Thumping the bone staff on the ground, the sections of ice from Kolvirr’s sphere shot into the air, arcing back down towards the pair. Jenny’s father ran back towards the fighting, waving his arms and shouting at the remnants of the militia. Marla thrust the turquoise staff into the air, creating a half-dome of fire to intercept the attack. Steam erupted, but not all the pieces were stopped. One crashed onto her leg, chaining it to the ground. The other hit her shoulder, encasing her chest and shoulders in the black-and-blue ice. Jenny could see she tried to break out of the ice, but it showed no cracks. Meanwhile, the men who could be spared were going through houses, ushering the villagers towards the eastern gate, while the tattered battle-line slowly retreated in the same direction. Lightning lit up the sky. No one seemed to be moving to help Marla, who was struggling with the now-expanding ice. Wanting to help, Jenny grabbed the nearest tool and rushed out from her hiding spot towards Marla. She swung as hard as she could, battering at the ice, but nothing happened. Marla’s eyes locked onto Jenny’s, and she could see the woman mouthing her name. A flash of cold so intense, Jenny was surprised her eyes didn’t frost over. When she opened her eyes(?), ice had formed on all the houses surrounding them, and the sky over the village had cleared of the storm, though the blizzard still raged around them. And the staff had changed. The turquoise colouring had been replaced with a pure white, and the small gemstones adorning the floating crown were now encircled by, and floating around, a tree-crown like mesh at the top. And the crimson shard was nowhere to be seen. While it looked stunning, it also scared Jenny. The ice almost encasing Marla turned almost completely clear, and cracked off when the elementalist straightened. With no word of warning, she swung the staff in front of her, a ball of ice arcing out of the ground towards the foot of free space between the norn and villagers. As it touched ground, it exploded into a huge wall of clear ice, cutting the norn off from pursuit. Her father was running towards her, guiding all those from her house who had not been in the fighting, but before he reached Jenny, Marla stepped in front. ‘Go east, like I said. Once you reach Ascalon, find some norn from Hoelbrak or a homestead, and follow them to safety. The charr probably won’t mess them, so you should be safe in their company. As for Jenny, I just need a quick word with her, then I’ll send her over to you, I promise.’. Her father glared at Marla briefly, but the woman didn’t back an inch, so relented. Taking a quick breath, the elementalist turned to Jenny. ‘I still don’t remember why I came north, but now I remember that I didn’t come alone. I remember their faces, how they looked, but not their names. I’m not sure why you triggered those memories, but thank you, Jenny. Now, run over to your father, you and the rest can’t stick around.’
‘You can’t do that either, Marla!’ Jenny countered, while trying to look defiant.
The elementalist bowed down and looked Jenny in the eye. ‘Well, Jenny, I HAVE to stay behind, make sure they don’t pursue. I promise you’ll see me again, all right?’ Before Jenny could respond, her father resolutely dragged her away, and Marla turned about to face the norn finally making it through the ice-wall, led by the returned ice-beasts. As the villagers ran, spears and arrows started flying, only to be intercepted by ice-shards before getting within any remotely dangerous range. Another ice-wall, this one of the black-and-blue ice, closed the eastern gate before the group could clear it, but an ice-boulder smashed through it as if it was made of paper. As the villagers were all outside the gate, huge ice-crystals thundered down, reducing all the gates to splinters, closing any easy exit from within the town.
As her family and the rest of the village ran for the pass back to Ascalon, Jenny looked back one last time.
The northern lights were out, streaming with all the colours of a rainbow, clearly visible against the clear day sky.