11/2: “she throws away her body in battle”
(doing NaNo? let’s be friends)
Huna leapt forward another step and stabbed her hand toward Sathanus. The wraith’s expression distorted into one of surprise, and he flailed backward from the concussive force of her blow. Gritting her teeth, the witch felt her ancient power fighting against the restraints imposed by Savriel’s mortal form. She could not summon the full extent of her power. Her eyes glinting, Huna lashed out again with her hand, and this time Sathanus tumbled from the pulpit, smacking into the ground before his great wings spread again and once more bore him toward the ceiling.
As he went, she heard his voice become an immense chanting, thrumming beneath the level of her awareness. Shadows crawled from the spaces between stones. A shadow snaked out and pulled her leg from beneath her—the witch hit the ground and pain lanced through Savriel’s body. Huna dropped her mind to the nothing space, that place between waking and sleeping from whence true knowledge came. She dragged herself to her feet, her eyes staring and vacant, and thrust her hands down at her sides.
A seething torrent of birds poured through the cathedral’s great schism. Sparrows and ravens and hawks flooded the church, until their wingbeats sounded like distant thunder, like the wind through the trees on the wild mountain. Huna sent her mind out to them and she was three—the witch on the mountain, Savriel in the broken church, and hundreds of birds, all at once. She sent them upon Sathanus, and the wraith screamed as they tore into his wings and brought him back to the ground.
From between the birds, she did not see him clench his fist. But she did see the birds die. It tore her mind from the nothing space, and Huna screamed in Savriel’s voice as the entire flock dropped. The sound of distant thunder became the soft patter of bodies striking the stone. Again Sathanus laughed, and now his laugh was something of triumph—he opened his clenched fist and swiped his hand sideways. Once more, a shadow pulled Huna to the ground. This time, the shadow raced across her even as she cried out and sent the power from the wild corners of the universe rushing out against it. But her energy waned, and she felt Savriel’s body crying out from the abuse it had suffered.
The shadow covered her and Huna felt her mind go cold. Her breath stuttered, came hoarsely to her lips. With a last effort, she forced the shade back and pulled Savriel’s body onto its elbows. But the shadow came again. She could not contest it. And she could not die here with her acolyte.
Huna made a decision.
“I’m sorry,” she said, whispering the words to Savriel even as she reached out to touch the shepherd’s mind with her own. She felt the horror of realization and pulled herself back to the wild mountain before she could feel more.
Savriel blinked and felt the horrific vacuity within her thoughts. Huna had felt like—everything, like all the arcane knowledge of the universe hovering just within reach. She gasped, physically exhausted by the witch’s departure. Mouth open, she dragged herself onto her knees and faced Rha. He looked down upon her with that sickening gargoyle’s smile, his dead eye pointing straight ahead.
He said nothing. No valediction, no torment, no taunt. In fact, Savriel thought he looked a little sorry as he raised his hand with the shadow clinging all about him like some loyal hound. He closed his fist and the shadow rushed down upon her, and the shepherd had no time to even scream as the light left her.