“Off the path!” Damin shouts.
Not everyone hears, but somehow all understand Horin needs the substance we walk upon. Everyone jumps into the scrub, hauling animals with them. It is a mess of limbs and groans, but happens fast.
Arrows thud to earth. Some find flesh. Groans become screams.
Damin and I form a buffer over Horin after Damin tells him to kneel. I feel a thousand arrows smacking into my exposed back; no doubt Damin feels the same. Siri crouches between Forest’s legs beside us. She is praying.
“Quickly, Horin,” Damin murmurs.
The rain of barbs intensifies and the shields overhead now blot the sun. A twilight of death.
“Horin,” I urge also.
The lad shakes head to toe. Fear has him. He swallows convulsively, eyes flitting in every direction.
“Concentrate on what you must do,” Damin says. “We deal with pain after, all right?”
“Do it,” Siri adds.
Horin stares at her for a moment, and then nods. He lifts his hand and, thank the sands, the ‘bridge’ lifts and begins to alter both substance and shape. It becomes fluid, as heavy water.
Everything freezes in the next moment. Arrows jerk to a stop in the air. Shields halt in mid-flight and -turn. People are paralysed in various poses. The green barrier does not move.
Horin gazes at Damin. It appears only the four of us are able to move now. “The only way to end it, Damin, is by killing all of them.”
Those words explain the freeze. Horin seeks permission to do what he must … or hopes for absolution before the act. Siri is pale, but remains silent, her gaze going to her brother also.
Damin closes his eyes. “It is us or them, Horin. This is defence, not cold murder.”
Horin nods … and his fingers open to bleed tendrils of red light.