A snippet of a larger story I hope to write in entirety some day.
He opened his eyes and looked across the table. Standing in front of him was a woman, weary from many long battles, but still as alert as the day he first met her. She was a friend, ally, and companion. In some ways he looked on her as a daughter, a pupil. In others she was his equal or better. They had put their lives in each other's hands countless times in the days of the war, and now she put her trust in him one more time. Doubt welled up again, and he spoke hesitantly "There is still time to call this off, the king would understand" She simply smiled sadly and shook her head. They both knew that she wouldn't back out now, not after she's already committed to it. "Well, then this is it. Be ready, this should feel strange. Don't panic."
Between them on a table lay a black bladed dagger, it's golden handle studded with a pair of tiny sapphires and a giant ruby that shone with a fire hidden deep inside. Slowly he began to spin a web of magic above the dagger, carefully laying the threads just so. Water laced with fire set over the ruby, air woven through earth waited above the sapphires, and a delicate lace of spirit hung over the rest. It didn't have to be strong yet; but the structure needed to be just right. If done correctly, it should strengthen itself later. Carefully, he lowered the weave into the dagger, sinking the threads into the powerfully magical interior of the weapon. He held the ends above the surface and began weaving another, even more complex net from them, building it towards the waiting woman.
She had some experience with magic, but not nearly enough to understand what he was doing. Even so, the complexity fascinated her, so she watched and waited. The web grew in complexity and size until it was like a shining wall of light standing before her. Then something happened. One of the cords of magic leading from the dagger jerked and twisted, deforming the whole net. In instants what was becoming a soft, embracing cushion transformed into a gapping maw threatening to engulf her entirely. She took a half step back in surprise, but decided it must be part of the plan and stood her ground.
Fighting back a wave of shock he franticly grabbed at the edges, trying to pull it away from her. He put all his strength into the effort, but could only slow down the advance. Thinking fast, he changed tactics and began undoing the myriad of changes that had sprang up in his weave, correcting the alterations as fast as he could. For every error he corrected, another popped up somewhere else, but he was making progress. Franticly he worked, while both restraining the web from advancing more and expanding it, trying to finish it before it reached her. Sweat began to run down his face, it was the hardest thing he had ever done. Resolutely she stood and watched it advance; unaware of the danger she was in, trusting that he knew what he was doing.
Sweat burned his eyes, but he didn't dare blink. Its was almost done, almost right, but it was definitely not what he had planned. Still the dagger struggled to manipulate the spell, twist it into something else. The edges of the weave touched her skin, and suddenly the whole thing rushed forward, wrapping around her and sinking into the core of her being. Her vision turned red, and it felt as if there was fire running through her veins. She lost track of the world and fell to the floor. Magic ran between her and the dagger, forming a thick rope of power. He struggled to study the connection, to see what it did, but it quickly faded from view. Realizing there was nothing more he could do, he moved to her fallen form.
Her vision cleared and the burning faded. Slowly she sat up and looked at him. He stared in disbelief at her face. It was as if the long years of war had been erased. Well, not entirely, her eyes were unchanged. She saw the look on his face and became worried "What is it?" she asked. She heard the change in her own voice this time. "You look younger... I had not expected that. But I think it worked. Come, we should tell the king."
She nodded and sprang to her feet with an ease she had not known in years. Reaching down, she helped her older friend to his feet. She picked up the dagger from it's place on the table, and the two left the room together.