I participated in NaNoWriMo, and here is the continued story I wrote this year.
Creme and Brulee travel to Redridge. Along the way, Creme makes a fool of herself by thinking Brulee doesn’t care that she’s an orphan. They then make a camp, including a campfire. Brulee tries to help Creme learn to use other spells besides just fire ones. And then they are attacked by a group of mysterious strangers and poor Creme gets to black out again at the end of the chapter. That seems to happen to her a lot.
I think this chapter is when Creme starts to act a little nicer, due to her social faux pas.
It’s also a chapter where I make up some more mage-based technobabble on how they cast spells.
And a chapter where there’s gratuitous word count upping by describing and explaining in detail how to set up a proper campfire. I think it probably should be removed. 😄
Also, at some point I had to write some of this chapter in Word, since I didn’t have internet connection. So if you see accent marks or funny quote marks, that would be why.
Chapter 6: To Redridge
Though now that she thought about it, she had seen most of her teachers ride one at one point or another. Maybe that was just something they kept newbies like her from learning how to do until they learned to control all types of magic.
Which wasn’t enough motivation for her. From what she experienced so far, riding was stupid, boring, uncomfortable, and painful. Why would she want to become a skilled mage if the reward was getting thrown off a horse? And horses were smelly anyway. She could hardly imagine keeping one, or even hanging around stables like those boys did. Some of the other orphans would do that, to try and become like those other stableboys. They would say that it would be a good introduction to a steady career. Creme just thought they smelled like horse poo all the time. Who in there right mind would want to smell like that?
But anyway, now the day was looking up. Sure, she was still avoiding riding the horse by herself, and was still having to ride along with Brulee, but at least she didn’t have to go to that service thing Brulee was looking forward to. She hated attending services about the Light. Riding seemed a lot better than that.
Plus, the draenei seemed to enjoy riding in silence. She kept looking around at all the boring trees and grass and whatever else all the nature around them contained. Flowers, no doubt. There were always flowers. And bugs. Creme knew there were bugs; they kept biting her. Her hands kept moving to swat them away. Apparently the bugs didn’t bother Brulee though, ’cause her hands were steady on the reins the whole time.
Probably had something with her being a Draenei. Maybe the biters didn’t like the way her blood tasted or the way she smelled. Lucky thing, she was.
And now they were almost to the border of Redridge. Creme had been making out the tops of the red peaks from between the trees for some time now; she was certain Brulee could see them too, with all her looking about at everything. Soon they would cross the bridge over the river and get into the valleys between all the peaks, where most everyone who lived in Redridge was. ((Double check that they cross a river into Redridge))
“This’ll be the farthest I’ve been from Stormwind my whole life,” Creme mused.
“Is that so?”
Damn. There I go again, speaking out loud. I gotta remember to keep my mouth shut around her. Don’t want to let her think that we could even be friends with these damn necklace things on.
But she had spoken, so felt compelled to respond. “Yeah.” At least a one-word answer would probably silence the lady.
“You have always lived in Stormwind?” Brulee asked gently.
“Most of my life. Before that we lived out in the forest, not too far from the city.”
“Me and my mom.”
“Oh. And you both moved into the city?”
“No. She died.”
There was a brief silence.
“I am sorry for your loss. May the Light be with her soul,” Brulee said. The words stung at Creme. How many times had she heard those words, or at least similar ones, coming from the Paladins, the Priests, the guards, in passing, not really caring.
“No you’re not. You wouldn’t know anythin’ ’bout it,” Creme spat out in a whisper, turning her head to the side. There she stewed in the silence between them. Served the Draenei right for bringing it up, for trying to connect with her.
“Both of my parents were killed in an Orc raid upon my people,” Brulee said stiffly, from behind her. Creme’s breath caught in her throat. “I pray each night for their souls to be watched by the Light, as I do for my brother and ever other friend who has left this world and as I will do for your mother.” Creme watched as the Draenei’s hands tightened on the reigns. “Do not be so quick to judge the experiences of others, lest you also be judged by them.”
Silence descended upon them once again, broken only by the sounds of both horses feet upon the dirt path. Brulee’s grip upon the reigns remained tight and she seemed to be holding herself more stiff than before, trying to avoid contact with her. It was many minutes before Creme could muster enough courage to speak again.
“I.. I’m sorry,” she managed to say.
Brulee gave a non-commital grunt. Creme really hoped that she was accepting the apology.
The silence between them carried on as they traveled across the large stone bridge into Redridge. The sun was setting as they did so, it would soon be dark, and they would not be at a town. Guess that’s what happens when you start a day’s journey with less than half a day’s worth of light left.
Just as the sun was about to dip completely below the horizon, Brulee stopped their horse. “It will be too dark soon. We will set up a camp here.”
Creme said nothing as she dismounted, in a much more clumsy fashion than Brulee would do, even with the Draenei’s funny legs. She tried to emulate the motion, but as she did not have stirrups when riding on the same horse as her mentor, she could not brace her foot while slinging her other leg over. The best she could manage was gently sliding/falling over to one side, clinging to the horses neck for dear life. It was a wonder the horse didn’t try to shake her off with all the pushing and pulling she did to it.
Brulee swiftly dismounted once Creme had gotten off, with great precision in her movements. She quickly undid the lead between the horses and led them off to the left side of the road. Creme followed.
The landscape in the area was much different than Elwynn. It boggled Creme’s mind that just moments (hours?) ago they had been in a lush green forest full of pines and leafy trees with brilliant colored grasses and bushes. Now they were surrounded by reddish brown peaks in the distance, with few trees to be seen. The grass was much more sparse, a lighter hue, with the red-brown soil peaking through. The bugs seemed to be the same though.
The paladin led them further away from the road, to a small area tucked in between some folds in the cliffs. There were high walls surrounding three sides of the clearing, thought the ‘entrance’ spanned about ten or twelve yards or so.
“We will be making camp here. It is far enough from the road to avoid any unwanted travelers attention from there, and protected by this cliff from the other sides.”
The Draenei thrust the reins of the horses at Creme. “Hold these.” Creme did so and watched as Brulee pulled the packs off of Willow and found one of the stakes that was in the packs, along with a hammer. She deftly struck the stake into the ground, and then held out her hand to Creme for the reins again. Creme led the horses to her, and she tied them to the stake.
“Do you know how to make a tent?” Brulee asked.
“Make a tent? But they gave us tents.”
Brulee sighed. “I am meaning, to set on up, to sleep in.”
“No. I’m pretty much a city girl.”
“Humph. Then tonight you shall be learning to set a tent up. Remove it from the pack please.”
Creme did so without arguement, and continued to follow Brulee’s instructions with only a few incidents of torn fabric that needed to be sewn. It was almost completely dark by the time the tents were finally up.
<do some more camp things: gather firewood, light fire for warmth/heating some food, try to light orb with magic but fail, start to have more heart to hear discussions>
“That took longer than I was hoping it to. We are still needing to gather some firewood,” Brulee said. She dusted some of the dirt off of her hands. Creme could see her glowing eyes examine her, judging her.
“I can go get some,” Creme volunteered.
More appraising looks were shot her way. “No; I shall be getting the wood.”
Great. She didn’t trust me to go off and pick up some sticks.
“In the meantime,” Brulee said, “you may go through the packs and find something suitable to eat for dinner. Not too much though. It is meant to last several days during our trip.” With that, the Draenei spun around quickly and walked off into the woods.
And she doesn’t trust me to pick out a reasonable amount of food for dinner either, Creme thought. AT least she would know how to do that. And who couldn’t pick out firewood anyway? You’d just grab some sticks from a tree or something. There was plenty of wood around.
Grumpily, the human turned to the packs and started to dig around. It was getting pretty hard to see what all was in there, and she ahdn’t really paid attention to where everything was put when the packs were, well, packed. But it wouldn’t be tooo hard to find the food, she hoped. All they would need is a bit of that bread-like stuff and some of the cheese because that was way more parishable than some of the other things and it was best to eat it first. And some of the jerky too. That would really hit the spot.
Still none of those items turned up in her search of the pack. It was mostly just clothes and other random things that she was sure that would not come in handy while they were traveling. Why did they need all that stuff anyway? Oh, it was sleeprolls for the inside of the tents. Maybe those would be handy. And a blanket. It was rather chilly outside, even with it being fairly warm during the day.
But still no sign of food. She contemplated making herself a little fireball in her hands to see things better with, but that was probably a bad idea. Creme was pretty sure that Brulee would not approve, which on its own wasn’t a good enough reason not to do it. But coupled with the necklace of doom and the fact that the last time she had made a fireball orb to see by she set lots of things on fire (accidentally, even! She hadn’t even meant to set them on fire in the first place! It was just that fire came so naturally too her. The other aspects that other mages controlled with ease seemed too finiky for her, and it was hard to control all that fire that would want to so willingly be channeled by her.
Ah, here was some of the bread stuff. Tack, or whatever it was called. The priests at the Abbey kept it on hand for travelers and sent out shipments for soldiers. They were so lucky to get some of that instead of the real bread. Brulee had accepted it graciously of course. Creme was pretty sure the Draenei actually had meant that it was appreciated and really wanted it. She was also pretty sure that the Draenei had never eaten it before.
Creme had, though. A few times it was stolen – she did not consider Stormwind’s guards to be above being targeted for theft. Other times it was a kind ‘gift’ to the orphanage from some ‘generous’ donor, given to the children when times were tough. She certainly hoped that the ‘kind donors’ weren’t actually the folks at the Abbey and were instead from some rich fatcat who just wanted to look kind for giving food to adorable children on a budget (And there were plenty of those bu tthat was a story for another day).
She bit off a corner of the tack. Yup, it tasted exactly like the type she had had before; dry, crustly, and generally tastless. Nutritional her butt.
There was a rustling noise from behind her. Creme stood up hastily, arms loaded with some of the food from the packs. In the dim light she made out Brulee’s figure.
“I am returned,” the draenei said. Her arms were full with what Creme assumed to be wood. Some of it looked a bit small though.
“There are not as many trees in this area so there is not as much wood to be finding. However the… how you say, pines? Yes, the pine trees have many dry needles about them that will make for good fire starting.” She paused. “Though I suppose I had no need to worry about starting a fire when we have a mage skilled at such things.”
“Yeah, yeah, whatever. Why didn’t you just use the stuff on that tree over there?” Creme pointed over to one of the single trees in view.
The blank look that Brulee gave her was facinating to say the least.
“You do not simply burn a living tree! Do you know nothing of setting up the fires for camp? Without magic? A living tree contains far too much moisture. You must be finding already dead limbs from a tree.”
Creme stayed silent during this admonishing, rather resentful. How was she supposed to know this cmaping business? She had planned to live in Stormwind her whole life; there wasn’t any need to learn to set up a fire on her own. Either her magic would take care of it or someone who actually owned the fire would. And wood came from bundles sold by, well, woodsmen, not from the ground around them.
Brulee was busily preparing an area for the wood to rest as the light around them grew less and less with each passing moment. Creme watched out of the corner of her eye. The two larger logs went on top, in an area not too far from the tent. Underneath were the medium sized ones, with the little bits of pine all set up to be underneath it all.
Brulee waved her over. “Come here, and set but a spark of fire to this. You can do that right?”
“Of course,” Creme snidly remarked.
“Give me to food as you do so then,” Brulee said, standing up from the kneeling position she had held moments before. Her arms outstretched for the food selection Creme had made and was still holding, and Creme bundled it over, trying and succeeding in not spilling any of the food to the ground.
“Watch me,” she replied. Gently she coaxed some flame to her hand; it was quite bright in the descending darkness, even the small amount she had made. She tried to make it even smaller, on the tips of her fingers, as she knelt closer to the wood pile.
“Make sure you light the little ones on the bottom,” Brulee said.
“Jeeze I know!” Creme deftly touched her sparked fingers to the pine needles below. They sparked up and soon the pile of logs was merrily aglow (or did she mess it up completely? Eh).
Brulee nodded in approval. “Well, fire mage, you are useful for one thing. Now shall we see what you picked out for dinner?”
<Random scene in which an orb is attempted to be lit for light.>
“Ah, but campfires are not the only thing that can give out light while on the road, yes? Especially not for a mage such as yourself. Or at least it should not be troubling.”
“Yes!” Brulee beamed as they sat by the campfire, dinner most definitely finished being eaten. “Your teacher, the Magister Smith, she has given me something for you to practice on and I am thinking that this would be a good opprotunity to be trying it out, as it is rather dark except for that fire being there.”
Creme groaned. How like her ‘teacher’ to give her ‘guardian’ some stupid project or homework to do while she was out. It was like being in regular school at the orphanage all over again. ‘Make sure you count how many apples everyone eats during class today’ she’d ask. ‘Don’t forget your homework if you’re going to the park!’ Oy.
“Do not be so negative about these things,” Brulee said, obviously catching Creme’s lack of excitement in trying to do whatever the project her teacher thought she was going to do. “It is a very handy skill to have. I am sure there are many people who would be quite happy to be learning about the arcane like you are.”
“Then why don’t they? I’d ‘be happy to be learning’ about something complete different.”
“Learning to be a mage is not always a choice for one to take, if the knowledge of the arcane is already embedded within your heart. Now, here is the training that is to be done.” Brulee deftly rummaged into one of the bag sthey had originally brought for their journey and produced a small clear orb.
“Oh, not this again,” Creme said.
“You are already knowing what is to be done?” Brulee said cheerfully. “Good! Now take this and do as your teacher had instructed, to put light in the orb.”
Brulee tossed the crystal orb over to Creme, which the human caught instinctly and then stared at it vacantly.
“Who ever thought putting light in an orb would be a good idea?”
Brulee tsked at her. “Come now, it is a very useful thing to have. If the light can be sustained without a mage present, it can provide useful glow with only minor recharging, which certainly saves on other material costs. It provides a nice steady glow unlike the flames normally produce, which is good if a more natural steady light is needed for a task one needs to complete.”
“But doesn’t it take, like, a very high level mage to do any of that fancy permanent glow stuff? That’s way out of my league.”
“Hmm, maybe this is something that comes more easily to Draenei magi.”
Creme rolled her eyes. “Yeah right. Our archmages could take on your archmages any day.”
Brulee chuckled. “If you are saying so. But this is still a useful skill. Even applying the glow when you are only holding it is still something that is safer than the light of a campfire or of holding flames in your hand, and can also be easily brightened or dimmed. Sometimes there can even be a little residual glow if the spell is strong enough.”
“Jeeze, you sound just like my teacher.”
“Where do you think I am learning all of this information?” Brulee asked with a smile. “Now please be trying to light the orb.”
“Fine,” Creme responded. She started to squint up her face as if she was expelling a lot of effort and squeezed the orb some. She added some grunting noises of effort for extra effect; the draenei would be sure to buy it.
“Phew!” she exclaimed after what felt like long enough. “I guess I just don’t have it in me tonight to do any of this.”
“How strange that you were able to easily light that fire just earlier,” Brulee said. “And I do believe your teacher said that you should not fake these things, so if you would like to try again, that would be most good.”
Dang. Smith must’ve told her about this gig and what to look for when I’m not really trying. I should cast more spells in front of a mirror to see what I really look like.
Creme shot a glare over at Brulee for good measure before attempting yet again, this time actually attempting to channel the arcane through her hand to the orb resting in it.
It was supposed to be a form of the arcane that was similar to fire – the light, the energy – without any of the heat or it’s unpredictable nature. Summon the fire into the orb, letting its essence bounce along inside the crystal structure trapped until it is later released by a similar process.
She closed her eyes again, to better focus on the magic. Fire she could do. Nice and easy, just like always.
“I think you have set the orb on fire,” Brulee stated matter of factly.
Creme opened her eyes. Her palm was indeed on fire, and the orb surrounded by fire. So it wasn’t really on fire, because it didn’t melt or get damaged or anything. But the fire definitely wasn’t in the orb.
“Try again please!” Brulee said.
Creme sighed. Alright, so fire was there, it just needed to go inside the orb. That orb, there in her hands. She could feel it there, physically in her palm. And if she concentrated hard enough, she could feel it more on the magical planes as well. It was there that she wanted to focus the arcane energies, not in the physical world that she was so used to. She concentrated on doing such.
There was a short intake of breath from Brulee. Something had happened. Creme cracked open her eyes to see a faint glow in the orb. It dimmed and flickered when she opened her eyes to look at it, but she steeled her mind and focused on keeping it steady.
“Very good!” Brulee said. She sounded pleased. For some reason this made Creme feel good about what she just did too, if only a little. She tried not to think about that. It was stupid anyway; why would she care about her.
But what would be more exciting if it was brighter. She closed her eyes again and concentrated harder on making the orb full of the arcane magic. Slowly but surely she felt it gorw in that little sphere. It even got bright enough where she could see the glow from behind her closed eyes.
In the background, Brulee was murmuring things, most likely words or encouragement or some such thing. “Good job” or “Very bright”. Creme tuned them out, until after a little bit after she started to brighten the orb they took on a more urgent tone.
“It cannot hold that much! There’s too much power. You should stop-”
There was an explosion. Creme could see her mental image of the orb shatter from the power she had been channeling into it.
“Oh shit! That was too much!” Creme thought to herself. Her brain belatedly registered that Brulee had been warning her of exactly that happening not just a moment ago, but she had been too focused on her success to listen.
She was half expected to be full of little glass shards, but when Creme opened her eyes she was there and complete unharmed. Next to her was Brulee, who had apparently knocked the orb away just in time and somehow protected them. That’s what paladins did, after all.
A yard or two away lay the smoking remains of the orb. What once was clear was now a smokey gray. Some of it was still smoking, in fact, the round shape now splintered into many different chunks in the area.
“Oh. Um. Sorry about that. And thanks,” Creme said, embarrassed. How foolish she felt, having to be rescued from her own spell. But wasn’t it really Brulee’s fault for making her practice, anyway?
Or maybe it was her own fault for not wanting to practice with the proper supervisor in the first place.
“You need more practice at this it seem,” Brulee sighed. “But obviously there will be no more of that now. Let us put out the fire and prepare for the rest of our journey tomorrow.”
Dinner was more or less a pleasant experience, though Brulee commented that there was far too mcuh food. Though the look on her face when she first tried the hardtack was hilarious. Served her right for wanting it the first place.
The fire was put out now (something Creme had a little something to do with; her attempt at an ice spell turned into water that put out the fire (sure, it was hot water, but at least it wasn’t more fire)) and they were in the tent. In theory trying to sleep. It was really kind of awkward to be in the same tent as the draenei, right next to her in fact. She knew Brulee wasn’t asleep yet; she always breathed more heavily when she was sleeping. Not that Creme knew from staying up late and trying to sneak away at night. Nope, not at all.
“A.. about the orb,” she started to say out of the blue, because why not. “I’m really sorry that it exploded. I didn’t mean to.”
There was silence for a long moment. Long enough that Creme began to question whether the Draenei was actually awake at all.
“I am sure you were not meaning to,” Brulee responded, finally.
“Yeah. I guess it’s just something I can’t do.”
Brulee turned her head to face Creme’s. “Can’t? Or do not want to?”
“If you were wanting to, you could practice easily to learn such a thing. But you do not.”
Creme stayed silent as Brulee continued to speak.
“When I was younger and still in more training for learning to become a paladin, I wished to become better at using the sword. Did I sit around all day without a care in the world because I did not want to practice? No. I worked hard to train each day so I could become great at wielding a sword.”
“Well I don’t want to wield a sword better! I don’t want to learn magic better!”
“Do you not? You do not want to not explode orbs?”
“That doesn’t count because it was training I didn’t want to do in the first place!”
“Then do you want to light buildings on fire and pay the price for doing so?”
“Whatever. Those buildings had it coming to them.”
“Would you want to learn if it your skill were to save your friends?”
“I-” Creme stopped short. Had she not already done so when she burnt down that building? Was there really any difference in doing so with fire than with any other mage spell? Would she have approached it differently if she could have performed a different skill? Or the same type as the one she had done but with more finesse?
“Fire is not always the answer, Creme,” Brulee said softly. “Problems cannot always be solved through just the flame, just as they cannot always be solved with just ice and just arcane. There is a balance, just as the sword must balance with the shield and still be guided by the Light’s hand.”
“But I never wanted to be a mage! I never wanted to have this power! It just, just showed up when I was little and I could never not make it happen!”
Brulee’s eyes narrowed. “And I,” said the draenei, “never wished to take up the sword in the Light’s name, to increase my combat prowness, to kill on the field of battle. War was thrust upon me and my people. I wanted us to live, and therefore I learned.”
“But whatever situation I may be in, my mage skills would help no one.”
<refute! also, ask if there would be a situation in which a certain power would have been useful and refer to Elise?>
“Just as now your mage skills had no part in assiting in starting a nice campfire without messing with any flintstones?”
Creme snorted. “That’s not a real situation.”
“Of course it is. I do not think we culd have made a fire as quickly otherwise and then we would have been cold. And you would not have learned so much about making proper fires, either.”
“But that’s boring. It’s not ‘life or death’ or whatever motivated you.”
“Surely you have been in a situation in your life where some sort of spell would have made it easier?”
“No. ” Crème crossed her arms, even while lying down because she is awesome like that.
“Think harder, then. I know I could have made more of a difference in protect my fa- my people had I bothered to learn the art of the sword before the Orcs attacked. And I know that if I had learned to use the Light for healing before they came instead of just reading about it, I could have helped more as well. And I know that our mages were helpful both in and out of battle; with their offensive spells, defensive shields. The food they conjured, the portals they set up. I am sure that you could have the potential to be that useful too.”
Crème stayed silent. She didn’t need to keep hearing all of this stuff from the draenei. It would just be better if she had never had a connection to the arcane. There would be less fires started, less problems started at school. . . . Less distractions during their heists, less fires started on the nights on the street when they were cold and needed to warm themselves. Less attempts at trying to conjure some food for the kids to try and fill their bellies, if only temporarily. Less complements from her mother at the fire creatures she made in the fire, at her attempts to make ice sculptures from the well water.
Crème felt her eyes tear up. Damn that paladin. This was all her fault, for making her think about these things too much. Obviously it would’ve been better if they had never had this conversation. .. . Just like it would’ve been better if she hadn’t brought up that whole thing with Brulee’s family and stuff. She supposed it was only fair, then, that Brulee would be drilling her so hard about these things. And would not the draenei also have felt torn up about talking about her family? And how was she supposed to know that her magic reminded her so much about her mom?
She didn’t, of course, but Crème didn’t really didn’t want to talk with her any more about this. The human turned on her side, away from the draenei. Ther eewas silence for a little while longer before Brulee said ‘Good night’. Crème said nothing in return, as she had already drifted off to sleep.
Crème awoke being roughly skaken. It was still dark.
“Wha?” she said.
“Sh,” Brulee replied, her voice a barely audible whisper. “There are people outside. I think they have blocked the exit.”
Crème stiffened. Were there some bandits? Or was it the gnolls that Brother Paxton had mentioned being in Redridge mountains?
“I thought we were hard to find here?” Crème asked, just as quietly as Brulee had. She slowly sat up, getting out of her sleeping roll. Brulee’s hand stayed on her shoulder.
“It must have been the fire that gave away our location. I was careless with that, but I was not thinking that there was much danger so close to the border of the woods.” Brulee sounded worried, but her hand’s grip on Crème’s shoulder was held steady.
“Prepare yourself for some fighting,” the draenei continued, giving Crème’s shoulder a quick squeeze before she stood within the tent. Crème could see even in the low light that Brulee held her sword, though she wasn’t wearing her armor. It was likely too hard to put on in the dark, if they she woke up due to intruders.
And not too far from them Crème could hear some noises. Those were the intruders Brulee was talking about, Crème thought. They were talking too, although it was quiet murmurings. Crème tried to make out what they were saying, btut he words sounded foreign to her.
“I will exit the tent in a moment and try to distract them. When I do I want you to-“
Any further instructions Brulee had were cut off when an arrow entered their tent between the two of them. Crème backed away as Brulee took the opportunity to charge forward. The draenei glowed with the power of the holy Light as she charged force with a battle cry.
There had been some sort of heated discussions shortly after the arrow was sent through the tent, but those abruptly ended when Brulee charged forward. Crème could hear the clash of steel, but no more arrows went through the tent.
After a few moments, Crème finally managed to gather up the courage to leave the tent herself. Whatever Brulee was doing seemed to be distracting whoever was attacking them well enough.
Crawling out of the tent revealed a fight between Brulee and quite a few. . . Orcs? Were those really orcs? The only light was coming from Brulee, who was fiercely attacking them. One or two lay on the ground.
I guess this is one of those situations where knowing a mage spell would be handy, Crme ethought to herself. She never had to use them in real combat before, not against people who weren’t training her and could reverse the damage of her spells or avoid the damage all together or who were just training dummies.
Just take it easy, she thought to herself. Don’t want to start a wild fire or something, I Don’t think Brulee would like that. Though maybe a wildfire would be preferable than being killed by orcs.
Quickly she gathered up some fire in her hands, looking for a target to throw her fire at. But before she could launch it, something heavy struck her on the back of her head, causing her to fall to the ground, blacking out.