Forty-two – 06

[This post is from Phelan’s point of view.]

He called, and the lines answered. Magic swelled, the bloodlines of the earth responding to his call, using him as a conduit for its power. Phelan squeezed his eyes shut, concentrating on breathing, on channeling.

You have this.

You can do this—you have to.

Below the walls, the ground began to breathe as if it were a living thing. The mists continued to roll back, then stopped just in bow range. Over the sound of roaring in his ears, Phelan could hear Marin commanding the archers on the wall again. There was the barest tremor in her voice, one he honestly couldn’t—and wouldn’t—blame her for. He could feel Seamus leaning against him, a heavy weight already. It was something he’d have to address once this was over, and quickly.

First it needs to end.

Slowly, one hand uncurled from his staff, power flowing through the wood, through his veins and his flesh. He didn’t dare open his eyes, just concentrated on feel. Sight would be a distraction.

He reached deep, though not so deep as he had on the frozen lake months before. Power answered, welling into his mental hands, accepting guidance as if being coaxed by a beloved relative or an old friend. His senses ranged out, finding the cold darkness that he expected from and associated with Olympium, and he swallowed hard.

“Gods forgive me,” Phelan breathed, gathering himself. “And gods forgive them.”

Power shot through the lines he’d mapped, mixing and amplifying what Matt had called—and doing more. The ground ripped open, vines and roots erupting from the earth, wrapping, impaling, consuming what they found within the mists.

The sound of the drums faltered. The rain of arrows stopped. A keening sound rose from the far reaches of the mist, punctuated by a few blasts of the trumpet.

A retreat. They were calling a retreat.

Phelan didn’t dare let go, though, not yet.

Not until we’re sure they’re gone.

It was the least he could do.

The price he would pay for what he’d done didn’t matter yet, wouldn’t matter until later. There would be one, though.

There always was.

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