Chapter 17

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"Do you think yourself capable of your new position?" This time it was evident, FireQueen was definitely goading her.

The High Witch replied with humility. "Though I do not believe myself worthy, I will do my best."

FireQueen roared flames into the air, drew herself up and beat her leathery wings. A wall of flames surrounded Arhyvhynne and she shrank away but the dragon's eyes held her and bored into her. The dragon's voice screamed into Arhyvhynne's mind, Do your best!

The High Witch made a futile attempt to fend off the horror and panic that seized her. The heat of the flames washed over Arhyvhynne in waves and she dropped to her knees coughing furiously and gasping for breath. At the same time, the dragon relentlessly pressured the white robe's mind, pushing her to the brink of insanity. FireQueen withdrew then and Arhyvhynne cried out at the tremendous pain in her head and fell forward.

It was a moment before the flames died away and the High Witch stirred. She picked herself up slowly and saw FireQueen looking down at her, scornfully. Arhyvhynne reacted without thinking, driving the power of her mind into that of FireQueen. The dragon roared and fought back but found the white robe to be more of a match than she had expected.

They were locked together, witch and dragon, each exerting the force of their wills, neither with an advantage. Until, that is, Arhyvhynne recalled the Trials and heightened her concentration, reaching down deep to explode out with a massive surge of energy that took FireQueen full force. The dragon was on the defensive now and the High Witch pressed the advantage with her incessant attacks. The pattern continued with the dragon faltering until the High Witch abruptly retracted her energies.

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