tagNovels and NovellasThe Storm Mage Ch. 21

The Storm Mage Ch. 21

byIllyHymen©

Before we flew back to Pokacea, I explained to Laha the situation. I told her who I was and what I had come down here to do. I told her about Alexandria, and Gime, and Salia, and Squall. Of our victory at the Sky Temple, and why I couldn't call on Benjamin to help us. She seemed to grasp how important this was for Ur, peppering my story with little affirmative interjections.

"So you understand why we must do this?" I asked her.

"I do, my Dev. I really do."

"Please don't call me that."

"I apologize. I knew there was something special about you, just knew it. I'm ready to do this, Lords help me. There's just one thing."

"What?" I asked, trying not to use my Dev cantor on her. I expected that she might not understand the importance of this quest, but to lay an exception on me...

"I understand why you would not want to fight with your Myrmidon, but you are a Dev, and I'm just a lowly goblin."

"That doesn't mean anything. It just takes anyone willing to fight."

"But what I meant to say was, I would like if we brought the Healer with us. You do not have any qualm with her?"

"No, I don't. I guess we could retrieve her. I don't know if this news will devastate her or move her to fight."

"Let's find out," said Laha.

Once again I took to the air and flew straight to the Sky Temple. The storm increased in intensity as chunks of hail rained down at us. Thankfully, the temple was only a minute away.

"You did all this?" shouted Laha as we neared the temple.

"Squall wiped out the grass, I battered the temple," I explained to her as we set down. I was not looking forward to confronting Benjamin again.

"They're sleeping in there," whispered Laha as we approached the temple entrance. I moved to the brilliant white soul of Almaea and shook her awake. She awoke with a yelp, and a chair slid across the floor with a loud wooden screech.

"Please, Nasima, just leave him alone. He can't take anymore," said Almaea with panic in her voice, knowing there was no way she could actually stop me if that was my purpose.

"No, listen. There's more Ghouls in Pokacea. We need your healing skills," I said, grabbing her shoulder. She didn't cry or whine or protest. She didn't cuss or break anything. She didn't give up her resolve.

"Then let's go. Benjamin will be resting for the next several hours. As long as he's inside out of the rain, he should be fine."

There was nothing to say to that, so I gathered the two mortals in my large powerful arms and took the fight to the Ghouls, hopefully for the last time.

"So you say there's a way to kill 'em?" said Laha in my arms as we flew threw the storm. The hail rang out like a thousand tiny bells as it plinked off Almaea's barrier.

"We found that crushing their skulls destroys them. Anything anima based has no effect so your fire will only be useful against his minions," said Almaea, "still can't believe that Stevenson turned into a Ghoul. It makes sense, but the entire altercation slipped my mind. This entire time I knew Salia had attacked him but never put it together."

"Guess it's your fault this time," I said, failing to elevate a miserable mood. Edwa whined in my mind.

"What's wrong?" I asked her, feeling her anxiety ripple through me.

"She's coming," said Edwa.

"Who's coming?"

"Our precipitate. She'll be here soon."

This could not be happening at a worst time. The two heartstones, one pressed to my stomach, and the other to my spine, radiated warmth. She was indeed coming.

"You say you killed two of these Ghouls before?" said Laha, maybe not necessarily disbelieving my story but asking for reassurance.

"Nasima killed the first one with some brilliant ingenuity. Benjamin all but became a Berserker when he slayed Squall. Nasima nearly dying really elevated him. Let's hope it doesn't come to that this time," said Almaea.

"I helped," said Edwa, stealing my mouth.

"Anything has to be easier than fighting Squall," I said, though as we approached, I started to believe it less and less.

"Tell me Laha, when you were at the inn, was there a Healer with you? A young girl, short golden hair?"

"Now that you mention it, a girl did show up with some guildies maybe the day before everything went to hells. She had that robe that Healer's always seem to wear."

"Do you know what happened to her?" Almaea asked, the concern heavy in her voice.

"Well, some of the guildies tried to buy her a drink for her service, but she refused. Can't say I know what happened after that." I wanted to say something to comfort Almaea, but I think we both knew that any hope of seeing Issa again was gone.

The storm on the horizon was approaching: a maelstrom of anima and antima swirling and converging on each other. I didn't think it was just some Acolyte and his minions; this was something much stronger. But no one else was going to end this. The Devs didn't care about the people of Ur, only we did. This was about my choices, my carelessness. My mistakes and my family unleashed a plague on this world, and I was probably the only one that could stop them.

As Pokacea broke the horizon, the winds of the storm became untenable, and I was forced to land. The wind was like one massive hand trying to push me away from the village. I cradled Almaea and Laha in my arms, fearing that if I let them go that they would blow away, Laha especially. Almaea conjured her barrier but it was instantly shattered in the power of the storm, sounding like broken glass as it fell away. Laha bit into my arm as I felt her slipping away. Her teeth were sharp and made me wince. Edwa wrapped herself around the goblin to secure her to me.

Just as I thought the winds were too strong for even me to brave, they stopped suddenly. Maybe stopped was the wrong word as I could still hear them around me everywhere, roaring like the planet was sleeping or having a nightmare. The air was still and dead, and I could sense no life, just like at the Sky Temple. My sense told me we were in the eye of the storm: a confusion of brilliant silver anima and the absence of life, entwined and fighting, repelling and absorbing each other.

"I need you two to be my eyes," I said, setting them down.

"Look, right there. Stevenson is in the town square and there's a horde with him. They have that dead corpse look like Salia. Stevenson's eyes are glowing like Squall's. And there's a large man with him, his eyes are glowing too. His skin is dark but graying, and he has a silver pointed beard."

"My little rain cloud," beckoned a dead ripped out voice.

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