"I think maybe you were wrong." Darien grunted to Catherine as he allowed Alerstrad to reform into a sword. He dashed forward and shifted his blade up to bear against the force of the stone knight's heavy swing, aiding Rin with her sudden plight.
Sparks flew as the weapons connected, like fireflies they skittered across the cavern and briefly lit up the dark before fizzling into nothingness. Darien strained against the weight of stone, he was considerably weaker in this cavern than he was outside. There were no power sources, no life forces other than their own in the labyrinth. It was akin to a magic trap, a void that siphoned all power from his entity. From the E'lkiere. From Mae. From Scae'lion. From them all. He had nothing to tap into, nothing to work with but practised swordsmanship.
It didn't seem all that much versus a granite knight.
"How does one defeat a literal rock?" Darien queried seriously, unsure how to progress from the position they found themselves in. Sythe untucked itself from Darien's sleeve, dangling from its chain. Reactively, he shifted his centre of balance, freeing his left hand whilst maintaining the parry with his other.
He willed the weapon to become its namesake, a giant scythe. He would reap the statues heads and they would continue on their way-
But, instead, the ball formed into a jagged dagger in his palm. He had not yet fully grasped the magic behind the transformation of the weapon, like his own companion blade, but it would have to do for now.
He briefly recalled a moment of quiet, when Alikye had distributed gifts to each of them, not too long ago.
A whisper. A patter. It was entirely inaudible to the others, and meant only for him.
Alikye had projected the name of the blade as if it were a rarely-spoken, precious secret.
And then it clicked into place. Darien knew what to do.
"Sythe." Darien barked commandingly, lacing the namesake with all the magic he could draw from within.
The newly formed dagger in his palm exploded into white fire. He flipped his grip on the blade, and grasped the hilt tightly. The tendrils of alabaster flame danced over the surface of his skin, ebbed from between his fingers and flowed like cool water over the back of his hand. He suddenly felt strong and healthy, as if the white fire was trickling magic into his emptiness. Sure, it couldn't restore the magic or even hope to fill the labyrinthine void, but maybe it could help to destroy their new stone enemies.
In one sophisticated movement, he plunged the fiery blade into the neck of the stone knight, and hoped that the masonry would melt like butter.
Hope was all he had left in here. He desperately hoped to restore Mae to life. He hoped to beat the labyrinth, and seek council with the High Lords of Genesaris after all this time. He hoped for Alikye's contentment. Jubilation. Exultation. Prosperity for them all. He hoped for Rin to feel at ease, to garner her friendship, for her to see herself in a better light. Even for the newcomers - He hoped for Catherine's allegiance and safety. For the peculiar kitten's companionship.
Would hope be enough to carry them through?