The teens and adults find themselves in a pitched battle with Deidrich and his familiars. He is able to call up creatures from nothing, using them as weapons against the others. Things take a turn when Deidrich turns himself into a huge, black buffalo.
The buffalo snorted, his focus switching to Jordan. Another evil smile twitched the snarling lips as he took her measure.
“I’m not afraid of you, Deidrich,” she yelled. Squaring her shoulders, she stared the beast down.
Brian crouched, ready for the charge he knew was coming. Jordan didn’t move. Her dark hair whipped around her head as the wind rose. Brian could see her speaking, her lips forming words he couldn’t hear. The wind whirled around her, growing stronger, moving determinedly toward Deidrich’s buffalo form.
The ground beneath the beast rumbled. Deidrich lost his footing as the earth undulated. The wind trapped him, bearing down on him as it spun and whirled. The earth rose, shackling his feet. Deidrich shuddered, snorting. The wind lessened and the earth receded. Jordan took a step closer. Brian joined her, taking one of her hands. His voice joined hers and the wind renewed its strength.
The birds and bats left off attacking the others, changing the focus of their attention to Jordan and Brian. A wall of fire sprung up between them and the pair of teenagers. It circled the birds, trapping them, squeezing in on them. The bats flew upward, scattering as the flames engulfed the birds.
From the woods behind them, a sparkling net ascended, trapping the bats in its glittering blue mesh. A hard tug brought them down as it tightened around them.
Brian saw his parents and Jordan’s rallying. The other teenagers joined hands in a line as the adults formed a circle. Andre took Maribelle’s hand and another wall of flames rose up and started moving toward the buffalo.
Other people joined the battle, surging out of the woods. Adults stepped into the circle, teenagers joined the line that now extended to Jordan and Brian. Boldly, Chase stepped forward, grabbing Jordan’s hand.
Deidrich’s eyes raked the clearing, taking in the details. His imps were crushed, his birds and bats gone. He was stuck in the buffalo form until the battle was determined. It would take too much time and energy to change. He had the choice to stand and fight or retreat.
The two impulses raged within him. They were strong and growing stronger by the second. His strength was diminished with the ending of his minions. With a snort, he lowered his head, drawing energy from the depths of the earth. The humans controlled elements, but so did he.
Stones shifted, earth rumbled, under their feet. Jordan lost her concentration when a hole opened in front of her. She lost her balance and fell several feet before Chase and Brian were able to pull her back up. With a thought, she sealed the hole beneath her, finding firmer footing.
“Earth elementals,” she cried. “Hear me! Don’t answer his call. Answer mine. He would use and destroy you. Look how his minions fared against us! Join me! Fight!”
Earth shifted slightly and Jordan felt energy from the ground swell inside her, filling her with the strength to do battle. Others around her felt the difference and she knew instinctively that the were also Earth Wielders.
Maribelle Casey struggled to her feet, calling on the water elementals. Jackie called to the wind. Brian’s voice rose above them all, calling fire to him. His body shook and he roared with pain as flames surged from inside him. They burst from his chest, blasting Deidrich like a furnace.
The water rose, forming another glittering blue mesh. It hovered above the glade. The earth rose around the demonic buffalo, trapping it as the fire did its work. Air whipped at the flames, feeding them to a blazing frenzy.
Brian’s hand slipped from Jordan’s. He walked closer to Deidrich, hands outstretched. He grabbed the horns of the buffalo, the fire still billowing from him.
Deidrich lunged. The ground beneath them opened as the water descended, hissing on the flames. The net fell apart before it reached Deidrich. The wind stilled, but the ground continued to rumble. With a groan, the earth shifted once more. Deidrich lunged, goring Brian with his horn. Together, beast and boy fell into the ground. The hole sealed itself, pulling Brian into the gloom.
“Nooooooooooooo!” Jordan wailed. Falling to her knees, she clawed at the dirt. “Brian! Brian!” Screaming and babbling, she dug with her hands, but there was no sign of the hole that had swallowed her friend and Deidrich.
Weeping uncontrollably, Jordan gasped. She couldn’t continue. Her strength was gone. Jackie rushed over to her, taking her daughter in her arms. Maribelle Casey crawled to the spot where her only son had disappeared. Miles came after her, cradling his arm. Heath Barrett joined his wife and daughter.
© 2016 Dellani Oakes
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