The combination of crushing gravity and freezing temperatures seemed to be to taking a toll--and not just on the Marauder. Even at this distance, Hector could feel the effects himself--wave after wave of debilitating pressure, weighing him down, stiffening his muscles. If he dared go any closer, he was sure that he wouldn’t be able to move at all.
Caster, however, was still going. Slow as molasses, but going. And the snow and gravity stayed on him. Caster launched path after path, but even those were stunted. He seemed like he was trying to hit Dimas, but the young Lord Sebolt had no trouble avoiding them.
The Elroy children took the opportunity to flee, and Hector considered following. But that last crystal remained. Certainly, it wasn’t more valuable than his and Garovel’s lives, but all he needed was an opening. And it looked like there was going to be one. The Marauder was moving away from the shard, heading toward the room at the end of the hall.
Hector waited briefly longer, letting the distance from Caster draw out, and then sprinted for the red crystal.
He reached it just as he heard the sandstone above his head shift and crack. A path of destruction tore sluggishly through the ceiling and bent down over him into the floor and adjoining wall. It wouldn’t have hit him, but Hector moved away from it instinctively.
He had the shard, though. He didn’t even remember picking it up, but there it was in the grip of his bare hand.
The corridor rumbled another time, and Hector had to avoid a cluster of falling debris. But the rumbling didn’t stop. It sustained itself, and he could hear the walls moaning under stress.