Before the two could speak more the sound of hoofbeats on the ground disturbed them, and Rafel looked up. Pasha and Toresh were racing towards them, and he stood hurriedly, reaching to catch Pasha’s reins. He only paused a moment before urging Tirena into the mare’s saddle. “Hurry! We must get back to the stronghold!”
Tirena did as she was told, letting him boost her up almost unladylike, then shrieked as he slapped the mare on the flank, sending her galloping towards the walls. “Rafel! What is wrong?” she cried, but he did not reply. She clung tightly to Pasha, trusting the mare to bring her back to the stronghold and hoping that Rafel was not far behind her.
He was not, however. Despite Toresh’s annoyed whinnying, Rafel remained on the ground with one hand on the hilt of a broad curved blade, peering at the treeline. Briefly he looked in the direction he had sent Tirena, only to mutter under his breath. “I sent you home, lesha!” he hissed.
“I will not abandon you to whatever danger you are staring at.”
Rafel growled. “You should ..”
She cut him off then. “I am witken, and more than that, a sorceress. More than that, I am the clanlord’s daughter. You will not send me away.”
He could only stare at her at first, then he grinned. She truly was her father’s daughter. “Yes, doma-sha,” he conceded, gesturing then to the figures approaching. “Four men, with weapons but little armor. They are riding hard, and have been for some time,” he explained. “They come for you Tirena. What do you propose we do?”
It took a moment for her to see the figures approaching, and her fright was evident on her face. She looked to the horses, then to Rafel, then back again to the raiding party. “They won’t find me,” she said simply, and closed her eyes. “They won’t find anything.”
Rafel was startled by the wave of power he felt wash through him. He looked first to Tirena, then towards the figure who approached. At first, nothing happened. Rafel feared perhaps her ability, unharnessed as it was, had failed her and prepared himself to protect his Lord’s daughter. As he watched, though, he saw true evidence of Tirena’s power. He heard the dull rumble as much as he felt it, like the earth itself had roared, and then the men approaching simply fell into the earth as it opened up under their horses’ hooves.
Tirena seemed as startled by the result of her will as Rafel was, and she stepped back slightly, only to be nudged by Pasha, and she gasped. “I didn’t … did I?” she asked.
“It would appear, my daughter, that you did.” Talven’s voice was stern, and at the sharpness in his tone Rafel turned and moved to one knee. “Dom Talven, I tried to send her…”
The clanlord chuckled and nodded, cutting Rafel off. “I know. It is clear my daughter has much of her mother in her,” he said, looking out to the chasm she had created. “Much of her, in fact. Did you know you could do that Tirena?”
She looked to her father and shook her head. “No father. Not exactly, I mean. I’ve been able to make things happen before, but never exactly how I imagine it.”
“And did this happen as you imagined it, my daughter?”
Tirena considered that. “Almost. I didn’t think the earth would swallow them up, but I wished that they would never be seen again.”
Rafel and Talven shared a look, then the clanlord laughed. “You are very much my Eiren’s child. But come, we should get you home.”