Anne looked up at Arem as the elf pointed at one of the robed cultists. In the shining armor, Arem truly looked like something out of Lord of the Rings. Except the whole being aligned with the forces of evil. The biggest of the ten orcs nodded at Arem’s unspoken command and grunted. The eight-foot tall creature pulled drew a spear and hurtled it at the cultist. The man stumbled out of the way as the heavy spear thunked into the earth next to him. Anne cursed, but then she noticed that the pressure on her mind was gone. She could feel the streams of wild magic dancing around her. Anne looked over to the black-eyes and saw that they were all looking around dumbfounded. Even better, Sam and Jason were standing back up.

Anne felt her resevoir of power and tugged at it hard to force the streams of earth, air, heat, and dark into the binding she’d seen Veronica draw once during their lessons. It wasn’t delicate, but Anne drew even more power to brute force the binding. Satisfied, she slung the spell at the black-eyes. The dust particles in the air around the black-eyes were suddenly bound together into small pea-sized pellets that glowed with intense heat before raining down on the black-eyes. They screamed in pain as the super-heated pellets punched through them. Whatever had been holding them together broke. Maybe half of them ran into the woods screaming in pain. The rest were laying on the grass, dead or badly injured. Anne fell to her knees gasping for breath. She felt Veronica’s hand on her arm.

“Should have warned you that the link between us was two-way,” Veronica said weakly. The small woman looked like she had just ran a full marathon. Anne started to apologize, but Veronica just shook her head. “Give me a minute, and I’ll be functional. Especially without those bastards in my head.”

“That was a very interesting binding,” Arem said, standing over them. “I didn’t think anyone could do that on this side of the gate.” Arem looked like he wanted to say more, but Jason appeared out of nowhere and fired a burst into the elf. Arem grunted as the bullets tore through his armor, but he didn’t go down. Instead, he moved with an unbearably fluid grace and slapped Jason’s head with the flat of his blade. The agent went down in a heap.

“You’d best see to your menfolk,” Arem said, through gritted teeth. “One of them is badly injured, and I’m not talking about this one.” He pointed his sword at Jason’s unconscious form. Arem whipped his hand up and a gate appeared. The orcs quickly bundled through the gate before Arem strode through. Anne blinked away as the gate shut.

“Help me,” Samantha said to Anne, lifting up Veronica. The sorceress looked annoyed she needed the assistance. “I can’t hear Joseph’s thoughts. We need to go find him.” As the three women started hobbling over, the darkness was broken by the shining light from Erik’s sword. Samantha swore and pushed the trio faster.


The sudden appearance of the orcs gave Erik and Kurt a chance to pull their injured comrade away from the monstrosity trying to kill Joseph. Erik had seen enough combat to know Joseph’s injuries were far beyond his meager skills. Maybe if Veronica were here, she could sling a spell that might save the young man’s life.

Erik rocked another magazine into his ACE. If Arem’s orcs could keep those monsters busy, then Erik could finish the cultists. Those people were why Erik was in this park. He motioned for Kurt to stay with Joseph before creeping forward. Ten to one odds weren’t that great, especially considering whatever the cultists were throwing around was still screwing up his telekinetic abilities. It helped that most of them were looking at one of their number that now sprouted an orc spear out of his chest. Erik chose one of the cultists that still gripped a small machine-pistol in her hand. He brought up his rifle and placed the floating reticle on the woman’s head.

Something snapped. That was the best word Erik had to describe the feeling as psychic energies whipsawed through the air. He could hear screams from where Sam and the others had been. They must have done something. All Erik knew was that he could suddenly feel again. His empathic and telepathic senses roared back into him. Erik stood up and let his assault rifle fall on its sling. His hand fell on the hilt of Far’ling. The darkness retreated as the elven sword glowed with ferocious blue-white light. The cultists all spun at the sudden light. Most of them recoiled in horror as they saw Erik walking towards them with the sword. A few stared back defiantly and started to cast their own spells. He gave them a predatory smile. It had been quite a while since he’d truly let loose.

With a boost of power, Erik was five meters in the air. Far’ling whistled through the air before scything down two casters. The blade was already arching back to meet Erik as the Avalonian slammed down boot-first on his original target. The woman’s bones crunched satisfactorily under Erik’s mass. Erik sent his sword at a fourth cultist who was trying to gather Outsider magic. Two small mundane knives lanced out at two more trying to bring up their machine pistols with the force of crossbow bolts. Erik rolled and threw up a slanted telekinetic shield as the seventh cultist fired his machine pistol. Erik was probably one of the strongest telekinetics in the Emprire, but his shields couldn’t stop bullets. They could redirect them. The woman he’d landed on stopped groaning as a half-dozen bullets laced her back. Far’ling was barely in his hand again before Erik launched the elven blade at the shooter. Two more cultists were sprinting towards the trees. Two more knives shot out and felled both of them.

Erik caught Far’ling as the sword sailed back into his hands. He reached out with his empathic senses. Where was the tenth one? Nothing. There was no living emotions anywhere around him. Just the ghosts of the dead. Erik looked down at the design the cultists were carving into the ground and barely kept himself from vomiting. He drew up all of his remaining power and blasted the ground around him. Bodies flew and dirt and blood covered Erik as he found himself in the middle of a three meter hole. Satisfied, Erik fished the burner cell phone from one of his pouches and hit the speed dial.

“Good evening Lady Maritza,” Erik said, “I’m afraid we’re going to need a clean-up at Hope Park.”