My whole body slid over the edge into the darkness. I fell for what seemed like forever, free falling into nothingness. Arsan’s warm hand grabbed on to mine, jerking my body to a halt.
The blackness below stretched out to consume me. I hung precariously over the ledge swinging back and forth toward the rocky cliff. The thudding of my heart echoed in my ears. This was it, I was going to die. There was no way Arsan would be able to hold me. He would give out and I would take both of us down to our deaths on the jagged rocks below. I shouldn’t have turned around. The cloak was up and there was no way for anyone to get through it.
The wind whistled around me. It slammed me into the cliff causing even more pain in my arm. I grasped for the rock face to keep me from moving, but there was nothing to grab onto. Why hadn’t I fallen yet?
“Tabri, are you ok?” I could hardly hear Arsan’s voice over the howling of the wind.
Arsan lay on the edge of the rock face holding my hand tightly. His body shook from the strain. His knuckles were turning whiter than snow as his grip tightened around my palm. I didn’t know how he was holding me. Silently, I beckoned for them to hold me.
“Give me your other hand.”
With all my strength I swung my arm up toward my other hand. Arsan grabbed my wrists. I could feel the warmth in his grip and the sensation of his magic. With a deep breath I poured all that I had through my fingers and weaved my magic with his. The struggle became easier and with one last pull Arsan hauled me up like I weighed nothing. “Are you ok?”
There was a pain emanating up my leg, a sharp stabbing that seemed to keep spreading farther and farther from the focal point. A large gash was open on my outer thigh. It seeped warm sticky blood down my leg and soaked through my leather pants.
“Tabri. Tabri, snap out of it. You’re in shock.” Arsan stared into my eyes and shook my shoulders firmly. “Tabri, please tell me you’re ok.”
“My leg is hurt, but I’m ok.” My voice came out airy and weak. “I’m ok, really.”
The storm wiped snow up all around us. The shouting back at the monastery subsided. There was no sign that we were being followed, but I feared there could still be someone out there in the dark even though I couldn’t sense any danger nearby.
“We need to find shelter so we can take care of your wound and maybe rest for a few hours,” Said Arsan.
It was hard to think straight. The warmth of my magic was surrounding my wound, but there was something more going on, something dark that I was struggling to heal. This was no ordinary wound.
I had to concentrate on Arsan’s words in order to understand them, but even then it took me a few seconds to process the meaning. “Yes… Shelter…”
Arsan frowned, but lead me on through the piling snow.
Blood dripped down my pant leg to the ground, leaving a trail of little red dots in the snow behind me. My mind kept thinking that someone could follow us easily from the trail I was leaving, but I kept telling myself there was no one there.
There was a stabbing pain every time I put weight on that side of my body as the wound ripped with every step. My mind was trying to convince me that it didn’t hurt, but it did. I didn’t want to limp and cause Arsan to worry about me, but it was getting harder and harder to walk straight.
The path began to widen out and soon mountain walls crept up on both sides. My legs dragged. Snow was swirling around my face, blocking my vision, or was it my wound that was turning everything dark? Breaths came uneven and shallow. My mind went hazy and then I felt cold on the back of my neck. My eyes closed. I was lost to the world, unable to move my own limbs.
“Tabri. Wake up, Tabri.” Arsan called my name. Not even the sound of concern within his words could convince me to do as he wished. I knew I needed to open my eyes, but they were heavy and wouldn’t respond. My name was being called again. “Tabri!”
Finally, I forced my eyes to take a peek, to find out what was going on. I was on my back in the snow. Arsan hung over me with concern on his face. He was saying something I couldn’t make out. He touched the side of my face, but I couldn’t feel his warm hand. My ears rang, there were no sounds. Then there was nothing at all. My eyes closed again and all was black. All but the dark magic that flowed around me.