- Episode 35 -
With each ragged breath Trinity struggled to remain awake, the strain of maintaining her spell growing more and more difficult every moment. Wielding such delicate yet powerful forces was still new to her and the effort drained her inexperienced young mind. The sky around her kept threatening to become dark, her last measure of strength failing. She couldn't even find enough voice left to warn the others as she could feel the magic woven into wings unraveling.
Mal had already fortunately taken notice of Trinity's slipping grip behind him and wisely directed Percival into a cautious descent. But even having tried to prepare himself to expect her growing fatigue it still stole his breath as the spell-wings dissolved before his eyes. Without time left to gauge how far they had left to fall, Mal had to reserve himself to allowing his reflexes to lock a firm hold on his passenger and the reins.
Percival's steel shod hooves hammered into the ground with a hard clap that made even Mal's belly roll and protest. Shaken by the impact it took a few moments before he had to remind himself to open his eyes. He still had a vice like grasp on Trinity and Percival was loudly voicing his own desire to never ever be given wings again. The stalwart steed tenderly babied his now aching legs that were gratefully once more touching something with more substance than empty air.
"That was a close one," Camden nervously noted hovering overhead until he caught sight of his sister's limp form. "Trin," he screamed, panic and worry seizing him to the core as he almost leapt from the dragon's back. A single barked word, uttered with the clear tone of authority trumpeted out of Mal to slam itself home into Camden as sure as any blow.
"Halt," the weary warrior ordered. The sudden shock was all Mal needed to redirect Camden's intended action and allow himself to marshal his mind to address their available courses of action. "Our task hasn't changed, indeed if anything it has become even more vital that we safeguard your sister. We are also obligated to warn the king about the threat to the kingdom. Our wisest option lay in doing both; we must make for Oakhelm Keep! It is the strongest defensible position within the realm and home to the throne. Once there we can rally the realm and prepare ourselves against whatever has escaped from the Vault."
Camden grimly took in everything Mal said, without any thought of question or dispute. His only concern right now was to get his sister to safety and swiftly. If that meant Oakhelm Keep, then that is where they would head. "Then let's not waste any more time, we have ground to cover," Camden urged his new-found mentor.
"No time to tend our wounds, nor wounded pride," Mal whispered at Percival's ear. "We are needed, desperately once more to heed the call to duty. What do you say old friend?"
Percival planted his feet, his stance one of a statuesque knight's noble steed and snorted. "Thought so," Mal remarked to himself with a lopsided grin before spurring his mount into motion. This was a far cry from any kind of retirement he had ever heard of, Mal made a note of to himself. But he was now starting to think retirement was never something meant for him.