She’d come back to herself with a magekal backlash that nearly crippled her. An undercurrent of sentient energy came with the flash of light that had knocked her back and into sanity, and she almost threw herself to the floor and wept at the renewed contact with one of her Deities – for all its admonitions.
She looked around and saw that Ghia lay on the floor in her own life’s blood, her red hair getting redder as her face grew pale. Her breathing shallowed and she did not move.
No, thought Rosa, knowing it had been her doing, as she crawled towards the girl. Not again.
She gathered Ghia up into her arms and held the girl as she concentrated on healing the wounds she’d caused. Her powers were scattered, disparate, but she gathered them back to bring back to life the girl she loved as a niece. Soon she heard Ghia’s heart beating more steadily, creating more blood to replenish what she’d lost. She’d be weak for a few hours, but she’d live.
She was still unconscious, and Rosa tried to reach her telepathically, needing assurance that the girl was truly alright.
There was a block. It was not Magi.
She frowned, trying to uproot the black wall that she hit every time she tried to reach the healer. She could not remove it, and soon an angry power rose in front of it, telling her to leave well alone.
It was a Terran Deity, that much she knew. She could not fight this battle alone. She pleaded for Aipri to come to her aid, for as much this was His domain as Ghia was one of His Magi.
Perhaps Ryll had spoken to Him, for a warm breeze blew through Rosa and flooded her with strength, guiding her as she went to battle the Terran deity that had blocked Ghia’s thoughts.
Rosa grappled mentally with the alien intrusion, using the Aiprorian strength to its fullest. Soon the dark Terran power called for aid, and Rosa felt her hopes sink. Still she did not give up, and her persistence finally won out. The presence blinked out of sight and the block was lifted. She thanked Aipri, and just as He’d arrived, He was gone, the sudden absence of His presence leaving her empty and cold.
Rosa opened her eyes and looked down at Ghia, who was awake, looking around her in wonder.
“I’m not dead,” she said, and Rosa wanted to weep.
No, little one, you’re not. The Magea smiled down at the girl, and Ghia smiled back uncertainly.
The healer sat up slowly, and they both looked to see Anala crouched a few feet away from them, her knife held at the ready, looking at them warily.
“Neither of ye is like ta attack, are ye?” she asked, and Ghia snorted.
“No. And I can talk again.” The last was a question, surprise on her face and in her voice.
You were blocked by a Terran Deity, but your Magi Deity fought on your side, Rosa said to Ghia alone, getting to her feet and helping Ghia up. Anala rose with them, sheathing her knife.
You’ll have to tell me more about that later, Ghia said. “Thank you,” she said out loud.
No. Thank you, Rosa said, including Anala in the conversation this time around.
Anala stepped forward then, clearing her throat. “Happy reunions aside, we’d best be makin’ a plan. And I could be using a new sword,” she added with a lopsided smile at the Magea.
Had Rosa been able to blush, she would have. I can fix that, she said to both women. But what do you mean ‘make a plan’? What’s happened?
Briefly Ghia explained the attack and subsequent siege. Rosa could feel the sorrow fresh in each woman, an ocean of it that rivalled the size of the sea where she had grown up. She bowed her head and placed a hand on each woman’s shoulder, saying without words she was there for her students.
A few moments passed, and then Rosa led the two women down to the lawns underneath the North Tower, where, only a few months ago, a furtive-looking major had buried a kettle beside a rockshield.