Thursday, August 29, 2019

Flash Fiction # 370 -- Connor of Northgate/54

Connor could think of only one thing to do to stop Galen from killing them all.  Connor would have killed Mirror Galen without a moment's thought at this point.  However, the moment he drew the knife, the weapon went flying across the room and clattered on the floor by the Southgate Stone.

Maybe one chance.

Connor shoved Mirror Galen into the path of an oncoming troll, hoping the creature kept him busy for just a moment.  Connor then threw himself at the knife he had lost, scrambling across the floor on his hands and knees as he moved through the forest of trolls.

At the last moment, Connor stood and shoved the stone of Southgate off the pedestal.

The rock hit the floor with a bright spray of magic, and Connor feared he had just killed everyone --

Mirror Galen screamed in rage.  He heard the sounds of angry and frightened trolls as the magic spread outward in waves of almost blinding light and color. The waves hit the shell around the King and Queen and flashed even brighter.  Dangerous -- dangerous with the shield, and hazardous if they dropped it.

Connor had to stop the magic.

So he threw himself over the stone and dared just a little more magic to try and hold everything in place.

Mirror Galen caught him, screaming words Connor really couldn't hear or understand.  He only saw that the man had a sword in hand and that meant --

The King had a sword as well. So did his friends.  Mirror Galen looked up at the King with a shake of his head and started to step back.

Antisha and Liam were the ones who killed him. Mirror Galen still had a little magic left, but not enough to hold all the others back.  Connor saw a look of disbelief on his face more than fear.  Liam kept him busy, his weapon swinging relentlessly forward against the weapon Mirror Galen suddenly called to him.  Liam took one cut, but by then Antisha had moved in and had no trouble striking the fatal blow that went straight through his heart.

And then he was falling dead.


Not a lot of help for Connor.  He dared not let go of the Southgate Stone, but the power kept building within it.  His eyes blurred, and he couldn't clearly hear what the others said.  He needed help!

"Hold on," Liam said at his ear.  "A moment.  Taking out stones."

Praise the gods for that.  However, this one burnt him with power and anger.  He was Northgate, not Southgate, and the stone didn't know what had happened.  It didn't understand the evil that had drawn power from it, but the stone did know that the person who touched it now should not have dared.

The stone was magical enough to know rage -- or perhaps it had learned such an emotion from Galen.

Connor didn't believe he could survive. He should have named an heir.  He should have told the others -- no, they would do fine without him.  He was a latecomer and an outsider.  He thought he had done well, though --

"Easy now," the King said somewhere nearby.  "I have a feel for the stone.  Get him away from it."

"Let go, Connor," Nylia said.  "We can't move you until you let go."

"Safe?" he whispered.  He wasn't sure if he had really said the word.

"Let go," Nylia repeated.

Connor knew that he had to trust them.  So he made his hands work, even though none of his body wanted to obey him now.  Connor knew what was going to happen once he relinquished what little power he had over the Southgate stone.  He hoped the others were wise enough to stay back.

His fingers moved, though slowly.  He had his eyes closed.  No use looking destruction in the face --

The stone was free.

Connor felt a wave of fire hit, and he could make no sound, unable to breathe, and the darkness came --

And then the darkness retreated, and the sounds of voices returned.  Connor blinked.

"Damn crazy thing to do," Druce said, his voice unexpectedly trembling.  "Didn't anyone tell our fine Lord Connor never to touch the stone of another keep?  Why do you think the Mirror Galen wanted Ordin to take that Lordship at Northgate?  He dared not do it himself."

"You knew what he was going to do, didn't you, Liam?" Nylia asked.

Someone brushed a hand over Connor's face, trailing cool magic that spread through his body.  He knew it wasn't the first time from the tingles he could feel.  The magic helped, but so did the voices of his friends.

"I knew what he should do.  I trusted him to do it without saying so," Liam replied.  "If I had, the rest of you would have protested.  And we would have lost."

"We?" Connor asked.  He wasn't sure how to ask the question.  His mind refused to do more than listen and hold to the words.

"We survived," Nylia said.  He was still on the floor of the stone room, he realized.  Others were sitting by him.  "But it was damned close for all of us, especially you."

Connor nodded.  No use in speaking right now.  No use in --

"Galen?" he finally asked.

"He tried to kill the King.  After that, there wasn't enough of him left to clean up.  Probably the best way he could die, given the evil he'd done.  Fool," Nylia said.  "A shame he won't have to face the anger and ridicule of others."

"But --" Rion said.  He stopped and shook his head.

"Hell," Connor said, something coming clearly to his mind.  "The spell fractured."

"Bright boy -- you always were," Rion said.  He looked around at the others.  "I don't think that was the only Mirror Galen created."

"Others," Antisha said and shook her head in dismay.  Then she sat down on the floor with them.  "I guess we still have work to do."

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