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Veins of Stone

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It might have been a part of Bolas’ citadel. Maybe a portion of the Parhelion II. Maybe pieces of both. The explosion was certainly big enough to have ripped large chunks off of both structures.

Sorin and Nahiri had been right underneath the falling pieces, blades locked together. There had been no time to run. No time to planeswalk away. They hadn’t even noticed the colossal chunks of stone and metal until it was too late, focused on each other as they were.

So it was a surprise, to say the least, when Sorin opened his eyes and found that he was not dead.

It was dark, so that at least was a comfort. The only light came from the glowing veins of stone from the citadel rubble, and the burning red of Nahiri’s sword, pointed at the roof of the small alcove of stone they were trapped in.

He lunged at her, sword-first, and she parried, kicking him against the stone wall.

“Stop, idiot! Who do you think is holding this damned stone up?”

“You…you saved me?” Sorin raised his sword to chest level ready for a rock or a sword strike from Nahiri. “Why?”

She pointed her free hand at Sorin, and spikes of stone erupted from behind him, all pointed at his head.

“Do you think,” she seethed, through grit teeth. “That after everything that’s happened I would let you die by accident? No-one kills you. Not the Eldrazi, not that ugly gecko out there, and certainly not a rock that I didn’t cast at you. Now shut up. I need to concentrate.”


As an oldwalker, Nahiri had moved mountains. She had shaped castles out of boulders with her mind, and armed thousands of refugees with weapons pulled from stone.

So it was a frustration beyond description to be stuck here with her ally-turned-friend-turned mortal enemy, unable to lift a measly pile of rubble.

For the fourth time she tried, pushing up at more tons of rock than she’d had to move in centuries. She could feel a slight shifting upwards, the nearest stones straining to rise, but the ones above them were more stubborn, only lifting with a sustained effort.

She grunted as the mountain of rubble pressed back down again, collapsing inward with a deep rumble.

It was an effort she couldn’t maintain. Not long enough to get them free.

Nahiri felt her knees buckle, and she toppled backwards.

Cool hands caught her arm and around her waist. Sorin. Nahiri growled curses at him, but it was all she could do to keep the shifted mass above them from falling in further.

Sorin eased her down to a kneeling position, then fell back against the side of the rock. “You’re not a god anymore. You’re still more powerful than most of those children out there, but you won’t be able to keep that up long enough to move whatever’s fallen on us.”

“I’ve done it before.”

“After fighting for days straight?”

Nahiri punched the stone, leaving a small crater in the side. Expletives poured out of her. The stone ceiling rumbled threateningly and rained bits of grit down on them, but she kept up enough of a force to keep it in place.

"Looks like…looks like a tie, then.” Nahiri rolled off of Sorin and leaned up against the opposite side of the cavern. “Sealed under another oldwalker’s pedestal.”

She spat on the ground between them. She still wanted to spit that arrogant corpse, but here, buried like this, she just couldn’t find the motivation. She slammed her fist into the wall again, her only palatable avenue of release at this point.

“So you’re trying to kill us faster now?” Sorin asked, as more stones fell loose from the roof.

“Excuse me for being a bit frustrated.” Nahiri jammed her sword into the ground. “I’m down here with my least favorite person in the multiverse, I’m stuck in some magic rock, not even for the first time, and I can’t do anything about it. What do you  propose we do?”

Sorin folded his arms. “I guess we wait, and take our chances with gravity.”

“Turn me.”


Nahiri scowled, and when she spoke again, it was through a clenched jaw.

“Turn. Me. You vampires are immortal, aren’t you? Give me that strength, and I’ll fling every last pebble off of us.” She waved a hand at the mountain of dark stone above them. “Or wait here and get crushed once I die. Your choice.”

“You’re not serious.”

“I’m not going to die like this. This isn’t vengeance, dying together like cockroaches under a boot. Are you satisfied with that?”

Sorin was silent for a long while. That look suited him better. It had been thrilling to see him lose his composure, to actually show emotion, but it didn’t suit him like this silent brooding did. Nahiri took the time to calm her own breathing, keeping enough focus on the stones to keep them from falling in entirely.

“Fine.” Sorin stood and stepped toward her, sheathed his sword. “Have it your way, lithomancer.”

His hands were still cool to the touch, almost soothing after the heat of combat. His eyes bored into hers, still predatory, but more pensive than enraged now.

“Well? Do I need to show you how to do it?”

He opened his mouth and closed it halfway, as if he meant to say something.

Then his head dipped forward and his breath was on her neck.

“This doesn’t change anything,” She gasped, as Sorin’s teeth broke the skin on her neck. “Once we’re out of here…once this is all over…I’m going to kill you.”

Sorin couldn’t respond, obviously. There was an insistent tugging at her neck, like…like…

She put her hand on his throat. “I mean it. Once this is over…” Her eyes were growing heavy. Her head felt light, like she was flying through the night sky. “I'm…I’m going to…”

The last thing she saw was Sorin’s hair, framing the darkness, lit by the dull warm glow of her sword.

** ** **

Sorin eased Nahiri to the ground, cradling her carefully. The anger was still there in his chest, but she was right. They would leave here together or not at all.

He licked the blood off the inside of his lip. She was sad. Hurting. It didn’t take away any of the anger in his chest, but he did understand it now. It Wasn’t in the blood. Only pompous connoisseurs and neonates believed that you could taste emotions in the blood. You could get broad strokes, but never the specifics.

It was him. While they had been fighting. Here. On Innistrad. The rage and the hurt had seemed familiar, and he realized that he had seen it in Nahiri that night by the helvault. The night he had  condemned her to darkness and horrors.

There were no words when she awoke. There was no need for them. Her eyes flared with bloodlust and power. The falling bits of detritus froze in the air, and rose back up again, as she stood and flexed her arms toward the ceiling.

The stone moved. Slowly, and with an awful grinding and rumbling, but it moved. The stones jangled in place, but did not fall and inch closer to either of them.

Around the base of the stone, a dim light began to filter through.

With a final shout, Nahiri shunted the rock aside, and a veritable mountain of carved stone collapsed beside them, sending dust out in a massive, explosive cloud, Sorin took to the air, for the clearer skies above.

Nahiri rose beside him, a burning sword in either hand.

The sky was filled with new threats now. Avens plated in that strange blue metal. They took note of the pair of them and moved in to attack.

“Don’t die, Sorin!” Nahiri’s shout was half howl, half laugh. “If these paper birds kill you I’ll find your ghost and rip its head off!” She thrust her arms forward, and a barrage of blood-soaked stones shot up from the ground, knocking scores of the eternals from the sky.

Well, Sorin thought, driving through the first of the eternals, cleaving its wings from its body. I certainly have made things difficult for myself.

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