The deafening boom of the thunder prevented me from answering Vytar’s question – not that I had a good answer for him. To say that my mother was the witch of Oakvale didn’t seem to be entirely truthful, accurate, or something I wanted to share. The rain turned to hail. Vytar grabbed my arm and pointed upward.
In the sky above us, the clouds swirled in angry gray-purple colors. I watched with my magical sight and saw some sort of elemental – a huge one – grabbing the clouds and twisting them.
“What in the snowy underworld is that?” Vytar yelled in my ear.
I shook my head.
“Do something,” he said when the twisting cloud spat out a lightening bolt at us, missing our tree and striking the mountainside above.
“What?” Running didn’t seem like an option.
Another strike and my horse decided that perhaps running was an option. It bolted. The horcine didn’t move.
Vytar didn’t have any ideas for me other than vague hand-waving motions at the sky.
The next bolt hit very close, causing a splash-over jolt – blowing us a few meters away.
He scrambled upright and checked on me, dragging me up also. The element seemed intent on the horcine rather than us, for the next bolt came within inches of its nose.
“No!” Vytar cried, running forward. I grabbed his arm to keep him from being shocked. The look of desperate terror he directed at me made me decide.
“Hey,” I waved my arms, moving to stand before the horcine. “Down here.”
The elemental’s focus on me felt like a hand crushing my skull.
Zat appeared in front of me, trying to protect me from the larger elemental. A spate of hailstones pelted it. Zat came back to cower under my ear.
“Does this creature offend you?” I pointed to the horcine. A wind swirled around me and I took that to mean “yes.”
I grimaced at Vytar and turned to the horcine. Its eyes showed a dull glow. I put my hand on its soft nose and said, “Be free,” willing its soul spark to break its magical encasement. Nothing happened.
The wind howled and another lightening bolt slashed overhead.
“Give me a moment, I’m just learning this,” I said, glancing up at the angry sky.
“Be free,” I commanded the horcine.
Zat whined.
A crack? Maybe a small crack. This horcine was much older than the yamamulecine I freed earlier. I tried to pull all of my energy together and wish the crack to widen. It didn’t.
A lightening bolt shot through my back and into the horcine.

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