36 The Call of the Wind*
Jane ran, the screaming following her like a vengeful ghost. She couldn't count the amount of times she'd stumbled and fallen. It had slowed her progress significantly, but she didn't let it stop her. She needed to keep going. She needed to warn everyone. She needed to tell Phillip.
Through the fear, she'd managed to register what the Rassa-who-was-not-Rassa had said. Phillip knew a weakness. That metal, Anthrite, whatever it was, the monster didn't like it at all.
Jane broke through the edge of the forest, sprinting towards the town, as she reached the border, she realised she couldn't hear the screaming anymore. She'd never thought silence could be more terrifying than the sound of tens of men screaming, but as the fear nearly paralysed her, she realised she never wanted to hear silence again. She forced her limbs to move.
A burst of wind came from behind her, though it did not feel entirely natural. Jane didn't dare turn around as she sprinted through the town.
"He's out!" she screamed, "Rassa is out!"
This, more than the distant sounds of the camp, alerted the town to the current situation. Some who were closer had speculated, but others had tuned it out, unwilling to face reality. Now, they had no choice. They were awake, and god forbid if they saw the horror that awaited them.
Phillip, Anna and Turney all stood from their spots at Jane's shouted warning. It had echoed down the quiet streets, there was no way anyone wouldn't hear it.
The shouted echoed, and Phillip didn't hesitate a second longer as he turned to Turney, "Get the chains".
Turney moved the same time that Phillip did.
The older Knight General made for the door, opening it and running to his saddle bags which sat undisturbed on his horse. It was here, as the Knight General removed the large travelling coat that he'd placed to conceal his sword, that Turney hesitated. He eyed the sword, and after only a second's hesitation, unsheathed it.
Inside, Phillip rushed to his room, quickly shifting the bed and lifting a loose plank of wood there. He took out his own sword just as Jane's voice rung out again, much closer this time.
Phillip was on his feet in an instant, moving out the door swiftly. He looked down the street, spotting Jane running towards him, then he turned to face Turney.
Phillip took in Turney holding the sword, and his eyes widened, "No! Get the chains!"
Turney looked shocked at Phillip's insistence, and he hesitated a moment before turning to grab at the Saddlebags, unstrapping them as quickly as he could.
Phillip turned back to where Jane was running towards him, his eyes widening as he spotted the blurred figure rapidly approaching from behind her, eyes glowing bright red.
"Rassa, no!" Phillip shouted.
The boy didn't listen, one second, Jane was running towards Phillip, the next, she was pinned against the well at the other end of the street, staring into the startlingly red eyes as she gasped for breath, a pale hand as strong as steel wrapped around her throat.
Jane asked, struggling for breath.
"You did well to make it that far little girl," the boy spoke. That voice...it still wasn't Rassa's, not the one she knew anyway.
"You-You're not Rassa".
"Clever too I see," he smirked. His grip loosened, and she dropped to the ground, coughing loudly as air was allowed back into her lungs.
Jane looked up as the boy's eyes closed, and he shook his head.
"Your little friend has one strong will," the monster admitted with a smile that seemed almost proud, "He hasn't stopped fighting, not even when I took a detour to wash the filth from his skin. Another moment with those foul smells attached to me and I might actually have slaughtered this whole pathetic village just to spite them". His eyes opened as he looked down at Jane, "But where's the fun in that?"
"Jane!" Phillip called as he approached, chains in hand.
The monster hissed in rage.
"Naive man," the monster said, then he knelt before Jane, holding her neck once more, but more gently this time, "Seeing you like little Rassa so much, I'll do you a favour. It'll be better this way".
The moster leaned forward and Jane panicked.
In her panic, Jane felt something inside of her just...click. It was like she'd never realised that there had been a part of her missing and now...now it was just there, filling her and making her whole. She grabbed a hold of it, hugging it close for her own security, and it responded in kind.
The Monster was thrown back down the street with an immense burst of wind magic, and it rolled nearly 40 metres before digging its claws into the ground to stop its momentum. The magic had blown Phillip and Turney away as well, and the chains lay down on the ground, in the middle of them all.
There was an instant for everyone to pause in shock as the wind fell quiet. Then, the Monster dropped down to his knees, clutching at his head.
"Not yet boy!" it shouted.
Jane watched curiously as the monster struggled for a moment.
Rassa, her Rassa. The monster was holding him back, struggling for control. Jane's gaze locked in determination as she got to her feet, clutching onto that part of her soul again. She ignored it as her skin over her shoulders and arms burned and lit up with a silvery-white light. She simply stepped forward, and thrust her arms towards the chains.
The Monster's red eyes snapped up, and it began to move out of the way.
"Oh no you don't, give Rassa back!"
Jane thrust her arms forward and the chain lifted off the ground, shooting towards the Monster. It tried to dodge, but from within, at that important moment, Rassa crashed down the wall inside his soul. His body was caught on one end of the chains which whipped around to entangle him and he fell to the ground hard, shouting in pain as the Anthrite chains irritated his skin painfully.
Jane fell to her knees, suddenly exhausted, she watched as Rassa gritted his teeth in pain, then opened his eyes to look back at her, the red slowly fading.
She could see the apology there, the sincerity. Then, her job done, Jane surrendered to the weakness overwhelming her body, and fainted.
Rassa didn't fight the chains despite the pain he was in, he could feel them sapping his strength at an incredible speed. One second he was in full control, his hunger satiated and abilities restored, the next, he was no better than a mere human.
Rassa breathed heavily as he came to terms with what had just happened, then looked over at his father who appeared to be nothing more than shocked.
Rassa turned away again, and let the tears fall in his relief.