Now is the time.
“I think we're ready,” I tell Griffon after our lessons. Griffon, Rowena and I are standing in the back room, the girls and boys prepare spells at the bar.
Griffon nods. “Do you think Paige is okay?”
I'm about to answer when my head explodes in pain. Dropping to my knees I cry out. I grip my head in my hands. The pain is constant and pounding. All I can feel is the pain. What I see is even worse. Suddenly my head is filled with sinister laughter. I growl in pain and anguish. I can see through Ambrose's eyes, I can feel his anger. Paige is chained to the wall, blood dripping from various parts of her body. Paige pleads for redemption.
“What's going on Vala?” I hear Griff in the distance.
“What do you see?” Rowena chimes in.
Ambrose's hands come up to show me the weapon he's using. The bastard is going to pay! “He's using her own weapon against her. I can see through his eyes Griff. He's taunting me.” I grit my teeth in pain and rage. “Why are you doing this?” I demand.
“You brought this on her, my sweet. If you want to do re-con in the future, come by yourself.”
I wince. “And let you win? I don't think so.”
Rowena takes my hand and speaks directly into my ear. “How can we help?”
Her weapons are on the floor by her feet. I try to talk through the pain. “The pill. She can't get to it. We have to move it into her mouth.”
Ambrose is focused on Paige's pain and doesn't notice when, with Griffon and Rowena's help, I channel magic around Ambrose and lift the pill from the floor. As Paige opens her mouth to scream the pill is thrown down her throat. She only has time to inhale once before her mouth foams over. Ambrose yells out and releases me.
I keep a firm grip on my head until the pain recedes. When I can move I stand up. The pill she took was magically accelerated. I just wish I could have saved Paige from any pain at all. At least now she's in peace. I will make sure Ambrose pays for her death.
“Call Dessell and tell him about Paige,” I order Elir, who had come to see the commotion. He hurries off and then I turn to Griffon and Rowena. “We're going hunting. No more waiting.”
Griffon nods affirmatively. “We're ready. Do we have a game plan?”
“Elir and Kaal are in charge of the deumus and killing anything that comes their way. Rowena and Azahna will protect me. Shaea and Valea are to kill every demon and vampire that attacks. Jade, Diandra, and you will cover the perimeter. Keep all creatures from escaping. I'll destroy Ambrose and his second in command. If something happens to me, don't sacrifice yourselves. I plan on fighting to the death. I'm not going to be changed if I can avoid it,” I say with a conviction I've never felt before.
They both nod soberly.
Help me Alden. I need your strength.
# # # # #
We're bringing the battle to Ambrose, while hoping we're not too outnumbered. We all have on light weight clothes with pockets. The boys and each of the girls have their pockets filled with weapons. I wear the amulet around my neck. Rowena stands at my side, along with Azahna. Griffon holds Diandra and Jade's hands. Both Shaea and Valea walk behind us. I figure we'll be handling various kinds of demons, so I stressed the importance of being prepared for anything. The vampires will be the easiest to dispose of. We all have an extra stake, just in case.
The skies are dark and cloudy. The cemetery is well lit by torches. Soon there will be shadows descending upon us. The sun won't be up for a long time.
“Rowena, I want you and Azahna to start the spell as soon as we reach the mausoleum,” I say. “I want everyone to spread out. Don't let them corner you. Keep a weapon ready at all times. If anyone finds themselves in trouble, find someone nearby who can help. Don't try to be a hero. Don't give up either.”
Everyone holds a weapon at the ready. Daggers, swords, and stakes all come into view. Everyone spreads out but stays within their designated area. Rowena and Azahna start the protection spell. I hold a stake in one hand and finger the amulet with the other.
Before we even reach the mausoleum a wind rises up, bringing the smell of demons and death to surround us. I immediately begin feeling the spell working, just as I see Ambrose appear in front of us. He smiles and all hell breaks loose. We are attacked on all sides by at least a hundred demons and vampires. We each have our hands full. My first priority is to reach my designated target, so each demon has to count.
I block a large demon with sharp claws from ripping out my throat. It slashes at my arm and ends up hitting a vampire behind me. I stake the vamp and slash the demons throat simultaneously. Another demon immediately takes their place. My arm tingles with each kill. The girls are fighting side-by-side, each taking turns backing the other. Elir sends a fireball at a vampire. It lights on fire and then reverts to dust.
There is no sign of the deumus.
Griffon takes out a demon with a dagger to the heart. Kaal holds up against several targets. Elir helps, when he gets a free shot, by throwing a stake directly at the heart of a vamp. Elir runs over and they fight back-to-back. I dust a vamp and kick a demon in the head from jumping off a tombstone. My legs never stop moving forward.
The three lead vamps wait near the mausoleum and watch. I work my way there slowly. All my strength is starting to seep out of me, but the spell is still holding. Both Rowena and Azahna have managed to keep up the spell, while still fighting. I step between Valea as a Quoth demon, a poisonous demon with fangs, attacks her. It screeches in pain as I slice its throat. Then I stab it in the heart to finish it off.
“Thanks Vala,” she says, as she takes a much needed breath.
“You're welcome. Stick close to Elir,” I order.
She hurries off and I continue forward.
When I finally reach my target the male vampire next to Ambrose steps forward. Behind me the battle continues. The demons and other vamps have stopped coming after me. Danica never leaves Ambrose's side. They both sneer at me and Ambrose smiles menacingly.
I catch sight of the deumus leering at me from behind them. A more powerful magic is causing me to grow disoriented. Rowena and Azahna are starting to lose hold of me. Help me Alden! I scream silently.
“I've got some surprises for you, my love,” Ambrose smiles, showing his fangs.