Hethurin Fairsong sat up in bed. He didn’t hear the noise, but he did feel the snap of one of his wards. It was the ward in town. Vaildor. He put his hand on Terellion’s shoulder and shook him gently. “Ter, wake up.”
The other elf moaned groggily as he opened his eyes. “What’s going on?”
“Something’s happening in town. My ward broke. We need to go check. Now.” Hethurin got out of bed and found a simple robe from his wardrobe to throw on. He was still doing up his ties and buttons when there was a knock on the door. Terellion was already up and getting dressed.
Hethurin got the door. “Did the ward wake you too, Renner?”
“No, the portal did.”
“He’s here then.” Hethurin frowned. This was real.
“Not here. In town.”
“Right. That’s what I meant. Terellion, put on your armor. I’ll go wake up Des. Go to the garden when you’re ready. I’ll make the portal there.” Hethurin brushed past Renner and hurried down the hall to Desdeyliri’s room.
They all met up only minutes later in the garden. Hethurin first attempted to make a portal directly to Vaildor’s room, but found it was blocked by a new ward. He tried again, but made the portal to the sitting room of the house in town. It went through. “Quick, let’s go.”
He stepped through the portal to find Confessor Morthorn with his hand up against the ward near the hallway leading to Vaildor’s room with a confused look on his face. He looked even more confused when he turned and found he had four visitors who had come through a portal to his sitting room in the middle of the night. “Hethurin, what is this? What’s going on? Has the ward malfunctioned?”
“No, it worked just as it was supposed to. Mine was broken. This is someone else’s.” He threw a quick glance over his shoulder towards the others as he walked nearer to the ward. “Try to explain it to him, while I try to break through this.”
He began his cast, finding a few quick variations right away that had been made to throw him off. He focused, slowly unweaving the spell that had been spun to set the ward. He was vaguely aware of the quiet discussion behind him, but kept his concentration fixated on the ward. He whispered the words to undo one part at a time, carefully picking it apart. At last, it unraveled. “It’s down. Let’s go!”
He hurried to Vaildor’s room and opened the door, sighing in relief upon seeing the young elf. “He’s still here!” He quickly turned his attention to the portal in the middle of the room as the Confessor went to Vaildor. Hethurin looked at Renner, “We can’t let him get away. We should take the portal.”
“It could be a trap. Why else would he have left it open long enough for us to follow? He must have known we were here.” Renner replied quietly.
“We’ll use the invisibility spells. He’ll be outnumbered. It’s four to one. If we don’t make our move now, when will we? We’ll just keep letting him slip away from us.” Hethurin glanced over his shoulder at Vaildor, “This was too close tonight. We need to end this now.”
Renner frowned and nodded, “The invisibility does give us an advantage. Let’s do it.”
Hethurin cast his spell, covering both himself and Terellion in invisibility. He cast another spell to dampen the sound around them so that they could talk quietly to each other after going through the portal. He took Terellion’s hand, “We go through together.” He waited as Des cast her spell and upon seeing Renner and Des disappear, he went through the portal with Terellion.
The sky was dark with clouds though it was daytime on the other side of the portal. Hethurin recognized the area immediately. They were on the shore below the cliff that the school was perched on. He glanced up only able to see a partially collapsed balcony from where they stood. The portal had not only taken them to another time and place, but also to another reality, one where the school didn’t exist. He looked the other direction, towards the water where a lone mage stood facing out towards the sea.
Renner spoke quietly, his words not going past the sound barrier that Hethurin had cast before going through the portal, “This feels like a trap. He’s just standing there waiting for us.”
Hethurin inched closer regardless. His silencing spells were very good, but they would last long enough to take a rogue mage into custody. “I just need to get close enough.”
Sanimir’s ear twitched as he abruptly turned and faced the group. It was obvious he couldn’t tell exactly where they were by the way his eyes scanned the area at the bottom of the cliffs. “What are you? Cowards?” he called out. “I can sense your invisibility magic. If you’ve come to kill me, we do it face to face. Show yourselves!”
Hethurin let the sound dampening spell down and responded, “No one has to die. Just give yourself up now!”
Sanimir laughed, “And what? Become your prisoner? To rot away in a cell? You should know how much being a prisoner appeals to me. I know all about your time at the hawkstrider farm. Did you enjoy being locked up?” He paused, but Hethurin didn’t respond. Sanimir looked around near where Hethurin’s voice had come from earlier, and took a few steps closer. He continued even with the lack of a response, “I didn’t think so. You know better than anyone else here that I’ll fight to my dying breath over giving myself up to a lifetime of imprisonment.”
Hethurin kept inching closer as Sanimir spoke. He knew there was little chance the mage would give himself up. The next best thing was to silence him. He took a few more steps forward, and began to cast his silencing spell.
Sanimir looked directly at him then. Even with the invisibility up, the spell cast had let him know exactly where Hethurin was. “There you are.” he grinned and began to cast a spell of his own. His cast was shorter and finished first.
The concentrated blast of arcane energy hit Hethurin squarely in the chest, knocking him backwards some distance, and stopping his silencing cast. The cliff stopped him from going further, his back hitting it as the pain from the spell and the impact rushed through his body. He fell forward to his hands and knees, struggling to maintain the invisibility over Terellion. He looked up just in time to see another blast of arcane energy speeding towards him. This one was not aimed directly at him, instead slamming the cliff behind and above him. It hit with a pounding boom, breaking loose the rocks and dirt over Hethurin. He covered his head with his hands and tried to lunge forward as the debris fell around him, but he wasn’t fast enough. He blacked out as one medium-sized rock hit the back of his head.