It wasn’t over. Dyan needed something to end the fight, permanently. She hit the locator switch on her bola holster—one of her bolas was destroyed, but the other should be in the spring. She raised herself to her hands and knees, moaning from pain and effort, and looked into the water. She couldn’t see the light. That could only mean that the bola was buried under the fragments of rock.
“Blast and blazes,” she muttered.
Haika’s hand shot out and grabbed Dyan’s wrist. Her fingers were tense and strong, claw-like, and her nails dug into Dyan’s skin. Dyan looked at the Magister, and saw blood streaming down over her face from a gash in her forehead. Dyan had caused that wound, she realized.
And no amount of blood flow would hide the anger in Haika’s face.
“Vixen,” she snarled.
Dyan punched the older woman again, right in her bloody forehead.
“Aagh!” Haika fell back.
Dyan hit the locator switch on Haika’s holster.
She immediately saw one of the Magister’s bolas. Its locator light winked red, and Dyan reached for it—
but stopped. The bola sat in a red, bloody mess that had once been Eirig.
He wouldn’t care, she tried to tell herself. He would want her to grab it.
But she couldn’t force herself to do it. Instead, she shambled to her feet and stared at the rockslide.
There, above her head among the red rubble, winked the light of the Magister’s second bola. Her legs screamed with pain. Her skin burned. Her tongue felt like a swollen toad in her own mouth, and she tasted blood. Dyan kicked herself into a lope, and ran for the bola.
Behind her she heard scrabbling sounds. She hit the slide and stumbled forward onto all fours. Like a dog she pushed forward, scraping her hands and breaking fingernails on the rock as she dragged herself up it.
Her hand closed around the bola and she rolled over onto her back.
Haika knelt in the blood and bone mess of Eirig, blood smeared on her forearms as she snatched the other weapon.
Dyan jumped to her feet. At the same moment, the older woman stood.
They both raised their weapons. Dyan snapped her arm in a throwing motion—
but Dyan didn’t release the bola. Instead she let herself fall down and forward. She hit the ragged rocks hard, pinching her ear and bruising her shoulder, but the cracking sound behind her and the shower of rock dust that rained down on her told her that Haika had thrown and missed.
Dyan somersaulted forward and came up in an unsteady crouch.
Haika charged. She raised her arms like a wild animals, talons extended.
Dyan threw the bola. It snapped through the top of Haika’s head, and winged off into the pine trees, scattering severed branches and clouds of yellow-green needles as it went.
Haika ran three more steps. Dyan staggered aside to get out of the way, and when the Magister collapsed onto the stones of the rockslide, she was dead.