Sharon’s Note: It’s hard when you can’t help. Don’t panic. Listen to the person who needs you and they’ll tell you what to do. Warning: Saddle up, lock and load.
Poor, traumatised Brian managed to talk me through the makeup of the group. My two remaining guys were Ethan and Mike, and Mike was unconscious. Lucky bastard. They had brought one pistol with silver ammo and a half full shotgun. Besides them were Barbara, a woman whose arm was badly broken from the sounds of it, and two boys, ages twelve and ten. That was all that was left of a group of twenty hikers and my team.
They were inside the instant protection circle that standardly went out with every team. It was a clever bit of magic that shipped out with all teams. Nothing could breach the circle, which looked simple ring made from 30 feet of thin copper wire. Anyone could use it with a minimum of knowledge. The only down side was that it was a very hungry magic. Someone had to hold the little wire tail on the inside while the spell drained their life away to keep them safe. The circle could literally drain your entire life force, and in distressingly little time.
“Okay, you’re holding the tail now?” I asked.
“Give it to Ethan.”
“What? But he said it would make someone sick if they hold it too long, and he’s half dead.” Brian’s voice was getting higher as I heard panic starting to take over. The werewolf was howling in the background. It was a perfectly reasonable time to lose his shit, but no one could afford the luxury.
“It’s ok, Brian. Take a breath.” I took several deep breaths into the microphone for example while typing instructions down on my note program. “Holding the tail for a few minutes won’t hurt him, and you need to buy yourself all the time you can. You’re going to give it to Ethan until he get’s woozy, then the ten year old, then . . . do you think the woman could hold the shotgun?”
“I think Barbra’s barely conscious, so no, I don’t think so. Besides, she’s afraid of guns.” There was a hysterical edge to Brian’s laugh.
“Okay then, change of plans. You have the pistol, right? Give the older kid the shot gun. Still have Ethan hold it first, then Barbara, then the ten year old, then the older one. You take it absolutely last. You’re the only one there with silver ammo, so you have to be up and around to take a shot if I . . . we don’t get there before the circle fails.” One of the hunter’s who was temporarily at Hearth walked by my door. I didn’t know him well, but I held up a hand to stop him. As he walked up, I pointed at the instructions on my screen, telling what all needed to be done. “Okay, Brian? I’m putting you on with Ronnie. He’s going to walk you through taking care of everyones wounds while I get everything ready for your rescue party. Sound good?”
“Ye. . . yeah. Okay.”
Ronnie frowned, but took the headset as I shoved it into his hands. I’d left only a basic description of what needed to be done, but my fellow hunter could do first aid over the phone as well as I could. I needed to gear up.