A shattering crash from the outer room told her the skin-walkers broke through both the door and her warding, and the bluejay leapt from his perch in the treetop. Wmíisan sat up as best she could, ignoring the pain in her arm to lift both hands and weave her last spell. A parlor trick, and one every new apprentice learned early in their training. It was useless in a physical confrontation, though it might serve her well enough to give Síipuw and the others the one thing they needed… time.
Her arm no longer hurt, or the pain forgotten, and she finished weaving the spell by infusing it with the last reserves of her manitou. The air grew heavy, and the room darkened as she lowered her hands. As soon as she did, the pain returned, stronger than before, and she cried out before she could suppress the impulse, clutching her chest with her right hand.
The door to Síipuw’s room burst open, and the two slavering beasts—dire wolves on two legs—jostled for entry. Its frame cracked and splintered as the skin-walkers pushed through, and Wmíisan smiled, showing her teeth in full defiance of the beasts’ terrible power. Each had to duck its head to enter, and after two cautious steps were close enough she could smell the death covering them like a moldy cloak.
“The knife,” the first, and largest, growled around too-long teeth. It skinned black lips back in a parody of a grin. “And the girl.”
“Your eyes are big, evil one,” she slurred and gestured with her right hand. “See for yourself… neither are here.”
It took a slow step forward, muscles bulging, struggling to complete the simple motion. It growled, made another attempt, and stopped.
“What magic is this?” The skin-walker spit the words around glistening fangs.
“Your teeth are too big, I think.” Her grin grew, despite the pain in her chest. Her spell worked beyond her ability to weave it, thickening the air, trapping them like sap on a tree.