CHAPTER 5 – AWAKENING

Lem'trak started. Something had ejected him from Falen's mind. It would seem that a nasty surprise had been left for whomever tried to release the girl from Ferisha's control. Fortunately Lem'trak had managed to avoid the worst of it, having seen that it was dangerous right as he got to the area containing the trap. The elf's mouth twisted into a wicked smile. In that case, he would just have to work around the trap. He dove back in, this time taking a different channel toward the mental area. His conscious wove around the mental area, avoiding it for now. He would rush up to the trapped area, and leave just before it set off.

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Meanwhile, Falen once more found herself contemplating an almost-noise. It buzzed right at the verge of reality, but she was not quite able to grasp it. It was more like she was feeling the sound rather than actually hearing it. The feeling seemed to dance around, always just out of her reach. She would sense it coming from one direction, but when she turned it would already have raced off to another direction.

What in the world is going on? She tried to focus on the feeling, sensing that it was important to do so. There! She felt a slight difference, though it lasted for only a moment. Then, from another direction, she felt the same surge in the feeling. Each time she felt it, she tried to hold onto it. Suddenly something snagged. The feeling flowed through her, becoming a true sound in her ears. It was like a piercing whistle, and her hands flew to her ears, trying to block it out. The intensity of the noise increased, however, and no amount of work on her part could keep it from her ears. She let out a scream. This time the noise cut through the air. Oddly enough, her scream took on the same tone as the whistle, and she found that she could not stop screaming. Something had a hold on her voice, and it would not let go. She struggled against it, but it was no use.

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I have it The elf's slender body shivered with the strain it was undergoing, but his mind was not in the physical world. He latched onto the sound of Falen's scream, not allowing her to stop despite her efforts to do just that. It was the beacon that could guide him to the girl's mind and break her free of the spell. Still holding onto the sound, another part of him continued its frenzied race around the trapped area. The trap was weakening. Each time it came at the verge of being set off, the spell weakened just a little.

Finally, once he felt the walls of the spell had thinned enough, he shot toward them. His conscious pierced through the trap, and it shattered into innumerous pieces. Without taking time to cheer, he sped on, determined to reach the girl's conscious before it was too late. Following the scream that he still clung tightly too, he wound his way through his patient's mental pathways. It seemed that Falen had been drawn very deep into herself, and he had to be very careful not to take the wrong path.
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Still screaming, Falen trembled. Something very strange was happening. Not only was she being controlled, but she could not feel something moving closer to her. Her imagination filled in the details that her senses could not yet tell her about her hunter. She pictured all manner of disturbing images, each more gruesome than the last. Her body started to shake more and more violently, and if she were in the physical world, she would surely be soaked in perspiration.

Suddenly a form appeared within her view. It was a winged snake covered in brightly patterned scales. It drew close, and she could finally tell that the whistle came from this being. It stopped short, and the whistle finally stopped. The compulsion to scream was lifted from her, and she fell forward, clutching at her throat and gasping.

Falen? Human-child? Can you hear me? A voice, barely a whisper, streamed toward her.

She tried to form a response in the same manner in which the question was asked. As it came out, she could hear that it was little more than an annoying buzz.

It's Lem'trak the whisper continued, I've come to save you, but you will have to help me out a bit.

She tried to respond once more. This time it came out weakly, but it could be understood, Th-thank you… I…hurt… Between the newness of the communication method and her latest experience, she could say no more.

I know. The voice was filled with sympathy, I'm going to come up to you. I need you to grab hold of my tail, and don't let go. I will guide you back to yourself, and you will be able to wake up.

Falen nodded slightly, barely able to move. Somehow she would have to walk and follow Lem'trak's odd form. When the serpentine body wove its way close enough, she forced her hand to wrap around the tail. It felt reassuringly solid after having felt so little of substance before this.

Remember, no matter how hard it is, do not let go. With that, the snake started moving slowly forward.

One foot fell into step, followed by another. Falen willed herself to continue moving forward, guided by Lem'trak's presence. Each step she took was agonizingly painful, but she forced herself to walk.

This pattern continue for some time, and Falen began to wonder if they would ever reach the destination. Moments later, however, they made a turn, and her eyes were nearly blinded by a bright light. Only a bit further, the elf coaxed.

So she stubbornly followed after her guide, and she was soon rewarded by seeing what appeared to be a vortex of swirling colours.

Now you must go on your own. I have to leave the way I came, but you must enter that hole. Doing so will bring you back to the physical world instead of being trapped within yourself as you are now. I will meet you there. You will have a very painful headache, among other ails, when you awake. The form sped out of the area and disappeared around a bend.

Left with no choice but to enter the mass of colours and hope for the best. So she did just that.

Lem'trak, who had reached the physical realm already, watched as the girl's eyes fluttered open. "Welcome back, child."

Gasping at the pain that surged through her entire body, Falen could not respond. Her hands went to her head, and she rubbed at her temples trying to ease her headache.

Seeing that she would be okay, Lem'trak turned his attention toward the battle at hand.