As I called out “We are under attack!”, the warriors in Charrgate Haven tried to shake off the sleep and alcohol that had numbed their senses and leapt to their feet. There was much fumbling for swords and hasty strapping on of armor, and I stared in horror at the commotion, a chill going through me that had nothing to do with the snowy weather outside.
Leaving them gathering their wits as well as their weapons, I went out of the doors and stood at the top of the hill. The army of ghosts had spread to either side of the wide road and were advancing on the Haven, their spectral weapons shining in the moonlight. My teeth ached with the bitter dust in the air, and my heart pounded.
I closed my left hand around the snow cherry staff and planted it firmly in the ground, opened my senses to the magic and let it flow through the coral gem and down my arm to my solar plexus. It balled there, a scarlet knot of pulsing energy, sending threads along my arms and down my spine until my bones seemed to vibrate with it. Sparks shot from my fingers and the ends of my hair.
Calmly, as the first warriors began to spill from the Haven, I traced a line in the air a few hundred yards in front of us across the road, and a strip of fire leapt into being, flaring up like a curtain between us. The front row of ghostly figures screamed and crumbled, and I almost gagged on the resultant glittering dust they left behind. Gathering the power of the four winds in my hands, I swept the arcane powder away, only then to stare in shock at the sight of the next line of ghosts taking their place, marching forwards across the dying flames.
By this time, though, my companions had shaken off the fog of sleep and stupor and had come to stand at my side. We fanned out, and I saw Jeger leap atop a rock and notch an arrow in her longbow, Skylar do the same with his shortbow, the arrows dripping green poison, and Aisling spin her sword around her body in a figure of eight movement while hefting her shield on her arm. Either side of me, Rytlock and Christof took up stance, the mighty charr with Sohothin hanging loosely in his grip, the engineer with his belt full of grenades and the flamethrower stowed on his back.
Behind us, twenty or so other warriors joined our ranks, drawing their bows and testing the weight of their staves and swords.