By Lynae Steen
Edited by Alicia Steen
Erianna. Fortress Dark Courage: Dark Moon, Jeshrun.
“There’s no way we can hold this fortress much longer without some sort of help,” I tell my fellow Lords as release a concentrated sonic beam at all the shadows on and climbing up the northern wall. Mykai and Erelynn add their magic spells to mine, causing a thunderous flash around the fortress to temporarily halt the oncoming forces.
Another voice enters our mental discussion. “We have to form a plan of retreat,” the Captain tells us. Alarm swells up inside all three of us, though none of us say anything.
The Captain senses our emotions. “Fortress Dark Courage has always been made of the Dark Moon soldiers inside. Stone buildings can be retaken and rebuilt, but if my men are decimated shadow really will have won this battle.” Understanding passes between all three of us. “Can you clear a path to the west?”
The three of us Lords exchange thoughts without much wording. It would take as much magic as we can give—perhaps all the magic we have left—but if we redid the previous spell on a much larger scale, we will be able to do it. The Captain acknowledges, then leaves the vicinity of the tower to get his men ready.
“There seems to be no end to their numbers. The Dark Moon soldiers are losing ground fast.” It takes me a minute to comprehend that Mykai’s voice is in my head.
I sidestep and swing my right sword downward into an attacking shadow. The violet serid brightens and head-buts it at full speed, causing the shadow to shrivel under the ferocity of the serid’s light.
“Mykai?” I project my thoughts. Apparently, even from this distance I still have access to the northern tower’s magic.
“I am here.” She sounds as determined as ever, though from her tone she may have just been hit. “Is Princess Erelynn linked up yet?”
My knees give way the exact moment the purple serid sets me on the ground next to the doorway to the northern wizard tower. The pain in my chest causes my lungs to gasp for air as I catch myself on the stone floor with my hands.
The realization dawns on me. I have used too much magic for too long. That last battle took longer than I have wanted, and now I’m not sure how much energy I can salvage to be able to defend Fortress Dark Courage.
My fox nuzzles himself under my arm and looks up at me. The serid also climbs up to my lap and emits a soft violet glow that eases a little of my fatigue. I grasp the doorway and pull myself up.
“You are not the only one,” the voice in my head startles me. It takes me a minute to recognize Mykai’s voice. The effects of the wizard tower must be kicking in.
She continues. “The Dark Moon soldiers are extremely weary and cannot help but give ground. If something isn’t done Fortress Dark Courage will be overrun.” I look around me to see that her words are true. The Dark Moon warriors have not lost a shred of resolve, but if this continues much longer many of them will collapse from fatigue. Serids of all colors are zipping to and fro, trying to ease their strength as the small purple serid at my feet had done for me with some success.
“They cannot do so forever,” Princess Erelynn comments on my train of thought. “Many of them are just as exhausted as we are.” I use the tower’s magic to expand my range of listening, trying to locate any sign of letting up in the shadow invasion force.
What I sense causes all the nerves in my body to tense up.
“My control of that much magic will spin down the waterhole if I’m this exhausted,” I point out while guiding a few sonic waves to cut down a few grapplers. Mykai focuses her song on the grapplers, causing them to fall with more force than they normally would.
“As long as we clear out as much shadow as we can. Letting the spell move in all directions may buy the Dark Moon soldiers some time.” As she says this, Princess Erelynn adds a magic spell to them that makes violet light flash all around on impact.
“All right.” I take a deep breath and drag myself back to my feet. “Give me a moment to build up some magic to ready the spell.” I look to the two magical creatures fighting beside me.
“Cover me?” I ask them. There is no way I’ll be able to defend myself and release this spell at the same time. They both nod, and resume their attacks.
I prop myself against the wall and close my eyes, concentrating. “Ancient of Days help us.”
Accessing the magic in the wizard tower. Channeling my sonic waves through my tower and linking them up with Mykai’s song, I enhance both of our spell’s effects.
“When darkness clouds sight,” all of us chant from memory as we link our spells together.
Wait for it. Keep building it up.
“When shadow drains the warrior’s might.” The pain in my chest increases as I release more magic than I have ever known I possessed into this one spell. Princess Erelynn’s thoughts click.
“All hope abandoned yet one remains.” The soldiers of Dark Moon are in position holding the western wall. Magic inside the stone itself allows us to widely expand the area our spell reaches. It’s now or never.
“For strength abides in ancient light.”
As the spell grows it shines ever brightly, humming a faint tune I don’t recognize. Together we release it, not knowing ourselves quite what it will do, whether it will bring the dawn or fade out in shadow.