Gino led his troops into the forest. The elves occasionally turned to fire a volley of arrows before running deeper into the forest.
“The pointy eared bastards are toying with us,” Gino muttered. “Move faster! We’ll show the tree spawn our strength!” The trolls rushed forward with increased resolve. The elves led them to a clearing where a regiment of soldiers was waiting.
“They’ve out-smarted themselves!” Gino cried. “There’s nowhere for them to run now!” As the trolls charged into the clearing they were hit with arrows from all sides. Gino pulled an arrow out of his arm. “Damn it, retreat!”
The remaining trolls followed him quickly, but they found their exit blocked by more elven warriors.
Sadow sat in his carriage with Laina’s head opposite him. “That headmistress is proving to be more formidable than a blind woman has any right to be,” Sadow muttered. “What should I do to deal with her?”
“You have many capable agents,” Laina said. “Why not release me and ask one of them?”
Sadow pointed toward Laina’s head. A small bolt shot from his finger and struck her. The electricity whirled around her. Her face twisted in agony but she couldn’t scream.
“I’ve had enough of your whining,” Sadow said. “Either answer my questions or I will see to it that your suffering intensifies.”
“You have many capable agents,” Laina said. “Some that can not be connected to you. One of those should be employed.”
“That’s better,” Sadow said. “I’ll send Femre and his people. They should be more than one blind girl, even an omni-mage, can handle.”
“Run for your lives!” The carriage driver shouted. He rolled off of his seat and ran as quickly as he could. The horses stopped in their tracks and tried to turn around. Sadow grabbed Laina’s head and formed a shield of lightning around the two of them. Around them, the wagon and horses were torn to pieces and carried away by a vicious tornado.
“This is no ordinary phenomenon,” Sadow said, sending more energy into his shield. “This is magic. But who would dare?”
When the tornado cleared Sadow was surrounded by debris. A single cloaked figure stood on the road in front of him. “Who are you?” Sadow demanded. “What is the reason behind this outrage? Do you not know who I am?”
“I know well who you are!” The figure drew a sword and leapt at Sadow. The Magi put his hands together. A jet of flame shot upward at the descending figure. Seconds later the charred remains of the cloak came scattering downward.
“Where?” Sadow wondered. Before he could locate the figure a blade severed some of his ribs from behind. Sadow pushed his energy backward scattering bolts of lightning. He whirled around to face his attacker. “It can’t be!” the lich cried. A draconian with violet scales was standing before him, fully armoured. Sadow dropped Laina’s head and took an involuntary step back, he was shaking slightly.
The draconian flew into the air and quickly dived toward Sadow. The lich unleashed a torrent of energy. Lightning bolts shot from the sky toward Michael. He manoeuvred in a highly erratic pattern. Sometimes dodging the bolts by gliding to the side, sometimes by stopping in his tracks, and sometimes by speeding up and diving. Sadow gnashed his teeth and drew an ornate curved dagger. He used it to block Michael’s downward thrust, but the force itself was almost enough to send the lich sprawling.
Sadow quickly released his flames to surround him, forcing Michael back. Sadow quickly thrust his palms out. Fireballs shot out from both in rapid succession. Michael got hit by the edge of one of them and got thrown backwards.
Sadow put his hands together and fired an enormous bolt of lightning. It hit Michael dead on in the chest as he fell. Michael crashed into the ground, bloodied but still moving. His sword dropped several metres away. Sadow laughed out loud. “I don’t know what I was afraid of,” he said. “You’re nothing! You should have stayed home, Little girl. You’re as weak and inconsequential as the rest of your race!”
Michael flipped upward, landing on his feet and charged at Sadow. The Magi reached his hand out and sent fiery spikes flying at Michael. They pierced his armour. One even broke through his helmet and singed his left cheek. They blew open on impact, spreading flames all over the areas they hit. Michael reeled back and collapsed. He was breathing heavily and struggling to stay conscious. Sadow laughed at his efforts.
Michael muttered a quick incantation. A light-blue mist descended around Sadow and Michael. An almost invisible stream went from one to the other. Sadow didn’t notice it.
“Don’t feel too bad,” Sadow said. “I’ll send you to meet the rest of your mongrel people.” His hand began emitting a crimson glow. Before he could fire off a final bolt of energy an arrow knocked his hand back. Sadow instinctively surrounded himself with a shield of lightning to block any more arrows.
A female elf ran from the forest, firing arrows. She shouldered her bow and draped the draconian over her shoulders in a quick, fluid motion. Then she tapped the ground twice with her left foot and ran. Sadow brought up his energy to incinerate them both, but a wave of dirt shot out from the spot that the elf had touched and buried him.
By the time that he had dug himself out they had vanished into the forest. Sadow retrieved Laina’s head. “Why didn’t you tell me that I missed one?” he demanded.
“I told you,” she said. “I lost my gift for prophecy when I died.”
“This is a huge problem,” Sadow said. “I have to kill her. Her, and her elf friend.” He turned toward the forest, but hesitated to give pursuit. “But what if there are more? I can’t risk it. I have to get to my keep. My agents, they can handle her. I have to use my scrying pool, find out if there are more.” He carefully bundled Laina’s head in cloth and moved back to Wicadia to find another carriage.