A while back, TheCrimsonRisk and myself RP'd a non-canon way our Blades of Kriegmar characters may have met. This resulted in a story we shared author credits on, called Tales of Kriegmar: Escape from the Pit. The Tales of Kriegmar stories are non-canon, "what if" bits that take from the original thread and branch off into other potential scenarios. Please read that story if you haven't, and you plan to read this one, bcause this is the sequel! It would not have been nearly as good had it not been for TheCrimsonRisk's keen eye for detail and descriptive expertise, so a big thank you goes out to him as well for helping shape my cobbled mess of words into a sculpture. I hope you enjoy it. _____ Tylissa and Linara walked along the worn, dusty desert stretch they had crossed the first time. Two weeks ago, they had been captured by horsebacked warriors and brought to a fight arena. Linara had been beaten while Tylissa was forced to watch and perform menial tasks, like serve the barbarians food and drink. It was a dire situation, but Tylissa's anger at Linara's treatment had re-kindled her Cindenian guild magic, causing her to spray fire everywhere while the barbarians scattered and ran. She had cowed their leader, Bakk, into submission under threat of flame. It was one rare sight to see the slab-of-muscle warlord bowing and scraping to a tiny little elf sorceress. Tylissa had magically burned his forehead, telling him it was a magic seal that would activate should he commit another act of violence. It was a good memory. Tylissa had helped out her travel companion and had gained back some of her magic, as well. Her Azoreus chill-based magic had still eluded her, however. So it was that they had continued on to the town they were destined for to receive their supplies. After gearing up, they headed back to Zentil to meet with a priestess who had promises of a great adventure. Tylissa had at least stopped being so unwelcoming to Linara and would more readily engage in conversation with her. "... And so it ends with the mighty dragon being felled by the noble warriors of Doriair! They are QUITE proud of their history!" Linara beamed, enjoying not only the tale itself, but getting to tell it. Tylissa looked a little blank. "I, um.. I mean, it sounds like a nice story... except that I have no idea what a "dragon" is. Are they strong creatures?" Linara looked a little surprised for a moment, then remembered Tylissa wasn't from around these parts. "Ah... yes! Dragons are majestic creatures! Large beasts! Able to take flight through the air and breathe massive blasts of fire! It's said they make their home in the mountains. Rumours are that dragons hoard shiny things, which usually means treasure hoards! None have been found yet though, but that doesn't stop them from looking." Tylissa shrugged. "I don't know. I'd probably need to see a dragon first... then I'll understand better. I mean, it's probably like me trying to describe a "targbeast" to you. You've never seen one, you have no idea what they look like, you don't know how ferocious and nasty they can be, or why exactly magic-users are called on to deal with them. So it stands to reason- hello, what's this?" Tylissa interrupted herself. They had stumbled upon the watering hole they found the first time that they ended up drinking from. Tylissa got a mischievous grin on her face. "You'll wanna stand back, banana butt, unless you wanna be a roasted banana. We don't need to fill our waterskins from what we picked up in town, so we can just get rid of this..." "Tylissa, what are-" FWOOOOMSH! Tylissa cast her hands out in front of her, causing a wave of flame to erupt from them! There was a loud hissing sound... soon the air was filled with smoke! No, not smoke... steam! When it was over, Tylissa relaxed and the next time Linara looked in the hole, the water was gone! It was dry as a bone. "Uhhh... are you sure that was such a good idea?" she asked. "Look, silly, what are they going to do about it? I have my fire back. They try anything and I'll fry them to a crisp! Besides, I have that warlord believing his head will go up in flames from the burn I put on it. It's no seal at all, nothing will happen. He won't do a thing cause of it though! Come on, let's go. That'll teach them to mess with us." Inside the verdant lushness of the watering hole, stark in its contrast to the desert it was situated in, a ranger had overheard the exchange. "So Bakk is in no danger... and they have evaporated the Water of Purity! Bakk will be happy to make them pay..." the ranger drew an arrow, aimed it up to the heavens, then let fly. THWIP! The bow string twanged. A moment later, the sky lit up... "Where did that come from?" Tylissa wondered as she looked up... but not for long, as Linara was already grabbing her by her robe and pulling on her! "Let's go! It was a flare!" As they emerged from the forest-like patch into the open desert again, they saw up ahead the familiar horsebacked warriors in the distance. They were headed in Linara and Tylissa's direction. Linara drew her sword. "Guess there is no running away. They know this land, they'll be able to find us in there." Tylissa raised her hands in a Guildmarian fight stance and grinned. "Now I'll be able to back you up. I can't promise this won't end in ashes, banana butt." A volley of arrows came flying in their direction. As it got closer, Tylissa readied herself... and then swung her arm in a semicircle, causing a curtain of fire to jet up and hang overhead for a few seconds. Those few seconds were all that was needed to protect them against the arrows, as the wooden projectiles disintegrated completely on contact with the flame. Tylissa countered with a fireball aimed in their midst. Two of the riders broke away to flank the duo, but a couple of horses and their riders in the middle took the brunt of the fireball. Horse and human alike screamed as they were set alight. The air was immediately filled with the stench of burnt hair and meat. Linara was handling herself rather well with her sword, while Tylissa's magic kept her attackers at bay. Those who did not dodge were burnt by her flame blasts. They decided to take down the bigger threat first, the one capable of slinging fire. They surrounded Tylissa, who struck a wide stance, hands raised, eyes and head darting around, trying to watch everyone at once. "Come on, make a move! I'll fry the first one of you who takes a step!" Linara finished her attacker by deflecting his sword and then kicking him in the face, preferring the non-lethal method. But then she saw the ring of people, with Tylissa in the middle. "Tylissa!" She darted in to help. But the commotion acted as an unintentional distraction as well, causing Tylissa to take her eyes off those behind her for just one second. In that time, they had grabbed her by the arms! "Ngh... gah! Let me go at once!" she commanded, but they were having none of it. She struggled against their grip, but it was in vain. Linara tried to intervene, but the scene began to resemble the last encounter. One of the riders cracked Linara in the head with his crossbow, bringing her down. Another barbarian holding Tylissa clamped a soaked rag over her mouth and nose. Once again, their "sleep magic" instantly made Tylissa drowsy as she sagged and ragdolled in their grasp. _____ Tylissa opened her eyes a couple of hours later. Her wrists and ankles were roped and she was upright, against the wall. Linara was nowhere to be found. "She's awake, boss. What you want we do with her?" She looked around to see Bakk, who seemed less imposing than before. "Let her go." he said, quietly. "Cut her loose." His minions stood in wonder. "But she evaporated the Water of Purity! We surely can't-" "Let her go. I can do nothing to the Magical One due to this infernal seal placed upon me." They slashed the ropes binding Tylissa, freeing her. She grinned widely."Any act of violence..." Tylissa took to reminding him. "Poof. It will be quite painful... short, but so painful. Your brain- you know, what little you have- will begin to melt. All those neurons in there will fire at the same time, each one of them screaming warning rallies." She saw Bakk get a little uncomfortable and turn, so his side faced her. She continued. "When your ability to process pain shuts down, your now melting brain will ooze out of your skull, assuming your skull doesn't crack from the intense heat first. It will be the most painful few seconds of your life... which will end shortly after." "Stop, stop!" said Bakk. "Please... what can I do to make this up to you? Tylissa was quick to answer. "We want money. Enough to see us through a long time. Blankets. Food. Clothes." Bakk barked at his minions. "Well? Fetch what she demands!" "Y-yes sir!" A handful of his aides trotted off. "I hope you can forgive me for my actions, Magical One. I've done a lot of considering since last we met. And you're correct. My men here brought you and your friend in without knowing who you were offhand. Please... allow me to offer my deepest apologies." "Yeah, whatever." she said. "Less apologizing, more giving us stuff. It's not so much fun to be on the other end, is it?" No, I cannot say it is," he said, almost flippantly. "It is kind of interesting to know what I had been doing to others." He saw his men coming down the hall. His bravado returned, but he tried hiding it. "Well, don't worry. We aren't bandits like yourselves, out for everything we can get. We just want to see ourselves safely off. I could demand your whole little empire here if I really wanted. Luckily for you, my travel companion has a heart and for whatever reason, she makes me do things I wouldn't normally do, like give pea-brain sacks of crap like yourself a free pass when I should have just blown your skull up on the spot." Bakk stewed, but he knew in just a moment that he would be the one laughing. "Yes, Magical One, you're so right. I'm sure you'd make a terrific bandit leader. Ah, my men are back, and they have brought you exactly what you deserve..." They had come back... but with nothing! "There is, however, one thing I would like to give you." He reared back and slapped Tylissa across the face with the back of his hand, knocking her down! "Unh!" she grunted. She went to stand back up, but two of his guards caught her and pinned her arms so she couldn't sling fire! "I know of your fakery, you cow. The supposed mark you put on me? A regular burn. It is no magical seal at all! My scout told me of your deception. You shall receive none of what you asked for! Instead, the only way you will obtain your freedom from this place is if you defeat me in combat." "You're on!" Tylissa shouted with conviction. "You're really much stupider than you look. You forget I have my fire power back? I'll char you to an ember so burnt you'll be able to sustain flame for days." Bakk smiled. "Oh, but you haven't heard what happens... if you lose." Tylissa sneered cockily. "Won't happen." Bakk snapped his fingers, and the last of his guards brought Linara into the room! Bakk stood from his chair, walked over to her, then palmed her throat. "If you lose, Magical One... I kill your friend in front of you." "Like I said... you're on. Let's do this. When did you want to die? Now? Let's go to the pit then!" Bakk got in her face, stooping down. "Oh, one more thing. If I see even so much as the faintest flicker of a flame from you.... your friend here will be murdered on the spot. No suffering... no time for it. She will be slashed to pieces in a matter of seconds." All of Tylissa's confidence was lost. She hadn't accepted the fight expecting to have to get physical. She had been counting on her magic to see her through harmlessly. The colour drained from her face and she looked at Linara, frightened now. "B-b-but..." she stammered, as the two were pulled along to the fight pit. _____ Bakk stood on one end of the pit. Hulking. Massive. Imposing. Tylissa stood on the other end, looking like she was about to collapse. She looked back up at Linara, who had two guards with waveblades standing by her. On Bakk's order, they would act. Tylissa steeled herself. She had to do this. She could do this. For Linara. The fight was signaled to start by a loud gong. Bakk came to the center of the pit, motioning for Tylissa to meet him. "I will even give you the first strike." He dropped to his knees. "Hit me." Tylissa gathered herself. She hadn't hit anyone before, but she could do this.... she met him in the middle of the pit, then drew back and kicked him directly in the crotch. Bakk wheezed hard and his eyes went wide, as he slumped to his hands and knees. Linara cheered Tylissa on! "That's it, Tylissa! Stay on him! Kick him again! Aim for the head, or the crotch! Rake his eyes! Weak points on everyone!" Tylissa drew on her limited knowledge of combat, which was pretty much "observing Linara". She wound up and kicked Bakk in the temple, stunning him! His head whiplashed and he shook it as he tried to get his bearings back. Linara shouted out again. "YEAH! You're doing it! Great work! Go for the eyes!" Tylissa, now in adrenaline mode, jumped onto Bakk's frame and began trying to dig her fingers into his eyes! If she could only blind him, it became a game of stick and move. She would be able to take him down with enough low blows and head kicks eventually.... Bakk yelled out as Tylissa's fingers pressed on his eyes. "GYAAAAHHHHH!!" He fumbled around behind him, his fingers brushing Tylissa's face, but she hopped off before he could grab her. She started flailing on him, hitting him in the head with her fists, but it was an uncoordinated, messy assault that served only to irritate him more than anything else. He shook it off and exploded, standing bolt upright and looking down at her, like a cat cornering a mouse. Tylissa's eyes went wide and she gasped a short gasp. Her eyes went wider when he lashed out like lightning and grabbed her by the throat, choking her. "hggckck-" she managed to get out, before Bakk lifted her into the air above his head with one hand and drove her into the floor from eight feet with a chokeslam. Her body made a *smack* everyone could hear. The formerly quiet arena had now come to life, cheering for Bakk. Linara winced. "Come on, Ty, you can do this... you can do it..." Tylissa felt like she'd fallen off a cliff. She'd fallen off a ladder once. It had hurt a lot. This was so much more painful. Bakk rubbed his eyes, cracked his knuckles, then bent down and grabbed a handful of Tylissa's dirty-blonde hair. He pulled her up to her feet with one motion. She stayed on them unsteadily while he took a few steps back, then charged at her and destroyed her with a massive clothesline that sent Tylissa spinning, twisting and flipping through the air. Ceiling, floor, ceiling, floor, ceiling, floor, ceiling. She came to a stop landing face down, her momentum rolling her to her back. She lay spread-eagled on the floor. At this point, Bakk could probably have declared himself the winner... but Tylissa had placed the false mark on him. Tylissa had evaporated his wellspring. And he was going to take it out on her. Tylissa moaned as Bakk picked her up again. Bending her double, he grabbed her by the waist, then picked her up, upside down. Dropping to a seated position, he piledrove Tylissa into the floor. She jackknifed and flopped to the ground, motionless. Linara was extremely concerned, not only for Tylissa's well being but understandably her own. "You had enough, Magical One?" he used the term sarcastically now. Tylissa nodded. "Are you sure?" he held her, facing Linara. "If you quit on me, she dies. Are you willing to sacrifice her life to spare your own?" Tylissa looked at Linara through glassy eyes, mouth open slightly. Then she shook her head. "no... don't... hurt her..." "Alright, I'll settle for you then." He wrapped an arm around her waist and then picked her up and dumped her over backwards, in a sick belly to back suplex. She shrieked as she was hoisted up. Then she was slammed into the floor again, her legs folding up over her head as she came down hard on her back. Her momentum carried her into a seated position and then she fell on her back. Tylissa lay on the floor, dazed. Bakk picked her up by her hair like she weighed nothing. Holding her by the hair, he balled his fist, drew back and fired a piston-like fist into Tylissa's crotch. Her guttural, primal scream of agony rivaled the hollering and cheering of the crowd's approval. She folded up like a papyrus and slumped to the ground. Bakk wasn't finished and picked her up again. Tylissa knew what was coming... but her plea fell on deaf ears as he once again pummeled her vagina with his large fist. Tylissa howled in agony a second time as she folded almost around his arm. He withdrew his hand and she crumpled to the floor again. Gritting his teeth, he picked her up again. He held her up by the neck. "Quit, Magical One. Tell me you've had enough. Be responsible for the death of your friend. Do it. DO it. Have you had enough?" He stared down at her, evil intentions on his mind. Tylissa looked back up at him, her breathing shaky. She shook her head no. "Don't... don't you dare... hurt her..." She couldn't let this... this predator do anything to Linara. So she pressed on, braving his fierce attack. He wrapped an arm around her side and picked her up, parallel to the ground. Then he dropped down, slamming her across his knee in a backbreaker. Tylissa arched backward sharply, her scream cut short, as she flopped to the ground. She coughed a couple times, pain wracking her. He wasn't done as he picked her up effortlessly, slinging her back across his powerful shoulders. He began to bend her with a torture rack. At least Linara didn't have to worry about Tylissa frying Bakk with a blast of flame and getting her killed that way. Tylissa couldn't conjure a flame hot enough to melt a snowflake at this point. Tylissa cried out in pain, reaching towards Linara, in a futile gesture. Linara looked like she wanted to get in there and help, but Tylissa shook her head. "You quit yet?" Bakk sneered at her. "Go ahead, Magical One... give the order to kill your friend!" Tylissa seethed, her anger coming through a little. "Stop... telling me... to do that!" She raked her fingernails across Bakk's eyes! "GAH! You dirty bitch!" he shouted as he dropped her, his hands going to his face. Tylissa fell to the ground, but she overexerted herself. She had to get up, she had to get up.... she HAD to get up! It was hard, it took a lot of drive, but she managed it and advanced on Bakk, intending to kick his head off. If she could only start kicking him in the crotch or the head, she could- Her thought was interrupted when he made a lunge and grabbed her, then picked her up and pivoted, bringing her down hard into the floor with a spinebuster. Again, her body slammed off the pit floor and again, waves of agony rolled through her like an electric shock. Her arms crossed her stomach and she curled into a ball on her side. Linara looked sickened. "Ty... come on.. you can make it. You can get out of this. Just a lucky shot is all you need!" "Shut up!" said one of the guards by her. He backhanded her in the face with his gauntlet, drawing a yelp from Linara and giving her a split lip. Tylissa began to get slightly cool to the touch...... Bakk sat next to Tylissa and rolled her face down. He made good and sure to face her toward Linara before trapping her arm between his legs and clamping his hands across her face, ensnaring her in a crossface hold. He pulled back on her and her eyes went wide, as pain shot up and down her body, the likes of which she'd never felt before. She screamed primally, muffled by Bakk's massive mitts. "Do you give up?" Bakk sneered at her. Tylissa nodded as hard as she could. "You do? You remember what happens to her, don't you?" he asked. Tylissa looked into Linara's eyes... it empowered her. Linara was so warm and friendly, it was infectious. Tylissa squeezed her eyes closed and shook her head no. "No, huh? Okay then..." Bakk reared back a little harder and a nasty crunch rung out, then Tylissa went limp in the hold. "TYLISSA, NO!" Linara shouted. "Bakk, you disgusting monster!" "I said shut up, bitch!", the guard who hit her earlier shouted at her. He drove a knee into Linara's stomach, driving the wind from her and doubling her over. Then he brought his steel gauntlet down on the back of her head and neck, knocking her to her hands and knees. Linara grunted as sher hit the floor. The guard grabbed a handful of her long, brown hair and pulled her back up to her feet. "Watch carefully. This may be the last you get to see of your friend here. I'd say my goodbyes now, if I were you." Bakk dropped Tylissa, who lay on the floor, unmoving. She was still alive, but whatever had popped in her neck had temporarily paralyzed her. It didn't matter. Bakk picked her up again, with no regard to the damage he was causing. He picked her up as if to bearhug her, but then he cradled her thigh and hooked her neck in a front facelock. Dropping backwards, he spiked Tylissa's head into the floor with a cradle DDT. Her forehead was cut open now. He rolled the diminutive elf over on her back, showing off her now-bleeding face. "Bakk, she's had enough now! You've made your point!" Linara said. "She's paid the price already!" Bakk sneered up at Linara, then made it a point to pick Tylissa up again. Staring straight at Linara the whole time, he scraped Tylissa up off the floor. He folded her in half, grabbed her around the waist, then flipped her up. Holding her there for a few seconds, enjoying her thick legs around his head, he suddenly dropped her in a freefall with a powerbomb. Tylissa landed like a ton of bricks and grunted, laying motionless. "She's had enough when I say she's had enough, you worthless cow!" he shouted at her. She began to get even colder, noticeably so now. Bakk grinned evilly at Linara. "This is who you were counting on to save you!" he sneered at her. "You should have taken your chances alone, cut the bitch loose and saved yourself." Turning back to Tylissa, he put his hands on her again, but withdrew. "Eh? Wh... why is she so cold?" My God, she's dead. Linara's first thought went unbidden through her mind. Then reason followed. But corpses don't cool that fast... so what is... Bakk got under her arms, hauling her up and into a bearhug. Tylissa's mouth and eyes opened again as Bakk crushed her little body with his vicegrip like hold. She squirmed and kicked, but began to fade fast. She began to slump in his hold as he demolished her with it. Soon, she was hanging unmoving in his grip. She began to pray, not knowing if her prayers could be heard on a different world or not. Bakk dropped her and she bounced off the floor a little, coming to rest on her back. "Haha!" he cried out triumphantly. "It is done! The Magical One is finished." The crowd erupted in cheers, chanting his name. "Warlord Bakk! Warlord Bakk! Warlord Bakk!" By now, Tylissa's skin had taken on an icy blue hue. She was freezing cold to the touch. Her eyes opened, lurid pools of cyan energy. Either the Guildmaster had heard her prayer from another world... or the rest of her magic had returned. Tylissa stood up, painfully, her body ice blue. "Bakk!" she called out. "What?" he turned around. "You? How?? You've been defeated by me, and I... what... what ARE you...?" Tylissa stood, hurting badly, but trying to shake off the beating as best she could to put on a good air for Bakk. "I AM the Magical One. And you are about to feel my wrath again!" She hurled a spear of ice at Bakk, who had to dive out of the way! Linara took advantage of the distracted guards to grab the waveblade away from one of them. With a quick spin, she slashed one of the guards across the ribs, dropping him as he curled up in pain. The one who had hit her had barely recovered before he was the recipient of a pommel bash to the temple, knocking him completely out! Most of the barbarians in the crowd were without weapon and didn't want to risk fighting an accomplished swordswoman with a weapon and a magic-flinger. Many fled. Some watched, hoping Bakk and the armed guards could turn it around. Linara skillfully swatted incoming blades aside and counterattacked. She succeeded in many disabling slashes, aimed at arms, legs, ribs. One bandit was slashed diagonally across the back as she screamed in pain. Meanwhile, Tylissa had focused on Bakk. He took aim at her with a straight punch that would surely have decapitated her. She yelped and instinctively threw her hands up, creating a momentary pool of energy that blocked his punch! His fist slammed into it and he yelled out, shaking his hand. He glared at her and sneered, then feinted a strike. Tylissa reflexively put her hands up again, but it allowed him to slug her in the stomach, driving the wind out of her. She doubled over and he hooked her across the face, bloodying her nose. Her head snapped back and her eyes glazed momentarily, her legs wobbling a little. An uppercut rang across her jaw and she fell backwards. Bakk slowly stalked his way over to the fallen Tylissa. As he raised his foot looking to stomp her into the floor, she shot a cold blast at his boot, pushing his leg up backwards. Now he was the one falling over onto his back. Tylissa shook her head hard and got up painfully, her magic burst driving her now. As Bakk got to his hands and knees, she thrust out her hands, blasting a cold ray of energy into his ribs! He yelled out as the blast caught him and and burned as fiercely as any flame. He clenched his teeth and planted his fists into the floor, pushing himself up again. Tylissa braced herself, then flung another blast of energy into Bakk. He shouted as the freezing cold ripped through his muscles a second time, stiffening them tightly and forcing him down again. Once more, he pushed himself up, slower and with more effort. Tylissa moved around Bakk to his front, so that she would be the first thing he saw when he got up. She waited until he had pushed himself up to his knees, and then he saw her... battle stance, grinning maniacally, charging another bolt. He shook his head "no" and mouthed the word "please", but Tylissa cast the magic ray out again, striking him in the chest and knocking him over onto his back. He lay there, this time not getting up. Satisfied that he was done, Tylissa darted her head around. Linara was good and had fought off seven guards by herself who lay bleeding and unconscious or dead, but five more were swarming her. She couldn't hold them all off indefinitely. Tylissa swept her arm out and a shower of ice pellets arced out. It was a distraction, and it worked, as the guards looked at the ice and then Tylissa. This gave Linara the opportunity she needed to grab her straight sword resting against the wall. Armed with a much more familiar blade, she was able to pommel-strike a guard in the base of the skull, where his helmet didn't cover. He fell to the floor unconscious like a marionette with its strings cut. She dove to the side as the guards realized what happened, narrowly missing a backhanded swing of a sword strike that would have taken her head off. She darted back to the middle of the pit, giving her and Tylissa more room. The four guards split up and flanked them. As they surrounded the two adventurers, it seemed like a standoff of sorts. Tylissa and Linara both watched two of the guards as they circled around in the middle of the arena. Next, everything seemed to happen at once. All four guards rushed the duo. The two girls reacted reflexively. Tylissa ducked out of the way of the guards dashing for her, scurrying between them, her small frame aiding her escape. Linara's guards were disposed of when she drove the pommel of her sword into the forehead of one of them. The other one was tripped up by a sweep from Linara. He pitched forward and the skulls of the bandits all collided in the middle, knocking them out completely. The pile of unconscious humans fell to the floor in a tangled mess. Tylissa tripped over one of them as she escaped the humans, her foot catching on the shin of one of them, falling to the ground on her hands and knees and breathing heavy. Linara stood looking at the warriors, panting. "Whew. We did it. We got out of here again... ha! Shows you that you can't keep a grand adventuress down! And anybody she aligns herself with, either!" Unbeknownst to Linara, who was showboating and gloating, Bakk had gotten up, retrieving his warhammer. He brandished the massive weapon as if it were as light as a feather, but nothing could be further from the truth. Bakk snarled as he drew his stone hammer overhead. Tylissa heard the noise and turned to see Bakk about to turn Linara into paste. "Linara, look out!" she cried out as she shot a desperation ice bolt at Bakk, falling onto her butt in a seated position as she did. Linara turned around with no time to move from the swing. The moment froze in time, stretching into infinity. So this is how it ends, is it? But the hammer strike never came. Tylissa's shaft of ice entered through his back and blossomed out his chest. He made choking, gurgling noises as blood seeped up and out his mouth. He dropped his hammer and looked down at the ice bolt, stained crimson with his blood frozen to it. He collapsed to his knees as his life ebbed away. Linara darted away from Bakk, lest she end up crushed under his weight, or impaled by the same shaft. She took up a spot by Tylissa and helped her to her feet as Bakk swayed listlessly. Then he pitched forward, landing face down on the pit floor, dead. The girls looked at his body for a moment, breathing heavily. The swordswoman let out a plaintive sigh. "Sol, have mercy on this one." "Fah! The targbeast deserved it. He had his chance the first time, he chose to go this route. This is all on him, as far as I am concerned." Tylissa responded. "Besides, at least we know he won't get a third chance to do anything to anyone now." "Ty, are you okay? You're so cold..." "Just residual effects of my magic coming back. Nothing to worry about." "Ty... thanks for helping me out there." "Oh, shut up," she said, half joking, gently punching Linara in the shoulder. "Like I could let them hurt the one shepherding me around this world." She said it in a way Linara knew she was kidding... the first time she'd tried to actually get along with Linara since they'd met. "Besides, I'd say we helped each other, wouldn't you? But, uh, could you do me one more small favour?" "Sure, Ty, after that, you got it. What is it?" "Catch me." Tylissa's eyes fluttered and she went limp, passing out from the beating and the exertion.