In this action-packed, painful revelation-filled conclusion, former Archmaester Yun finds himself the reluctant head of a death squad, sent to kill the wayward young Wizardess, Zia. Resigned to Zia’s fate and indifferent to his own, Yun’s party does indeed locate Zia, but the act of dispatching her to save the reputation of the Academy is more difficult than expected. Zia is not the innocent girl she once seemed, as Yun discovers during a shocking, heart-breaking conversation that reawakens his will to live, his desire for revenge, and occasions a furious battle against Zia and her three Barbarian protectors.
Here’s a quote from one of the action scenes, since PvP conflict was in short supply in the earlier chapters.
I could not kill him from a distance, not as exhausted as I was, but Zia’s murderous escape from the Academy had given me an idea, and I knew it was my only chance. Moving as quickly as my muscles would allow, I sent a burst of sparks up with my left hand, then took a step to the side, focusing the rest of my energy into my right hand.
The sparks were no real attack, not against this foe. They were bright enough to blind him though, and dazzled by them, the Barbarian had to guess which direction I’d moved. If he’d guessed right he would have split me like a log. He did not, though it was a near thing; I felt the cold radiating from his weapon as it whistled past me, close enough for the wind to ruffle my hair. The axe head buried itself in the ground, a minor explosion and shock wave emanating from the weapon and the Barbarian’s thunderous landing.
I’ve added some authorial comments to the thread after the story, and if you’re curious about the (atypically autobiographical) inspiration for some parts of this story, or think you know which popular action/adventure/romance film I took the names of the three leads from, check it out.