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COMPONENT 29: CHANGING WINDS
“She’s a persistent one!” Ramona said, looking back over her shoulder.
Lavina was hot on the thief’s tail. She urged her horse forward with everything she knew how to do. But it seemed the halfling’s pony was somehow staying ahead.
“I’ll never catch her at this rate, darnit.” Lavina muttered.
The desert terrain was changing around them. The dunes gave way to flat land, and the mountains to the north were coming into view.
Lavina didn’t know the Desert of Star well, but she thought back to the maps she’d studied. If she remembered correctly, two mountains formed high walls that guarded the Sencian fields. Between those mountains was a pass, and who knew what if any dangers lay in wait.
The farther they rode from Lavina’s friends, she felt more jittery, and worried.
Lavina held up her rod and pointed it at the halfling, the last thing she wanted to do was hurt the poor horse.
“Firebolt!” Lavina shouted.
The red beam of fire blasted out, and soared past Ramona’s face. She turned her head back again, jaw hanging open. The mage meant business, and Ramona didn’t like business.
Ramona stared at the mountain pass ahead. It was too far ahead to make an escape. She had two options—Let the mage girl run out of spells, or turn and fight.
“I detest fighting.” Ramona whispered as another firebolt flew past, singeing her hair.
Back on the other horse, Lavina was racking her brain trying to think of a way to knock the thief off the horse. She’d already used up her lightning ball spell. Firebolts were near unlimited if cast with concentration, but she could hardly do so atop a galloping horse.
Then it came to her.
Lavina touched the rod to the horse’s side and whispered a spell of speed. The horse lurched forward, nearly tripping over its own legs. But Lavina had the reigns again, bringing the horse under control.
The half-elf and her horse sped through the desert, and they were gaining on the thief.
Ramona dared to look back once the spell slinging had stopped. Her eyes flew wide when she saw the speed at which her pursuer’s horse was travelling.
“Oh I hate mages!” Ramona cried.
She let go of the reigns, and stood atop the rushing pony. Balancing her feet on each side of the saddle, she turned fully around, holding her arms out to the side.
“So you want a fight, do you?” Ramona cried, staring down Lavina.
The half-elf’s mouth dropped at seeing the amazing balance the thief had. A moment later, the halfling leaped from the top of her pony and landed on the horse, facing Lavina.
With only inches between them, the pair began to struggle.
“Stop running away!” Lavina shouted, holding one wrist of the thief.
Ramona held the half-elf’s other wrist, and shouted back, “Stop chasing me!”
Lavina let go of the halfling’s hand and thrust the rod against her stomach.
Ramona looked down at the magical implement then back up at the half-elf.
“You wouldn’t!” She said.
“Try me!” Lavina bluffed; the halfling was right—She wouldn’t blow a hole straight through her, if she could avoid it.”
After a few seconds of hesitation, Ramona grinned, knowing she had been right. Feeling more than confident, she pushed the half-elf’s chest, and nearly knocked her from the horse.
“Oh no you don’t!” Lavina shouted, and pushed Ramona, who almost slipped off, herself.
The horse jumped a large rock, and Ramona fell into the reigns, got tangled up, and fell right off.
Lavina dove forward, trying to catch her, but her own hand got caught in the reign, and she too fell off. They both hung their, slamming against the horse’s muscled side with each stride.
“Look what you got us into!” Ramona snapped.
“Me? You!” Lavina snapped back.
“Oh enough of this!” Ramona said. She grabbed a dagger from her belt and cut the reigns.
Both girls immediately hit the dirt, and rolled, bouncing and crying out in unison.
The horse took off ahead of the tumbleweed duo, and before long they came to a stop, laying flat on their backs.
“Oh I’m gonna hurl.” Ramona whimpered, rolling to her side. She tried to stand, but vomited, splashing the dirt around her.
“That’s gross.” Lavina cried, covering her ears.
“Oh so what?” Ramona said, trying to untangle her ankle from the reigns.
Lavina sat up, grabbing head swaying head. The world spun and felt like an anchor trying to pull her back down.
Out of nowhere, came a long howl. Both Ramona and Lavina’s ears perked, causing the girls to stand up fast.
“What was that?” Ramona whispered.
“It sounded like an animal, or a monster maybe.” Lavina whispered back.
“What kind?” Ramona asked.
“Not sure.” Lavina replied.
Another howl rolled across the land, and chills ran up and down the girls’ spines. Goosebumps rose on their arms and legs.
“You stay and find out.” Ramona whispered and made a break for it.
Lavina growled and stomped her foot. The ground rumbled, and Lavina’s eyes went wide. Ramona, who was still running, stopped and turned to look back at the half-elf. Lavina shrugged, knowing she hadn’t created the quaking.
From the dirt around them, cones began to arise. They closed in on Ramona, who screeched and ran back to Lavina’a side.