Chapter 7:

My First Battle

Rise of the Ravenborn

"Ouch."Bookmark here

I shook my hand as the light incrusted into my knuckles faded away like heat out of cooling coal. I had barely managed to grasp at the concept of drawing energy from the elements in order to heal myself, deducing that a similar principle handled the release of the same energy into an attack. My suspicions were correct, but like any inexperienced boxer, I was not ready for the pain.Bookmark here

Still, what was done was done, the boulder where that woman rested had burst out of the ground and shattered in tens of pieces, and now the battle had grown awkwardly silent, like when one of my friends at school say a bad word to the teacher out of growing frustration, causing a shocking silence.Bookmark here

"Fool!"Bookmark here

I could still hear the raven's voice.Bookmark here

"I'm sorry, bird, but my friends needed me."Bookmark here

"You lost... life... last time... trying to help..."Bookmark here

I cringed at the comment.Bookmark here

"Yes, I tasted the bitter flavor of death, and a humiliating one at that, however..."Bookmark here

I channeled the side magic into my broken hand, healing its broken bones.Bookmark here

"... I do not wish to fall so miserably here."Bookmark here

The voice quieted for a moment, giving me a small pause to contemplate the battlefield. It was gruesome, seeing so many bloodied men on the frontlines.Bookmark here

"Foolishness..." said the raven's voice, "but I like a fool one..."Bookmark here

"Huh..."Bookmark here

"Go then... die a second time, if you dare..."Bookmark here

The voice disappeared, I felt it gone.Bookmark here

With my thoughts no longer divided, I saw that heads began to turn towards me, as if they had suddenly realized who had done that. I was more focused, however, on the one person I had tried to sabotage.Bookmark here

The woman was already on her feet. Her shield was a bit battered and her hood was off, giving away dark hair falling down her breasts. The mask was still on,  with her making sure it did not fall, the fox shape now apparent to me. She boldly walked a few feet ahead of her escort, who attempted to aid her to stand up. She lashed out and scouted the mountains for a brief moment until I sensed her eyes fixated on me.Bookmark here

I gulped as she extended her rod, ever bright with red light, towards me in a challenging stance. I simply stood there, not knowing how to react. Then I just stepped one foot back and clenched my fists.Bookmark here

Taking it as a sign of defiance, the woman raised the rod skyward. I readied myself, completely clueless on what to do in my defense. My eyes looked down and I noticed the sword sisters, Geowyn and her warriors - but most of all, Eowyn. Her eyes were fixated on me, I could feel it, her vanilla hair flying with the morning winds. It was a beautiful sight.Bookmark here

But I let my guard down for too long. Bookmark here

My opponent, a well-trained Seidr from what the raven had revealed to me, was now sucking air into the rod, creating a furious tornado. My decadent mind had distracted me, so I had not prepared anything. The only thing I had was the small talk I had with that short-tempered bird, and the training he had tried to hammer into my skull by making me fall off a cliff.Bookmark here

Still, the principle was there; if I had managed to heal myself from that fall, then I could probably make it through whatever that Noad girl had for me.Bookmark here

Probably.Bookmark here

The rod was aimed at me.Bookmark here

Maybe...Bookmark here

A burning blast shot from the gemstone at its top, creating a blazing column of fire that flew directly at me, spiraling like a raging tornado. Bookmark here

As my eyes' iris reflected the blinding, burning railgun shot, it came to me. Yes, the memory of a similar attack, albeit downsized to a small bolt in comparison, making me place my hands in front, seeking to absorb that attack.Bookmark here

The bolt hit, pushing me far back into the mountain, my hands glowed blue, successfully beginning to absorb the attack, but my back smashed against the rocky side of the mountain. I felt my spine severely cracking there, and the pain was only dwarfed by my present task, reducing the fire to nothing. The column kept diving into my glowing hands, the very proximity of it burning my flesh on my arms and shoulders, the markings in my body resonating in such a way it started pumping at the beat of my heart. I heard nothing, felt nothing. My eyes were fixed on the hellfire before me. A few moments passed by, and then the attack was over, the serpentine column of scorching flames ended, now part of my shinning hands.Bookmark here

My mind went to the second stage. My body fell to the ground face down. Paralyzed, my face smashed against the bedrock.Bookmark here

"Heal!" I shouted.Bookmark here

My hands' light spread throughout my arms and body. It twisted, bent, and fixed broken bone and burnt flesh. When I felt I could grasp my limbs again, I stood up and headed for the boulder in which I stood. My feet failed me at first, but I stumbled and then walked as fast as I could.Bookmark here

I looked at the battlefield once again, and there she was, my opponent, the masked fox girl. She was as faint as I was, weak from such a huge summoning. She spotted me again, and she backed a few steps, astonished, appalled.Bookmark here

I gasped for air. My body was healed, yes, but my strength was abandoning the more I kept the remaining Seidr power in me. I could feel it coursing through my veins, burning with the same heat a giant spotlight would if you were to come close to it. It was a fever I was losing myself to by the second. Bookmark here

This time I did not aim at the ground, this time I simply reached out and opened my hands like I had seen characters in a fighting game do. The light was still shinning in my hands. I let out a shout of both pain and desperation as I summoned every single drop of willpower left in me to launch this attack. My mind and soul were not focused on tangible objects, just my enemy. Bookmark here

I felt it. Yes, I felt like I could end it then and there. If I released it, the masked girl and perhaps her escort would be sent into oblivion. It felt so fulfilling to take the feeling of dread to my attackers for once. The memories of the man stabbing me, again and again, came back, fueling my desire for vengeance, for retribution. Oh, how I wanted that to happen differently. To see that deplorable, waste of a human resource flying cowardly, his plan to rape that woman foiled by me. Oh, if only I had this power then.Bookmark here

And yet...Bookmark here

A glowing tear crossed my cheek down to my jaw in a continuous stream. My hands raised skyward and, in a moment of unmeasurable frustration venting out, the light burst from my palms, burning my fingers away, disintegrating them like dust. A beam of light flew towards the red clouds of dawn and pierced a hole in the sky. It went on with tremendous fury, whirlpooling the clouds around it, maybe even going beyond the stratosphere and up into the void of space. Bookmark here

Then it all ended, my body finally failing me, forcing me to bend the knee.Bookmark here

I looked down the battlefield, the Noads were already running, horrified at the display of power I had performed, with the deafening cries of victory from the Ivernian side piercing my ears. Amidst the fleeing mob of skullpeople, the masked fox girl still looked at me with astonishment. I glared at her for one last time, making sure she realized what I had done to her, which was nothing short of an act of mercy. Soon after, her escort took her paralyzed state away from danger and into the woods.Bookmark here

My eyes diverted one last time towards the place where I had spotted Eowyn, but she was nowhere to be found. The person who I found at my side, however, was the man admired by everyone in Lion's Camp. Aquilax caught my broken and exhausted body as it finally gave in to deadly tiredness.Bookmark here

"Interesting..." the raven said, appearing once again.Bookmark here

"We need Nywin, get my sister!" Aquilax cried.Bookmark here

"Even now, you refuse to take life..." the voice said.Bookmark here

My eyes saw one last view, the hole in the clouds my beam of light had created. Bookmark here

"Even with such power, you refuse..."Bookmark here

The voice did not speak in a broken way anymore, yet it remained enigmatic.Bookmark here

"Why?" it asked, as my eyes closed once again.Bookmark here

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