the haze, but he could make out Tilar and Razeel. Tilar was firing burst after burst at them. Razeel's lips were moving, vague forms of darkness taking shape in the mist around her.
Galen conjured another ball of energy. Another equation of motion. He hurled the ball at Tilar. It struck the center of Tilar's chest, and he stumbled back in alarm, waves of red and yellow spreading from the impact as the shield struggled to absorb the attack. After a few seconds, the shield returned to its normal blue. With a few more attacks, Galen thought he could penetrate it. Yet while he did that, how many more blasts would Isabelle's shield be forced to withstand?
He didn't know, but he could think of nothing better. He had to drive away Tilar. He visualized the blank screen in his mind's eye. With ferocious focus he imposed equation after equation on it. A ball of energy. Motion to hurl it at Tilar. Another ball. More motion. Ball. Motion. Elric's voice drove into him, stressing control, control.
A flashing red-and-yellow shape in the mist, Tilar pushed past Razeel, retreated into the kitchen.
Razeel was barely visible, a faint blue form. Galen conjured a ball, hurled it at her. Then another. The play of light over her shield vanished almost instantly after each impact. Galen found himself racing with energy, his control growing shaky.
I can't last much longer, Isabelle's message read. Her body was stiff, face flushed, teeth clenched. Her fingers moved rapidly.
Galen put an arm across her back. They should make a run at Razeel and Tilar. Tilar might now be too weak to fight, and Razeel hadn't yet mounted a serious attack. "Come on," he said, pulling at her. Then he stopped, looked back over his shoulder.
Something was buzzing.
Out of the mist came a swarm of spikes,