The elves finished dinner and they went outside. Ilustriel got a bowl and some water and went to the bed where Brisid lay. She began wiping his brow.
Outside, Lywnis's son played. The boy saw Rik and went up to him, boy's eyes gleamed. "You are really the Swordmaster?" he asked. Riklaun nodded and moved over to him. He knelt down to the boy.
"Here," Rik said, "This is the badge of office I wear." He pulled out a small badge that said Swordmaster, Grey Company.
The boy frowned. "Anyone can get that made. Show me something else."
"Now, that is not what we say, Endril." Lywnis interjected.
"That is okay. Starrbolt, care to help out?" Rik said. Starrbolt smiled, got up and pulled his sword out. Riklaun did likewise. They circled each other. Starrbolt feinted right and stabbed. Riklaun dodged left and twirled around. The swords clanged together.
"You are no match for me Riklaun! " Starrbolt said jokingly.
"Hah!" Rik said. He lunged and Starrbolt stepped out of the way and brought the flat of his blade against Rik's back. "Point!" Starrbolt said.
The two elves faced off again and this time Riklaun led with a series of thrusts and parried that backed Starrbolt into the tree line. He lunged in and struck Starrbolt with a slap to the leg. "Point!" he cried.
They moved back toward the center of the clearing and Starrbolt tried a bit of trickery, he brought his blade down on Riklaun while they were walking. Rik quickly unsheathed his second scimitar and parried it, while he turned and slapped his other sword against Starrbolt's right thigh. "Point. Win."
The boy was awed. He watched as the two elves congratulated the other. The elves talked for a while. A crash came from inside the house. Lywnis got up and rushed toward the house. He stopped when Ilustriel stepped into the doorway. Her hair was a mess and her eyes glowed red. Her face showed a look of torment.
"Stay back!" she yelled. The voice seemed all wrong for Ilustriel. Lywnis did not heed the warning and came up to her. "Templa Pilini!" she yelled and Lywnis went sprawling.
Endril yelled, "Mommy!" and tried to run to her. Nalynn grabbed him and held him tight.
"Infidels!" Ilustriel said, "You cannot help Brisid. He is beyond your help. I control him and will never let him rest." She laughed mockingly. Riklaun drew both swords and Starrbolt did likewise. "Harm me, and you harm poor Ilustriel." An evil cackle followed.
"Ebonstarr! You get out of her." Riklaun commanded. He started an incantation.
"Why? This is so much fun." Ilustriel/Ebonstarr lifted her hand and admired it. "Such pale skin. Kind of like yours, Albino. But you need to get a darker tan. Bragollach tel'llach!!!" Riklaun had just finished his spell when Ebon's fireball flew. Nalynn dropped down, covering the boy from the exploding flames.
Riklaun stood defiant against the flames as they licked his body. The spell had protected him. Ilustriel looked at Riklaun. "Well, you were prepared. No matter." She stepped off the porch and headed towards Riklaun.
Starrbolt yelled, "No you don't!" and rushed her. She cast a sideways glance at him and he slowed down. The others in the glade also moved slower.
"There. They are out of the picture. I moved us into a different reality so we would not be interrupted. You know, this mind really has some wonderful things in it. Maybe I should share some of it with you ."
"I do not wish to harm Ilustriel." Riklaun said.
"Funny, she seems to want to harm you." Ilustriel said. She whipped out a dagger and swiped across Rik's face. He backed up a moment too late, and a gash opened up on his cheek. "Oh, how nice. taken by surprise. Did you know her passion is playing this flute?" Ilustriel pulled out a finely crafted elven flute. She dropped it to the ground and crushed it under her foot. Riklaun started to cast a hold spell. Ilustriel stopped him by throwing a lightning bolt into him.
Outside the battle, Starrbolt was looking at the space where Riklaun and Ilustriel were. He could not see into the globe surrounding them. As he peered, he saw a bright flash. He twisted at the last second to avoid the lightning bolt come out of the globe.
"By the way Rik, she had an affair with Carnaldave once. Thought it was really good." Ilustriel said. "Just kidding...." Ilustriel cast another spell. Riklaun evaded it.
Riklaun stepped up to Ilustriel to let her have a swipe with the dagger. As she swung, He grabbed her arm and twisted her around. He grabbed her other arm and held her to himself. "Now we wait your spell out, Ebon."
"Aww. What would Lywnis think? You holding his wife so close." Ilustriel said.
"What have you done to Brisid, Ebon?" Rik asked.
"Nothing that shouldn't have been done a long time ago." She said. "I gave him his own personal nightmare: me." Ilustriel squirmed in him grip. "Damn, do you have to hold so tight?"
An hour passed and Riklaun still held Ilustriel. The two elves still remained in the globe. Outside, Nalynn had let Endril go to his father. She went inside to check on Brisid. His face was still pale. Nalynn knelt down beside his bed and lifted his hand. A tear came up in her eye and rolled down her cheek. She leaned on the bed and Brisid's head lolled to one side.
Nalynn noticed a thin red line on his neck. "Brisid!!!!!!!"
Continue to Chapter 23