Emms’ head whipped around as the fire engulfed the troll. It seemed that they’d finally managed to distract him in a way that even holding off four powerful dragons had not. Daniel just hoped it was in time â€“ the sky above him was roiling with same green cloud they’d seen above Devon and the hairs on his arms were standing up in the suddenly oppressive air.
For someone with a broken barrier, he’s very focused, Alaryia said.
Probably because he’s so obsessed, Estara said. It’s something he can hold on to against the pain. It fits with the stories as well â€“ but let’s not waste this chance. She slid into her human form and leapt onto his back, one hand twining in his hair and the other grabbing his throat as her aura flared around her.
Emms threw back his head and screamed. Spurs of rock sliced out through his skin, forcing Estara to relinquish her grasp and leap clear, bleeding from several small cuts. Emms sank to his knees, still screaming as more rock tore out through his skin. This time, the cuts didn’t heal as the shards disintegrated and brown light started leaking through his skin.
It’s working, Estara said. Keep tearing at the opening.
Opening? Daniel closed his eyes and concentrated on seeing Emms through his other senses. The man was still kneeling and energy was pouring out through several gaping tears.
“No!” Emms voice was choked. “No! You won’t stop me!” He struggled to his feet and raised his hand above his head. His shield flared around him and energy poured from his hand into the sky.
“Likadrian! Stop!” Laxmi came pelting towards them from where she must have been concealed among some other rocks. She came to a halt just in front of him. “You’ve lost and if you keep using your energy in that state you’ll kill yourself.” She reached for him but his shield stopped her.
“It doesn’t matter, they’ll kill me anyway. I have to finish this or everything has been for nothing.” He focused on her. “You should run. They’ll kill you as well.”
“I know! I don’t care. Just stop this, please! It’s not going to work! There’s no way it can work and I don’t want anyone else to end up like me!”
Emms gave an inarticulate scream but didn’t pause in what he was doing.
Laxmi was lifted off her feet and thrown violently backwards. She flailed around trying to save herself but it was Ystelyan who blurred and appeared behind her, catching her before she crashed into the ground.
“Why?!” Emms snarled. “Why does everyone turn against me!” His snarl turned to a triumphant laugh as a glowing tear appeared in the green clouds. “Too late now.” It was the last thing he said before he exploded into a storm of rock shards. The shards swirled around in a tornado for a long moment before collapsing into stony egg.
There was a shocked moment of silence then Estara bent down and picked up the egg. “Well this complicates things. We’ll figure this out later.” She looked up at the sky where the crack was widening. “We need to ask mother how they fixed it last time because the longer it’s the-” She broke off with a gasp as a pulse of energy knocked all of them over. Above them, the crack tore further until it stretched nearly halfway across the sky.
Daniel groaned and pulled himself to his feet. Whatever had just happened his head was killing him.
Estara was clutching her head as well and swearing in draconic.
“Quite,” Alaryia said. “But we need to get back to Waldhafen and find out how to stop thi-” She was interrupted by another storm of shards flying at her.
“Really,” Huldre said. The firestorm around him been extinguished when the pulse had knocked them all down. But he was still standing and looked only a little singed about the edges. “Haven’t you forgotten something?”