By: Aaron E. Smith

Chendrelle raised her head then and flew to Simeon, landing lightly upon his bare chest. She felt his heart heaving beneath her, laboring to drive the toxin from his body. She dropped to her knees and began weaving her delicate hands in a slow restrained pattern around his face.

When she had the magical pattern firmly established, she cast a quick glance at Tahletha�s disapproving stare and rushed her awareness into Simeon�s mind.

Chendrelle entered the darkness of his mind and called out for his attention, but no reply came. His mind was like a thick black cloud of swirling shadows.

She paused uncertainly before remembering another trick of the Fey. This time she curled her words upon themselves like a nautilus shell. When she spoke again her voice echoed outward like a beacon in all directions. � I am here ,� she called.

Her heart sank as the seconds passed in silence. � I am here ,� she repeated periodically, but still no reply came.

Her breath grew heavy as she fought back the fear that he had fallen into the numbness of the toxin. Chendrelle reshaped her voice again, encouraging it to be a gigantic storm in his mind and let it build until she could no longer control it. As it burst forth, she strained her voice in a broken plea, � I am here!

I� am� coming ,� he whispered back hoarsely.

His speech was greatly weakened Chendrelle realized, but seemed closer than before. She would need to be cautious of his exertion from this point forward. �I can sense you are weary, but you must push outward now,� she urged. �Give fire to your Qelltalis once more. The others must see it if we are to convince them .�

Simeon�s mind was still and silent for some time before Chendrelle felt his Qelltalis expand slightly. With a deep sigh he began pushing it outward weakly.

Chendrelle changed her spell/song then and modulated the key a half step higher. Slowly she began to build her song in step with Simeon�s expanding Qelltalis, hoping to bring both to a final, magnificent crescendo.

Simeon faltered as the shadows in his mind flung themselves on top of him, halting his progress. He began crawling through them as they came in waves of rabid, festering stench. In time they overcame him, washing over him like a raging sea. The toxin lurked within, sinking its teeth into him as he fought to swim to the surface of the swirling mass.

Chendrelle felt his strength fade as the toxin pulled him into its undertow, driving him deeper and deeper into its depths. Consumed by darkness, Simeon held his final breath and sank slowly into the depths of his mind.

Chendrelle stopped singing her spell/song mid note and pushed her full awareness into Simeon�s mind, unleashing the visions he had burned away before. Her heart lurched at the harm it would cause him, but she knew no other way to bring the fury of his Qelltalis to bear. Outside she heard the laughter of the gathered Fey.

The visions came upon Simeon like tiny motes of light at first, weaving like fireflies in the night. As they grew closer, he began to swim toward them, straining his eyes against their growing light. He exhaled the last of his breath and made one last movement toward them, falling limp with the effort. The visions closed the distance in a flickering torrent, boring holes through the dark ocean that pulled Simeon downward. When they fell upon him he shook violently, ripping the first in half with his hands while his Qelltalis grew hot against the oncoming visions.

Breathe �� Chendrelle said.

Simeon�s Qelltalis erupted finally, sending shattered fragments of light outward, shredding the surrounding visions, darkness, and toxin. Massive gouts of power exploded from Simeon, turning everything around him to cinders. With one final push outward, his Qelltalis became a tsunami of burning light that left nothing in its wake. As it rolled into the distance of his mind, he took in a quick, deep breath and called out to Chendrelle.

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