Ragnvaldr was out of the door before me. From the doorway, I saw Tobih and Angel battling it out with what was once the large mound of bodies we had stacked. It was as if we had stepped on a hill of fire ants.
Ragnvaldr thrust his hand out in front of me as I tried to leave, “Stay and support us from the doorway. Don’t lose the advantage of that choke point.” I nodded and stepped back a step. He ran into battle while I was busy unlatching my staff. It felt more comfortable in my hand than the wand ever had for the current me. The crystalline fire sparked into life and I felt the warmth flush over my face.
I didn’t agree with this tactic, but I respected his decision.
“Behind you,” He shouted to Angel, who was busy with a large group behind her. Ragnvaldr drew his knife and sliced open the legs of an undead behind Angel. As he ducked, Angel swung her sword around behind her and cut the body of it in half.
“I know what I’m doing, watch it!” Angel scolded him. He smiled at her before standing up to help further in taking care of the undead horde.
Two risen appeared in the doorway. I took a deep, but short breath before focusing a burst of fire at them. They didn’t react to the flames like the Son of Svanir had. In fact, it was more of a lack of reaction. The front-most risen was burning while the flames had barely licked the other. I stamped my staff onto the ground beside me and let its power well up within me. The earth churned beneath their feet, just out of the range of my own, and revealed lava. As the churning earth pulled them in, I heard the first one speak.
“Zhaitan’s eyes have fallen onto this place. Lay down your weapon and serve him; you will join us soon.” The churning earth swallowed the burning bodies before returning back to the muddy land it once was.
I didn’t really want to admit that the situation at hand looked grim. More risen filed in through the open doors and we were becoming overwhelmed at this point. The dragon’s gaze was, indeed, on this place. He must had been sending a bit of his risen army towards us. After all, it was a place he had already had success with and it was feeling more like a trap the more I thought about it.
Tobih rolled in front of the door. He thrust his staff to the ground, creating a magical shockwave in front of it. The undead in front of it fell backwards and in that moment he found time to focus on me.
“Are you alright?” His usual concern wasn’t paled by the fight in front of us.
I cast a fireball towards one of the risen he had knocked down. It exploded and sent debris across those around it.
“I’m fine, Tobih,” I told him, but I wasn’t entirely sure for how long. That toothy grin of his made me feel as if we weren’t currently fighting for our lives and the thumbs up he left with didn’t help either. As I threw out as many fireballs as I could muster from my own strength and staff, I saw in the corner of my eye as Tobih used the end of his to impale the risen I had hit earlier. He coughed a bit, but it didn’t stop him or slow him down. He continued to go after the undead I was also attacking. Together we were managing the numbers enough to give Ragnvaldr and Angel some space to work with and not become too overwhelmed to fight.
Ragnvaldr cried out and my attention immediately shot towards him. Beside him stood a risen female who was wielding a short sword. He dodged another swipe from her, but she had managed to slice into his right side pretty deeply.
“Go to Tobih!” Angel yelled to him as she quickly surveyed the damage from afar.
Ragnvaldr stabbed the dagger into the risen’s skull and jerked it out again. The water bloated female body slumped to the ground and Angel came to assist, leading a following of risen towards the corner Ragnvaldr had been trapped into. Tobih used his magic to cast a barrier that the enemy could not cross, which allowed Ragnvaldr time to cross it and meet with Tobih.
I had turned my eyes away for too long and now that Tobih wasn’t around, the undead were able to swarm my area as well. The numbers were far less, but there were still too many to consider ourselves even close to victorious. I focused my energies on churning the earth by the door again. Muddy earth turned partially to boiling lava and while some of the risen attempted to stop before reaching it, they had stopped too quickly and were being accidentally pushed in by the other undead trying to crowd the door. The earth turned back into mud too soon. I backed up to give myself space, but I was quickly losing any space I could use as a choke point.
I saw Ragnvaldr trying to cut through them but with the bodies crowding the door now, there wasn’t a lot of time.
Like the undead that had injured Ragnvaldr, a lot of these risen wielded weaponry. I threw everything I had at them. Fireballs burst and scattered across the risen horde and fire burned their skin. This was too different from fighting a living being. They would at least react to burning flesh, but the risen just kept pressing forward. Following Tobih’s example, now that combat was in close quarters, I started using my staff to try and fend them off. I was being backed into a corner. I was panicking.
A mace made contact with my hand, causing me to drop the staff. I rolled onto the floor and tried to reach it, but risen feet trampled it, knocking it behind them and effectively out of my reach.
I didn’t want to make this the place of my unrest. I looked for any way out, any sort of distraction I could use. I felt around in my pockets with my one good hand and found the only thing that could help me. My fingers curled around a stone and I focused on the place in my memories. As I felt my body being ported through, I saw last the sight of Ragnvaldr making his way through the crowd with the help of my friends. Maybe we would make it through this after all.
I felt the ice-cold floor through my stockings and my eyes now stared towards the broken ceiling of the Eye of the North. As usual, I wasn’t cut out for battle. I let my guard down as soon as I saw the injury. I wasn’t pulling my weight properly on our team and I felt like only a detriment to them. I never should have come to Orr in this condition.
As I stood up, I saw a dragon fly above the building.
It wasn’t safe here either. Especially without any usable weapons.
Right now, I needed to go back and try to support my team. If I was in trouble, I could use the stone again. It took time to use, but surely I could manage it. Without my failures in the way, the rest of the team could function at one hundred percent again.
I grasped the stone and felt myself being tugged back again. Cold dry air turned warm and humid. I stood in the spot I had disappeared from. Bodies lined the inside of the building, luckily all of them were downed risen. I was mostly concerned with the fate of my group at the moment. Before leaving the building, I lit the bodies on fire. Saving the area wasn’t quite as important to me as saving my friends at the moment, so I paid no attention to the fact that the wood inside was catching fire as well.
Few bodies stood outside. Two of them belonged to people I knew; they were fighting still and the numbers were culled. This was probably a victory at this point. Who I didn’t see was what concerned me the most.
Tobih and Angel worked together to dismember the rest of the risen, but Ragnvaldr was nowhere to be seen.