Kareet of Arcaeda
However long the silence had been going on, Kareet did not have time to discern its nature before the situation changed. Kareet had stood up and was pacing down the middle of the barge, her eyes darting around across the surrounding forest looking for anything out of the ordinary. However, it was not the forest which changed.
The shift was sudden and drastic. All around the barge, the water seemed to shift into a substance as black as tar, and about as viscous. For the Humans, if they were capable of recognizing such things, they would see the same looks of startled surprise on most of the soldiers, and even Kareet herself. Across all of her education and experience, this was like nothing she had ever seen or heard of before.
There was not much time to stand around in awe. The barge had come almost to a halt as the paddlewheel struggled to push through. More alarming, though, was when a hole formed in the bottom of the boat. This liquid, whatever it was, corroded a hole straight through the wooden hull just under a Tekeri soldier near Kareet. The substance enveloped the foot of the soldier, who fell onto his back as soon as he tried to back away. Despite having practically dissolved a hole in the hull, the substance did not actually cause any visible harm to the Tekeri. Rather, half of his leg was entirely paralyzed.
This was something wholly, completely new and unexpected to Kareet, but it was no time for wonder and curiosity. In emergencies, survival was favored for those who could be decisive. Kareet pushed both hands downwards, open-palmed, extended them outwards, then clenched them into fists. Body and mind focused as hard as she ever had before, she let out a scream as her hands lifted up slowly, as if fighting against some unseen force. The magnetic field she had generated enveloped the whole of the barge, though of course, it could not touch the vessel’s wooden hull. However, every nail, rivet, steel reinforcement, and the paddlewheel mechanism itself was perfectly vulnerable to its influence. Not to mention, as she had not focused her magic to any specific object, every single magnetic object on the barge would be pulled upwards and float in the air around them unless held down by something.
The barge’s hull quickly began to crack and splinter from the uneven application of force that was starting to lift it out of the water. Raising it by influencing a scattered mass of metal objects was far from ideal, and Kareet was already struggling, but they needed to get the barge to the riverbank. “LIFT!” Kareet shouted desperately.