The air tasted like smoke.
Rosira was frozen. The world spun around her, lost in a sea of bodies and shouts and screams and the screeching sound of metal against metal, arrows piercing flesh, the snap of bones and broken skin.
She knew it would be bad. She had always known — it was, after all, a battlefield.
And yet, she was still shocked by it, caught off guard, unable to even move.
Voice looped through her head, constantly. Fractures of words and sentences flitted from all directions. She could not tell if she was hearing them here, in the battle, or in her own mind. Her senses tortured her. Those invisible hands — the ones that allowed her to reach out and touch people without touching them, feel their thoughts and dreams and fears — felt as if they were being pierced by thousands of needles at once.
She knew it would be bad. But she hadn’t known it would be this bad.
Araich had told her to stay back, towards the woods. She was supposed to support from as far away as she could. Even now, in this chaos, she could remember the look in his eyes as he said it to her, a few too many times. “Stay back. Stay far away from the violence.”
She had nodded, her mouth dry. A small part of her was touched that he seemed to care so deeply about her safety. Another part of her looked at his limp, weak leg and wished she could ask him to stay far away from the violence, too.
But in practice, it wasn’t that easy. The battle sprawled. Through the noise, she couldn’t do much of anything from her place in the woods. So she crept closer, and closer, and closer.