[This post is from Hecate’s point of view.]
Matt’s gaze darted upward, toward the invisible curve of his sister’s wards, eyes moving as he sought their shadows against the stormclouds. When his breath hitched for a second, she knew he’d seen what she had.
“It’s not possible,” he breathed.
“Except it is,” she said, her voice thick. “Except it’s happening.”
“I haven’t tried.”
His gaze snapped to her. “Why not?”
Hecate stared at him askance for a few seconds and then shook her head, swallowing bile. “Because I had to warn all of you before I took that risk.”
Matt took her hand, fingers lacing through hers and squeezing. A jolt of energy shook her, then the feed mellowed into a current flowing through both of them. She swallowed again, staring at him.
“Try,” he whispered. “We need all the help we can get.”
“You’re not spent.” She stared at him, her heart in her throat. She wasn’t sure what he’d called, but she’d felt his working and known it was powerful. How is that possible?
“I know,” he said, squeezing her fingers again. “But I’m not sure what to think of it. Makes me nervous.”
Hecate’s lips thinned and she squeezed back, her gaze flicking skyward again. “Hopefully we won’t have to figure out what it means, not yet.”
She caught his response dimly as she reached out with her own magic to touch the dark nymphs above them. “Hopefully.”
Then, she stopped hearing anything around her, sucked in and under as she came into contact with the nymphs. Song filled her thoughts, a dirge sung sweetly, a song of mourning and loss raised by a thousand voices. Cold swept through her, setting her teeth chattering and her toes curling.
Focus. Damn you, focus. You’re the one who used to command them. You can do it again.
The cold only pressed down harder and it became harder to breathe. Her vision dimmed until she didn’t see Matt’s face or the sky or anything else, only darkness. Her throat felt like it was constricting, as if ice-cold fingers had wrapped around her neck, talons digging into her veins.
Fight this. You have to fight this.
It was just so hard. A chill like ice crept through her, spreading from her neck through the rest of her body, as if she was being slowly encased in ice. Perhaps she was, despite it being the height of summer. She couldn’t feel Matt’s hand around hers anymore—couldn’t feel him at all.
It was only another heartbeat before the shadows that had encroached on her mind swallowed her whole.