Navar called the wind. Owen grabbed for his mane as they were suddenly on the other side of Aeden. A green kobold launched its body at her, mouth filled with needle-sharp teeth wide open. Navar reared and Owen swung HeartStriker down across its neck, sending the head flying. Its body crashed to the ground.
Navar swept to the aid of two elves trying to keep a black kobold from tearing them apart.
A humanoid figure in black armor and black helmet raced past that battle, thrusting a black spear toward Owen’s face. Owen smashed down his Sword, deflecting the blow, but not enough. The spearhead tore through his chain-mail armor and lodged in his shoulder. Owen screamed.
Navar took them abruptly back next to Aeden. She threw herself from her warhorse and raised the whirlwind with a shout. In moments, the Red Dragon stood in her place. Without pause, she drew breath and released it, searing Unseleigh Sidhe from existence with Dragon fire. Elves and Agni threw themselves to the ground, giving her a clear field. She swung her massive maw from side to side, tail lashing, eliminating all that stood against them. Trees caught on fire. The ground burned.
HeartStriker, heal him, demanded Navar.
I cannot. Not while the weapon lodges in his shoulder, HeartStriker responded, desperation in his tone.
Owen clutched at Navar’s mane. Blood trickled from the wound. He was fast losing consciousness. “Help me,” he gasped as he lost his balance and fell from the saddle, landing next to Navar’s hooves.
The giant WindRunner kicked out with his hind legs as an ogre ran forward to kill Owen. His hooves connected, crushing the ogre’s ribcage and killing it instantly. More Dark Fey converged on them. Navar danced around and over Owen, killing anything that came within range.
The Dragon turned from the Rift, its deadly intent clear. The remaining Unseleigh Sidhe fled back into the forest.
The whirlwind hid the Dragon and lifted away. Aeden rushed to Owen. She grasped the spear near his shoulder. Placing her booted foot on his chest, she yanked upward, pulling out the head of the spear. Blood gushed.
With desperate intensity, HeartStriker sent magic into the injury, slowing blood loss, knitting cells together, pulling muscle to muscle and fusing them until only a scar long healed remained. Owen did not regain consciousness.
Aeden laid her hand on the scar. She pulled magic from the aether that filled the world and spiraled it into the wound, finding the residual dark magic that was pulling Owen’s energy into the Rift, powering its existence. The Rift pulsed as if with a heartbeat.
She clenched her jaw, breaking the link that was sucking Owen dry. As it snapped, the recoil threw her backward against one of the trees that surrounded them. Owen lay still.
She rolled to her knees, more slowly than usual, and crawled back to his side.
Owen’s back arched as he gasped with a huge in-drawing of air. He exhaled and gasped again. His eyes opened and he looked at Navar and Aeden as they peered down at him. “Where am I?” he croaked.
You were injured. Navar protected you and HeartStriker healed you, Aeden told him. Her head snapped up as they both felt a massive drawing of power.
The remaining elves and Agni were weaving a shield of protection across the Rift. From side to side the power was laid in a pattern very like the weaving of a tapestry. It was too slow. Owen turned his head as he lay on the ground and saw the Dark Fey on the other side, launching bolts of energy at the elves and the shield. He felt Aeden reached out with her magic and catch the energy from the other side, funneling it into the weaving. The shield finally reached the top of the Rift. Four of the elves collapsed where they stood.
Energy coruscated up and down the weaving in blinding light as those on the other side poured more and more power against the shield.
Owen rolled to his side and pushed himself to his hands and knees, head hanging. He slowly and painfully rose to his feet, picking up HeartStriker resting on the ground next to him. He leaned heavily against Navar for support, raised the Sword that seemed to weigh a million pounds and pointed the tip in a wavering circle at the shield. Power flowed from Navar through him and into the Sword. Shimmering waves of magic swept from its point to the shield. Aeden raised OathKeeper and did the same. She raised her left hand and the power of a Dragon flowed to the growing web of power.
Those elves that still stood added their magic. The edge of the Rift began to contract. Slowly, as if a rope was pulling a bag shut at the top, the view to the other side shrank. More and more power poured into the shield.
Owen raised his other hand and added his own magic to the flood. As it hit the weaving, a blinding burst of light flashed out from the opening and it ceased to exist.
The Rift that had existed for a millennium was closed.
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