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    Cia
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

Broken Path, Starless Tail - 29. Chapter 29

The walls warped around him as he slowed, but Beckett wasn’t looking at them. He focused on the pile of rubble that blocked the stairs he needed to get down to find Valrinda. The damn golems had pulled down so much of the wall he couldn’t even get down.

Had that been their plan all along? Trap him up in the tower and let the lightning kill him? He snorted. That wasn’t going to go their way. Trapping him in the tower wasn’t going to go their way either. Beckett tucked the softly glowing star into his pocket, then planted two hands on the biggest stones. They began to vibrate. He pushed harder, not liking the muffled sounds he could hear through the chinks in the rubble.

Valrinda needed him. His face heated, and he let loose a primal roar, forcing the power inside him outside. The air throbbed and pulsed with a wave of energy that rocked the world around him, removing the rock barrier and everything in front of it.

He wasn’t going to feel bad about the golems who were smoldering in clumps alongside the chunks of rock.

“Val!” There were three golems on top of him.

“Beckett! I thought you were dead.” One of the golems opened its wide mouth and bit down on Valrinda’s spines along his back, the sound like stone on metal. Valrinda roared, so it must have hurt.

“No, but those golems are about to be!” Beckett flung out his hands and the heat coalesced inside him and shot through his palms. Crackles of white hot heat blasted through the air and smacked into each golem, piercing their thick stone hides and ripping them off Valrinda’s backs with a resounding boom. “Oh, shit.” He shook out his hands, flexing his fingers.

They were still pink, totally intact. “Wow. Who knew I could do that?”

“Not me.” Valrinda looked over his back. There was a chunk taken out of a spike, but not a singed mark on him. “Nice control.”

“Control my ass. I didn’t control anything. I just saw them on you and got mad. Just like I did when I blasted that wall open.” Beckett went over to Valrinda. “Are you okay?”

“I will heal. Let’s get out of here. Climb on, I think we should fly.”

“But you’re hurt.” Beckett didn’t want to do anything that would make it worse. Valrinda had been out here protecting him while he’d been getting some shiny gem thing. As soon as he’d grabbed it, the star had turned out to be nothing more than a clear rock with pulsing colors that he’d shoved in his pocket as he raced down the stairs.

It had better be worth all that it had cost him and Valrinda.

“It’s not that bad. I don’t want to risk trying to get back through the city. Someone’s going to object to the fact that we just demolished a building and killed a pack of golems.”

“Some of them might still be alive, if they ran away,” Beckett said.

“Golems don’t run away from the buildings they’re charged with protecting.”

Which meant, since they’d been hiding when they first arrived, it had definitely been a trap. For them specifically or just whoever might try to steal the star from whoever stole the star… he wasn’t sure. “Well, I’m not sorry. They were the enemy and don’t deserve any mercy.”

“You’re not getting any arguments from me, but we need to go.” The urgency in Valrinda’s voice was stronger.

“Fine. But we stop as soon as its safe so you can rest and heal.” It was already getting dark with the temperature dropping, and Beckett wasn’t looking forward to the temperatures up in the sky even if flying was one of the best things he’d ever done.

 

The wisps had done a lot to set up camp once they’d joined up together, but as long as Beckett and Valrinda were together, he didn’t care. All he needed was to curl up by his dragon’s side, and Beckett was happy.

“You found the star?” Valrinda asked. He curled tighter when Beckett shivered, wrapping one wing around them both so his heat created a pocket of warmth around them.

“I did.” It was stabbing Beckett from inside his pocket anyway, so he pulled it out. The star was hard and pointy but not in any sort of regular shape. Certainly not in an actual star. It didn’t look like a gem or a rock, either. There were lights inside, dancing and glowing, and even in the warmth of his pocket and Valrinda’s heat, the star itself held a heat of its own that made Beckett’s hand tingle without burning.

“It was making lightning all over the room, and I wasn’t sure how to get it. Then I heard you fighting, and I just… knew how to do it. If I let my fire burn, I could flame just as bright as this star.” Beckett shook his head. “That’s just insane.”

“Why?” Valrinda cocked his head.

“Stars are insanely hot. And huge. None of this makes sense.”

Valrinda snorted. “You are talking about magic. Of course it makes sense. If you believe in it hard enough.”

Did that make sense? “So you’re saying because you believed I’d find the path and the star, I did? And because I believed I could use fire magic hot enough to match the lightning, I just could? No other reason or logic?”

“What is magic but reason and logic that hasn’t been explained yet?”

Beckett rubbed his forehead. “This is too existential for me. I’m exhausted.”

“You used a lot of magic today. You need to rest. I will watch and listen for any pursuit.”

“To heal you need to rest too. I can take a watch up on the rocks tonight.” Valrinda had put them down near a jumbled set of jagged rocks that rose up next to the road.

“I am resting.”

Copyright © 2023 Cia; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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I agree with Valrinda.  The difference between magic and mundane is in the knowledge and experience of the observer, or this case the user.  It may take Beckett a while to understand the how and why of his magic, but I imagine he will know someday.  What happens to him next will probably not be a quick trip back, since the being who stole the star and set the trap will still be after him and Valrinda.  One thing that I don't see happening is Beckett returning to a normal life back in his original reality.

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