Salis' Story

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: The Imaginarium

Chapter 19 (v.1) - Task of the Deity of Magic

Submitted: September 15, 2019

Reads: 13

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Submitted: September 15, 2019

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Helnion's time with her family had come to an end. Triosa had not yet come to get her yet but Helnion knew it would be sometime that night.

Her brother, Nie, and her fiance, Etam, also seemed to have realized this as they would not leave her sight, nor let her out of the her bedroom. Her room was even being guarded by Loih and the other two Knights of Sorris, whose names she could never seem to remember, that had accompanied him.

Helnion knew that this would not mean anything to Triosa. The woman worked for Melche herself and could do things normal people could not, like being able to leave one place and appear in another at will.

This is exactly what happened. One moment it was only herself, Nie and Etam. The next Triosa was there, as if she had been standing there the whole time.

The two men jumped up.

"How did you get in here!" Etam yelled, unsheathing a sword.

"Loih!" Nie yelled to the man just outside the door as he too unsheathed his sword.

The door burst open and Loih charged in, his sword already drawn and crystal forged shield ready.

"How did she get in here?" He said as he joined the two men in surrounding the woman.

"I do not know." Nie said. "She simply appeared in the room."

Triosa watched the men with only slight interest and did not seem to view them as a threat.

Tell them to settle down. Triosa's voice said in Helnion's head.

"She says to settle down." Helnion said, relaying the command.

The men looked at Helnion then back to Triosa.

"Mental communication?" Nie asked.

"Perhaps." Loih replied.

"Leave this place now woman." Etam said angrily. "I will not allow you to take my fiance."

Tell them they have no choice in the matter. Triosa told Helnion.

Helnion repeated this to the men.

"No choice in the matter?" Etam said. "She is under our protection and we will not allow you to take her."

Etam stepped towards Triosa. No sooner had he done so he was sent flying backwards, crashing loudly into a wall. Helnion heard him grunt as the blow knocked the breath out of him.

"Levitation! Be careful!" Loih said to Nie.

Nie nodded and backed off a little.

A few moments later the two Knights that had been stationed outside the windows burst into the room, their swords and shields at the ready. Unlike Loih they were both wearing full crystal forged plate armor. Helnion wondered if it would do any good against Triosa.

"Surround her and watch for her magic." Loih commanded.

The two Knights nodded and began to flank Triosa.

Helnion watched Triosa. The woman waited until she was surrounded before she took action and just as the men started to close in the shields Loih and the Knights were carrying shattered.

The men were so surprised that none of them moved.

"What manner of magic could do that!?" Nie said. He turned from looking at the shattered shields to Triosa. "Who are you?"

Repeat this. Triosa said to Helnion.

Helnion nodded.

You men have two choices. Either accompany the girl on her task. Helnion felt Triosa's disgust when saying this. Or let the her do it on her own. The odds are not in her favor if she is alone so if you want her to be unharmed… Helnion felt the disgust again. It would be wise for some of you to accompany her.

The men looked from Helnion to Triosa.

"Is there nothing we can do to get Helnion out of this agreement she has made?" Nie said.

Triosa said nothing.

Nie looked at Etam and Loih. They both nodded at him.

"If she must go then so will we." Nie said.

Triosa walked past the men surrounding her and approached Helnion.

Your sickness is gone is it not?

Helnion nodded.

Good. We will leave immediately. Helnion felt disgust from Triosa again. And tell those disgusting creatures they have ten minutes to get whatever they need.

Helnion told the men this and all of them but Nie and Etam left.

"Where will we be going?" Etam asked Triosa.

Triosa ignored him.

Helnion saw an angry look on Etam's face but he said nothing.

A few minutes later Lioh and the two other Knights returned with new shields and a few bundles of supplies. The shields the Knights had come back with were from her father's armory as Helnion recognized the crest in the middle of the shield.

"Are you using your trick to take us there?" Helnion asked Triosa in hopes that she would not have to walk or ride in a carriage.

No. There might be those that can feel our arrival if we go that way. We will have to go by carriage. Tell the men to get one ready.

Helnion relayed the order.

"It is late and Helnion just recovered from a sickness." Nie said. "Can we not wait until the morning?"

Triosa pulled Helnion by the arm and walked out the room.

 

 

 

Tell them to fetch a carriage. Triosa said to Helnion once they had gone outside.

None of the men or servants that had accompanied the two outside looked particularly excited to help but eventually Nie nodded to one of the manservants and he soon returned with a levitating carriage.

Tell them I will be driving and that none of them are to approach me. If they do I will forcefully remove them from the carriage. Triosa said, Helnion relaying the message.

The men looked at each other but simply got into the carriage. Helnion entered next with Triosa just behind her.

"Can you tell us where we are going now?" Etam said as soon as the carriage left the estate.

Etam asked this question several times over the next hour until Triosa finally responded.

"We are going to Flae." Helnion said.

"The capitol?" Lioh said. "Why are we going there?"

Helnion listened to Triosa and said. "To get back what belongs to her master."

"Her master?" Nie said. "Who is your master?"

Triosa didn't answer.

"Can we at least stop at the Temple of Sorris to get more men?" Loih asked.

"No." Helnion said.

"The prudent thing to do would be to get as many men as possible. It would make things much easier." Loih said.

"Enough!" Helnion said, trying to sound forceful but failing.

Nie cracked a smile.

"The girl will do this with as little help as possible." Helnion said.

The Etam looked like he wanted to say something but he and the rest of the men were pushed into their seats by Triosa and their jaws held shut.

Get some rest. Tiosa told Helnion.

Helnion nodded and lay down on the bench Nie was sitting on and rested her head on his lap.

 

By the time Helnion woke up the next morning they had yet to arrive at Flae.

"NiNi, how much longer?" She asked her brother.

"Sometime tomorrow Helny." He said. "Get as much rest as possible so you are ready for whatever that woman has planned for you."

Helnion was not happy. Was Flae really that far away? She really was not looking forward to staying in a carriage that long, she had already been cooped up in her room for a week and she wanted to go outside.

Helnion sighed then looked at Triosa. The woman had not moved at all during the night and was completely focused on driving the carriage. She never could understand how people could stay in one spot for very long. The past weeks of being forced to do this herself had only confirmed this in her mind.

Practice some now. You have had more than enough rest this past week. Triosa said in Helnion's mind as if knowing what she was thinking.

Helnion sighed again but began practicing.

She had actually gotten better during the week depsite her sickness and could now slowly turn the fog into water. The servants that had taken care of her had scolded her many times when they came in to see her room filled with fog, but she knew Triosa was keeping an eye on her so she ignored them.

"Why do you keep doing that, Lady Helnion?" Loih said when he saw the fog. "What could practicing making fog accomplish?"

Helnion could have explained that it was to help her improve her magic use without the need to fully concentrate but she didn't want to and shrugged.

Loih looked at the closed windows of the carriage and appeared temped to open them but eventually shrugged as well and looked out of the window and watched the scenery moving by.

A few hours later Helnion found a way that helped her in her training. She had seen Salis try it before and she thought it might be a fun way to pass the time.

By this point in the day Etam had fallen asleep, as glaring at Triosa back had apparently exhausted him.

Helnion saw this as an opportunity to not only amuse herself but to help motivate her to produce water from the fog faster.

The cloud of fog soon began moving from the center of the carriage and over Etam.

Loih had been watching Helnion off and on throughout the day and quickly saw the moving cloud. It also did not take long for him to figure out what she was planning to do and began to grin.

A trickle of water soon began to fall from the center of the cloud, right on to Etam's face.

Etam's face twitched and he soon sat up from his slumped position before he began wiping at the water on his face.

By the time he looked around to see how the water had gotten there Helnion had moved the fog back into the center of the carriage.

Etam took one look at the fog and then to Helnion, before noticing Loih. Loih was doing his best to hide a smile and pretend he hadn't seen what had happened but Etam saw this and eyed him for a few minutes before turning his attention back to Triosa.

 

Thankfully the rest of the day went by quickly and Triosa even let her stop practice before she had completely exhausted herself. She just wondered if she was ready for the next day. She wished Salis were here with her. Salis would have gotten things done.

"We are here, Helny." Nie said, shaking her.

Helnion yawned and sat up.

It was still dark outside and she could not see anything very well, except the torch lights of a large city off in the distance.

"To think that woman could drive the carriage this long…" Nie said with a little awe. "How much energy does she have?"

"I do not know." Loih said, "but I have never met a magic user with her level of skill before."

The two Knights of Sorris fingered their replacement crystal forged shields when Loih said this.

"Whoever she is I am going to make her leave Helnion alone when we get through this." Etam said, his eyes still on Triosa.

All of the men expressed their agreement to Etam.

Minutes later the carriage entered the streets of Flae. It had been a few years since she had been here to visit the castle but she remembered it well. There was so much to see here that she imagined it would take her weeks to explore the city.

She also wanted to go to all the places where Salis had gone when she had come here to have her sword made. It had been hard getting specifics out of Salis but Helnion had found out many of the places she had visited. Helnion especially wanted to visit the forge where Salis' sword had been made.

It was still too dark for Helnion to see the city well, even after they entered, but she looked anyways.

Helnion felt a bump as the carriage settled on the ground.

"I take it we have arrived." Etam said, getting up and heading towards the door.

"Wait." Loih said, stopping Etam.

When Etam stopped and looked at Loih, Loih motioned at Triosa.

Etam's brow furrowed but he made no other attempt to leave.

"She says you can leave the carriage as long as you do not wander too far." Helnion said.

"Of course, my master." Etam said, his voice filled with false sincerity.

"Are we going to wait until nightfall to attack?" Loih asked Triosa.

"No." Helnion said. "We attack as soon as possible."

"I though you did not want attention. No one is going to miss a fight in the middle of the day." Nie said.

"Do not worry. I will keep anyone from coming or leaving."

"Wait." Etam said. "You are not planning on making us do all of the fighting?"

"This must be done by a group not affiliated with certain factions."

"Which factions?" Etam asked.

"Telling you would make it so I could no longer use you."

"That would not be a bad thing." Nie said.

"I agree." Etam said.

"We should get going." Loih said. "Let us get this done with a be on our way."

Etam eyed Triosa angrily again but nodded.

"We will get you through this Helny." Nie said, putting his hand on Helnion's shoulder.

Helnion smiled at her brother. "Then we can find Salis!"

"Of course! I will do everything I can to find your friend."

Helnion glanced at Triosa and then said. "She said it is time to go."

Triosa turned towards a street heading west and began walking. Etam grumbled but he and the rest of the group followed the woman to wherever she was taking them.

 

 

Helnion marveled at the city around her. Even though this was not her first time here everything excited her. Not only were the streets crowded with people of all sorts but she also saw shops filled with various items, statues of famous people, among other things.

It was the small gardens that dotted the city that were kept by followers of Usui and followers of Vellis that she got the most excited about. Many of the gardens even had a follower of Vellis or two that would play music on various instruments. More often than not one of her male companions or a harsh word from Triosa would have to bring her back to the group.

"I remember the last time I came here with you Helny." Nie said, smiling. "The servants almost went mad keeping track of you."

"I can see that!" Lioh said with a laugh. "Lady Helnion certainly does travel through life at her own pace." Loih turned to Etam. "You certainly have your work cut out for you if you marry this one." He said and laughed again.

"She will grow out of it in time." Etam said, uncertainty in his voice.

"Nonsense!" Loih said. "A wife like her will make your life that much more interesting."

"She certainly will!" Nie said, laughing with Loih. "I would not want Helny any other way."

Helnion saw a shop with a carpenter's sign above the door and began to walk over to it, curious of what kind of things they made.

"There she goes again!" Loih said, watching Helnion head for a shop to probably peer inside at the goods.

"Sometimes I wonder if she is not both Usui and Vellis born." Nie said.

"No, if she were Vellis born she would talk more." Loih said. "I would say maybe Melche and Usui born but…"

Helnion could not here the rest of what Loih said.

Helnion soon felt a grip on her arm. She glanced up and saw that Etam had come after her this time. She tried to resist his grip and get a better look into the store, the shop keeper looking back at her expectantly, but she was no match for Etam and was pulled out of the shop.

"How much farther?" Etam said to Triosa as soon as he came back with Helnion.

Triosa didn't answer.

Etam put his hand on his forehead and sighed.

"I know it is not my place to say this." One of the Knights said to Etam. "But might I recommend keeping calm. If we are in for a hard fight I want all of my comrads to be clear minded." The guard looked at Helnion. "At least as many as are able." He added.

Loih snickered.

Helnion looked at the men for a second but soon turned back to her viewing of the city.

"You are right." Etam said and breathed in deeply. "I can worry about that woman later."

 

 

The rest of the journey through Flae was uneventful. Specifically because Etam and Nie had each taken one of Helnion's arms and had not let go.

"I have a feeling we are close." Nie said as he looked at the buildings around them.

Helnion had noticed that they had entered one of the older, but more wealthy parts of Flae. All around them were large homes that would be inhabited by the more wealthy merchant families as well as some of the lesser families of the court. Many of them were made of wood instead of the mud and rock of the more poor folk or those that had a respect for nature and looked down on the use of wood.

"We best not be attacking someone of importance." Etam said as he surveyed the houses.

"Perhaps we are just passing through." Nie said hopefully.

"I doubt that." Etam said.

Loih pulled Etam and Nie close to him. "We might be able to alert some guards. We might be able to overtake her if we have help." Loih said in a whisper, obviously avoiding a look at Triosa.

"I do not know…" Nie said. "I think we would need some extremely skilled magic users if we want to have a chance."

"I agree. She was easily able to break your shields, who knows what else she is capable of." Etam said.

"She can hear you." Helnion said, poking her face into the group.

The men pulled away from their huddle and eyed Triosa. The women showed no sign that she knew what they were doing.

"Are you sure." Loih said to Helnion.

Helnion nodded.

Etam bent over and picked up a rock. He threw it at Triosa.

The rock flew straight for Triosa's head, but just shy of her head the rock changed direction suddenly and flew off into the air above her head. She did not show any sign that anything happened.

Etam clicked his tongue. "Does the woman have eyes on her backside?"

"And have the ears of a hound?" Loih added.

"Cursed woman." One of the Knights said, spitting.

"Triosa." Nie said.

The other men looked at Nie, wondering what he was going to ask. Helnion was curious as well.

"Can you tell us who these people are and what they stole?"

"Defeating the thieves and retrieving the stolen items will make it obvious who I work for." Helnion said. "The thieves themselves, they are disciples of Kel and are working with a few Toa Mirr magic users in an attempt to do something here in Flae. What that is I do not know, nor care to."

"Toa Mirr agents in Flae!" Etam said, nearly yelling. "If you had said earlier I would have gladly lent you my sword!"

"As would I!" The Knights said in turn.

"Yes. There was no need to bring an innocent child into this. Many would have been eager to help if you had asked." Loih said.

"This is not a matter of needing help." Helnion said. "My master has many servants that could easily handle this."

"Then why?" Nie said. "Why Helny?"

"The girl is a rare non Melche born strong in magic. This is her test to see how well her training has come along."

"Against disciples of Kel and Toa Mir magic users!?" Etam said angrily.

"Which is why I allowed you all to come along."

"Even with all of us here it is still rediculous thinking of bringing her along. She may be skilled in magic but she is years away from being a match to a skilled Toa Mirr magic user." Etam said, on the verge of yelling.

"I will ensure her safety."

"You will, will you? I thought you said you were not going to fight?"

Triosa sighed. It was the first time Helnion had seen her show any emotion.

"Enough. We are nearly to our destination and your yelling will bring attention to us."

"Fine." Etam said.

Everyone else looked around in an attempt to see if they could tell where Triosa was taking them.

Helnion's stomach rumbled. They had only eaten a light meal that morning and they had been walking for a while.

"Can we get something to eat?" Helnion asked.

Loih and Nie started to laugh.

"Silence." Helnion said, trying to look stern.

The two only started laughing harder.

 

 

"Thanks for suggesting a meal, Helny." Nie said to Helnion.

"Here here." One of the Knights said, rubbing his belly and smiling and Helnion.

"Come, we must not take any more time." Helnion said and then yawned. She did not feel like mimicing Triosa's stern feelings at the moment.

"I do not think she is even trying anymore." The second Knight said.

Loih laughed. "Would you not get bored too?"

The two Knights laughed.

"Come. Let us get this over with." Etam said, getting up from the rock he had been sitting on.

"Yes." Nie said, standing up as well.

Loih and Helnion sighed. The two Knights simply stood up.

"Yes, let us get this over with." Loih said finally.

"Come on Helny." Nie said, grabbing Helnion by the arm and pulling her up.

"Yes NiNi." She said as she stood up.

"Lead the way, Woman." Etam said as soon as he saw everyone was ready to go.

Triosa looked back at Etam. Helnion was sure she saw disgust in the woman's eyes but was not sure.

It only took them a few minutes before Triosa signaled them to stop just before they rounded a bend in the road.

"There, two houses down on the right." Helnion said.

Everyone looked around the bend and at their destination.

Helnion saw that it was one of the larger estates in the area, though nothing compared to her's and Nie's. The property surrounding the estate was lined with hedges and it was impossible to see the grounds from where they were at but she could easily see the single guard at the entrance.

"How many guards?" Loih asked Triosa.

"Only the one." Helnion said. "But it is those inside that are the threat."

"Are you certain?" Loih said.

"Yes."

"This would be easier at night. Should we not wait?"

"No. They will be more active at night. If we are lucky several of them will be sleeping."

"I see." Loih turned to the Knights.

Helnion looked to Triosa. The woman gave her a command. Helnion nodded but was not sure what she should do.

"Helny, where are you going!" Nie said when he noticed she had begun walking towards the gurard.

Nie and Etam went to chase after her but were immediately pushed to the ground.

"Were you the one who told her to go!" Etam said angrily to Triosa.

As usual Triosa ignored him.

Helnion decided the best thing to do was continue her practice on the guard. She felt more confident in her skills but was still extremely slow and was worried that he would look up and see the small cloud that had formed over his head. Not much later the cloud had begun to condense and a ball of water had started to take its place.

"Away child! This is no place for you!" The guard said when he noticed her staring at him.

Helnion looked at the estate behind the guard and then at the other estates in the area. She wondered what they were like on the inside. How many people lived in them and what were they like?

"Shoo! If you are hungry you will have to go somewhere else." The guard said, pullling her attention back to her task.

The ball of water she had floating behind the guard was now about the right size. She was surprised and proud at the same time. This had been the fastest she had managed to do this.

"Bye bye." Helnion said. She tried to add a friendly smile but the knowledge of what she was about to do would not let her.

"Finally…" The guard said.

After a little hesitation Helnion moved her ball of water quickly, covering the guards head. The guard gasped in surprise, sucking water into his lungs.

Helnion felt a pain in her chest as she began to freeze the water. Unlike the men on Korron this man was still alive and would not come back after a trip from a pool of black stuff.

In moments the water around the man's head had frozen solid. He was still very much alive and was trying his hardest to break the ice but she had only frozen the water just around his head and the rest of it cushioned his blows just enough to keep the ice from shattering.

"Helny!" Came Nie's voice.

Helnion looked up from the man and to her brother.

"Never do that again! Let us handle this."

"Yes, Lady Helnion." Loih said. "You could have gotten yourself killed going out like that by yourself."

"It was her!" Etam said, pointing angrily at Triosa. "She told her to do this."

"The girl will do what she can. You can only help if she is incapable of doing it herself." Helnion said.

Etam spat at Triosa's feet.

"Stop it Etam!" Nie said, grabbing the man by the shoulders.

Etam glared at Triosa but then turned to watch the Knights finish off the still struggling guard.

"I guess we go inside now." Loih said.

"Yes…" Nie said, turning to look at the estate.

 

The two Knights were the first through the gate, followed closely by Loih.

Helnion watched them move around carefully, their crystal forged shields at the ready. She wanted one too. They looked so pretty, sparkling in the sunshine, though the Knights had covered these shields with large pieces of cheap brown cloth so she couldn't see their beauty at the moment.

Loih nodded at everone else after he looked around for a bit before bending over and rushing to the house. He made it over quickly and he and the Knights had managed to do it quietly despite the armor they were wearing. Helnion was amazed and wondered if Salis could do that if she were wearing armor.

Helnion was pushed into the same position that Loih had taken by Nie and did the same himself. She immediately remembered doing this a few times with Salis when they were sneaking around school.

"Get over there as fast as you can, Helny." Nie said. "We do not want to been seen for as long as possible."

"Yes, NiNi." Helnion said.

"Ready?" Etam said.

Nie nodded and Etam ran through the gate towards Loih and the Knights. He was even faster, but he was not wearing armor like they were.

"Now Helny!" Nie said, pulling on her as he started through the gate.

Helnion nearly fell but Nie held her up.

Ever since she had come back from Korron she had felt weaker. She was not sure why, as she had trained a lot. She hoped Salis had not been affected as well.

By the time Nie and Helnion reached the house she was nearly out of breath. She had never gotten tired this easlily and it worried her.

"We need to get you some more exercise." Loih said, looking slightly amused but also a bit worried.

"I agree." Nie said. "If I had not been pulling on her it would have taken ages for her to get across."

"We should hurry." Etam said.

"Where is that woman?" One of the Knights said.

Helnion looked around and saw that Triosa had not followed them through the gate. She knew Triosa would be watching, but why the woman was testing her she did not know. This was the only time she was going to help Triosa, was it not?

"Watching us somewhere I would assume." Loih said after scanning the yard for Triosa.

"We should hurry." Etam said again.

Helnion saw his impatience and he was fidgeting.

"Yes master…" Nie said with a smirk.

Helnion giggled.

Etam ignored Nie's statement and turned to the house.

Helnion watched as the two Knights slowly approached the door. The Knight that reached the door first paused, looked back to everyone, then slowly opened the door.

"I do not see or hear anyone." He said, Helnion could barely hear him.

"It could be a trap." Loih said.

The guard nodded. Helnion wondered if he would be okay.

Helnion watched anxiously as the Knight entered the house, Loih and the other Knight close behind.

"It is safe." Helnion heard Loih say after a moment.

Etam looked at her, nodded, and entered the house.

Helnion did not even look at Nie and followed after Etam. She hoped the inside was interesting, at least moreso than the bare yard outside.

As soon as Helnion was inside she saw that the room they had entered was an ordinary antechamber. It was well lit with open windows facing the front yard and the open plaza that took up the center of the house. There were vases, a few furnishings and a painting in the room. Compared to her house it was bare.

"Where to next?" Nie said as soon as he stepped in and closed the door.

Everyone looked at Helnion as if she knew the answer.

Helnion thought for a bit but could never remember Tiosa telling her where to go.

Helnion shrugged.

"I guess this means we have to rely on luck." Nie said.

"You would think that woman does not want us to succeed." Etam said.

"No, I think she just does not care if us extras survive." Loih said.

"I would not be surprised if she has it planned for us to die." Etam said.

Helnion was tired of all the hate for Triosa so she decided to start looking.

"Hold on there, Helny." Nie said, grabbing her shoulder. "You will be behind everybody but me."

Helnion scowled at Nie and put out her lower lip.

"Do not give me that look. I just want to make sure you do not get hurt."

"Boring." Helnion said and sat on a nearby chair.

"Good girl."

Thankfully Helnion saw that the men had stopped complaining and were heading towards the door on the left side of the room.

"Watch the plaza." Loih said to one of the Knights. "If we are going to be seen it will be through one of the other windows."

The Knight nodded and Helnion saw him crouch next to the window and peer out.

"To the next room." Loih said to everyone else.

The men nodded.

"Come Helny." Nie said, grabbing her arm.

Helnion was not happy, especially because Nie would not let her look into the plaza.

"The hall appears to be clear." Helnion heard the Knight that had gone through the door say, bringing her attention back just in time to exit the antechamber and go into a hall.

 

"Where are all the servants?" Nie said. "We should have seen one by now in an estate this size."

"We can worry about that later." Etam said.

"As much as I want to join in." Loih said. "It would be a good idea to stop talking from now on."

Etam and Nie nodded at Loih.

Helnion looked from the men and down the hallway. It was even more bare than the antechamber and the only thing she could see were two doors on the left and three large windows to her right that most likely showed the plaza.

Helnion strained to see if she could see outside the nearest window but Nie had a firm hold on her and she could not stand to see out of it.

Helnion heard a door open. She looked just in time to see the remaining Knight slip into the room, closely followed by Loih. She strained to hear anything and soon heard what sounded like someone getting stabbed.

Helnion shivered.

Soon after she saw Loih poke his head back out and motion for them to come in.

Helnion had to immediately look away from the two beds that were inside. She had never seen this much blood before and it made her stomach churn. If only it was black dust like on Korron. Black dust she could handle, blood she could not.

"Are you alright, Helny?" Nie said, looking at her with concern.

Helnion nodded. She needed to not let this get to her or she would not be able to do anything. She had already killed the guard and she could do it again. Or so she hoped.

"I have some presents for you." Loih said, standing next to an open chest.

Helnion immediately forgot about the bloody and bodies on the bed and pulled Nie towards the chest.

"How fortunate." Etam said, reaching the chest first.

Helnion finally got to the chest and peered inside. She saw two sets of crystal forged swords and shields.

"How fortunate indeed." Nie said, reaching in and pulling out a shield.

Helnion knew that Etam and Nie already had their own crystal forged swords, which were better than what she saw in the chest, but still not as good as Salis'.

Helnion reached into the chest. She was completely unarmed and wanted a sword of her own.

"Helny…" Nie said, stopping her. "You know how you are with swords."

"I practiced a lot with Salis and Martu." She said. "I do not drop it as much anymore."

"Martu?" She heard Etam say.

Nie looked at Loih and Etam. Etam ignored Nie and looked to be thinking about something. Loih shrugged.

Nie shook his head. "I am sorry Helny, but I cannot let you have one."

Helnion took one more look into the chest and at the swords. Those wonderfully sparkly swords…

Oh Salis… How I miss you.

"We have trouble!" The Knight they had left to watch the plaza said as he rushed into the room.

Helnion, and everyone else, jumped when he came in. Loih and Etam had even nearly attacked him too.

"What is it?" Loih asked as he motioned the Knight to him.

"A group of five men came out from a back room and are heading towards the front of the estate."

Helnion wondered what this group of men were like. Were they all dressed in black and sneaky like or did they dress normaly?

"If they do not know we are here we should be fine until they see the guard is missing. As soon as they exit the manor we will make our move to the rear of the house." Loih said.

Helnion was not sure what was going to happen. Was there even anything in the house? She wished she could take her time to explore everywhere.

"We should leave Helnion here." Etam said. "That woman is not here so we might be able to…"

Suddenly Helnion saw Etam get picked up into the air. She was half expecting him to get flung against the wall or ceiling but he simply floated there.

"It appears she can hear us." Nie said.

"We should have expected as much." Loih said.

"You can put me down now." Etam said. "We will take Helnion with us."

Helnion could see the frustration on Etam's face. She wondered why he was trying so hard to get her out of this.

As soon as Etam was set back on his feet Loih turned back towards the Knight that had come in.

"Can you hear them?" He said.

The Knight pressed his ear to the door and listened for a moment.

"I do not hear anything."

"See if you can see anyone nearby."

Helnion watched as the Knight cracked the door open. She could feel the tension in the room and half expected for someone to burst into the room.

"I do not see anyone nearby." The Knight said before opening the door wider and sticking his head through.

Helnion wondered if his head would be missing when he came back in.

Helnion shook her head. Why was she getting thoughts like this?

"Clear." The Knight said.

"We need to hurry!" Loih said.

Helnion watched as everyone nodded.

 

The Knight rushed out of the room, before stopping and peering both ways down the hall.

Helnion looked around the room one more time.

The dead men were still there. She stared at them. She knew she would be seeing more bodies today and hoped that she would be able to get over her shock by looking at these more.

"Come Helny." Nie said and began to pull her out of the room.

Helnion looked up at her brother. Would he be one of the dead bodies. Would she? If Salis were here she was sure things would turn out well.

Helnion turned her attention to the men farther down the hall when she left the room. They had already stopped in front of the other door and were preparing to enter.

She then took one quick look around to see if she could see anything else. Nie was still holding her down so she could not see through the nearest window into the plaza and there was nothing much to see in the empty hallway so she quickly looked bad just in time to see the lead Knight motion them past the room.

Nie started pulling her down the hallway. Helnion looked at the room as she passed it and wondered what was inside. Was it another bedroom but with no one in it or something else. She tried heading towards the door but Nie tugged at her and she kept moving down the hallway.

Just before they rounded the turn at the end of the hall Loih motioned for them to stop. Helnion was curious to see if there was anything more interesting around the bend but Nie stopped her and held her in place.

"There are two men talking outside of a door. One is wearing crystal forged armor." Loih said so quietly Helnion could barely hear him.

"I will take care of this." Etam said, just as quietly.

Everyone stepped back to give Etam room.

In moments shards of ice began to form over Etam's head. He glanced at Helnion then at the shards of ice as if he was doing this for her.

In more time than Helnion could have hoped to have done the same thing Etam had formed six shards of ice. Each was small but long and looked very sharp.

No sooner had they formed than they shot off in the direction the men were heading. Helnion could not see the two men but she soon heard some thumps and the shattering of ice.

Etam nodded back at Loih. "That should have killed them."

Loih nodded.

Loih and the lead Knight took off around the turn, their shields at the ready. A few moments later Etam motioned for the rest of them to follow.

Helnion was finally able to see the new section of hallway. She saw three doors here, one of which had two bodies in front of it. To her excitement she also saw that the entirety of the hall to the right was completely exposed to the plaza. The sad part was that the plaza was bare of any plants, except for a few trees.

"Check the room." Loih said to the Knight that was taking up the rear, pointing to the closest of the doors.

The Knight nodded and entered it as soon as the group began to pass it.

"Check the last room." Loih said to the other Knight, pointing to the third door.

Helnion looked back and forth at both of the men as they left then to the door in the center they were now standing by. It was a large double door made of a wood. It was plain and had to oramentation like many of the doors in Helnion's estate. Even so it looked important.

Helnion began to walk towards the door but nearly tripped on something. When she looked down she saw that it was the bodies of one of the men that Etam had just killed.

It was the man without armor. Helnion saw three of the ice shards sticking out of him, beginning to melt. One was lodged squarely in his throat and it look like the man had been grabbing at it as he died.

She then looked at the other body. Only one shard had hit this man. It too had pierced the man in the neck, just between the bottom of his helmet and the top of his armor. She saw several melting pieces of ice laying around him from the shards that had shattered on his armor.

Helnion looked back up just in time to see one of the Knights come back. It was the one that had checked the door they had passed on their way here.

"I think I might have found what that women sent us here for." He said.

Loih nodded. Etam and Nie looked relieved.

"One problem, Sir." The Knight said, continuing.

"What is it?" Loih said.

"There is too much of it for us to carry out at once."

"Does that mean we will have to kill everyone in this house?" Nie said, sounding none to happy at the thought.

"It appears that way." Loih said, not sounding happy either.

Loih turned to the double doors next to them. "First we need to see what is in here." He said and approached the doors.

"What was in the room?" Nie asked the Knight.

"Lots of magic items. Never seen so much in one place." The Knight said.

Helnion looked away from Nie and the Knight. She now wanted very much to go see the room for herself. Surely there was something in there that rivaled Salis' sword?

"I found two more." Helnion heard the other Knight say.

She turned around to see the Knight taking place behind Loih. His sword had fresh blood on it.

 

 

Helnion was forced down onto the floor as she heard a loud cracking sound and felt stings all over her body as stuff slammed into her.

She quickly crawled onto her knees and looked around. The double doors had been blown away and fragments of wood littered the hallway and plaza.

She also saw that everyone else had been knocked down but had all recovered more quickly than she and were already getting on their feet. All had their shields at the ready.

She watched as Loih and the two Knights rushed into the room. Helnion was expecting more magic to come flying out of the room at them but it instead came from behind them from the plaza.

Helnion had fallen to the side of the doorway and could not see inside but she could see into the plaza. Her heart jumped as she saw eight men coming their way.

Six of the men were normal looking enough but the magic that they were directing at Nie and Etam told her otherwise. The other two men were dressed in full crystal forged armor and were focused on Etam, blocking his magic easily. She was being ignored.

"Hide!" Nie yelled to her.

Helnion very much wanted to do as her brother said. Unlike on Korron she was not the only one that could use magic. In fact she was probably the worst magic user here.

She started shaking. She knew how easily she could be killed now. She also knew that if she were not being ignored at the moment that she probably would already be dead.

"Go!" Nie shouted at her.

Helnion began to crawl away the way they had come. Were there other bad men this way? Could she get around them or maybe try and escape through a window?

Then she remembered. There was a room filled with magical items. Maybe there was something in there she could use.

Helnion took one more look at Nie and Etam. Nie was simply huddled behind his shield and looked terrified. Etam was also behind his shield but was flinging ice and fire in front of him randomly.

She then looked at the men in the plaza. They were nearly halfway across but had slowed thanks to Etam's attacks, the attacking magic users hiding behind the armor clad men or taking shelter behind a tree.

Helnion crawled as quickly as she could towards the door to the storage room. It was not far but with the fight going on behind her, her worry for Nie and the fear that she would stop being ignored made the trip like a long journey.

Soon enough Helnion found herself in the room. She was immediately awed by the sight in front of her. Shelves of crystal items lined the walls. Most of what she saw she could not immediately tell what it did, she would actually have to use it to find out and she knew she did not have time for that.

It was the armor and weapons she went for. She knew it was unlikely that any of the armor would fit her but she could still use a shield and sword. The shields here were actually much higher quality than any she had seen. She even suspected that one of them had elemental crystals forged into it so it could be used to attack and defend at the same time.

It was this one she chose. It was a little bigger than she liked but she tried to pick it up anyways. To her dismay she found it was all she could do to pick it up with one arm. There was no way she would be able to fight with it.

That left her with getting herself a sword. It did not take her long to find one. Her eyes almost immediately found an ornate sword nearly identical in size and shape to Salis'. It felt heavier than she remember Salis' being but she could use it.

Helnion took one last look around the room. How she wished she could stay in here and look at everything. There was certainly some rare or unusual item among all of this. Even if there was not it was certainly pretty to look at.

She shook her head and looked to the door. She could still hear the sounds of magic hitting the walls of the estate house but could hear nothing from any living thing. She knew she needed to hurry or it would be too late for her to help. It might already be too late.

Helnion rushed out the door, sword ready in both hands.

As soon as she left the room she saw that their attackers had already made it to the pillars that lined this part of the plaza. She saw no signs of Etam, Nie, or any of the Knights of Sorris. She did know at least one of them was still alive because the magic users were still firing the odd piece of fire or ice into the room and she saw no bodies aside from one of the magic users that had a large burn mark on his chest.

Helnion froze. One of the mages had spotted her. He glanced over her quickly but then turned his attention back to the room. She was not surprised she was not considered a threat. Even she could see her sword shaking in front of her as she held it.

Helnion began to slap herself slightly, hoping it would calm her down. It worked a little and she got the courage to move again. She knew there was no way to join the others in the room so she would have to do whatever she was going to do on her own. She was still not sure what it was that she could do to help but she hoped she would think of something before too long.

Now in the center of the plaza Helnion took another look at the fight. She could now see inside the room but could not make out anyone inside. There were several pieces of toppled furniture in the room, some of which were on fire, and she thought she could make out the odd shield sticking out from one or two of them.

Helnion looked at the men attacking the room. They were still ignoring her and even had their backs turned to her. If she attacked them now could she kill several of them before they turned on her? Alternatively she could probably even leave right now if she wanted.

No. There was no way she could leave when she knew her brother, fiance and protectors were in here dying because she made a deal with a Deity. She also did not want to lose an opportunity to get information on finding Salis. Besides, if things became really bad for her there was a chance Triosa would help. At least she hoped Triosa would help.

Helnion began her preparations to attack. She knew she could consider using the ice attacks Etam had because that was what Triosa had been training her in but it was too slow and she feared that one of the men would look back and realize she could use magic. If they knew that then she doubted they would continue to ignore her.

So she went with fire. She had not used fire magic in a long while but it was one of the easier magics to use. Even Salis could make this kind of magic, though she never did for some reason aside from what her sword made.

Immediately a ball of fire appeared in front of her. It was much larger than she had wanted but it would do. She made several other balls of fire as well, making sure they were smaller than the first.

The balls of fire quickly made their ways to their targets. All but one missed. It was not that her aim was off it was that the men were using wind shields and the wind had deflected the fire easily away from them above their heads, the fire splashing onto the ceiling where she saw signs of other fireballs that had been deflected there. The only fireball that had resisted the wind shields had been the biggest one she had first made.

Helnion knew she would only have enough time to attack one more time before the men would counterattack. This time she made three more fireballs as big as the first. Making them this big tired her much more quickly and would take her out of the fight that much sooner than using the same amount of magic for several more smaller ones but it was her best option.

The three fireballs hit their targets just as the men were in mid turn. The fireballs were so big and hot that they simply passed through the men. Two of them simply ran into the backs of the crystal forged armor of the two men behind them where they vanished into nothing as soon as they hit. The last continued into the room her protectors were hiding in where it burned through a table before vanishing, revealing a startled Knight.

Helnion watched the Knight for a second hoping he was alright before she realized she was in more trouble than he. The last living magic user was now looking directly at her and had already formed several fireballs.

She was wide in the open and would be unable to find a tree or wall to hide behind. This left her with using a wind shield herself. She was never good with wind shields and knew she had no hopes of making one as refined as the attackers' had been but she had no choice.

Moments before the fireballs came at her a raging wind formed around her. It tore at her clothes, making it ripple and flap fiercely. She had never created a shield this strong and was surprised at its intensity. In fact it actually felt like her clothes WOULD be torn off if she kept it up for too long.

The quiet hissing sound of fireballs scorching the air brought her mind back. It was then she also realized her shield had worked. All of the fireballs had harmlessly been directed to the open sky above her.

"Helny!" She heard Nie shout at her. "Move!"

Helnion remembered how open of a target she was. While her shield was very effective against all but the biggest fireballs there were other things magic could do that a wind shield would not be able to protect her from.

Like the large piece of pottery that was now heading right for her. She barely managed to duck past it at the last moment and began running towards a door that led to the hallway she had been down earlier.

She felt a sharp pain in her right arm, just above the elbow. She stopped behind a tree and looked down. A large piece of ice was sticking out.

"Lady Helnion!" She heard Loih shout. "Keep moving then escape! Do not worry about us!"

Helnion looked up from her arm and back to the room the others were in. She could not see it well thanks to the tree but she saw that Loih and the Knights had charged at the attackers, Etam supporting them by flinging chairs, books and other small items at the enemy.

Helnion watched as the Knights charged at the enemy. One of the Knights appeared wounded but he showed no signs of hesitation as he reached the armored enemies and began to fight.

The tree burst into flames above Helnion. Her shield had stopped another ball of fire but she knew that it would not be long until more ice came and the tree was much too narrow to hide her completely so she knew she needed to finish getting to the hallway.

Helnion looked at the remaining enemy magic user and saw that he was now keeping an eye on both her and the men trapped in the room, ignoring the Knights.

Just as she was deciding whether to run or continue attacking the back wall of the room Nie and Etam were still hiding in blew out, spraying even more pieces of wood and plaster into the plaza.

The remaining magic user smiled. He then turned his attention completely at Helnion.

Helnion knew deep down that it was now too late to run. If she left the tree she would be wide open. The distance to the door was not far but there was no way should could outrun any attacks he would send her way.

Two bears appeared in front of the man. Helnion wondered why he did not continue to attack her with ice or even random objects. She was not sure she wanted to know either, but creating animals from magic would have taken most of his concentration so all she needed to do was get out of the plaza before the bears reached her.

Helnion glanced at her wounded arm, which had started to go numb thanks to the ice, before running for the door again. She was already tired and she did not run as quickly as she had earlier but she still managed to slide open the door to the hallway and close it before the bears had reached her.

The door burst open before not long after she had closed it, the door nearly knocking her down as it flew into the hallway and into her.

Helnion gripped at the sword, which she had forgotten she was still holding. She was not sure how well she could use the sword against the bears with only one arm, especially her left one, but she could not think of any magics at the moment that worked well against the bears.

The bear that had smashed the door down stood on its hind legs, it's transparent claws bursting into flames as it readied to finisher her off. Its transparent eyes looking past her as if it was not sure exactly where she was.

This brought a little hope to her. The man was still outside and could not see her well. If she stayed low where he could not see her through a window then he could only guess where she was.

Helnion rolled to the side, down the hall towards the front entrance, pain shooting through her wound as the melting ice dug into her arm.

The bear did not watch her and stayed looking in the spot she had been before and attacked, it's flaming claws scorching the floor where she had been.

Helnion could not see the man from where she was so she was not sure if he thought he had killed her…

The bear dropped back to all fours and began heading for her again, the second bear following the first into the room. Both began to charge.

Helnion picked herself up from the floor, her right arm crying out in pain when she tried to put weight on it. Despite this she managed to get into a crouch and have her sword at the ready by the time the bears had reached her.

She swung at the first bear. Her left arm strained under the sword's weight but she managed to strike the bear just before it ran into her.

The magic holding the bear together convulsed as the sword went through the bear's translucent body. The bear did not stop but it had been enough to weaken its form, lessening the blow she received when it hit her.

To her dismay the blow knocked the sword from her hand, sending it through the bear and further down the hallway. Luckily the bears had ran past her and the way to the sword was clear.

The bear she had struck disappeared, although she suspected it was the creator of the bears that had done so.

No sooner had that happened than the man entered the hallway. He looked down at her, showing no emotion, his eyes scanning the scene before him.

Helnion heard a crash outside in the plaza. It sounded like more cracking wood and some shattering pottery.

She jumped to her feet to see what had happened, the man in the hall with her taking a glance as well.

The sight was frightening. Not only was all of the debris in and around the room floating in the air but Nie and Etam were as well. In the center of the room stood a man clad in full crystal forged plate armor. The only place his armor did not cover were the palms of his hands, which he currently had raised.

It was what happened next that made Helnion scream.

The man slammed Nie into the wall hard, causing him to drop his shield. Next she watched helplessly as the man impaled him to the wall with a large broken piece of wood.

Helnion fell to her knees. Her brother was dead. Her dearest brother was gone. Would she soon follow him?

Do not give up! A familiar voice said in her head. The enemy before you is nearly spent. You still have the power to defeat him.

Helnion remembered the reason she was here. Salis was still out there and she needed to do this to find her friend and her brother had just given his life to help her do this.

Helnion's mind finally came to a focus.

She looked up and saw the man in front of her. She could sense the bear behind her.

Helnion formed two large spears of ice above her, the air noticeably becoming dry as she did so.

The spears flew at the man. For a moment surprise and fear jumped on his face. The ice wobbled as he tried to redirect their course with his own magic but their course stayed true and the man was soon pierced and dead, landing several paces behind where he had been standing thanks to size and force of the ice.

The bear vanished behind her, though she had not noticed.

In the plaza she took one quick glance at the Knights and the armored men they were fighting. One of the Knights had fallen back, blood covering his armor while one of their enemies looked to be barely able to stand and would soon be finished off.

The man in the room had just finished attacking Etam, who was also pinned to the wall. He had not dropped his shield and appeared to be alive but he would not be helping the fight any longer.

Helnion looked at the tree closest to her and after a moment she soon had it uprooted and floating in the air. She then tilted it so that the top of the tree obscured the view of the man in the room and dropped it. Finally she began to form a giant ball of ice.

The ball of ice soon became so large that she had trouble picking the tree back up off the ground. In a moment she had steadied the two objects and with nearly the last of her power she launched both of them at the man. With nearly the last of her power she propelled herself forward with a strong gust of wind, leaving a large plume of dust behind her.

Helnion and the ice soon flew over the heads of the men fighting just in front of the room, the tree striking the remaining armored man violently, sending broken branches and splinters everywhere. She did not care of the fate of the man she had just struck and watched as the ball of ice broke through the branches in its way before continuing into the room.

The ball of ice lurched. It then shifted to the left just in time to miss the man. Helnion had expected as much to happen. What she had hoped was that the man had not expected her to throw herself at him. He hadn't.

By the time he had seen her it was too late for him to stop her. There was actually not much she could do to the man because of his armor but she hoped that she could make him easier to kill.

As she flew over the man's head she grabbed at his helmet and pulled up on it. It came off with a jerk. She could have looked to see the man's expression but did not.

Now all she need was for her wind magic to last long enough to get her through the hole in the room and outside. She did.

Out of the hole she saw her giant ball of ice resting a few paces in front of her. In a moment she had passed over it. It was then that she began to fall. She tried to catch herself as she landed but her legs collapsed beneath her and she hit the dirt hard, before slamming into a small building.

 

 

 

 

Helnion's mind began to cloud. She was not sure if it was from the fatigue or if her mind was returning to normal, but she did know that she did not have time to lay there on the ground and recover herself.

Helnion looked up. Triosa was standing on the roof of the small building, looking down at her. The woman's veil made it hard to see her expression.

Triosa made no movement to help Helnion and simply looked from her and back inside the building.

Helnion looked up just in time to see one of the Knights begin to engage the man she had stolen the helmet from. She had hoped they would not have been far behind her if the tree had done what she had hoped. Thinking back she was not sure what it was she hoped it would have done. It certainly would have staggered the man but the armor would have protected him easily.

Helnion put on the helmet. It stank of sweat, was much to big for her head and pretty much blinded her but she did not want to leave it and she wanted her left hand to be free.

"Stay back Lady Helnion!" The Knight in the room shouted at her just before she reached the hole in the wall. It was Loih.

She knew she would get in the way if she went any farther but she wanted to watch the last of the fight, whether they won or lost.

She could see the fight well enough from where she had stopped so she went no further.

Only Loih was in the room fighting so she started looking for the other two Knights. She soon found the unwounded Knight. He still in front of the room taking on the last man in armor.

She turned back to the fight in front of her. Loih looked exhausted. She could see the sweat dripping off of his face as he blocked the attacks from his opponent, whom was still throwing objects around with his magic. Thankfully his armor would keep him from meeting the same fate as Nie and Etam.

Helnion immidiately looked at Nie, remembering he was in the room. She then looked away just as quickly. Seeing her brother pinned up on the wall like that was not something she wanted in her memories.

But what of Etam? Was he still alive? He too had been pinned but he had not looked as bad off when she had seen him earlier.

She looked towards the opposite wall, having to turn the loose helmet on her head as well.

There he was. A long, thin, but sturdy piece of wood was sticking out of his right shoulder. He was actually awake and had an intense look of pain on his face. His eyes were open but they seemed to be unable to focus on anything. He was still holding the shield, athough it now hung uselessly at his side.

Helnion heard a scream. It had come from the hallway. When she looked to see what had happened she saw the last armored man fall to the Knight, whom had found a gap in the man's side armor with his sword. The Knight pulled his sword out then kicked the armored man over onto his back before decapitating him. He then immidiately rushed into the room to help Loih.

The last man soon began to get pushed back. He was not carrying a sword and Helnion was sure he would be unable to hurt the Knights. There was the sword Nie had dropped but Loih had been careful enough to keep himself between the sword and the man.

The man smiled. Once again all of the objects in the room flew into the air but instead of attacking the Knights the debris soon began to shoot towards the hole in the wall, towards Helnion.

"Run!" Loih shouted.

It was too late because Helnion soon found herself floating in the air. She was going to end up just like Nie, dead and pinned to a wall.

Helnion grunted as a large piece of a dresser slammed into her. Other things followed soon after. Most of the things were small and only left small cuts but occasionally larger pieces would hit her, one knocking the breath out of her.

"NO!" Loih yelled and began charging the man.

He too was being assaulted by the debris but now he was ignoring it and was charging directly at the man, the other Knight doing the same.

Helnion soon felt her stomach lurch as she was violently pulled into the room. It did not take her long to see that she was heading straight for a large jagged piece of wood that was sticking out of the one of the broken walls.

She felt the breath get knocked out of her again as something slammed into her. She then felt herself slam into the wall, still a few paces away from her doom.

When she looked up she saw that the Knight had been quick enough to reach her. He picked her up and began to take her out of the room.

He was unable to make it as a large piece of a cabinet slammed into his back, knocking him but not Helnion down onto the floor as she found herself floating in the air once again, helpless. The next thing she knew she was flying across the room again as well.

This time it was Loih that stopped her, slamming into her and pushing her away from whatever sharp piece of debris she was heading towards.

"Get out of here!" He yelled, more with worry than anger.

Helnion picked herself up and began to make her way towards the hole in the back wall which was only a few paces away.

"Loih!" She heard the Knight call out.

Helnion looked back to see that the man in armor had picked up the sword and shield Nie had dropped.

Instead of attacking either of the Knights the man also began to head towards the hole in the wall, presumably to escape. There was no way Helnion could avoid him in her current state, but Loih was still close so she hoped he would stop the man before he got to her.

Loih met the man less than a pace from Helnion. She did not wait to watch and continued heading towards the hole. She would be there in moment and would soon be able to stop being a hindrance to the Knights. She also hoped that they would distract the man enough so he would stop picking her up and throwing her across the room.

"Helnion…" She heard a weak voice to her right.

She glanced over to see Etam. He was pointing at something outside the hole. She followed his finger and saw him pointing to the large chunk of ice sitting about five paces outside. She was not sure what he expected her to do with it, the man so easily deflecting it earlier.

She stared at the ice as she made her way to the hole and outside. It had all ready begun to melt and she could see cracks beginning to form throughout the inside.

There had to be something she could do with it. She had recovered a little bit of her energy but no where near enough to lift it up and throw it like she had earlier.

Helnion heard a loud grunt behind her. She looked back to see that Loih had been knocked back and fallen to one knee. The man had pushed his way past him and was heading to the hole again, his eyes on Helnion.

She turned back around and pushed herself to run as hard as she could. To her dismay she barely managed a slow, loping run. Not only was she dead tired from the use of magic, but her body was bruised all over now and her muscles did not work the way she wanted them to.

Helnion looked back to the ice. The was no way she would make it in time. There had to be something she could do…

She looked at the cracks in the ice. She knew there was no way she could lift the whole thing but could she break off pieces and use those?

She pulled on the ice. The cracks immidiately spread and a chunk broke off. It was a small chunk and wobbled in the air but she could use it.

The ice shot towards the man behind her, barely missing her head. She spun around as it passed.

The man saw it and raised the shield to block the ice, protecting his bare head.

Instead of the ice smashing into the shield and shattering it changed direction and flew straight up into the air. The man glanced at the ice as it shot up but did not stop his approach, he being nearly on top of her.

The man raised his sword, it's many tiny crystals glittering in the sunlight with a deadly beauty.

"Lady Helnion!" Loih yelled, his voice full of terror and sorrow.

The ice struck the man on the top of his head. It was not a sharp or jagged piece so it did not pierce his skin but instead exploded, spraying smaller chunks of ice and making a sparkling cloud of ice dust.

The man staggered under the blow, causing his strike to pass harmlessly to Helnion's left.

Helnion pulled the helmet off of her head and held it in front of her, hoping to use it as a shield.

The man stood in front of her unsteadily. The blow had been a hard one and he looked as if he were having trouble focusing on her.

He struck.

Helnion somehow managed to deflect the sword away from her with the helmet but dropped it in the process.

Thankfully Loih managed to catch up to them, the other Knight close behind.

Loih crashed into the man, his shield hitting the man hard on his left side. The blow caused the man to stumble. He still did not fall but it was all he could do to recover.

Helnion fell to her knees, shaking. She wished she could be somewhere else. She wanted to go back in time and reject Melche's offer. There was no way losing Nie and Etam was worth this. Sure she missed Salis but the Terran girl could easily fend for herself could she not?

Helnion picked up the helmet that lay in the dirt just to her left and put it back on her head backwards. She did not want to see the fight.

 

 

"It is done." Loih said, taking the helmet off of Helnion's head.

She glanced up at him. His helmet had been removed and he was holding it his right hand, his sword sheathed.

Helnion was not sure how long it had been since she had fallen to her knees. Did it matter?

She looked from Loih to where she had heard the fight taking place. The man in armor lay not far away, dead. He lay in the dirt, his blood coming out of a large cut in his exposed neck, soaking the soil.

"Check Etam and Nie." Loih said to the Knight.

The Knight nodded and headed back into the house.

"Are you all right." He said, getting down on one knee and putting his hand on her shoulder.

Helnion looked at him. Instead of saying anything she began to cry again.

Loih looked at her for a second, his face showing worry, sorrow and fatigue. Sweat dripped down his face.

"I should make sure there is no one else here." Loih said, standing back up. He glanced at Triosa, whom was still standing on the roof of the small building, before heading back into the house.

Helnion looked at Triosa as well. The woman could have easily helped them, kept Nie and Etam from being pinned to the walls like they had. Saved Nie and Etam, if the latter was not still alive.

Triosa met Helnion's gaze.

In a blink Triosa went from standing on the roof to standing next to Helnion.

"You surprise me child." Triosa said, speaking out loud now that there were no men to hear her. "My master was wondering if putting you in a situation like this would recreate your skill that you were said to display on Korron."

Helnion said nothing. What was she supposed to say?

"It is a shame you cannot display that amount of ability on demand." Triosa continued. "You would be among the strongest of those magic users not born under my master's name."

"Salis." Helnion said at last. She had done what she had agreed to and wanted her reward.

"Oh yes, that. Your friend is not the easiest person to find but we did find someone who fits her description in Toa Mirr." Triosa said.

"Toa Mirr?" Helnion said to herself. Salis was in Toa Mir! That was only a few days away by levitating carriage if they did not make many stops. Or maybe she could get Triosa to take her there right now!

"She is most likely in Eto, but our sources in that vile country are not the best so we are not certain." Triosa added.

Helnion stood up, her legs shaking.

She began walking back towards the hole. Now that she took a better look at it she saw it looked like a giant mouth that had sharp teeth sticking out at odd angles.

"Lady Helnion." One of the Knights said as she climbed over the broken wall and into the room.

It was the Knight that had stopped fighting because of his injuries. The man was sitting on the floor and was taking care of his wounds, most of his armor already removed.

Helnion did not reply to him and looked around the room instead.

Loih was next to the wall to her right and was leaning over Nie's body. Helnion walked over to him. She then dropped to her knees and took Nie's hand, it was still warm. Loih said nothing and simply watched.

"It is over NiNi." She said to her brother, trying to avoid looking at the hole in his chest and the blood that stained his clothes red.

"Triosa told me where Salis is." She continued.

Helnion flinched as Loih grabbed her right arm.

"Forgive me Lady Helnion, but I need to take care of your arm." Loih said.

Helnion looked at Loih for a moment before looking back to Nie.

"Eto. Salis is in Eto." Helnion said.

"What!" Loih said, surprised. "Of all the places for her to be. Are you certain?"

"Triosa said she is in Eto." Helnion said, keeping her eyes on Nie.

Loih sighed. "It appears Pali was right." He said. "If we are lucky he will find her and we will not have to go."

Helnion looked at Loih. "Pali?" She said, wondering what that particular teacher was doing.

"He went to Toa Mirr a few month ago hoping to find her there. I wanted to go with him but my status as a Knight of Sorris keeps me here in Flaern, to protect it and its people."

Helnion looked back to Nie.

A few minutes later the uninjured Knight came over.

"Loih, I have done all I can to stop Master Etam's bleeding but we need to take him to someone more knowladgeable in medicine if he is to survive that wound," the Knight said.

Helnion looked over to Etam. He was alive!

"We should hurry then." Loih said before turning to Helnion. "Can you ask that woman if we can get help now?"

"She says yes." Helnion said after a moment.

Helnion stood up and let go of Nie's hand.

"Before you get it in your head to go to Eto, I am telling you there is no way I am letting you go." Loih said.

Helnion looked at him, disappointed.

"I will try and contact Pali. If he has not already found her we can tell him where to look. Besides, you are injured and are in no shape to go on another adventure." Loih said.

Helnion did not argue. She did not like fighting. She did want to be the one to find Salis but she was not sure if she was willing to kill anyone else to do so. She also knew she was in no condition to go at the moment. If Pali had not found her by the time she was rested she would go.

Helnion walked back outside to where Triosa was waiting. Hopefully the woman would be willing to take her.


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