Winter – Chapter 25 – 08

            “Excalibur is real.” Wat said, tone dripping disbelief.  He glanced at Kes and  Gray, his expression clearly indicating that he thought Aoife was completely off her nut—that he’d finally, truly come to that decision after giving her the benefit of the doubt for a long while.
            Aoife’s hands curled into fists.  “Yes,” she said firmly.  “It is quite real and I have been privileged to know a few of the men who wielded it.”
            “Like King Arthur.”  Wat said, tone still disbelieving.
            “Guys?”  Kes said.
            “Artorius,” Aoife said.  “He was the grandson of a centurion and his Welsh wife and the son of an Erse princess.  I knew him and his son.”
            “Really?”  Gray’s brows rose so high they almost disappeared into his hair.  “I didn’t think King Arthur had a son.”
            “He was a war leader, not a king,” Aoife said.  “He never had the chance to become a king.  His son, though…his son tried.”
            “Guys!”  Kes jerked on Gray’s sleeve and Aoife’s, then pointed to the mirror.  “If we’re going to make something happen, now would be the time.  Things don’t look so good for whoever this heir to the alleged sword of the Once and Future King is.”
            They turned back in time to see the firbolg stalk over to the fallen man, whose sword had bounced free of his grip.  The firbolg lifted one foot to stomp down onto its attacker.
            “Concentrate,” Terézia said, her voice tight.  “If we’re going to make this work, we’ll all have to do it together.”
            Aoife nodded firmly, putting one hand on Terézia’s arm and taking Gray’s hand with the other.  “Link up,” she advised.  “That should make it easier.”
            “We’re sure this is going to work?”  Wat asked, still sounding doubtful as he took Kes and Gray’s hands.
            “No,” Terézia admitted, “but we’ve got to try.  We’ll never know if we don’t.”
            “Gods,” Gray breathed. “Look.”
            In the mirror, they could see the flames jet from the gap in the walls to wreath the firbolg, who pivoted sharply, maw open as if bellowing in pain or anger.  Then someone else gestured inside that gap—the man with the staff, Phelan—and the ground erupted again, roots and earth exploding.
            And the sword and its owner went flying.
            “Fuck,” Kes said as the man landed hard, the blade a few feet away, stuck point-first into the ground.  Another figure was waving his arms and shouting, probably trying to get the attention of whoever was beyond the walls.
            The firbolg ignored him and started an inexorable plod through roots that tried to entangle it, making its way across churned, broken earth toward the walls.
            “Now or never,” Terézia said, sweat already trickling down her brow.  She was shaking slightly as she held the image, held contact with that place, these people.
            “Think of flames,” Aoife said softly, her gaze intent on the mirror.  Her voice dropped to a bare whisper, almost a rasp as liquid words tumbled from her tongue, some kind of incantation in her native tongue—or something close to it.  “<Fire come and cleanse my home of monsters from beyond the isles I call home.  Fire come and stop the walk of giants.  Fire come and save my brother and his get.  Fire come and save us all.>”  Her fingers tightened around Gray’s.
            “Say it,” she breathed.  “Say the words with me.  You know them.  In your heart, you know them.  Just speak the words with me.”
            She began to repeat the incantation and after a moment’s hesitation, Gray’s rumbling voice joined hers, low and resonant.  By the third repetition, Kes’s voice had joined them, but her words were different, spoken in another tongue.
            Kes’s nails dug into Wat’s palm.  He swallowed hard, his voice a mumble as he joined in.
            At the heart of their circle, the mirror began to glow.
            Then it shattered.

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5 Responses to Winter – Chapter 25 – 08

  1. I do hope the mirror’s sundering is indicative of the conjured power being successfully delivered and not failure.

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