Chapter 23: Attack on Coldwind

Arthur, Alice and The Hatter all froze as Bethany stood in front of them, cackling evilly. A ring of fire surrounded the Cottage, a bigger ring around the village itself; screams of villagers filled the air. Everyone else was already standing in the doorway of the Cottage; Bethany smiled and ran through the flames singing "The Elf is dead!"

Arthur was already angry, he ran after her, breaking from The Hatter's grip and jumping over the flames. Someone burst from inside the Cottage, Mari was now running after Arthur.

The entire village was under attack from Followers and Shadows, Arthur ran past Mr Nord who was fighting several Shadows with his woodcutting axe, Mr Patient was grappling with someone next to the dead body of Mrs Patient, a lot of the wooden houses and shacks were on fire.

Arthur continued to chase Bethany, all the way up to the Tree of Dreams, where she seemed to have disappeared. Arthur looked around, his wand raised, ready to strike at any opponent that attacked him.

"Arthur! Arthur!" he heard Mari scream, she was nearby, he called her name but all that was replied was the screams of the villagers. There was a rushing noise as a Follower appeared next to him with his wand pointed. "Slissero Maxima!" he yelled. The spell shot at Arthur, but someone stood in between him and the spell. Mari's body fell to the floor, covered in massive cuts across her entire body, her left cheek included with a huge gash in it.

"No!" Arthur screamed as he dropped to Mari's body, the Follower raised his wand and opened his mouth to cast another spell, instead a killing curse shot from the shadows and hit the Follower between the eyes, killing him instantly. Hawke ran from the shadows with his staff glowing, Arthur's mouth opened in surprise.

"Hawke? What are you doing here?!"
"No time, help me with her" Hawke said, indicating Mari's body. She was still breathing, just. Arthur and Hawke hauled her up with her arms over their shoulders and hurried back down the hill. Bodies of dead and injured villagers filled the muddy paths, heat filled the air from the burning fires of the village, but many of the able villagers continued to fight.

Arthur hauled Mari's unconscious body up the path as Hawke defended them both from spells, Followers and Shadows. Phillip was standing at the top of the path reloading his crossbow; it had been obvious he had been firing down at the Shadows and Followers below. Upon seeing Arthur, Mari and Hawke he rushed to help Arthur carry Mari into the cottage.

They placed Mari on Arthur's straw bed while Phillip began to wipe the blood from her wounds….so much blood. Someone ran into the room, it was Damon, "Arthur…you have to see this!" Arthur reluctantly left Mari's side and followed Damon back outside, Arthur's heart stopped.

The Tree of Dreams was ablaze, its leaves crinkled, its branches burnt, the trunk blacked. Arthur and Damon looked in horror, their childhood, their only safe place in the world, was just wiped away. Arthur rand back inside, to hide his tears but to also hold Mari, even if she couldn't hold him back. Phillip was soaked in Mari's blood when Arthur entered the room, he wiped blood off his forehead before he spoke, "She's losing too much blood, if I can't stop the bleeding soon…" Arthur didn't dread to think it. Someone stood in the doorway, "I know how we can stop the bleeding" Harnor's weak voice said, he walked slowly into the room, followed by Mr Patient and everyone else. Pretty much everyone was covered in blood or soot from the smoke, Mr Patient was holding his own arm, which was covered in blood.

"Back away Elf" Mr Patient commanded, "You will not touch my daughter." Harnor looked at Mr Patient, "where's your wife?" he asked, but Mr Patient just shook his head. Harnor's eyes then lowered to Mr Patient's wrist, "your wrist…?"

"One of the buggers went straight for me, bit into my wrist he did." At that moment, a surprising feat of strength appeared in Harnor. He flew at Mr Patient, grabbing him by the neck and holding him against the wall, growling like a wolf. "What are you…?" Mr Patient began but he was cut off by Harnor.

"WERE YOU BIT?!" he yelled, but Mr Patient didn't reply. Harnor ripped back Mr Patient's sleeve to reveal a bite, a vampire bite. Harnor pulled the sleeve back further to get a closer look, "Dratik, lord of the Vampires, it doesn't surprise me to find his fangs in this." Harnor turned to Cornelius who was leaning on the wall, "make potions, grind Garlic and Silver Powder into it, we need to keep the Vampire disease at bay"

Cornelius nodded and left the room. Phillip was now looking at Harnor, who suddenly collapsed into a nearby chair. "How can we save Mari?" he asked, Arthur was still clutching Mari's hand.

Harnor breathed, "I wouldn't recommend it, but werewolves can regenerate wounds quickly, if she drinks my blood it could save her."

Arthur quickly stood up, "then do it! Save her!" but Harnor held up his hand, "but there is a problem. Besides the obvious side effects of some werewolf traits, my blood is still poisoned, in her weakened state with poison in her blood she may not survive."

Mr Patient was on Harnor again, "there is no way she's drinking the blood of a filthy creature like you!" he yelled, slamming his fist onto the nearby table. Harnor quickly retaliated, he stood close to Mr Patient's face, "You may not like Elves or Werewolves but I am the best hope your daughter has to survive! You've lost your wife; don't let your daughter die because you hate me!"

Mr Patient stood speechless, he nodded. Cornelius returned with a bottle of silvery liquid, "drink this, should help. You need to take a stronger dose each time." Mr Patient snatched the bottle from Cornelius' grasp and gulped the potion down.

Harnor put and hand on Arthur's shoulder and nodded. Arthur retrieved a cup and a knife from the nearby table and gave Harnor the knife. Harnor held his wrist over the cup and placed the knife on his wrist before slicing it, blood dripped into the cup. Harnor waited until the cup was halfway full before withdrawing his wrist and covering it with a cloth.

Arthur crouched down next to Mari and opened her mouth, he tilted the cup into the blood began to drip into her mouth and down her throat; he did this until the cup was empty, he then threw the cup to one side and held her hand once more. Harnor tied the cloth around his wrist and began walking out of the room, until he reached shoulder to shoulder with Mr Patient. "For what it's worth, thank you for letting me try, and I'm sorry for your loss." Harnor left the room quickly, soon everyone left, except for Arthur, Damon, Mr Patient and Phillip.