|Donieal awoke in pitch blackness to the sound of hooves ambling along on a dirt and gravel road. The floor underneath him rumbled and for an instant he wondered why his bed was moving. In an effort to feel around he found his hands tied behind his back, this jolted him out completely out of his fit of grogginess. Straining against his binds he jerked his eyes open wide only to find no light reached him, it was still so dark his eyes may well have stayed shut.
"Good morning Donieal." Don stilled, the blood frozen in his veins. "You've been a very naughty young noble. Hiding your true nature only to run off with your gifts the first chance you got. What were you thinking?" Don wasn't sure how to respond, or even if he should. The Empress' number one mage was speaking to him from beyond the blinding mask he wore as if they were merely out on an afternoon stroll. "It's ok," Berenene continued, "you can speak. I won't put a gagging hex on you unless you find it in your mind to attempt yelling for help. Course that would be futile at this point, we are miles away from Summersea and your precious Winding Circle." For a time there was only silence as Donieal attempted not to panic. Miles away from Winding Circle? How long had he been out? How long had they been on the road? How had she gotten to him? So many questions that wouldn't likely get answered, but there was nothing else to do but try.
"How?" It was all he could manage before a coughing spell racked his body. His throat was so sore, it felt as if he hadn't drank any liquid in over a week. Attempted to lift his head off the floor of what he presumed to be a wooden carriage proved fruitless as well. Barely an inch off the floor and the contents of his stomach made to rebel and his head swam. This was bad, this was very bad.
"I lifted you from your bed and floated your body out the window." She had understood his question and gave some what of an answer at least, though not much of one. Unlike Ken, Berenene was not superfluous in her speech. Every word she said had purpose and more likely as not was spoken in a way that commanded acquiescence. Don was pretty sure even the Empress herself listened to her mage more often than she would publicly admit.
"Why?" Don groaned.
"You know why, don't pretend as if you don't." He did know why, because nearly in her 50s, Berenene was nothing more than a spoiled kid that hated the word "No". The indignity of it all made Don's blood boil. Reaching with his magic he was met with nothing. It was as if he were using defective spark rocks, no fire would catch. "No sense you attempting any of your magic for a while either, I've depleted your stores and placed spells that prevent their regeneration. Once you pledge a blood oath to her Majesty your powers will be restored."
A blood oath!? Such a thing hadn't been done for centuries! She really wanted him that badly? Well he would kill himself first, or make one of them do it, as he wasn't one to take his own life but he would surely throw it away first chance he got. Tris! He didn't expect to get a response, he had been so cruel to her last she had tried to help him.
Where ARE you noodle brain?! The indignant response almost shocked him into sitting up right again.
Tris? Is it really you!?
No, it's your conscious, course it's me. Where. are. you?
I'm not sure, Berenene has me in some horse drawn carriage. She says we're miles from Summersea. She's bound my magic and I feel ill. Don heard the weather mage's mental sigh and felt her smoldering rage. I'm so sorry. I shouldn't have-
Don't, there will be time for apologies later, when you're safe.
But how? I don't even know where I am and I have no magic to see with.
"We can lend you ours," said a regal voice.
"Sandry?" quipped Donieal.
"Yea, guess we can't let the old bag get away with stealing from us. You still have 3 months of my choirs to do bag boy. Where do you think you're going?" A sarcastic voice drawled in addition to Tris and now Sandry's mental connections.
Briar!" Don practically wept with relief. With the three of them perhaps he wasn't lost after all.
"Don't forget me hanky, I'll be a mules horse shoe if I'mma let you get away without finishing that bucket of nails you owe me." Daja. There were no words to express how excited and hopeful he was at hearing her voice. They were all their, he had been such a pain for them and yet they all still came to his rescue. Or attempted rescue, he still wasn't sure how they could get him out of this.
Listen,' came Tris stealy voice 'We are going to feed you our magic, you have to form it and bend it to your will, just as I taught you.' Don nodded, before he realized she couldn't see him. Apparently she understood because she continued. "Sandry, help him with that bag over his head." In his minds eye he saw a golden strand of magic peek out of the darkness towards him. He grasped it and directed it in front of his gaze. A sharp blaze of sunlight peeked in through the new slit he had made in what smelled and looked to be a burlap sack that was over his head. He slowly looked around, he was on the floor of a stately carriage. Berenene was at the other side of the bench seat in front of him. Her hand propped her head as she bored gaze overlook the present scenery.
Green tendrils that bore a ghostly resemblance to thick rose vines snaked into Donieals magical eyesight. Ok, when I say go, began Briar, gather up all the magic I send you and push it into the floor boards. They feel like fresh oak, still rife with their original tree's magic. Don felt the binds at his back give way thanks to Sandry's magic.
I will also lend you some heat to melt the ball bearings of those carriage wheels. Don't want to free you only to get you ran over by that expensive cart in the process. Red heated wire wound itself around Briars plant magic. Don braced his hands on the floorboards beneath him. Ready......NOW! Gathering all the magic they gave him into one powerful fist, Don thrust it outward into the floor, into the doors, the roof, the wheels, everything. He heard the splintering of kindle, felt the melting of iron and he was falling. He tucked his head into his chin, covering his face with his arms and rolled in the opposite direction the carriage had been rolling. After what felt like eternity he came to a stop. Nothing seemed to hurt, still he waited a few seconds before moving his hands from his face and looking out at the wreckage he had wrought. The carriage lay a few hundred feet up the road, nothing more than a smoldering pile of timber and melted metal work. The intricately gilded edging was singed and marred in grotesque fashion. Don managed to get to his feet, surprisingly he wasn't woozy and the world did not attempt to spin over on itself.
A crash of wood and flying debris revealed Berenene. The angry mage spewed forth from the remains of Don's mobile prison like an angry viper. She raised her hands already in the midst of an offensive spell that was sure to be the mother of all hexes. Don made to cover himself instinctively with his hands. Before his arms reached his face he inadvertently shot a thick hot white bolt of lighting out of his fingertips and straight into the chest of one High Royal Mage. Berenenes widened eyes mirrored the shock Don felt. Glassing over in a clear sheen the mage's eyes unfocused and fluttered closed as she fell to the ground, unmoving.
And that, my dear pupil, is doing what needs to be done. Donieal did not respond to Tris' mild mannered assessment. He gazed on the dead mage splayed so carelessly atop the destroyed splendor of her getaway cart. Such a waste. He turned on his heel and began the long trek back home.