Lysara felt numb. Her body could have very well been non-existent and her mind was growing more and more hazy.
“Gotta wake up and finish Bon’s song,” she thought, briefly. Before realising that she wasn’t asleep and she couldn’t quite remember who Bon was. A part of her mind screamed at her to remember, and never let that knowledge go. Telling her it was too precious to lose, but that part of her was getting harder and harder to hear.
“You’re seriously giving me the option to surrender?” Axra asked.
We are not cruel.
“But you aren’t merciful either,” Axra countered. “Funny, during the skirmish you let Bonnie stab you, Lilly shoot an arrow into you and you let Twila’s magic hit you. Including her most potent spell. The only thing you dodged was my blade.”
We do not fear one such as you. The shadows didn’t make a move.
“I don’t doubt that,” Axra said. “But you fear my blade, don’t you?”
We are aware of the touch of Thanatos and we would prefer not to go against it. Hence we offered a chance to surrender. However, we have nothing to fear from a blade wielded by one such as you.
The mass gestured and Axra felt her legs give out. She fell to her knees, steadying herself with Todberührung. The shadows shifted closer to her when she faltered, but ceased their progress and hurriedly backed away a few paces as soon as Axra was steady.
We have only to be patient, little dark elf. We know mortal limitations. We know that one such as you can’t maintain readiness. While you tire and your body fails we will remain strong. We do not require rest.
“So you’re going to tire me out,” Axra said. “Just wait until I collapse and finish me. Why don’t you undo this spell on my legs and face me fairly, Coward?”
We have no need of pride. There is nothing to be gained by risking a direct confrontation when it isn’t necessary. We will wait.
Bonnie felt like she was dreaming, but she was aware that she wasn’t. She couldn’t remember how she’d ended up like this, still and with her mind in a haze. The haze was a threat, her instincts screamed that at her. She fought against it instinctually, but she could feel herself steadily losing ground. She told herself that she had to hold on. She had a duty to hold on. A duty to her kingdom, to her lover.
She couldn’t remember what her kingdom was or her lover’s face, but she grasped at the vague knowledge she had left, using it to stay afloat. Praying that she wouldn’t lose it and be lost.
Velvet watched the underground lake. They’d been gone a long time. One of his dogs, Vicki if he remembered Twila’s names correctly, nuzzled his hand. They were beginning to grow restless. He’d never had this problem when he’d gone on missions alone. Now he’d spent a bunch of time with Axra, Lilly, Twila, Bonnie and Lysara. His dogs had decided they were friends and were worried about them.
They weren’t the only ones. Velvet was anxious for their safety as well. He couldn’t even nap properly. He glanced at Fang. The dragon had become agitated, fluttering about back and forth. “That bad, huh?” Velvet muttered. Fang glanced at him and blew some smoke in the air. “They’ll get through it, don’t worry.”
Velvet closed his eyes and looked away from the waters. Trying to reassure himself and failing.
Axra knew she had to act quickly. The longer she waited, the more of an advantage this creature would have. She had one idea that might work, but it was a risky move. If she failed then there would be no one to rescue Lilly and Twila. Her loves, her friends, they were depending on her. But there was no choice. If she was going to win she had to settle it with one move.
She let herself fall, and let Todberührung slip from her hands. Thankfully, it landed within easy reach. She made an effort to slow her breathing, her heartbeat. She peeked out with half-closed eyes. The shadows dissipated. That was fine, she had a good idea of where it was. She had to act, now!
She reached out, grabbed her blade and swung behind her in a single, quick movement. The creature’s shadowy hand was very nearly touching her, but her blade had made contact. The blade glowed for a moment. To her surprise, the shadows didn’t dissipate or violently disperse. Instead, they flowed into the blade until there were none left. She could move her legs again in a second. She hurried over to Twila and Lilly.
She was much relieved to see Twila moving already. Lilly was easily awakened with a light nudge. Bonnie had risen as well and was seeing to Lysara, who responded by jumping into Bonnie’s arms.
“Princess,” Bonnie bowed. “How did you defeat that thing?”
“It was vulnerable to the enchantment on Todberührung,” Axra answered, not wanting to mention the fact that the blade had absorbed it. “It’s good to see that what it did to you four wasn’t permanent.”
“The magic we were under was powered by the creature itself,” Twila stated. “I’m not completely sure, but I think it was some kind of feeding spell.”
“F… feeding spell?” Lilly asked.
“What does that mean?” Lysara asked.
“When we were under its power I started to lose my sense of self,” Twila explained. “It may have been stripping everything that made us unique away so that it could absorb us into itself. The reason it spoke with so many voices my very well be because of other challengers it absorbed before.”
“So it was being honest when it said that the void would absorb us as its own,” Bonnie muttered. “A horrifying thought.”
“Well it all ended all right, didn’t it?” Lysara said, sounding cheerful. “Let’s grab the staff and clear out!”
“I concur,” Twila said. “We’ve been in here long enough.”