Chapter 5 Scene 3

by Richard Perkins
This entry is part 19 of 65 in the series Doormaker's Fall

“We have caught someone’s attention, Bernard.” Simon spoke as gently as he could. It was critical not to distract the common mage now. But Simon could see his strength flagging and wanted to reassure him that he did not have to hold out much longer. Despite his efforts, his voice came out raw from hours of disuse in the dry desert air.

When he answered, Bernard’s voice was steady but labored. “Where? How long?”

Gunther had sensed nothing, and nearly doomed their efforts when he turned his head to look. The storm, now twisting angrily between their position and Edgeways, faltered and the keening of the wind dipped fractionally.

With a sharp hiss Bernard ripped raw energy from Gunther with enough force to whip the young air mage’s head back around. “Gunther! Don’t let a moment’s distraction ruin all we have worked for today! You must hold the power steady!”

His eyes wide with shock, Gunther mastered himself and nodded. The storm regained its intensity.

Bernard repeated his questions. “Where? How long?” His voice cracked. Recovering from Gunther’s lapse had cost him.

“Northwest, less than a league.” Simon concentrated on the vibrations he felt in the sand, caught by his net of earth energy. He frowned in Gunther’s direction before he continued.

“They were moving fast a moment ago. But now they’ve stopped.”

“How many?” Bernard’s voice grew weaker by the moment.

“A small group, five or six at the most.”

Bernard sounded dismayed. “So few! Must bring them to us… or all for naught… Simon … success rests on you now… be ready.”

Simon nodded, and then grunted as he felt Bernard pull a surge of earth power from him. He enlarged his elemental door to keep pace with the demand.

The storm doubled in intensity, and lumbered away from Edgeways, directly toward their position. The storm rose up, towering into the sky, blotting out the sun. Then it hit,    wind tearing at their robes, sand and rocks abrading their exposed skin.

The veins stood out on Bernard’s neck and sweat streamed down his face. With a roar he heaved the storm into the air. The three mages were left in a pocket of quiet, broken only by Bernard’s labored breathing. The storm raged unabated just over their bent heads, but it was erratic. Bernard could not maintain it for long. Hopefully it would be long enough.

With grim determination, Simon began absorbing stray earth power into his net. He prepared himself for the inevitable moment when Bernard’s strength would fail.

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