Chapter 16: The Chillcrafter
Kelron charged first, rushing in with a heavy blast of Distanska Artwork, trying to knock her down or at least off balance. She absorbed it head on, letting the rush of force crackle against her Bodyanchor and ricochet off. Dust and loose bits of rock sprayed off the stone columns behind her in dirty clouds.
A quick check on the probes—good—and she brought a little pulse of energy down through the system. She found the wisp of mindtether that streamed into Kelron’s crystals, and fired the energy through it. It was designed to resonate with the precise structure of the two crystals she had gotten to know over the past two nights.
He stumbled as she synced directly into him, his face a mess of horrible realization. He looked at her, pleading in his eyes. She kept her face still and surged the connection. There was a sharp snap as both his crystals shattered. Kelron’s eyes burned bright red as he sank to his knees, his weapons clattering to the floor. Then the light went out, and he died quietly in a pile on the ground.
She knelt fast, as one of the people behind her tried their luck with a blade. It zipped above her as she twisted and kicked. His second blade swung, her face its target. Her kick slammed into the attacker, and she siphoned impact energy to help harden her Bodyanchor against the blade. It snagged in the air in front of her.
She fell to all fours and rolled away from the other flanking guard, who sent something nasty and fiery at her. In response, she pulled some more amplifying energy down through the system and let loose a radial blast of biting ice, backed by a healthy shove of Distanska.
The fellows behind her did not fare well, cursing, stumbling and hopefully blinded. But Viktor had weathered through it—most of her attack had flowed around xim, and there xe was, bolting out a bright red flare. June came up on one knee and let most of it through her defenses, bothering only to deflect it by a shallow angle. Her clothes smoked and blackened, her skin protected from the worst of by her natural Bodyanchor. She hoped the full force of it found one of the others.
Now the Torchkeeper dodged to the left, floating sword arms bobbing with xim. Tingles crept up her neck and face as xe attempted to stun her. She pushed up off from her kneeling position and channeled some energy to assist her leap, putting healthy distance between her and the attackers.
She landed, and as soon as she shunted some effort into combating the gripping tingles, two of the blades rushed at her—one of Vik’s and one of the other guards’. She yanked power from the system again; a probe spasmed, but it held. The two blades flashed white and became powdered snow. She let them billow into her, the stinging impact worth the massive white cloud they created.
She Prismed then, putting a copy of her body in a crumpled position and dashing to the right, light on her toes. When she emerged from the fading snow cloud, they were all looking at her Prism. June rushed at the nearest—the guard she’d landed a kick on. He noticed her much too late. She took back the Prism and put all its energy into the tips of her fingers, which she drove into the shelf of his chin.
Trees of blue lighting ripped up and out from both his eyes and ears, singing little craters in the wood planks above. His twitching body jumped backwards and crashed beside the other guard, who scuttled towards Viktor.
They faced each other for a long second, breathing hard. The Roythans eyed the still twitching corpse. She used the quick reprieve to check in on her probes. They kept their form, but they were bruised and felt fragile, like overworked muscles.
She bent, careful to move slow. She picked up her latest victim’s blade, curious. The grip was fat and clumsy—nothing like a Falsesparker would use. She supposed they weren’t designed to be held. The blade itself was a thin metal razor, long and flat and so sharp that the edge was barely visible. June found she could extend her cycles into it; sensing the metal as an extension of herself. It felt smooth and eager. She tested it, pulsing some power through, and it began to glow blue.
Her opponents seemed unable to figure out what to do next. The guard’s eyes were wide, the bulge in his throat moved up and down. Viktor started her down, mouth set in a line and his fists balled.
“Give it up Viktor, and you may yet live to see this town free again,” offered June.
“Damn you, you traitor,” xe said.
📚 Readlist 📚