I heard a commotion, punctuated by some indistinct cries, coming from the direction of the town square. Perhaps Durmas had arrived, hopefully with the others in tow.
I headed in that direction. I hadn’t gone more than three or four paces before I heard an explosion. I broke into a run, and seconds later I heard another explosion.
By the time I reached the village well, I could pick out the source of the commotion by the light of the moons. Marell had run up against Durmas and Oskan. From my point of view, it looked to be progressing much the same as at the inn. Two houses had been leveled and a third was coming apart.
It looked as though Marell was having trouble with this house and I couldn’t imagine why until I caught sight of Haines ushering people out the back.
My heart turned cold when I caught a glimpse of black hair on the other side of Haines’ shoulder as he disappeared beyond other houses further away. At the same time, I recognized the house in contention.
How dare he attack her? With a roar, I put on new speed and crashed into the fray. I say ‘crashed’ because as I ran I gathered up a good deal of the debris scattered around me and imbedded it in a large ball of ice that I then hurdled at Marell’s back.
The fact that Durmas and Oskan scattered to the side alerted Marell to the danger from behind, but he wasn’t quite quick enough to escape all my wrath. My wood-spiked ball of ice laid several cuts across his chest and knocked him sprawling to the ground where Durmas attempted to bury him, but he was up too quick for that.
Oskan launched several projectiles, not all of them arrows, at him, but missed as he teleported to the side several feet and hurdled huge clods of dirt back at him, forcing him to do much the same thing, then Marell turned on me.
By now, I had stopped running and was striding boldly forward. Memories of Carm and Tsan unboned, combined with the knowledge that he had gotten very close to someone I loved very much, unwittingly or not, was enough to cut the last restraints I might have had on the use of my magic.
With my sword pointed directly at him, I began to gather water at its tip in a bizarre ball that spun and writhed. At first, this puzzled him, but it didn’t stop him from trying another attack.
He tried to use the ground between us as a shield, likely thinking that I planned to hurdle my gathering ball at him.
The earth between us didn’t interfere with what I was doing, nor did it protect him from attack from the flank, but I wiped it away with a swipe of my free hand.
Oskan shot more splinters of wood at him and scored several hits this time, though there was little blood-loss, and Durmas started to suck the air from the vicinity, but couldn’t seem to keep it away and new air rushed in to replace what was taken away, creating something of a vortex littered with debris.
I came to a halt about six feet away from the man. By now, he was having more than a little trouble and couldn’t seem to use his magic any more. Veins were standing out on his neck and temple. His face was beginning to contort with pain and the ball on the tip of my sword grew larger as I held it in front of his nose.
“There is more than bones in a body,” I said. “I understand that a body like mine is over half water. I wonder how much water is in your body.”
Marell blanched. It finally occurred to him where my ball of water was coming from.
Oskan realized it moments later. “Liam, Liam, don’t do this.”
I refused to hear him. With a vicious determination, I continued to draw water from the man in front of me. I watched him sink to his knees; he couldn’t even muster sound through his vocal cords and he was visibly shriveling.
Durmas stepped forward and rested his hand on my sword hand. “That’s enough,” he said softly.
I pulled my eyes away from the animated mummy in front of me and let the magic go to look at Durmas. The water I had been accumulating splashed to the ground in front of Marell, barely completing its splash before the desiccated body of its previous owner splashed into it.
As the resounding silence sank into my soul, I sank to my knees. My sword and knife dropped from my numb hands and I brought them up before me with exaggerated slowness and watched them begin to shake uncontrollably. Now I knew without a doubt – I could kill.