Aerlin stepped carefully over the bits of debris that seemed more like simple litter than hints of destruction. There was no sign of Thrakkiss, but that was neither here nor there; it could mean anything. Something is not right.
"It will all be over soon enough." Aerlin moved like a cat stalking a mouse. She wasn't sure she wanted to get near that hole in the wall, but it was probably the least obtrusive way to enter. Poking her head around the corner, she could see most of what used to be the guild's Great Hall. The Ley Druid was sitting cross-legged in the center, moving so little that she at first thought he were only a pile of robes. A sword with the stones in it lay at his feet, and he seemed to radiate age and power. She thought silently There, that's Shadow. I must strike quickly and be done with it.
Aerlin began to channel mana from the five bastions. She felt the power surge through her. Had she not spent so long preparing for this, it would likely have destroyed her. It was ecstacy; any real magic is. That's one reason it's so dangerous. High magic is like incredible sex and has many of the same associated psychological complexes.
The level of magic Aerlin was using was somewhat ludicrous. Nothing should ever require this much, but she was expecting a great deal of resistance and knew that every ounce she had might be needed. Still, she couldn't escape the feeling that she was trying to slice bread with a cannon. Afterall, he was just sitting there.
The Ley Druid stood. Somebody else was in the room. Mana streams the size of comets had disrupted his meditation, and he felt that this person should really answer for that. She was looking somewhat oddly at him, much as if she wished to kill him.
Erm, hello there madam. Now, just what do you think you're doing. I was attending to matters of grave importance, and you just barged in here and disrupted my meditation. I should have known to go up to my room to tend to things.
Aerlin's face was hot. Shadow was a criminal mastermind and no word could be trusted. She resolved herself not to listen, though she still needed a few moments to complete the spell. She might as well take advantage of the distraction. Using a seperate part of her mind to operate her legs, she proceeded slowly into the room and addressed him.
"How can you talk so lightly? Do you have any conscience whatsoever? Do you have any idea how many people have died at your hands? The blood of your victims must run thick through your skin all the way to your soul. You are a mockery of life, Darkshroud."
Victims! What in the -- Oh, good gods! I'm not Shadow. Yes, he's with me, but I'm in control right now. I am Ley Druid, and I'm perfectly capable of taking care of Shadow myself, so I suggest that you just head home and wait. I wouldn't want any innocent bystanders getting hurt.
"You make me sick. Prince of lies! I won't fall prey to your deceptions." It could be true, but she couldn't take that chance. The stones were right there on the floor, and this might be the only oppurtunity to save Phaema. "You want to test fate? Well, fate's at the doorstep about to knock you down. Let the world be rid of your insanity once and for all!"
No! You don't understand. Now he knew where that mana was coming from; he saw the spell she was forming. Wait! Killing me won't get rid of Shadow. He-- No! You don't know what you're doing! Ley was frantic but there was no more time. Energy from the collective power of the bastions was racing towards him. On instinct, he grabbed for the sword and held it out as protection.
The blast of energy slowed when it met the sword. Fate stop reigned from the tip, watching the energy split into five beams, which arced towards the stones' and proceeded into a fatal pushing contest that could have only one forseeable outcome. Where the blue stone should have been, however, there was a hole. One of the beams shot through that hole and seared through the Ley Druid's chest. His head jerked back for a moment and then he crumpled to the ground, dead. The sword clattered to a halt on the floor next to him, letting the rest of the energy lose itself in the distant horizon.
Aerlin knelt to retrieve the sword and the blue stone which the Ley Druid had pried loose. His corpse stared back at her, arms spread beseechingly, with a sad, longing sort of expression. She had the frightening feeling that this conflict wasn't quite over.