower a tiny rendition of the real thing.  Tiny chips of amber made the flowers centers and perfectly carved white opals made the petals.

“It is beautiful my love, but it’s hardly useful.”  Belladin said with a fond smile.

“It do be made for the sole purpose of beauty.”  He said, taking her hand and kissing her fingertips.  “To be making you more beautiful.  That do be why it do be my masterpiece.”

“You and your fool way of talking.”  She said, returning his kiss on the fingers with one on his lips.  “Now come and eat while the meal is hot.”

His powerful arms slid around her neck and pulled her back into the kiss.  Her protests faded away.  The dinner would be just as well cold.

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