As I tried desperately to grab Number Three, I realized we only needed the two I already had: one for Miara and one for José. With the power the Crystal gave me, I could simply fly, and Carmella was going to ride a fire elemental down anyway. So, we were suddenly ready. Someone in the courtyard yelled that there was something coming up the stairs, and Jason moved to meet it. Prestley and the monks were rolling barrels of wine to the stairs and dropping them down.

José placed his owlhead staff on the roof with care and murmured a prayer over it. Miara whispered something, eyed the elemental nearest her, braced herself, and then her eyes rolled up in her head and she hit the roof, unconscious. Seeing the blood all over her, I was surprised she made it that far. Now I actually had an extra elemental, but there were only three of us to find and attack the mage: Carmella, slight and delicate with no training or ability in physical fighting at all; José, a rather frail elderly monk; and me, with some rudimentary training in basic self-defense which would help me not at all against even one orc, let alone an army. The most important thing, I thought, was to keep the two zoggin rocks out of the hands of the orcs: when all was lost, Carmella and I would each take an elemental and go far away as fast as possible.

Number One enveloped José, and dropped like a rock over the wall. I flew down swiftly, keeping up with him, and Carmella stepped into a fire elemental and dropped down the wall, remaining in contact with it. I told the other elemental to follow us down, and it did.

José's eyes were wide inside the elemental, but he relaxed when it started to slow down. I stopped us about 25 yards above the ground, and José and I looked around at the army below. I had brought us about 100 yards away from the tower-topped spire so we could see everything, but Carmella had stayed glued to the rock. She simply started throwing fireballs around her at the base of the spire, creating a large disturbance. I couldn't see anything in the army: it just looked like a bunch of orcs and goblins milling around. But José apparently saw something in the chaos, and swept his arm back towards the tower. His mouth moved, but I couldn't hear anything. I moved us forward, watching him closely, and when he signalled to stop, I did so.

He started casting some sort of spell, and I looked to where he'd pointed while he was busy. I could see what he had seen: there was some sort of large hole, maybe four orcs wide, and orcs were funneling into it as fast as they could. Beside the tunnel, not moving into it, was a tight group of about 15 orcs, all facing outward. I thought that was probably our target.

José made a throwing motion, and a fireball exploded in the small group. Then he started casting another spell, and I realized I could do something with the second air elemental I'd brought with us. I told it to go attack the small group, and it did so.

They fought it, but it definitely caused plenty of damage and chaos, and kept them busy, as well. Suddenly, I was hit by several large rocks from below. Some orcs had thrown them at us. A little woozy, I flew close to the air elemental, which had completely protected José from the rocks, and put it between me and the orcs on the ground. I glanced at Carmella, who was easily holding off the orcs and goblins attacking her — the fire elemental was protecting her as well. She was causing plenty of confusion with the fireballs she kept lobbing around her.

José let loose another fireball, and started to cast another one. I peeked around again, and noticed that we were actually accomplishing something. José's fireballs and the air elemental were causing plenty of damage. The orcs were carefully managing a retreat to the tunnel. We stayed where we were, about 48 yards away. José threw another fireball at them. It was hard to tell in all the confusion, but it looked like several orcs were on the ground, not moving.

Most of them slipped finally into the tunnel, shoving their way through the others. José and I looked at each other and shrugged. We had the same question and the same answer, although we couldn't communicate beyond gestures: do we let them go and stay safe out here, or do we follow them in? We started to move towards the tunnel. In for a lamb, in for a sheep. I waved my arms around wildly, hoping Carmella would see and come with us, but I couldn't see what she was doing.

The air elemental had started to follow our target group into the tunnel, but was being held up in the mouth by a rear guard. The orcs who had been filing into the tunnel milled around outside it, neither fighting the elemental, nor running away.

We got to the wall, and I took us down to about 15 feet from the ground. José started another spell, and as I waited, an earth elemental appeared at the tunnel entrance, and attacked my air elemental. The fight was spectacular, winds whipping dirt and debris everywhere.

José dripped a drop of something from a vial onto the ground, and suddenly the orcs below us all fell down and couldn't get back up again, as though the ground were coated with oil. It didn't affect the elementals, who continued their incredible battle.

The orcs outside the tunnel were still just standing around, and had also given up throwing rocks at us. José slowly turned towards them and dramatically pointed at them. That threat was enough to completely unnerve them, and they started to run away. I giggled at the sight of the frail and elderly monk frightening an army just by pointing at them.

José and I both motioned wildly at Carmella, who finally started moving towards us. The orcs and goblins she had been fighting had backed off and were running away from her. As she came closer, I could see it was more than the simple chaos of fireballs raining down on them: Carmella stood within the ball of fire that was the fire elemental, her eyes gleaming redly, her very hair blazing with fire, flames leaping all around her. She was a fright.

José and I waited for a few moments for Carmella to join us, and we watched the elementals battle beneath us. I was certain my air elemental would fail first, since it had already been fighting before the earth elemental appeared. I readied myself to conjure up another one to keep the earth elemental busy while the three of us tried once again to reach the mage. I hoped there was only one mage in there.

Ravenna, A Monk of the Biancan Order

Part the First:
Blood and Mud

Part the Second:
Murder and Mayhem

Part the Third:
Puzzles and Crystals

Part the Fourth:
Dwarves and Rocks

Part the Fifth:
Diplomacy and Daggers

Part the Sixth:
Crystal and Chaos

Part the Seventh:
Sheer Insanity

~ The End ~