Tamhas rushed out of the broken castle, the illusion simmering around him. Elijah squinted, and the truth revealed itself. A massive structure with tall turrets, armor slits in the walls, and a moat filled with lava became apparent to him. What? Water too tame for this group? He shook his head, dismissing their strange ways. More important things demanded his attention. The little matter of the energy now coursing through his body. Magic he couldn’t control. He spent decades learning about magic, could recite hundreds of different spells, but none of that prepared him for the reality of it. The act of breathing hurt. How did one survive the unbearable changes now consuming him?
He dropped to his knees, aware he placed himself into a vulnerable position, but powerless to force himself to his feet again. Was this how Elijah the Bloody would die? On his knees?
Tamhas knelt beside him, not touching. He urgently said, “You need to cast a spell, get rid of the build-up. If you don’t, it’ll consume you. Direct it away from the castle. All our people are inside there. We have wards protecting it, but the raw energy might overwhelm the shields.”
Elijah opened his mouth to speak and instead a scream rang out, vocalizing the agony consuming his body. How could he cast a spell? The energy didn’t want out. It wanted to burn him alive.
“I…can’t…” he choked out between screams. Elijah tried shaping the energy, releasing it in a stream of harmless water, but it clung to him. The magic wouldn’t leave his body. Panting from the exertion and pain, he gasped, “It’s stuck inside me.”
“You can,” Tamhas urged. “It’s your resistance. Shove it aside and release the magic. Do it now!”
Elijah’s fingers curled into the dirt, and he concentrated. Not on the pain, or the energy bouncing inside him, but on the wall that cut him off from the world. The smooth, nearly impenetrable wall that had saved his life on many occasions against other mages, the one that would kill him now if he didn’t figure out how to break it.
His anger and fear heated the invisible metal surrounding him, and in his mind’s eye he watched as it dripped to the ground, red hot. Gathering the slippery strands of energy, he shaped it again, and this time water rained from the sky. Torrents of it washed over Elijah’s back, soothing the ache in his body. Just as quickly as his resistance fell, it snapped back into place, once again blocking him from the magical world.
Tamhas clapped him on the shoulder and said jovially, “That was exciting. Enjoy making an entrance?”
A chuckle passed Elijah’s lips before he could stop it, and he sat back on his haunches, flicking hair from his eyes. “Aye, I do.”
“I’m certain the ladies will yell at me, but how about we get you some clothes?” Tamhas stood, holding out his hand. Gratefully, Elijah grabbed it, still a little unsteady on his feet. Not exactly the way he wanted to greet these Enforcers.
The question foremost in his mind, though, was how did Tamhas know about spellcasting with resistance?