There was a loud bang, and then pain ripped through my soul. I landed on shingle, knees skimming gravel. Tears slipped down my face as I stared in disbelief at the vortex wavering before me, I would never reach it that was sure. He leapt inside just moments earlier, but my leap was interrupted, the consequences of which would rebound across the galaxies.
Artwork by Lisa Shambrook (Please do not use without permission)
The portal shimmered and faltered, and as I desperately clambered to my feet it vanished within a fizzing burst of violet flames.
I stood bereft, my hand clutching at my chest, and while my soul writhed in agony, a stain of crimson bloomed beneath my shirt and my heart broke. He was gone and there was nothing I could do.
I turned and watched the sparks fly as the armoured Riders gained and my haemorrhaging heart paled.
The Riders slowed as I sank to the gritty soil, my legs no longer able to assist, and I stared back. My sweat-drenched hair whipped across my face and I moved my scarlet hand from my heart to my head. Words had disappeared from my dry riverbed throat and I had no weapon more than my eyes, so I stared and I stared at death as fiercely as I could.
They laughed and their horses stepped closer until they all stopped and waited. The silence tore me apart, but my eyes flashed and bore into their metal shells.
They raised mail-clad arms and huge, rifle-paired crossbows glared at me. I braced and placed both hands over my heart, ruby tears seeped through my fingers, bruising my robes and I prepared for death, for I knew they would never allow me to live.
I held their gaze, clumsily stood and waited.
The Riders flexed and loosed and I waited, waited for the cold steel to pierce my body…
I gasped as effervescent flames danced and sturdy arms snatched my trembling body backwards, and then I was in his arms and we were gone within a blaze of amethyst.