Chapter 32

Chapter 32

 

"Keep running! Don't stop!" Grant shouted from the distance as Talia smashed the ghoul that blocked their path, clearing way just as the flash of wind magics sparking to light. "THUNDER!"

A gnarled scream met the crack of lightning that streaked through the air. A burst of heat and flame scorched her nostrils and throat as Talia kicked through the second fallen foe. Its bones crumbled under the steel and leather, shattering to fragments.

"We can make it Grant!" She hollered as the faith magics enveloped her weapon again, seals of protection threading along the surface as she rounded the dungeon's narrow corridor. "We can make it!"

"GRAAAA-" Her mace struck down another foe, skull disintegrating under the heavy-handed swing.

"Keep running! Don't stop Talia!" The roar of fire lifted as the man behind her passed into the corridor at breakneck pace. Talia turned just in time to catch the final words of a deep chant, words rolling atop words with a message of power. "Flames and gods, defend this sacred path." The cloaked man lifted his staff, crystal atop its wooden frame blazing with heat as it slammed down towards the distant howls of pursuers: "Wall of Fire."

 

With a deafening wave, the floor erupted, smoke and heat spiraling down the tight passageways with a deadly hunger. The screams and screeches soon pitched and then feel silence, smoke and fumes all that remained of the creatures that once gave chase as the Wizard feel heavily to the floor.

"Grant!" Talia shouted, turning pace to drag the man back to his feet. With effort, she shouldered him on her left side, glowing mace illuminating their way as she pressed them forward. "Where in god's name are Rodrick and Joan? They should have met back up with us at the rally point!"

"Gone." Heaving the word out, Grant let out a rough hiss as he steadied his feet to free himself from her shoulder to lean upon the wooden staff. "Didn't see it clearly... The Ghouls swarmed them... Joan might have made it. Rodrick was the one holding them back."

Reproachfully, he eyed the weapon in his white-knuckled grip, stare focused on the trails of misting cinder that lofted from the crystal piece affixed to its upper end. Exhaustion was evident.

"Oh Lord of light, Grant your blessing." Talia recited the words quickly as she raised he mace, left hand reaching out to touch the man's ashen forehead. "Heal."

The magic took effect immediately, bruises and weakness fading beneath the warm glow. A sigh escaped his lips, breath escaping and replaced by a deeper breath.

"Can you walk, Grant?" Talia asked quietly. "We're not safe here." Her tone was hushed as eyes aglow with white-magics carried on in a scanning motion: alert and watchful of their surroundings. "I took us down a side-channel when we got cut off. It might take us some time to find our way."

"I can." A stern nod met her question, heavy breathes of the smoke-tainted air drawing in as the man straightened his back. Even healed, he looked as though he'd been thrown off a cliff; bags of tiredness settled heavy on his face. "Do you know the way?" The staff leaned towards the smoldering wreckage of the spell he'd cast. "We can't go back there." The smoke lifted and swirled, thick and oppressive.

There would be no way through that safely, Talia could tell from just a glance. She fumbled through the pouch at her hip with a spare hand, before reaching out to passa small vial of glowing blue to her companion.

"I think so. Here, drink." She gestured with the glass piece, mace settling to point in the opposite direction of the smoke. "Rodrick had the map, but I remember this level well enough. If we can find a major line, I think I can get us back without difficulty."

"Ah..." Tipping back the vial, Grant's eyes seemed to shimmer with the flood of magics that came with it. "So we're not going to die in romantic fashion after-all then?" His grin seemed to glow in the dim light of Talia's magics and the strange dungeon fauna that seemed to settle upon the walls. "That's a crying shame."

"Ha." Talia flashed a grin of her own. "As if- I'll have you know: I plan to die of old age."

"And I myself, being smothered to death by fair maiden's breas-" A light punch to Grant's arms silence him, as Talia pointed their way with a commanding expression.

"Lets get going. I don't think Rodrick's the type to die easy, and if Joan made it back to the rally point alone, you know she'll be a wreck." Her eyes narrowed, as a single hobbling figure emerged from the darkness before them. "Just follow my lead." She muttered, weapon readying.

"Yes Ma'am." Grant replied, humor forgotten.