This was the second time in the same day when Jack experienced a blackout. Though, perhaps this could be more accurately described as a whiteout. The general effects of it were similar. Whether the experience was characterized by a lack of stimuli or an overabundance of them, Jack couldn’t hear anything for a few seconds and had to blink out the spots in his eyes for a few seconds more.
The only thing he felt clearly was a sudden tremor on the ground. When he managed to get his bearings and was able to see more than fuzzy shapes, he noticed the ogre had collapsed in front of himself and Brom. It must have missed them by inches, as its head was now just at Jack’s feet.
But where’s Mrk?
The brave ratling had downed the ogre. But the explosion must have blown him apart too, for there was no sign of him anywhere near the prone monster’s body. Jack didn’t spot it until he saw Moran vaulting over the wall and running at full sprint towards… something.
Only then did Jack see it. His blood ran could. He could spot Mrk’s characteristic robe on the ground, but it was tattered. Burning. A faint trail of smoke was lazily spiraling up from it. Mrk must have been blown away by at least fifteen feet to have made it that far.
Instantly, he started running, the sound of footsteps behind him telling him that Brom was on his tail. By the time they arrived, Moran was just sitting there. Staring.
“What are you doing? Heal him!”
“There’s no more potions, I’ve used them all on Ava. But-“
“No ‘but’. Use the ointments. Whatever’s left!”
“Jack.” Brom said.
Jack didn’t want to listen to Brom. He didn’t want to look at Mrk. He wanted something to be done.
“Jack” a new voice sounded.
Unbelievingly, Jack stared away from Moran and found Mrk to be… not in the best of shapes, but alive. And mostly unharmed too. His robe was a smoking mess, but the ratling looked like he was just shaken by the fall.
“Mrk! You’re alive!” Jack cheered. “…how are you alive? Doesn’t matter, does anything hurt?”
“Everything hurts.” The ratling wheezed. “But… bruises. Only bruises, I thinks. Nothing broken.”
Moran instantly started applying one of the last healing ointments on Mrk’s body. Jack turned to Brom, to take in his condition, but the dwarf silently shook his head. They were all bruised, but Mrk was bruised the most. Better that he receive the most healing they could afford to give.
Small footsteps made them turn around and see Ava, tiredly making her away to them.
“So, I see you beat the ogre while I was out. And judging by the smell in the air, only Mrk got fried for it.”
“That’s the thing.” Jack said. “Mrk’s not fried at all. Mrk, how are you ok? That blast of flame nearly blinded me. I thought you’d have no fur left after that stunt you pulled.”
The ratling was still too dizzy to stand, but was now slowly sitting up.
“Jack dropped this, when Jack got hit. Mrk took. Wanted to give, then remember is good with fire. Mrk thought better me with this to take ogre on, than anyone.”
The ratling was pointing at his wrist, where a bracelet was placed. Jack’s bracelet. Or better said, Louis’s bracelet. The same one Jack had won from the entitled brat, after their mock-duel. What had he said about it? That his mother gave it to him. And that it had an enchantment… that protected the user from fire.
“That’s some quick thinking you did, Mrk. My congratulations, on both your plan and your victory.” Brom said proudly.
“Mrk not think plan. Mrk just… has idea.”
“Then it was a good idea.” Jack laughed.
“So, uh, now what?” Moran asked.
“Now, we take five. I think we could all use a break.”
The four sat down next to Mrk, taking a small breather before going on with their mission. They had just fought an ogre and won. Not only won, they killed it. Without any of them dying. That was quite a feat for the first mission of such a rag-tag team of adventurers.
They did a quick check of what resources they had left and found that they only had half of a healing cream. Brom eventually accepted that he should use it on his more major bruises. What they still had in full, though, were their stamina potions. Since there was no time for a quick nap, they drunk them like the potions were the nectar of the gods. And given how refreshed it made them feel, that might have very well been a component of the elixirs.
“So, the way I see it, we’ve lost all of our potions. We feel okay for now, both fresh and healed, but we can’t get through another fight.” Said Jack. “Mrk, you said you saw nothing else in the manor, but if there is something hiding there, I propose we just leave.”
There were glum looks all around, but nobody disputed that. It sucked to have come all the way here and fought and ogre on top of it all, just to turn around. But they knew their limits.
“Kind of depressing to have nothing so show for it.” Ava said, looking at the downed corpse.
“I mean, we could still sell the head of it.” Moran said.
When they all shot him questioning looks, he clarified.
“That’s how adventurers do it. My father told me. Take a trophy of the monster and give it in at an Adventurer’s guild for a reward.”
“Think there was a reward on that thing?” Jack asked.
Moran shrugged, but Brom answered.
“Even if there isn’t, monster parts sell for quite a bit. Elia did the same with the monsters in Helmrest. I imagine such guilds do the same.”
“But… do you think they’re any guilds like that anywhere around here? No offence, but this area seems pretty… rural.” Ava said.
“I guess if we can’t find any, we can just give to Elia. She’ll find a way to sell it.”
The thought of a reward, even a partial one cheered them up a little. The coin would probably not be much, but it was more about the recognition of their act which they appreciated.
“Then that is settled. Now, as Jack said, we are out of potions of any kind. Out of those clay spheres too.” Brom said.
“Too bad. Remind me to ask Elia about them next time. They would majorly improve my arrows.” Ava grinned.
“Noted. As far as weapons go, Jack’s shield was broken, but I see no other losses. How many arrows do you have left?”
“I’d say… twenty? I can probably recover a few more from the ground.”
“I see. Then, I believe we are in enough of a fighting force to at least enter the manor. Even if something is waiting for us there, we should be able to make a fighting retreat.”
“Brom always cheerful.” Mrk muttered, but there was amusement in his tone.
They got up after that and started making their way across over the hill and towards the manor. Jack stayed behind, though, just a little. He had greeted the young man badly, perhaps for a good reason, but he still did it. Now… three of his friends owed their health if not more to him. Jack did too.
“Yes Jack?” Moran startled.
“You did good. Really good. I know we got off to a bad start, but I just wanted to thank you for what you did. You helped us, you really did.”
“Oh, uh, thanks!” he grinned.
“By the way, if something else happens, it’s probably best that you stay back.”
“Oh, you don’t have to tell me twice.”
Laughing, they made their way to catch up to the others. The party crested the hill and, just as they expected, they came in full view of the manor. It was old. Even Jack could tell that. And not by comparing current architectural styles to the one they saw represented in the manner the manor was built. None of them could do that, with the possible exception of Brom, who’s dwarf related knowledge probably touched on stone cutting styles.
No, they saw that the manor was visibly old, simply by observing how moss had grown on most of the exterior walls or how the windows had no glass remaining, though it obviously possessed the material before. The ‘lawn’ had overgrown to the point of becoming a miniature forest. The roof of it was mostly caved in and though the entire thing was built in stone, certain parts of the wall had caved in or out as well, revealing parts of the interior.
The building was three stories high, but the ground floor looked to be about half as tall as any of the other two stories. There was no clear entrance on the side they were facing, so they had to go around. They were moving slowly, cautious of the possible creatures hiding in the grass, but they were still taking it all in. This… was very far off from a dungeon, but it still made them feel like proper adventurers.
It was only after they made it to the other side of the manor that they found their entrance. Along with what can only be called an ogre’s ‘home’.
“Oh, wow. This stinks!” Ava said, a little green in the face.
The ogre’s home was just a massive tent, crudely sewn together, held up by massive wooden pillars. It was anchored by two pillars on one side and the stone ornaments right above the manor’s door on the other. There was a makeshift bed there, which consisted of nothing more than ripped out hides. Which may have come from all the half-eaten animal carcasses rotting around.
That was gruesome, but interesting in a way. What made the place disgusting though, was the fact that the ogre had apparently used the entire place as its bathroom, not caring about the smell or… looks of it all.
Slowly, and stepping carefully, the group approached the door.
It was wooden and tall, though not tall enough for the ogre to casually walk through. Most importantly, it was painted with the same kind of sigils that adorned the ogre’s body.
“I don’t get it. Why not just make its lair inside the manor?” asked Jack. “It looks big enough.”
The others shrugged, while Brom simply inspected the door and its sigils. Finally, he reached a tentative conclusion.
“This door is warded. Not by the ogre, it looks like it had been enchanted to resist forced entry. These sigils… I believe they are a crude form of magic. One that leeched power from the door and… presumably gave it to the ogre.”
“Ogre not use magic.” Mrk said. “Not that Mrk sees.”
“I have heard that some ogres can use magic. Shamanism, I think. But no. What it did here is cruder. These sigils provided the ogre with sustenance. Enough that it could live here, supplementing what little prey it could catch.”
“So… the ogre ate magic?” Jack asked.
“…for lack of a better term.”
“Alright, that’s very interesting, but if we stay here any longer, you’ll see me get vomit on my fur.” Ava complained. “How do we get in?”
“Can we get in? I mean, the ogre couldn’t.” Moran reasoned.
The dwarf stroked his beard while thinking.
“Hmmm. Perhaps. The ogre is now dead. What little magic flowed from the door to it should have returned. And yet, I can barely feel it.”
“Could you feel it normally?” Jack asked. “I mean, you’re not a magic user… I think.”
“I am not.” Brom laughed. “But I have been taught many things in my dwarfhold. Not enough to practice them, but enough to know what I see.”
“Alright, changed my mind. I’m not vomiting on myself, I’m vomiting on you!”
The threat was a feeble one, but Ava was looking quite green. So, Brom laid out his plan.
“The door had resisted the ogre before, but whatever it did weakened it. I don’t believe it could withstand much damage as it is now. A combined attack might work. Jack, does your |Eye for Flaw| Skill reveal any weakness?”
“Uhm, one second. Not much, but I can see what you mean. This door looks sturdy.” He said, eyeing the door with his Skill. “The only weak spot I see is… there! The hinges.”
“Thought so. Ava, we’ll both focus on the left side hinges. Use your Skill on the upper one. I’ll attempt to destroy the lower one.”
She didn’t waste time. With a suppressed belch, she drew her arrow and took aim.
Both hinges were hit at almost the same time and with a satisfying snap, the metal broke and fell to pieces. Brom’s instinct was right. The magic had faded, at least to the point that though it was still enveloping the doors themselves, it no longer extended to secondary parts like the hinges.
Of course, that still left the one wooden door out of the pair which no longer had any supports. It swayed and with a loud creak that sounded like a wounded animal came crashing down, narrowly missing Brom.
The party was stopped from admiring the view inside by Ava rushing in.
“The room itself could still have been warded.” Brom chided her.
“I’ll take punishment for fresh air every day.” She grinned.
They made their way inside and found themselves… disappointed. Oh, the room was big enough, with a stone stairway going to the upper levels. But it looked deserted. For good reason, fair enough, but nothing inside it looked valuable. It seemed whoever owned it took any meaningful possessions with them when they left, leaving behind only once valuable furniture, that had since decayed and rotted.
“So. Not what I was expecting. Think we could carry the door and make a selling of off that?” Jack asked.
“Unlikely. It is heavy. And the weak enchantment on it is not worth buying.”
They explored the ground floor, but found nothing worthwhile. After wandering around for a minute or two, they regrouped to talk things out.
“Right, so there’s nothing on this floor, but it’s almost impossible we’re not going to find any loot. We’ll look through the other two floors as well.” Jack said.
“Indeed. I have little hope of finding an armory anymore, since it would have been most likely placed on this floor, but perhaps we should focus on finding locked rooms. There is still a chance the owner had to leave in haste and locked a room for future recovery of their goods. If we’re lucky, they never came back to claim them.” Brom said.
“Right. Here’s to finding fortune in others’ misfortune.”
They all trounced up the stairs and split up. Jack found himself wandering from room to room, not seeing anything really valuable. Perhaps some of the sheets and curtains could be reused, but he didn’t think the resale value would be all that high. He was starting to be paranoid at the thought that he was missing some… magical… hard to spot item, because his magical knowledge wasn’t as good as Brom’s.
And I’m the one with the Spells.
Mrk’s voice woke him up from his daydream.
“Everyone! Here! I find locked room.”
He followed his voice and they all gathered on the third floor, in front of a leather cushioned door, looking surprisingly well-kept in comparison to everything else they’ve seen.
“Nice door.” Ava said. “I guess this is where we find what we were after?”
“If no one else has found anything of interest?” Brom asked.
No one else said anything, so they turned their gazes to the door.
“Is it warded, like the other one?” Jack asked.
“I don’t… feel anything. But that does not make it a certainty.”
“Mrk tired. I says we just break it.”
To Jack’s surprise, Brom agreed.
“I think we should too. We have no magic users among us.” He said, shooting Jack an apologetic look. “It is the only approach we may use. I will use my Skills. Everyone, stand back.”
They did and Brom lifted his axe and shield.
“|Quick Swing|” he said.
The crash came down on the door, even as he spoke again.
His shield raised instantly, but nothing met it. No magical effect activated and his axe cleaved right through the door’s handle and lock. A kick from the dwarf opened it and that was when their jaws dropped.
“Jackpot!” Ava grinned.
“I feel like I should take offense to that.” Jack distractedly said.
The five stared inside the room. It must have been the lord’s personal chamber, for there was a plethora of items inside it, both magical and not. There was an expensive looking desk standing next to a disused fireplace. Its top was full of scrolls, books and a leather pouch. A pair of windows cast light on the opposite wall, at the bottom of which lay a closed trunk. Above it stood a weapon stand, not fully stocked, but with a few weapons placed there. A clothes hanger stood in the corner, something that looked like a cloak being draped over it.
But the best thing, the very thing which made their chins still aim for the ground was the glow in the room. It didn’t take magical sight or magical knowledge of any kind to know that at least some of these items were enchanted. The soft, hazy, multicolored glow that lit up the room all but confirmed it.
And the object emanating most of the light was a set of armor, set in a depression in the wall itself, right behind the desk. It positively gleamed and the armor looked polished, like it hadn’t been abandoned here to gather dust for who knew how long.
“Mrk sees magic. Sees magic.”
“Yeah… it’s awesome.” Moran said. “I didn’t know magical items looked like that.”
“They don’t.” Brom said. “The room itself must be enchanted to highlight magic. Most likely a vanity thing.”
“Well, I like it.” Ava said, eyes gleaming. “So, do we carry it all downstairs? Is it safe?”
“I don’t know.” The dwarf pondered. “If any item shows any adverse reaction, drop it and run. Warn the others too. I propose we start of methodically and…”
Brom sighed as he saw his speech being wasted on deaf ears. All of them but Moran had already started to grab and look at the loot in the room, glowing or not.
“Or we could just grab them.” He muttered.
They all gravitated to what they found most interesting. Ava had almost teleported to the weapons stand, staring at a well-made bow, complete with a quiver. Jack and Mrk were by the desk, one handling the scrolls and the other grabbing the pouch. Brom resigned himself to the current situation and went over to the chest, thinking that would be where most of the most valuable loot would be stored.
“Gold! Everyone, pouch has gold!” Mrk exclaimed.
To their surprise, the medium-sized pouch held a not medium amount of gold coins. Mrk was taking entire handfuls out of it and laying them on the desk.
“How is that even possible?” Jack asked.
“Oh, I’ve heard about that! It’s bigger on the inside than on the outside, right?” Ava asked. “I once saw a quiver like that.”
“It’s most likely a Bag of Holding. A staple of those who can afford them.”
“Neat!” Jack grinned. “Uh, by the way, I can’t tell what these scrolls are. Other that some of them are magical.”
“Put them in the bag, along with the coins.” Brom said. “If it looks like it can’t fit any more, don’t force it. We don’t want to break it.”
Brom took a final look around the room, before coming to a decision.
“Everyone, listen. I know the temptation is to stop and stare, but we none of us know magic. Sorry, Jack. We wouldn’t be able to tell what most of these items do and just swinging the weapons around would be foolish. I propose we take what we can carry back to Helmrest and let Elia sort them out.”
“Yeah, I agree with Brom.” Jack said. “It’s fun, but we’re playing with things that might be dangerous. I’ve placed every scroll and coin in the pouch. The weapons won’t fit though. Maybe that chest is bigger on the inside too?”
“I don’t think so. That would make it… a treasure on its own. Still, perhaps there is a chance.”
To their slight disappointment, once they opened the chest, they found that the chest was not a ‘chest of holding’, if that was even a thing. It was, however, full of potions and it also had a slightly smaller pile of silver coins as well.
Jack felt a little down, before he mentally slapped himself.
What am I thinking? This I already far more loot than we could have hoped for.
“Alright, so we can’t stuff them in the chest. Maybe wrap them in that cape over there? They’d be easier to carry.” he said.
“I could carry the bow.” Ava hopefully said. “You know, so there’d be less weight to carry. …no? Fine.”
They split the weight and carried them downstairs, out of the mansion. They listened to Ava’s pleas, though, and deposited the loot far away from the stench. However, there was one last thing that they didn’t carry, given that they were overburdened already.
“You know,” Jack said “we took mostly everything. Mostly. But everyone saw that suit of armor, right?”
“Mrk see it. Mrk thinks is heavy.”
“I agree.” Brom said. “Yet I also think it would be quite valuable. I thought about it and I’ve come to think that the glow of objects in that room reflected their magical properties.”
“Oh. Oh! So that means the armor is the most magical thing in there, right?” Ava asked.
Brom nodded and the group shared a look. What they had now would be difficult to carry. Difficult, but not impossible. However, add the armor to the pile and they might not be able to drag all of it back to Helmrest.
“Here’s what I think we could do. Moran can carry the bag of holding. I can carry the weapons wrap. Brom and Mrk could carry the chest. And that leaves Ava free to… maybe carry the armor?”
“Wh-“ she spluttered. “That thing looks heavier than me! I’m a Satyr, not an ox.”
“Sorry, didn’t intend to imply you could carry more than a human-“
“I can. I think. What? That doesn’t mean I need to carry that much.”
“Perhaps the armor is enchanted to be lightweight.” Brom interrupted the childish display.
Ava was still looking doubtful, so he sighed internally and added something to sweeten the deal.
“And you could also carry the bow.”
“Deal!” she said and raced back in the manor.
“She is a lot more cheerful than when we first met her.” Jack observed.
“I says, to be fair, we not try to kill her now.” Mrk added.
They left Moran to guard the loot, with instructions to shout if anything or anyone approached. Once they got back to the room, they found Ava unsuccessfully trying to yank the armor out of the wall. She had her hoof propped up, pulling with both hands and everything.
“Guys! It’s. Not. Working!” she grunted.
“It is most likely enchanted to stay there.” Brom tried to be helpful.
“So how do we get it out?” she asked.
“We break the enchantment.”
Jack, Mrk and Ava turned to stare at the normally tactful dwarf.
“Uh, Brom? Are you sure that’s safe? I mean, you’re the one who said we should be careful with these magical things.” Jack asked.
“I did. I still believe so. But as we do not know the mechanism of release, the only way to get it out is to break the enchantment holding it there.”
It was true Brom was the one most inclined to be rational in their little group. However, he was also a dwarf. And dwarfs loved metal. Fashioned metal, like the one in front of him, even more. Enchanted fashioned metal? The ancient affliction of dwarfs was there in his mind, whispering sweet promises.
“Right. Then, how to we break it?” Jack asked.
Ava already had an arrow knocked.
“We break the wall.” She happily replied.
“Not the wall.” Brom said. “If you look carefully, there is a mantelpiece beneath it. I believe that is what holds the magic.”
“Got it!” Ava said, aiming.
“Wait! Brom, is there anything dangerous that might happen?” Jack asked.
He didn’t like the gleam he saw in his friend’s eyes.
“A… magical backlash perhaps? I admit I am not an expert.”
“Alright. Brom, you guard Ava with your shield. Mrk, you and I will take cover behind the desk. And Ava, if anything happens after you break it, we all run for the door, got it? We got what we came here for, this armor isn’t worth any of our lives.”
They nodded and moved. Once everyone was in position, Ava drew, nocked and spoke.
Her arrow burrowed itself in the stone and cracked it. There was a tremor in the room and the mantelpiece glowed bright for a second, before the crack spread and it fractured to pieces. The armor itself collapsed unceremoniously on the floor.
“Hah!” Ava grinned.
But both her and their satisfaction was short lived. Just a moment after the armor hit the floor, it started glowing a bright blue.
“Mrk not thinks this good.”
The pile of armor pieces started trembling and a glowing translucent sphere, bright blue as well, manifested around the armor and started growing.
“Run!” Jack yelled.
They made for the door, only to find that it was closed and locked.
Brom’s axe hit the same place it hit before, but the door refused to budge. They kicked it, rammed against it, but nothing happened. They didn’t even manage to leave a dent on it. All the while, the sphere was increasing in size.
“It’s an anti-thievery enchantment. Placed on both the armor and the room. I… I did this. I am sorry-“ Brom said.
“Not the time, Brom.” Ava said. “How do we get out?”
Mrk got close to the sphere and hit it with his knife. His knife went right through, but once his slash went deep enough that the veil of magic touched his hand, he yelped and drew back. They could all see the burn marks on his fingers.
“It passes through everything, but flesh. And flesh it burns.” Brom clarified.
“Fuck. |Ensnaring Vines|!”
There was nothing to ensnare, but Jack was desperate. His vines manifested, growing out of the stone floor, but once they touched the sphere, they were incinerated. Jack’s hand also developed a slight burn.
“Works against magic too.” He darkly said.
“Skills might work. But we’d need to target the spell anchor.” Brom said.
“The place where the spell is coming from?” Ava asked.
“It’s one of the broken mantelpieces.” She pointed
Seeing their questioning looks, she continued.
“I’ve got |Enhanced Vision|! I can see it through the glow.”
“How we breaks it?” Mrk asked. “Ava need time for Skill, no?”
“…yeah.” She said despondently, before clenching her jaw. “Guys, make it to the far side of the room. I’m the only one who can see it and… I’ve got a trick. Like a Skill. I think I can use it, but I need to get near.”
“But you’ll burn! Can’t you use your- your trick from here?” Jack asked.
“It doesn’t always work!” Ava snapped. “I think it only works when I’m in danger.”
“You’re in danger now!”
“I know, I… look, I don’t know if I can do this. But I need to try.” She said.
The plan was borderline suicidal. Not even borderline, really. Jack thought about it all. He didn’t have any Skill he could use. No ‘trick’ either. He didn’t have anything.
But… I don’t have anything. They do. And I have them.
“Wait, Brom you said Skills will work, right?”
“I… I think they will.”
“Good. Use your shield Skill to make a hole in the sphere. Even if it doesn’t work, protect Ava.”
“But I don’t know if it’ll work if I’m protected-“
“I am not letting you put yourself in harm’s way. Brom will be in danger if your trick doesn’t work. All of us will be. Will that be enough?”
She looked at him for a second, with a distant look in her eyes. She nodded, but said nothing.
“You are one of us now, Ava. We don’t abandon our own.”
She startled, but Jack continued hurriedly. They already retreated near the windows, but the sphere was still growing.
“Brom, you use your Skill. Ava, try to use your trick. Mrk, if it doesn’t work… or even if it does, use your Skill. |Scurried Steps|. Try and drag them back.”
“I not knows if Skill works with others, Jack.” The ratling fearfully said.
They were all at the end of their endurance. Jack came up with the plan, but it was a last-ditch effort. He didn’t know if it would work, he only hoped. Mrk looked tense and afraid. Brom was grim and Ava was positively trembling.
Still. They had a plan. They had to act on it.
“Alright. Now!” Jack screamed.
Brom’s Skill worked, at least in the sense that when his Skill enhanced shield hit the glowing sphere, a piece of it dissolved. But in the very next second it started growing again. Slowly, but surely.
Ava took aim, arrow drawn back. Jack didn’t know if her ‘trick’ would be a hated Skill or a piece of magic from her people. He didn’t know and he didn’t care. He only wanted it to work.
She was murmuring something. It sounded like a prayer.
The gap on the sphere was almost closed when she yelled.
“I have a family again and I will not let them die too! Just fucking WORK!”
Jack didn’t know what he saw. One second Ava was desperately yelling at no one in particular, the next she was holding a luminescent bow and arrow, glowing like the moon itself. She seemed… different. A ghostly afterimage was interposed on her. Her hair was longer and shinier and her horns were longer and… curved?
He didn’t have more than a second to observe, because her arrow flew and with a loud crack the sphere stopped growing. The gap had closed, but Mrk had managed to pull them back in time, before they could get burned.
A second of silence reigned, before they started laughing, Ava most of all.
“It worked! It fucking worked!” she laughed like mad. “It’s the first time I managed to do it on purpose.”
The first to stop laughing was Mrk.
“Guys… magic ball not go away.”
They all stopped laughing then and turned to their magical pursuer. Which stopped pursuing them, true, but which also refused to wink out of existence. Instead, it was growing brighter. It was already so bright that they could barely see each other.
And then, because not one of them could be called lucky, cracks appeared in the sphere, out of which came searing light, burning the parts of them it touched.
“No…” Ava cried. “No, I did it for a good reason. I was good.”
“Take cover!” Jack cried, while Brom was already diving to shield them.
The last thing he saw was blinding light.
The last thing he heard was a deafening boom.
The last thing he felt was pain.