Friday, February 03, 2017
Flash Fiction # 236 -- Saving Everywhere. Part 20: Open Doors
The magic of the gate responded to me, a little movement here, a different touch there. If I'd had time --
I didn't. I focused, which was difficult with the sounds of trouble growing behind me. I stopped and looked back. Edmond was urging Icelings closer and several hundred of them were already there, though most of them watched the trouble coming down through the long street. Alsia was alone, but she was powerful. A few icelings and Lord Snow worked at keeping her back, but they lost ground one step at a time.
"Mark!" Edmond darted to me. "We are running out of time."
I brought up both my hands, and focused as best I could on the magic in the gate. I dared not get distracted again --
The gate spoke to me. Not in words, but a whisper of something that awakened the power within me. For a moment I was the gate and understood that someone else had closed it, long ago -- not a safe place to go to this Earth.
They must escape back to Elsewhere!
The gate began to open. I heard the cry of surprise and pleasure from the Icelings, and that gave me the strength to push harder and force it open --
It was just as cold on the other side as here, but that didn't matter to the Icelings. They were already rushing through, going past me with touches on my arms and shoulders, a moment of thanks. They were heading for home. I knew that was part of Elsewhere on the other side and wondered if the great dragon, the Lord of Winter, was nearby. I wasn't certain I wanted to see him, but --
I heard a huge crack of sound followed by the thunderous sound of stone and ice collapsing. I spun around and raised my hand, magic dispersing the debris that had almost crashed down on us all. That had come easily because I had seen others in danger and knew I had to protect them.
The use of that much magic, and the power I'd expended to open the door, left me cold and trembling. Edmond brushing against my legs almost sent me tumbling, and my eyes were not focusing well.
"Hey!" Edmond said. "Come on, Mark! We need to get through --"
"Not yet. Lord Snow -- Alsia."
Edmond didn't argue, though I thought I could hear him hissing, mumbling, and growling
"You can go, Edmond," I said and meant those words. "I'll try to follow as quickly as possible, but I can't leave yet --"
"I know, I know," Edmond said. He darted up a pile of debris and then spread his wings and sailed ahead of me.
"Be careful!" I shouted. The little cat had no sense of his own vulnerability.
I rushed forward, darting around the fallen buildings. I was sorry to see them destroyed, but then I realized the icelings were heading out the door still, and this place couldn't stay here afterwards, for some human to find as the glacier retreated.
I glanced back. There were still at least a thousand more icelings to go through the door. I hadn't realized there were so many. I could only catch a glimpse of the world on the other side, all white and snowy. The icelings seems to disappear into that world as soon as they crossed.
I could feel the link to the gate in me, tenuous and if I lost it --
We had a battle still, with a woman who would have been wiser to back away now that I had opened the door and let the icelings get away. Ah, but they were never her real prey, were they? It was me she wanted.
Lord Snow had been doing his best to battle her. I could see blood on his shoulder, his rear left leg dragged, and some of his fur had been singed. None of this seemed to have slowed him at all, and Alsia had a few wounds of her own.
When she saw me, her voice rose an a howl of anger and she swept Lord Snow aside -- I didn't see where he went, and I didn't have time to go and help him. I raised my hand and tried to call up magic --
"Edmond, get back to the gate!"
Alsia smiled brightly. I had to agree with the Icelings on this one. The woman was insane. I didn't know how to deal with her if I could not call up magic again. My mind was swirling, trying to call back that magic I'd gained, but nothing came --
Edmond swept around over my head and headed back for her.
She lifted her hand --
The force of my power sent her flying to hit hard against one of the few standing walls. It collapsed, but did not stop her. In a moment rock and ice flew everywhere. Edmond had turned back to me again. I grabbed him out of the air and we retreated back toward the door. Something moved to the right and I caught a glimpse of Lord Snow keeping pace with us. Just get back to the door --
She raced towards us. We were not going to get through, though at least the Icelings had made it to safety. I saw a few on the other side, yelling I thought for us to hurry.
I was barely three yards from the gate when she lifted her hands and I knew --
We hadn't counted on Lord Snow. He leapt from a pile of debris, drove her to the ground and grabbed her by the leg, dragging her past us so fast that I couldn't have stopped him.
I took a step forward, but I had lost my link and the gate was already closing.
"Good luck!" Lord Snow shouted. "I'll see you at the other gate!"
The city around us began to crumble. I grabbed Edmond and ran for safety back out into the world.
To Be Continued