Dislodging myself from the grove was no easy task. Not while I had one leg ensnared in a hedge, another bent sideways, and both hands occupied with outing the flames eating away at my skin. In my stupidity and careless indignation, I had let her escape. By now I suspect she was on her away to alert her accomplices that a certain complication in the form of a person was aware of their presence, and none too pleased about it.
The Issacary Echelon are ruthless, devoid of conscious, flame-wielding tyrants. Instead of the aimless incineration of civilians, I was now certain they had selected a target upon which to concentrate their efforts. If unable to escape the brush, they would be sure to burn down the entire forest and scour the ashes for anything left un-torched.
Given my options, I patted until the fire went out and tugged until my legs were cooperative.
Yes, I was fortunate indeed to have prepared for fire magic. Unfortunate to have been launched like a divorcee’s ring into a gutter – with alarming speed and purpose. My legs, while functional, wanted none of this walking business.
I half expected to see the forest already smoking and disintegrating. What I did see shocked me more than scared me. I saw her. Her.
Slender, not buff, but not scrawny either. Lying face down not thirty paces from where I was previously disabled. Could she have been caught in her own blast? No. She was clever. Something wasn’t right. Another trap? My legs started to twitch. The Issacary Echelon were not known to sacrifice themselves for the cause.
She was not dead. Yet she embodied none of the qualities of life either. She was a bloodied and inert mass motionless against an earthy floor.
Not to be careless again I used the little remaining energy I had to hex her with the paralysis spell I had readied, pre-explosive-flame-rune-hurling-me-into-the-woods. She made no effort to defend. I approached, still wary, definitely still hurting, and rolled her face up. Her blue eyes were locked open, but I don’t believe she could see me.
Against everything I wanted, I knew I had to save her.
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