Book shouted something at Hilt. She couldn’t really hear it over the spells being thrown in her direction, or the golems. She assumed he was angry she had killed another of the Archiwrecks.

If so, he was an idiot. They were Masters of the Circle. If they tried to sugar coat everything, it would only leave the apprentices unprepared for the real world. Also, they were trying to kill her first. She was sure that explanation would fly in the debate class.

She was trying to fight her way through to the leader. Perhaps if she removed his head, the rest of the Archiwrecks would realize they did not stand a chance. But every time she cut one of his sycophants down, two more placed themselves in his path.

It would be noble, if she didn’t suspect he was controlling them all through magic. She paused as another rushed forward, and examined the leader. Relaxed stance, not fearfully looking at his back, shouting orders without any sense of urgency. He was confident that everything was in his control.

Hilt hated him even more now. Leaders in the field should never give orders they themselves would not follow. That included putting their life on the line. To see this leader sending fodder in her way just so he could turn tail and scamper back off into his hole, it bit at her heart. She took that rage and focused it. Used it to slide her next stroke in through a pathetic defense and cut down another underling.

“Coward!” She shouted. “Face me!”

“Kill her!” He screamed, suddenly fearful. He had thrown man after man at Hilt, and she had shrugged them away with ease.

“And shut off that infernal music!”


Book looked in the direction of the sound. He squinted, because it was unusual. There was nothing. No smoke, no lightning. It was an absence of anything that was supposed to be there.

And the golems seemed enraptured by it. They stared at the piece of air, silent. Their lightning still, not making a motion towards anything.

Luxar. This looked like a light illusion. Bending the light, it was something that wretched fool excelled at. That means that it had to be Goldmight, putting on a little show for the golems. But what was he up to?

The door clicked open.

“Now, Bin!” Goldmight shouted.

Quicker than anyone could blink, the young ogre was through the door. It slammed shut behind him.

“No!” The leader shouted. He ran towards the door, and slammed against it. “Suffrn’s hoard is mine!”

But whatever means had unlocked the door, it seemed that key was only good for one. The lightning golems looked in unison toward the Archiwreck leader, still an intruder in their midst.

Lightning coursed through his body, sending him crashing to the floor. He struggled in vain to rise, and collapsed, dead.

The Archiwrecks, without their leader, turned and ran. Hilt considered chasing them, but decided against it. Look to the students first.

Yuva looked at the door. She slammed her hand down, trying to figure out what happened.

“No! We played the dance, we did the waltz, why is Bin the only one in there?”

Ruby Lawks looked around. “I, I don’t know.”

Zibnizik readied another potion. “Okay. Now that we just have lightning golems to contend with. Then you can try the door again.”

“No!” Goldmight said. he flew in front of the crowd, and held his hands up. “No one, no one is to go near there.”

“Why not?” Pidella asked.

“There is one more trap,” Goldmight said. “The last curse of Suffrn is in there. We have to wait it out or we could all die.”

copyright 2018 Jack Holder

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