Maze of Madness
The Imperial soldiers spread out across the courtyard. Small groups of them went to each hall. They carried swords and pistols. Thomas could see students pulling up protection shields. He could sense other students calling magick to offensive spells.
"This is going to get ugly if no one does anything," Derry said.
"Those fools!" Jasone said. "Don't they realize this Circle can tear them apart?" He draw enough power to throw lightning, but Derry and Alissa threw a protection shield around him.
"Idiot," Derry snapped at Jasone. "That dirigible has cannons and bombs and who knows what else! They'll slaughter us."
Jasone's magick strained against the shield, but Alissa held it steady with almost no effort.
"Derry's right," Glemma said, her face sharper and her voice more focused than Thomas had ever seen. "The Mages might be able to stand up to it if they were prepared, but most of us would die." She looked to the east and raised her hand. "And I can sense at least two more are coming."
Thomas didn't know any Aspirant who could perceive the weather and winds better than Glemma.
"Two more?" Alissa asked. "Why two more? That's enough to kill us several times over..." Her voice trailed away.
Derry, Alissa, and Glemma locked stares. Thomas couldn't follow what they were thinking, and Jasone still strove against the shield currently holding him.
"That's got to be it," Derry said. "We've got to get out of here now!"
The three pushed Thomas into the common room. Alissa dropped the shield on Jasone who fell to the floor with a yelp.
"Pack as quick you can!" Derry said. "Any food, waterskins, warm clothing, weapons. Alissa, bring your healing kit."
"No!" Thomas shouted. "What's going on?" He reached out and flooded the room with magick. Alissa attempted to shield him, but his rage allowed him to top her power. "What's going on? You three know something."
Glemma stepped toward him. "Mage Argent has been secretly organizing a rebellion against the Empire. Several of the other Circles have allied with him. The Imperials must have found out. They'll destroy this Circle, torture us for information, then kill us."
Thomas's head swum. He felt like he had fallen into a bard's tale. He dropped his magick and slumped into a chair. "How do you know this?"
Glemma looked all of them. "Because I was part of it."
Alissa breathed a cry of surprise. Derry didn't move.
"Argent recruited me when I came to this Circle," Glemma said. "And because you're connected with me, they're never going to believe you weren't part of it. If we don't get away right now, we'll be tortured without mercy and killed like vermin."
"Traitors!" Jasone shouted. He stood in the entrance of the balcony, magickal currents swirling around him. "Traitors! You won't take me down with you!"
He blazed power into the room.
The room exploded.
Copyright 2011 by Stephen B. Bagley. All right reserved. No copying without prior express written permission.
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