There was a crack like thunder, and bits of stone flew from the dungeon walls as Freetrick’s twist of energy slammed Feerix against them. Now the rage and fear had an outlet, now reason and emotion both pointed in the same direction.
“Feerix!” Harmonics in Freetrick’s voice shivered the solid stone of the corridor. “We will end this now!”
Thunder crashed, high above them and behind several layers of stone wall, but still loud enough to drown out all other sound. It was therefore only after a few seconds of practical deafness that Freetrick was able to understand the weird, open-mouthed expression on Feerix’s face as the prince picked himself up.
Feerix was laughing.
The black mist around Freetrick suddenly sharpened into a cutting edge and slashed across his forehead. As Freetrick brought his hand up to wipe the blood from his eyes, another solid patch of necromancy sliced at the back of his neck. An invisible hand clutched his small intestines, and strange winds howled at him from all sides.
The bottom fell out of Freetrick’s rage as he realized that Feerix was a much better necromancer than himself. He dug into his new reserves of energy, flailing wildly at the attacks that swarmed over him. Somewhere in the dizzy confusion, with blood running over his eyes and phantom fingers palpating his chest cavity, Freetrick recognized that Feerix had neatly forced him into a defensive battle. He couldn’t spare the concentration to focus on attacking, and so his half-brother could imagine new torments at will. It would only take one of them to break through.
Desperately, Freetrick attempted to enclose Feerix in another fist of power, but in the half-second it took for him to focus on the attack, his defenses lapsed, and a wave of hot agony splashed over his face. For a terrifying instant, Freetrick felt the probing edge of Feerix’s life-twisting penetrate his innate necromancer’s defenses and brush against the tissues of his brain. Would Feerix bother to transform him into a monster, or would he just give his half-brother and rival a quickie remote lobotomy?
Freetrick felt his opponent slip out of the magic encasement. He couldn’t see, because of the blood in his eyes, and now the black mist that had coalesced around his head. The floor began to shiver and buck beneath his feet, and tiny, vicious bolts of lightning flew at his eyes. A sensation like millipede legs crawled up his back. Freetrick couldn’t summon the concentration necessary to cast a counter-attack, let alone think of one creative enough to take Feerix by surprise.
Try strength then. Without warning, Freetrick expanded the protective forces on his skin into a bubble, then a flat screen, then a rushing battering ram that shot out at Feerix. Where Freetrick thought Feerix was. Freetrick’s peripheral vision caught a movement in the mist and he lurched sideways just in time to avoid being punched in the face by Feerix’s gauntlet. He lurched into a wall of force that closed around him, that squeezed him, that took all of his power to stop from crushing him, that left him hanging in the air, completely defenseless.