Chapter 9

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They finally got close enough to the barrier to feel the tingling of the encompassing magic when Slayer and mount suddenly appeared, barring their Path. It focused its flaming eyes directly on Uriel, disregarding the others. "Greetings, mortal," the multi-voiced entity said.

At the sound of the Slayer's voices, Uriel went numb. He dropped to his knees and covered his ears against the laughter interspersed with wails and laments. Khyrhyelle began to utter some Words but Ahrokh was ready for her. "Silence, slut!" the dissonant voices screamed out as an invisible arm picked Khyrhyelle up and slammed her into a tree. The arm tore at her breast and then moved to her neck, suspending her against the tree, two feet off the ground.

Uriel voiced a soundless scream when he saw Khyrhyelle pinned to the tree. I've got to save her. He struggled to one foot and tried to push himself towards his staff. But he was overcome by the stench of death emanating from Ahrokh and he fell to the ground, retching. Ghemella, sensing that something must be done soon to preserve Khyrhyelle's life, rushed the Slayer, curved knife in hand.

Ahrokh immediately turned his concentration to the Guardian, releasing the hold on the High Witch who dropped to the ground. Before Ghemella could get close, the outstretched skeletal finger pointed to her and began to consume her essence.

Uriel picked his head up and frantically searched for his staff. He saw it in front of him and slightly to the right. He reached out his hand but was nowhere near it. He heard Ghemella whimpering and tried to crawl. Hurry damn it, hurry! He reached again with all his strength and felt like he tore a muscle but he also felt the touch of wood. Just then he heard an agonizing scream issue forth from Ghemella. Uriel grabbed the staff, rolled onto his stomach, pointed the staff in the general direction of the Slayer and spoke a single Word.

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