Remy didn’t wake up when Gerhardt poured potion down his throat, but we have to get out of here. Klyce and Maribeth circle the island, looking for another way off. The rest of us stand guard over Remy, until we hear a splash in the water. Then we start hearing crunching sounds. Zombies crawl out of the water and are heading straight for us. I stand over Remy with Nat’s staff as she takes Remy’s daggers to attack the zombies.
When they finally fall dead… re-dead… dead again… There is a louder rumbling, and the sound of rushing water. I grab up Remy and run back towards the rope, several of the others start casting alteration magics as they run. A wall of water rushes at us and sweeps us all away. It all goes black and water covers us. In desperation, clutching to Remy, I start sending Messages with the last of my breath in all sorts of directions until the better swimmers found us.
Getting up to the surface, the water is still rising. Klyce manages to get the water out of Remy’s lungs and he starts breathing again. Nat says those zombies were the ones protecting Nathaniel’s skull, and he’s lost control, so we can’t go back up to the hole. We head over to the edge where the water came from, and the group decides to swim out to the ocean. This seems like a horrible idea to me, but all the good swimmers grab the rest of us and drag us through the darkness.
It feels like hours later, but couldn’t have been more than a couple minutes, lungs burning, when we finally break the surface outside the caves. Nat says we’re at the Mourner’s Cliffs, and leads us down to the fishing village. Remy’s in rough shape, so we ask after a doctor and they send us to the Crab Wife. Nat, Klyce, and I run back to the castle, worried about the rest of the castle if the zombies have taken over.
Nat’s dad say that the mines have closed themselves, or rather, some zombies came up and sealed the entrance. Nat tells him what happened, and that Nathaniel is probably gone. Kendrick, in a panic says we have to go back, we have to find him, we have to get him out of there. We ask for his help and he gives us more weapons and a scrolls of Invisibility to Undead. I have to ask the guys how to use it, I don’t cast spells from paper, and it seems inefficient to me. Nat and Klyce are worried that the seeds have taken control of Nathaniel. Nat tells us that she’s dreamed of the mines, and we encourage her to take control of her dreams and see if she can find out more about what’s going on.
The group, frustrated with me, insist I have to learn to fight. I’ve never fought anything in my life before coming to school. That’s not what I’m supposed to be learning. Magic is supposed to be fun, I never imagined it was so violent! Remy and Dalish take me out to the courtyard and teach me how to use a crossbow that we borrowed from Kendrick.
We gather up again and head down to the mine entrance. There aren’t any zombies guarding it, so we head in. The scrolls are limited, so we wait for a short while before using our scrolls. Fortunately, the zombies we pass don’t see us. Nat leads us down to a huge chamber full of zombies lying down with vines and seedpods all over them. Some of the zombies are twitching, but they don’t seem to be responding to anything.
We creep around the edge until we can see the far end. Nathaniel’s skull is sitting with Brokeback as usual, but there is a creature or someting inside it with a lot of legs sticking out. It skitters all over the zombie.
“I can feel you out there. Shouldn’t have come. Not in control. Not safe. Turn back.” Voice whispers from the skull.
Klyce goes forward to grab Nathaniel, hoping we can get out quick and end this. The others start attacking Brokeback and the other zombies start twitching. The seedpods start popping and some plant things skitter towards us, some skitter out of the chamber. Everything is crazy, and people keep falling down. I go up and keep shooting my crossbow. Once we get the skull free of Brokeback, we all run. Once we’re clear, the other start breaking the pillars and collapse the chamber, or least the part we can see. I have to come down and lift up Dalish who had been knocked out by the plant things.
We hightail it out of the mine, but nothing accosts us on the way out. The zombies aren’t moving and the plant monsters are all keeping away from us. There’s nothing more we can do now, so we close and barricade the doors. Heading up to the castle, Nat goes to speak to Kendrick. When she comes back, she says Nathaniel isn’t completely gone, but it’s going to take a lot of work to get him back. We still have Harvest End ahead of us.
Any Magic Users with one year of school are now legal adults.
A wartime draft has been instituted, for all legal adults.