Belrun is so close to getting this damned flu strain to calm down in this one egg. She copies the change across to a few more eggs' worth, iterates, writes everything down, and Fetches the egg that is getting scary into her pot of simmering water before it makes a break for it. It's getting on toward dark and if she keeps working she's going to have to do it by candlelight, and she doesn't like that - it's already too easy to bump into things when she can see them. She calls it a day and closes up the lab for the night and heads out to walk over to the university cafeteria. It's a nice evening, and it's Flatbread Night, and she's in a generally good mood.
"It is so good to see you. I cannot describe how much I missed you." He hugs her, picks her up and swings her around, kisses her. :We will Gate out in a moment, I just needed to hug you first:
Mmmmkiss. :I love you, I'm so glad that's over with - make sure there's room for Amshalan:
:Of course. I am so grateful you were willing and able to do this, I am far more hopeful of a non-war outcome here: He releases her, turns to cast the Gate, then pauses briefly. :It makes me wonder if at least one Power is solidly on our side after all:
:Rolan said he'd consider asking, so maybe we'll find out!:
:Oh. That would be fascinating information: Leareth turns and starts to actually cast the Gate, shaping a threshold on thin air, plenty tall and wide enough for a Companion.
Leareth spins around, the half-finished threshold crumbling with a few sparks of magic as he flings up a shield instead. :Belrun, get on Amshalan do it NOW:
- Belrun scrambles back toward her Companion without arguing about it, hauls herself up -
His accompanying mages immediately jump forward to flank him.
:Belrun, just stay th–:
And then the creatures reach his shield, and suddenly there is not a shield there anymore.
She clings to the saddle, craning her neck to see while Amshalan carries her out of harm's way.
The creatures have horrifyingly long claws and needle-sharp teeth and there are a lot of them and - magic doesn't work, it just vanishes the moment they come into contact with it, as though they're eating it–
The party has mundane weapons as well, of course, and they use them, wielding daggers and short swords against the creatures. A couple of them go down, but they so do two of the party - they're closing in, trying to shelter Leareth, who's attempting a Gate again - but one of the creatures gets around and snaps at it and it shatters–
–and then Belrun is out of sight. It's not obvious that any of the wyrsa are pursuing her.
:I will attempt to get a message out: Leareth barks to her. :So that someone will come for you, if I do not...: He doesn't finish the sentence. :Keep running:
:Is it just magic they destroy or could I be helping if -:
:They may not be resistant to Fetching if they catch up - or Healing - but do NOT turn back. Get as much distance as you can–:
And his mindvoice cuts off, a burst of pain hitting Belrun through the lifebond.
:I'm so sorry. Please hold on - I'm sure he'll–: Amshalan stops, just puts on an even greater burst of speed, she's carelessly leaping over obstacles, trees whooshing by on either side, branches inches from Belrun's head but never hitting her - Amshalan almost seems to be skipping over the intervening space, sometimes, when there's something really big in her way.
Leareth manages to concentrate long enough to get a two-second burst via the communication spell, to Nayoki. <Under attack come retrieve Belrun>, and then the last of his accompanying mages goes down - his protective artifacts have a little more durability against the wyrsa's attacks and that buys him some time, in a burst of desperation he takes down three or four of them at once in a single fireball - it's not magic anymore once it's cast, just mundane heat–
–but there are too many and his protective artifacts go down - he's so confused, this species of wyrsa is one he knows but it should be native only to the Pelagirs on the other side of the western mountains, near the Haighlei lands, how did they get here of all places. It doesn't matter now though.
He's not getting out of this alive. Either he's going to bleed to death or be eaten alive within the next couple of minutes, while the the pack maybe catches up with his lifebonded, or he can - preempt them, take the rest out now...
:Belrun. I am so sorry. I will come find you again, I promise–:
:I think this is the work of some god who disapproved of Valdemar's potential alliance with us and you need to get word to Valdemar as soon as you can: He can't keep the pain out of his mindvoice at this point. :I am going to - make sure the rest do not pursue you. Please - try - very hard - to wait for me...:
And then there is only fire.
She doesn't scream this time.
She mumbles vaguely at Amshalan :thinks we have to tell Valdemar: and sits, rigid, in the saddle, eyes staring without seeing at the scenery as it flashes past.
:It's going to be all right - I'm here - I'm not going anywhere...: Amshalan keeps sending a litany of words that Belrun may or may not be processing, and all the love and caring and reassurance that she can force along their bond, and she keeps running while the forest burns behind them.
And at some interval, minutes or hours later, a mindvoice reaches out to Belrun, finds Amshalan as well. :You can stop running now. Stay where you are. We are coming:
And a while later Nayoki and a party of at least two dozen powerful mages all reach her, by a mix of riding regular horses and hopping via short range-Gates. They don't wait at all, just raise a nice wide Gate and nudge Amshalan through and then they're in the north again.
:Belrun: Nayoki is saying. :Belrun. Can you look at me: Her mindvoice is tight, controlled, but still leaking hints of distress around the edges.
:Don't you dare try to Mindheal me: