Azlea pushed her way through the five guardsmen.
"What are you doing?" Daymion snarled. "Leave the fighting to the men. I will kill you later, girl!" he said with a snarl.
"You pompous chauvinist bigots are all alike," Azlea replied with confidence. "Fenmanoth kazmodooon!" she intoned.
A light glow that matched her violet hair appeared around her body, and she held out her hand, palm up, and continued. "Bound by ash, brought by fate, guardian of the sacred nine’s fire gate, I call on you, my ally forevermore," she chanted. "Great kirin Cerberi, prove your oath to our contract, and grant fire and doom to bear forth toward my foes!”
The aura grew stronger behind her and took the form of a creature that was just outside the material world. It stalked around her with its eyes held on the approaching assassins with a glare of malicious intent. It was akin to a dog, with charred fur and molten flows of lava that traced its skin like veins. Its eyes and mouth sent out licking flames, and its teeth glowed like white-hot coals.
The energy from her hair seemed to grow in intensity, as well, and whipped about like tongues of purple flame. "Ember staff!" she cried aloud and culminated the spell with a loud thoom! that emanated outward with a shockwave of violet flame and charcoal. The image of the creature disappeared and left behind falling ash in its place.
On her upraised palm, flickering flames of faery fire extended upward. They curled in on one another and left behind a solid volcanic rock that glowed white hot at its center with an obsidian outer shell. Within the staff, violet-colored molten lava moved and flowed at its core.
The staff grew and grew until it was her height. She performed a test swing with her weapon, and it left a trail of ash and faery fire in its wake that sparked with the heat.
"When they sent an ambassador for negotiations with the warlike rahliens and the feral anthras, did you think they would send the weak and useless? The kind of woman that only your narrow minded fantasies could imagine?" she asked with an excited, confident smile. "They sent their best—a battle magus!"
The guardsmen behind her seemed to rally at her power. The seven assassins charged, while Daymion hung back. He edged himself around to the side.
"I will handle this," said Azlea as she turned and pointed toward Penndarius. "Protect him!" she commanded the guardsmen.
"Yes, ma'am," one of the men responded. Although the scholar’s plight was beyond the five of them, and they did not understand why, without hesitation all five took up a circular formation around Penndarius, Lark, and Draven.
"What is happening?" Draven whimpered.
Daymion circled his seven assassins and angled himself toward Penndarius. Stealthily he unsheathed a sword identical to his troop's weapons and quickly hid it under his cloak to prevent the light of dusk from glinting off his blade and giving away his intentions.
Azlea met the charging assassins head on. The one in the lead attempted to attack her with his serrated sword. She saw an opening and delivered a horizontal strike, with the end of her staff thrust into his blade. It blasted the weapon back with an explosive force that displayed its fiery properties, which in turn opened the assassin to a follow up strike to his side. A cloud of ash was left in the staff’s wake.
The volcanic power of her attack ripped into the assassin's side and threw him ten paces away like a rag doll. His feet skidded to a stop along the carved stone of the platform, and he rushed back in. Azlea then swiftly blocked a return thrust with a deft downward parry of her staff, which she then quickly flicked upwards into the assassin's face.
The impact from her second assault snapped the assassin's head back violently, and he flipped head over heels to the edge of the platform. From just the two hits, ash and cinders fluttered in the air. The immediate area around Azlea was covered with soot. The five remaining assassins circled her and attempted to find openings without regard for their fallen comrades.
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