Nahlia’s Journal 2

Thank Y’ffre for Llaren! I’m not sure I’d be alive right now if it wasn’t for him.

Oh, wait, I’m getting ahead of myself. I should start from the beginning or this won’t make sense later. I never was one for documentation, but this is important.

After we arrived at the ruins, things were quiet for a bit. The site’s located in a picturesque part of Colovia, not generally considered dangerous. Votary Llaren and I took turns patrolling the perimeter, but it felt like overkill. The Adepts were near a set of ancient doors that led into the ruins, comparing the etched runes on the doors to their own notes and writing things down. I was about to suggest to Llaren that we take a break when one of the Adepts screamed.

I don’t know how or why, but they opened the doors. That wasn’t part of the plan, but even then, it wouldn’t have been a problem, except for the angry tribe of Goblins spilling out from inside the ruins. Y’ffre’s beard, I’ve never seen such a seething horde before. I guess I’d be angry too if a group of strangers suddenly barged into my home.

The adepts quickly began flinging spells to defend themselves, clutching their notes close to their chests as they retreated. Llaren was quicker than a wolf on the hunt, throwing himself between the adepts and the Goblins, his sword flashing as he moved. Before I realized it, I was next to him in the throng. Votary training must’ve really sunk in, since my body responded before my mind could catch up.

We fought like that for a while, Llaren and I seamlessly covering each other as we created a buffer zone between the Goblins and the adepts. Thankfully, there weren’t too many of them, and they seemed to be moving back into the ruins somewhat.

I turned to check that all the adepts were safely out of the fray. With my attention elsewhere, one enterprising Goblin took the opportunity to catch me by the ankles and knock me to the ground.

Rule number one of Votary training is to keep your feet on the battlefield. I was done for. Taken out on my first assignment, by a blighted Goblin, no less!

That was when I realized I’d been down long enough to have all these thoughts, and I hadn’t died yet. Then I saw Llaren, his face screwed up in concentration, as he held back the pack of Goblins single-handedly. His face was bruised and bloodied. He was letting them land blows on himself to protect me on the ground!

The sight was enough to jolt me to action. I jumped to my feet, sword at the ready. But as I rose, something felt different. There was a twinge in my gut, a tingling at my fingertips. I’d felt it before, though rarely, in the classrooms of the Mages Guild. It was magic, flowing through me and demanding to be released.

I didn’t resist it. My hands extended and I channeled the energy outward, into the one magical element I’d ever been good at. A portal.

The other adepts didn’t hesitate. The Goblins weren’t backing down, so it was clear their research was over for now. They plunged into the portal that I knew would take them home. Llaren was still fighting, his breath coming in gasps now.

I called out to him, and his eyebrows rose in surprise at the portal I’d summoned. But he understood. With a quick nod in my direction, he broke from the skirmish and threw himself headfirst into the portal. I followed right behind him, turning off that magical channel as I passed through. The last thing I heard was the infuriated cries of the Goblins as their quarry slipped beyond their reach.

* * *
I haven’t decided how to tell my parents about this first assignment. They’ll be proud that I served the guild well and protected the Adepts, but I know they wish I was the one being protected, not the protector. Still, it was incredible. Llaren thanked me for the quick exit, and even the mages seemed impressed by my skill with portals.

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