Chapter 2 – The Trap

No Barekvar! You bastard! Why don’t you try taking me on!” Manor screamed as he pounded his powerful fists against the walls of the cone that held him. Not that his friend and ally could hear him. The cone of silence is a powerful spell, and it had been cast by a powerful hand (if you could call it that).It had been three months since the four old friends has once again taken together and things had been going quite well. Well that is until they fell into the trap of a particularly deranged and sadistic Necromancer. Which is where they currently found themselves.

Barekvar’s hands were bound to the cold marsh earth by ethereal chains that were slowly sapping his strength and his mana, while Lazaraus, King and Manor found themselves entombed inside solid cones, helplessly watching their friend being tormented and drained. “He is strong. I have never seen someone take so much.” said King to himself, racking his brain for a trick or a potion that would free them. The three separated captives seemed not to be of importance to their captor – seemed this wizard was more a fan of those that held in them the essence of the arcane – and the Battlemage was an all-you-can-eat buffet. “Yes Battlemage. Struggle. Struggle and writhe. Feed my hunger.” the villain cackled from under his ebony hood. Barekvar tried to focus his strength on his chains – break their hold and cast a stunning blow – but his mind was flooded with memories and thoughts that jabbed at his heart and dampened his psyche – and no matter how he tried, he couldn’t shake them. “This is no time to fall to pieces old man,” he thought to himself. Was he really going to die enduring such a cliché as his life flashing before his eyes?

Except it wasn’t his whole life, but rather a highlight reel of his most bitter regrets – the screams of the women and children when Warg Riders raided his caravan as a child; the fall of the house Windrunner under the aegis of his bastard Uncle; Kayla… Now, even Barekvar, though he had spent much of the last year stewing in gloom and pain and alcohol, felt something amiss. He strained to open his eyes and face his tormentor. The Necromancer’s face (what one could see of it under the shadow of his hood) was dry and twisted. One hand cradled a tome bound in what was most likely human skin, the other held extended a mangled staff. “It has to be the staff,” he thought to himself, “Whatever enchantments it holds, one is playing with my mind.” But that was about all he could muster before another wave of dread and fear once again washed over him, forcing him further to his knees.

Now even in a world with magic and demons and necromancers, some things are beyond explanation. While we may have gods and devils to thank for many mercies, some miracles come from a place all together different – from powers the greatest pantheon would be hard pressed to match. Powers that even Barekvar Windrunner, once the most feared and acclaimed Battlemage in the lands of Tiberium, Marek and parts of Scylinthia knew nothing of. Till this day. An unseen warmth pierced the shroud of pain and tears and struck the Battlemage in the center of his mind’s eye. At once he felt it strengthen his right arm, aiding to break the links that held it down; it helped him open his left eye just long enough to take bearing of the necromancer’s perch; and it gave his voice the push to summon an acid arrow that flew true, piercing the night air and striking the necromancer straight through the heart. That’s the funny thing about having your foe tied down to the ground by spirit chains and his voice bound by a spell of paralysis – you tend to let your guard down.

The three newly freed allies leapt to the side of their comrade, who had now collapsed from sheer depletion. “Barekvar!” exclaimed Manor as he cradled his brother, “Are you alright?!” “Here, drink this” said King, thrusting a rather revolting smelling concoction in his face. It was possibly the most disgusting thing Barekvar had tasted since being convinced by a fellow wielder at the Mage Academy to try a Purple Galbeast Pancreas Smoothie. But not by much. “To your feet Windrunner” added the Lady Lazarus in a stern tone, though her eyes betrayed the genuine fright she’d had at the thought of losing one of her oldest and truest friends.

Panting and heaving, the Battlemage slowly struggled to his feet, in no small part thanks to the aid of Manor and King. But his visage would hardly have betrayed just how close he had come to taking his final breath. Any signs of fatigue or dread were hidden behind the smile that was now creeping across his face. “Ha! Look at him. He’s fine, the bastard!” Manor guffawed. “What was that flash?” King questioned, aiming, now that the danger was no longer present, to sate his curiosity as to the inexplicable escape his friend has just made from the clutches of the after life.

Now to his own feet, Barekvar looked to the sky, took a single deep breath and replied, his smile now spread and his eyes teary, “It was her” he said simply, “Kayla. She’s alive.


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