“Oi Kal, get down!” Smudge shouted in his resonant voice.
Kal threw himself to the ground, pulling Obrin with him and holding the young man’s body down. He heard the distinctive crack whizz of Rena’s Nevarrian thermal rifle. Something hot passed through the air above. Behind him the Githrox shrieked in pain. Kal felt a fierce grin growing on his face. Even the Githrox’s thick, scaly hide couldn’t repel the thermal rifle’s molten projectile.
He glanced up. Rena was reloading her weapon, and Smudge was readying his. He held the massive weapon down by his waist. The gun was like Kal’s pistol, but on a much larger scale. Weapons like it were employed by the city watch to knock down barred doors or make new doors in brick walls. He could fit his fist into the gun’s barrel with room to spare.
Smudge fired. A searing bolt of green lightning sailed overhead. Kal’s hair stood on end. The bolt caught the Githrox in the chest. The force of the blast lifted it off its feet and hurled it backwards. It slammed into the tunnel wall and landed in a heap. Kal leapt to his feet. The auldane was painfully cold against his arm, barely any energy left. He cleared his mind and momentarily pretended the beads around his arm did not exist. His connection to the auldane should have been severed, but the flowing wisps of remaining wieyld called to him, reminding him of the glorious things they could accomplish together. It was true. With Yhavos, he could become anything, shatter any human limit. Kal felt a manic smile grow on his face. He reached to unbuckle his sword belt, relishing the thought of facing the Githrox with his bare hands.
No, NO! He shook himself. He’d drawn too much power, too fast. Those thoughts were not his own, don’t listen. Kal ripped the auldane off his arm and threw it on the ground, instantly severing the flow of weiyld into his body. Not the proper way to do things. The intoxicating feeling of impervious might evaporated as quickly as the weiyld, leaving a howling emotional void in his heart. His vision blurred as he swayed under a sudden wave of dizzy weakness.
Kal fought through the dizziness, collected himself and turned to face the beast. Time to play his last trick. It was dangerous, so soon after almost losing control, but so be it. He reached into his mind and untied the knot of frustration and anger he kept hidden there. Anger at Gara for being stupid enough to capture a Githrox, anger at Torma for kidnapping kids to crew his ship, anger at Obrin for getting mixed up with a crime syndicate and dragging him and his friends into this mess.
He unwound the knot and embraced the feelings that came with it. The weiyld of Yomi, the fourth sun, rushed into his vision. It danced across the tunnel like fire before thundering into him, crying in sorrow, howling in rage and laughing manically all at once. He gasped as a cascade of Yomi’s weiyld rushed to fill the emotional void left by Yhavos. The weiyld coursed through him, tearing at his insides, demanding release. Kal screamed in fury, channeling the searing energy down his arm and out his extended fingertips. It lanced forth in an incandescent red bolt, half fire and half lightning.
The Githrox rose to its feet, roared and prepared to charge. Kal’s bolt struck it, burning and shocking in equal measure. The beast reared in pain and flailed wildly with its claws, ripping long furrows in the stone wall of the tunnel. Smudge finished charging his gun and fired a second shot. The blast caught the Githrox on the flank, driving it to the ground again. Rena fired mere seconds later. The semisolid charge from her rifle slammed into the beast’s head, destroying one of its eyes. The Githrox shrieked in wrath and pushed itself off the floor. It struggled for a moment to gain its balance, but a moment was all Kal needed. He drew in more weiyld and hurled another bolt. It struck home, lighting a patch of the beast’s scales on fire, but still the creature refused to give in. Kal, Rena and Smudge alternated attacks, driving the monster down every time it rose to strike. Kal could feel his reserves waning. The mental numbness attunweiyld called the creeping fatigue was playing at the corners of his mind. He ignored it and threw another blast.
The bolt flew true, and with a final heave the Githrox shuddered, fell to the ground and was still, wisps of smoke rising from its mouth and nose.
It was over. Kal was disappointed. He wasn’t finished destroying yet. Yomi snarled and wept inside his mind. Some smugglers back in the cave might still be alive. The filthy criminals should scream, should die for what they’d done. Kal slammed his fist against the stone wall of the tunnel, red bolts of smoldering lighting crackled across his hand and up his arm. Obrin hadn’t paid for his crimes yet either. Tear him apart!