The horde that recoiled from the angered goddess stiffened and their blue fire eyes burned brighter. It wasn’t air that coursed through the crowd was not just air, but magic.
It was Death Magic…
Avery didn’t know it was Death Magic, but she could feel it. It was like a perversion against her very being as it crawled along her skin as the waves reached every dark knight in the horde. She glared at the source of this magic and recognized it as a Lich. His body was cadaverous and wrapped in ice magic. He was missing part of his lower body, but he levitated freely above the horde he was controlling. The Lich’s Hellfire eyes met Avery’s golden eyes, each glowed with a fierce intensity. The air between them crackled with magic power before Avery conjured a ball of fire that burned brightly with gold as burned through the air.
The Lich screeched again as it countered with a ball of HellFire. Both singed true through the air without the restraints of gravity and collided, closer to the Lich. The resulting explosion was a wave of gold and blue that danced around each other before they splashed over the undead beneath it. The concussive wave knocked down all the knights that stood within forty meters of the explosion and fire washed over the horde, leaving a large crater that burned with HellFire and Golden fire.
Blue and gold flames flickered in the crater and slowly moved around as they became locked in a battle of their own, each in an attempt to consume their mortal enemy. Neither gave way as they coiled and popped as the powerful remnants consumed their weaker foe. Avery was shocked by the outcome. There had not ever been a mechanic in the game that allowed a spell to intercept another, unfortunately, that moment of stillness gave the Lich enough time to conjure a bolt of air. The white-haired maiden stepped backward with a curse while she flung another two golden balls in return.
It was too late.
Avery was thrown back as her first spell collided with the bolt mid-air just a few feet away. The explosion flung her through the air like a wall rammed into her and she was hurled off the small hill. She landed off to the left side of the caravan as the mercenaries began to assemble while the servants scrambled to hook the beasts to their wagons. A few were already successful, such as the leaders, who already fled to the entrance of the forest with their client.
The Lich watched Avery land, his hell-fire eyes flickered with amusement. His attention slowly slid over to the wagons and another wave of magic pulsed from him as the epicenter. The hell-fire eyes of the Dark Knights flickered momentarily as they received their leader’s command. They moved like a slow-moving body of ink with thousands of glowing blue dots. They first filled the large gap in their ranks then they marched onward towards their goal. The Lich floated listlessly towards where Avery had come to a stop.
The fire-goddess was in a dazed state. She lacked experience in both Physical and Magical battles. However, physical fights could be won with pure brute strength if one was powerful enough. She was slow to grasp the concepts of magic though, unable to select from a skill bar, she had been able to only use the bare basics of her tree. What she called her “Flamethrower” and “Fireball”. From what she gathered from Desmond and the Magnus, she did not lack magic nor the creativity to use it freely – she just seemed to be held back by something.
It was that she had not felt the use of real bodily senses. Magic was a complex world energy that existed throughout the air, like the building blocks of life. Life could thrive without magic, but magic could not thrive without life. Where life did not exist, neither did magic. However, no one knew why magic exists, neither did Avery. Her father never wrote an explanation for it other than it was something you could sense with your body and mind. In that sense, she was a slow learner, but a bonafide genius at the same time.
Navara struggled desperately behind the defense line with casting spell after spell until she had depleted her magic. She was one of ten mages in the entire group but held the lowest magic reserve. After the horde passed the watering hole, no one concerned themselves with the battle between the Lich and the white-haired girl. They focused on the tens of undead that marched towards them as their armor rattled with each step. “Archers! Fire!” There were not many archers either, but Navara had noted that they tried to keep up the appearance of a military force, thus, they waited for orders.
Arrows sang through the air from the top of few wagons with solid wooden roofs – the only high point around.
“Someone get me a sword or something!” Navara tore herself from the battle as the undead crashed into the line of men. The servants that ran back and forth now scrambled like headless chickens as their screams of terror threatened to overtake the clangs of metal. She turned to the mages beside her “I’m out of mana. I’ll get a weapon and defend you guys.” The mages weren’t in the normal robes but wore leather mail like the rest. Several mana bottles hung from each mage’s belt, yet no one offered her one. It was apparent she was more of a fighter than a mage.
Several minutes went by and Navara had built up enough mana to cast off a few weaker spells that only stunned a few skeletons momentarily before they were cut down by a few men. “Here me’ lady!” A girl’s voice piped up from behind her. She turned and saw a young girl – no older than fifteen – dragging a large claymore behind her. A few daggers were tucked into her sash. “I apologize for the delay, everyone kept bumpin’ me.” Her face was flush as beads of sweat traced her young pretty face.
“What’s with the daggers?” Navara asked as she took the claymore from the girl. The weight made the vixen feel safe as her hands found their places on the leather grip. “To help!” The servant girl said with a determination that showed in her eyes. Navara wanted to send the girl away to the forest with the rest of the servants, but screams erupted from the mages. “Shit!” She turned around and found the defense line had crumbled as the skeletons began to use their numbers to brute force their way through
All hell broke loose as Navara disregarded the girl and jumped at the skeletons that began to flank the mercenaries. Though slightly out of practice, she swung the sword down with enough force to cleave the skeletons in half. She worked through the undead that charged towards the mages and managed to protect them in the nick of time. “Fall back!” She bellowed, her voice slightly cracking under the stress. She turned and found the servant girl behind her with daggers in both hands.
She could see the fear in her eyes, but she took a shaky stance in front of the mages. Since she would stay, she might as well use her. “Lead the mages away, girl!” She roared as she swiped the sword across seven skeletons. Their metal armor crunched under the resounding force that was the vixen. Beast-kin were born warriors.
She risked a glance back and found the mages being lead inbetween the wagons. She turned back to see the Mercenaries making their way towards her, but they were dropping every heartbeat. Their pitiful death woes loss in the sea of death and hellfire. “Go with them, girl!” Fenrir appeared by her side. “I figured out what they’re after. I had to tell Lady Avery about it immediately!” The large wolf glowed faintly as silvery panels of magic armor adorned his grey fur. “She’s fighting something out there!” Navara pointed towards where she last saw Avery and the old wolf nodded.
The wolf rammed forward as a horn of orange fire appeared and it skewered several knights in one stroke before the fire coursed through their skeleton bodies – disintegrating them. Navara felt her world open up to see the more “liberal” uses of magic, but she could only ask later. “Go! Protect the retreat!” Fenrir commanded one last time before he leaped from the encirclement and landed somewhere in the horde, followed by skeletons being flung left and right.
Avery finally recovered from the explosion and got to her feet as the Lich stopped a few meters from her with a wicked, ugly, grin on his lips. Avery could feel the magic lingering around her like steam off a body of boiling water. It felt… strange. She held an inkling of what they were trying to tell her about magic now. She tried to circulate the mana through her body, but she kept failing to at different points. It didn’t matter at the moment. Every step is still a step.
The Lich’s grin turned into a frown as he felt the magic in the girl grow and he frantically went on the offensive… He felt this girl would quickly become dangerous if he allowed her to grow more.
Blue balls of hellfire sped towards her, a trail of distorted air followed behind. Avery quickly jumped away before the balls of fire crashed into the ground where she stood. Dirt leaped towards the sky like a geyser before it rained down everywhere. Small flowers of hellfire burned in the blackened crater. Avery responded in turn with several balls of golden fire and flung out towards either side. The balls sailed in a steadily like arching comets. The lich also jumped back as the fireballs collided at the point he had just been, but the golden explosion of fire was greater than his spell.
Avery had an idea and did a quick mental adjustment to the spell. She picked a point in space for the spells to fly too and she launched the spells into different directions in a bid to push the Lich towards her. The spells weren’t exactly where he had been, but a few inches behind him. She wanted him to go forward, but he flung himself backward. Nevertheless, she charged forward as the fire around the lich cleared. The undead commander floated backward as it used its own hellfire to put out the golden flames that gripped most of its body.
Avery rushed towards the Lich like a gale of wind. The Lich sensed the danger and tried to dodge again, but Avery managed to slice off one of its arms, just above the elbow. A shrill scream burst from the Lich and his severed limb turned into dust the moment it hit the charred grass below. The monster floated away quickly as it tried to reach its minions. Then it saw the large grey wolf that tore through the legion of skeletons while several skeletons clung to its mana armor.
It stopped in confusion before it dodged to the side as a ball of golden fire tore through the hair and crashed into the horde. The force of the spell made the fire splash forward like a dragon clamping its jaws around its prey as it engulfed nearly a hundred of its Dark Knights in a blink of an eye. All that was left was a charred empty piece of land that burned with several outcrops of golden flames. The lich looked back in horror. The ball of fire had a mana signature like a small sun and had immense power behind it!
It looked at the girl in a new light, and with a new fear. It would definitely meet its end there if he kept trying to fight this monster.
Avery panted as she poured more mana into that spell to quicken it and increase the scope of its splash. She had the Lich to thank for her new understanding of mana. As her first real life or death magic battle, she wouldn’t let her opponent walk away without tasting her fury. She recovered after a few heartbeats, just as Fenrir’s howl broke the battle’s might. This was followed by a wave of magic that coursed through the horde. Then several pillars of stone rose from the earth from different areas of the horde before they slowly transformed into stone golems that took the shape of bears
Call of the Wild!
Avery remembered this skill. It was one of Fenrir’s magical skills aside from his Mana Armor. It summoned earthen golems in the shape of the natural predators of the area they were summoned in. The Lich was stunned again by the skill. It had a legion of a thousand undead, yet now it was slowly being eroded away by just a wolf and a little girl?! He didn’t feel anger, but pure fear!