Chapter 6

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As Uriel followed her black robe to the floor, he saw his staff lying in front of the doorway. He slowly crawled over to get it. As he reached out for it, he was severely jarred by what felt like a bolt of lightning. Uriel was thrown against the far wall, sprawled on his back.

Ghemella laughed at him. "That is right, wizard. You are warded." She turned serious as she pointed her dagger at him. "Do not try to gain your staff or the exit again. Both lay beyond the barrier and the wards limit your magic. You risk it at your own peril."

Uriel's thoughts were lost in trying to understand the strange phenomenon of speaking and understanding this alien language. Ghemella meanwhile, had turned to leave, then stopped. She regarded Uriel as he tried to pick himself up. "My friend died because of you." It was an accusation, not a statement. "You had better be worth it."

He had just gained his feet when the witch's statement threatened to return him to the stone floor. It hit him almost as hard as the barrier. Died? Someone has already died because of me? He struggled with the concept. Worth it? "I doubt it," Uriel sadly mumbled.

Ghemella made a hand motion and said a Word and, before Uriel could react, the Guardian moved through the barrier, up to him and slapped him with her right hand, the dagger drawing blood across his cheek. "So, you bleed like the rest of us. Next time you will lose more than a little blood." Resetting the barrier, the witch turned to leave the dungeon.

Uriel wiped his cheek with the back of his hand and stared at his blood. Don't worry, the thought directed to the Guardian's back, there won't be a next time.

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