Shrinking, the orb loses all colour. Iniri sits up, ruefully rubbing her elbows. She checks on her father first. “Are you hurt?”
“Knees,” Linus Makar mutters. “And pride.” They smile at each other as the king helps his daughter stand.
Enris, staring at the shrinking orb, asks, “What is our situation?”
“We are permanently grounded,” our pilot responds. “Luckily we put our nose into the trees. Scans say we are under cover, although someone may soon see the gouge in the earth we left in our wake.”
“What of fire?”
“No threat, Lord Makar. The hit took out propulsion, but didn’t touch anything flammable.”
“Thank the stars,” Siri murmurs.
I open my mouth, but Enris forestalls me. “Wait, Coltern.”
“For what?” I frown. “We must determine …”
“Wait!” Enris snaps out.
Thus we wait, all of us. Enris continues to watch the orb. Iniri watches her brother, while Linus shares his attention between his son and his daughter. Mirlin, I notice, watches the orb too.
The sphere suddenly explodes.
‘Explodes’ is the only word I am able to form to describe its behaviour. It shrinks and then enlarges to epic proportions in an instant. It explodes, but it does not break up; instead the sphere grows in size to encompass all of us, the ship … and beyond. It has no colour, but it isn’t transparent either, for light skips off it to form prism rainbows.
“What is happening?” Kay demands. “We are inside a bubble, by the sands!”
“It merely expands,” Enris says quietly. “Yes, it will protect us, but that is not its priority now.” Drawing a breath, he adds, “It has now become intangible, which is why we do not feel a, well, a bubble effect.” He grins briefly at Kay.
“What is it doing?” I ask, aware how thunderous the frown on my face must appear to the others.
Enris stares steadily at me. “It will now gather souls and when it is done this war is over.”