Derrek wanted to push Deirdre away, but she still had her speed. Within seconds she'd pulled the dagger with her left hand and slashed him just below his arm. She mostly just scratched his leather armor because of the weird position, but she managed to cut his skin a little. The effect of this was that Derrek released her and looked at us with surprise.
Maeve spoke quickly. "Deirdre, stand down."
Derrek looked at her with surprise, Deirdre listened to her though and took a step back. Keeping the sword and her dagger in her hands. The boy looked at all of us in a very distant manner, as if he didn't play any part in this. He didn't even appear particularly troubled by his own actions. Did he just do what they told him and had he no mind of his own?
Derrek scowled at Deirdre. "You'll pay for this."
What surprised me was that the other men didn't dare do anything. Though their swords were drawn by now, they didn't move an inch toward us. They looked agitated though and ready to attack us. The boy, three older looking men and Derrek. Five against two. Not good odds. Not to mention that most of them would know how to use Magic. Probably. The boy, however, looked as smitten as before. He wouldn't be able to fight us if it came to it. Though his dagger was something to watch out for.
Maeve frowned. "You are planning to leave us alive, aren't you?"
Derrek smiled. "Yes. Look at this as the official gauntlet thrown. There will be war, no matter what you do now."
Maeve bowed, if it was sarcastic, it was hard to see. "It seems you really have tried to think of everything."
I wanted to do something to stall for time. Something that might work and give Maeve and Deirdre the chance to prepare something. Of course I would have to think of something as well, but perhaps his response to my idea would give me a hold. It was a bit dangerous, but it might just work. The guy really looked like a gloater.
I spoke hesitantly. "I'm sorry to interrupt, sir Wolfe. I am very curious how that knife works. I have never seen anything like it."
The boy looked at the knife in his hands as if it was the first time he saw it. I was kind of amused to see how Derrek responded to the boy. He wasn't completely heartless, but he appeared kind of disappointed. The boy looked at Derrek questioningly if he should answer or something.
Derrek looked at me judgingly. "You really are intelligent, Taran. I am sure you will join us over time."
He walked to the boy and got the knife. "Do you recognize the gems?"
I nodded. "Yes, Light and Dark gems, alternated."
He smiled. "Yes, as humans are based strongly on both, quite a unique existence in nature. That's why we, the Twilight, are the natural leaders of our kind."
I ignored that last statement. "And the gems destabilize the Magic bond between the elements?"
He nodded. "Indeed. Though it requires some very peculiar type of concentration. Not everyone is able to do it."
In other words, while he was holding the knife, it wasn't as dangerous. I wasn't the only one realizing this, I could feel Deirdre tensing behind me and Maeve making a strange sound. The next few things happened within seconds, but played out so slowly in my mind.
Deirdre attacked with her sword, but she didn't aim for him but for for the dagger he was holding. She hit it hard enough for some of the crystals to shatter (not all of them) and, more importantly, to make a spark.
I concentrated like I'd never done before, willing the spark immediately to grow and grow. To become stronger, a real flame, a real fire. And it worked. With the aid of some wind I pushed the flame towards Derrek and engulfed his head in it. It was no more than just a flash of fire, enough to singe his hair and brows, but not much else.
Enough to distract him.
While I felt faint, Deirdre attacked again. This time aiming for his stomach. He wasn't able to fend her off and, to my surprise, didn't. Instead he aimed for me with the dagger. He stepped past Deirdre's attack mostly, getting a cut in his stomach but nothing too bad, while he made a long slash at me that ripped through my leather easily.
And cut me deeply in my chest.
I heard sounds around me, creatures from the forest kept the other three quite busy. Small birds, moles, squirrels it looked like every small forest creature was attacking them at once. Making it impossible for those to defend themselves. Cuts of beak, teeth and claws all over their exposed skin, clothes being slowly ripped apart.
The pain in my chest burned.
It was only a slash, a deep cut, and I knew he wouldn't have been able to dissolve me the same way the boy did the council members. In fact, the pain helped me to focus, to see everything clearly. It helped me to take everything around me in and judge it.
Because I was angry, very angry.