I ignored Sami, even though she hadn’t stopped screaming. Even though she continued to rain rocks down on me that would leave marks, if I survived the next minute or so. Even though she was the one I was trying to save.
And I fought him. Blades swirling to counter his air magic that tried to choke me, as it parried each blow. He knew as well as I, the power wielded by the Sisterhood was nothing on the Other Side. It was anathema to this place. There was no power for me here, but my own body, now pushed to breaking.
But I fought on, never letting up, until a blow landed that sent us both sprawling on our backs. The darkness was now across the plains, almost to the base of the hill.
“Lesson three.” I pushed myself up to my feet, planting them in a wide stance, blinking against the blood dripping into my eye. “Tell me, have you both forgotten lesson three?”
Sami’s scream stopped for a moment and her expression changed to one of confusion. “We didn’t—”
“Down here, lesson three does not exist. It’s been inverted.” He snapped his fingers and the mud pulled Sami to him. She was screaming, but now in fear, clawing at the mud as he began to harvest her spirit. It flowed like water. I had forgotten how beautiful a spirit could be.
“Another yearling lost. How many do you need to lose before you finally give in, Sister?” He pulled and I knew the end was near, even before the darkness rose like a wall behind him.
“She is not Lost, not yet.” I smiled, but it was a sad smile and didn’t mirror his lunacy. “Brother.”
Then I thrust my sword through his heart and he stumbled back in shock, into the darkness.
I wrapped my arms around Sami and yanked her from the mud, ripping the air into a as the darkness reached for us, the Inversion of the Other Side trying to claim its due.