Connor had read about great battles. He had often laid awake at night wondering what he’d do in exactly this kind of scenario. He’d blast his enemies with his thoroughly under-control magic. He’d rescue his friends in distress. He was—would be—the hero.
Now, in the clearing, his flare spell flew wildly out of his grasp, replicating in the sky without his consent. The magic had escaped Connor like a horde of butterflies trapped in a jar, bursting into the night and inciting chaos for friend and foe alike. He hadn’t meant for his magic to come out this way. When had he meant for his magic to do anything he wanted? The more he panicked, the more he apologized. This wasn’t how he’d imagined his first real encounter with bandits.
Connor felt Riona pull the magic gracefully and effortlessly from the ground, like a cool, icy breath. It wrapped around her body, cold and threatening—until she released it. The blast rippled throughout the clearing, sending everyone flying. Connor was knocked backward onto the grass. Beside him, Ollivan groaned as he too landed on his side.
Their eyes met briefly: in them, Connor noted Ollivan’s fear of Riona’s power….