Chapter 8 - Fox

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The world around him slowed down, like he was floating on the raindrops pouring out of the terrifying cloud. Then—as if by a snap of a God's fingers—he fell and kept on falling.  With flailing arms, he plummeted to the ever-growing ground below him.

If only he were a bird or a proper Air Magician, he could ride on the waves of the wind. But he wasn't. He was but a Fire Magician, blinded by the God of Pride. Regret always came too late.

"Katl—" As his death cry reverberated through his entire body,  something snapped inside of him. He opened his mouth again, allowing fear wished to use his voice, but the air had stolen all breath out of his lungs. Even the tears streaming down his cheeks were silent.

A gust of wind swung him sideways. He tumbled, again and again, until he could no longer tell the sky and ground apart. Too afraid to watch himself dying, he shut his eyes and braced for a landing that would lead him straight to the Heavenly Halls.

Or the Seven Hells. He had performed unspeakable sins. The marble merchant was dead because of his flames.

He would never see Mother again.

Then came the impact. Softer than expected, yet his bones jangled in ways they shouldn't. The wound in his shoulder ripped wide open, which made him howl.

He cried for his life, the pain, and the shock of it all. Hot drops mingled with the rain as a foreign pair of arms cradled him. 

"It's all good. It's over. I got you," a deep, singsong voice called.

Fox opened his eyes. The stranger who had caught him was a blur, yet his salt-and-pepper hair stood out, as did his eagle beak-like nose. He was bobbing up and down, the forest in the distance still moving.

Below him was a black horse with white spots on its hind legs. The man had saved him while riding; what kind of magician was he?

"You're not Katla."

"I'm not Katla," he confirmed. A deep wrinkle formed along his mouth as the man peered at him. "But you can thank your Gods I was here. First time flying?"

"I did it...  before... but never by myself," Fox said in between sobs. "I'll never do it again—it's so scary, Master..."

"Storm. And you are?"

"Fox."

"Well... Fox, Air Magic isn't more dangerous than any other element. All you need is a good teacher." Storm man raised his arm into the air. A beam of bright light shot out his hand and created a hole into the grey cloud.

Something between ten and twenty raindrops still landed on Fox's head, then the rain stopped.

"Are you a Water Magician?" Fox remembered the name 'Storm' from somewhere, but he couldn't recall from what. It was like that time Katla had stolen his memories of Seb.

"Air Magician. But my Fire and Water magic aren't too shabby either."

"I'm a Fire M—"

"He's mine!" shouted Katla in the distance. His breathing was fast and shallow, the thumping of his boots grew louder, as did his voice. "I had everything under control. I was gonna catch him."

"Didn't seem like it from where I was riding, Fire Master." Storm kicked the horse into motion.

The sudden movements sent waves of searing pain through Fox's upper chest. Groaning, he clenched his teeth together. Then, as Master Storm tugged at the reins, the horse came to a quick standstill with hooves sliding across the muddy underground.

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