Desperate men do desperate things, but this one just froze until the witches stepped out to flank him.
Two of them, women, one old, one much younger and no doubt her trainee or apprentice. At first I had no idea how they had got there.
Then I realized they weren’t actually there. Projections of some kind. “Nice try, but I assume your backup is really back in town.”
“But of course. Why risk being stabbed? And we only want the child.”
“To sacrifice.” I kept my tone even. I was going to kill all three of them. “And you have him convinced he’ll gain power from it.”
“It’s not true, you know. There’s ways for normal people to learn magic, it’s a lot harder without the talent, but you could do it. Without hurting anyone.” A pause. “But you can’t just take the kid’s power. Or your wife’s.”
“They said we couldn’t take hers because she’s grown up, and besides, the kid will be stronger.”
I doubted that. I hadn’t sensed the child, which meant that its aura was still hidden by its…or his…mother’s. “The kid isn’t stronger. And I won’t let you do this anyway.”
“You and what army?”
“If I kill you…” I stepped forward, pressing the point of my sword against his chest. It wanted his blood. I could barely hold it back. “Which my blade wants to do.”
“They put a curse…”
I smiled. “Could any curse bind me?” Of course one could, but one set by these losers? I was confident they couldn’t touch me.
The witches did something at that point…the sword point was pushed back a bit. Straight up shield spell. Not bad, given they were doing it remotely.
I wished for Clara. She’d know how to stop them. And then I did, abruptly. They were projections.
The sword had just cut through magic. All I had to do was find…
I picked the younger one, abruptly darting right around the man to cut through the link between the image and her real self. It wasn’t like astral projection in the books. I didn’t kill her.
But I dispelled the image.
The older one blinked. Then she smiled. “A worthy opponent. Few would have thought of that.” Then she, too, disappeared.
No doubt she was checking on her apprentice. “Alone again.” The shield spell was still up. “Give me one good reason not to kill you.”