Owen thought about the coming battle as they traveled. This is the third time I’ve faced Demons and the evil that they have brought. HeartStriker, does the fear ever stop? he asked his Sword of Light.
The fear is always there, HeartStriker told him. Remember this. Without fear, there can be no courage. Face the fear and know it for what it is: doubt within yourself. Pass it by.
You have gained in strength and skill, Navar added. We are together. We will do our best.
Yes, he thought to himself as he straightened in the saddle. Yes, we will.
§ § §
At the second candlemark, using the sun shining through the cloud cover as a guide, Owen signaled for the turn to the south. Those following wheeled their warhorses and Agni, trotting toward the body of the Demon pack they knew swarmed ahead.
A dark line appeared on the horizon in front of them. The line grew in size and definition as they accelerated into a canter. The walls of Aos Si rose small in the distance to the left, intersecting the line. The line resolved into the shapes of individual Demons as Navar began to run. The outer ranks of Demons turned toward the flanks of their pack.
Arrowing out of the northeast a line of racing black shapes swept toward the humans and Swords. A great herd of WindRunners drove forward, gleaming eyes, whipping manes and tails streaming with their speed, their hooves hammering the ground. Thunder rumbled.
Join your mind with mine, Navar cried out to him. Owen dropped his mental shields and reached for Navar’s thoughts. In an instant, he was overwhelmed with the essence of creatures great and small within range of the WindRunner’s magic. He felt fear, pain, hunger, thirst, and the need…
And there it was. The reason he’d been searching for: the need to protect all life against evil - to beat back the Dark.
He felt the power of the wind rushing through the creature that he rode. His heart and mind rejoiced in the magic that he held within himself. He drew HeartStriker from his scabbard and roared a challenge to the creatures of evil that raced towards him. The Sword of Light burst into a gleaming blade of white fire.
Lightning arced and struck from the Sword of Light, etching burning Demons in brilliant bursts as they danced in death. Navar raced forward, opening a way toward Aos Si, leading the flood of WindRunners, elves, and Agni that followed them. Sword and staff, hooves and teeth decimated the hordes of Demons as they slammed into the mass. More of the Dark rushed forward to take the place of those destroyed. The shadow of a great flying beast rippled over those below. Owen glanced up and saw dragon-fire erupt from the mouth of the Red Dragon, flame igniting the Demons to either side of the charging column. Fire thundered high along with screams and shrieks of the dying. Owen roared again with battle fury. The column pounded on, turning the flank of the attack, coming to the rescue of the WindWalkers and all they held dear.
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