[Darkness. Two silhouettes cross swords in combat, one noticeably larger than the other. Steel rings against steel, getting nowhere until the smaller of the two is knocked down by a kick to the chest. The taller one puts his blade to her throat, and- ]
[Cammi wakes with a jolt.]
[She sits up, a little out of sorts, and looks around until yesterday comes back to here. Jace is still sleeping, Star is stirring a pot over a low fire. She turns around and smiles- her makeup has worn off, her eyes sunken and stained with sleeplessness.]
Cammi: [yawns] Mornin’. Is that breakfast?
Star: Not exactly. [she spoons the mixture into a bottle, bright green and foaming] It’s called intoxis, and it gives you a power boost. I woke up early and thought I’d whip a few potion up.
Cammi: Sweet! Do you need me to get frog’s eyes and lizard tongues?
Star: Only if need a cure for constipation. [a cartoon anvil drops from the sky onto Cammi’s head. Star gestures to several bottles and jars] Most of these are restoratives, and there’s a salve for burns, and here- I made you these. [she pulls a handful of black beads from her pocket]
Cammi: Oh! They’re… lovely?
Star: They’re smoke bombs. Figured they’d come in handy when you can’t find rocks or acorns.
Star: [she passes a glowing hand over her eyes, refreshing her makeup] I’m gonna get some water to boil before we pull up stakes. Come to the river with me?
[They follow a familiar path through the woods]
Cammi: Oh, man, my mom must be worried sick by now. I’ll bet she’s called the whole neighborhood. And I’m supposed to be at work tonight.
Star: I’m sure my mom sent the word along. I could send her a note, or send one to Jace’s parents if you want me to.
Cammi: That’d be nice.
[Star rummages in her pockets for a scrap of paper and a pen, and holds it against her leg to write-]
Star: “Caroline- please send this along to Mrs- “ what’s your last name?
Star: “- Daniels. Cammi is with Jace and me. We are safe, but we will bring her home should she come to harm. Sorry for the delayed notice. With regards, HRH Starlight Elizabeth Shields.” [she holds out her pendant] Send this to Caroline Cunningham. [the gem glows and sucks the paper in]
Cammi: “With regards…” smooth. You won’t really send me back, will you?
Star: [winks] ‘Course not.
[They laugh and talk, washing out the pot before filling it with water. Out of the corner of her eye Cammi notices something she hadn’t before- a door under the water]
Cammi: Star… what is that?
Star: … It’s a door.
Cammi: Obviously. What’s it doing in the river?
Star: I- I don’t know. By all accounts it shouldn’t do any good. And that sewer system’s been closed for centuries.
Star: Go wake Jace.
Jace: … It’s a door.
Star & Cammi: Obviously.
[They wade in for a closer look]
Cammi: Hang on- aren’t you, like, made of fire?
Jace: In a way, I suppose.
Cammi: Then how can you get wet? Doesn’t it hurt?
Jace: Only if it’s part of a spell. [He grabs her in a headlock, grinning] You really think I haven’t showered in seventeen years?
Cammi: Nah, I already knew that.
[Star struggles to open the door, weighted down with water and moss. The others pitch in, and it groans open, sending the water away- where it stays, still rippling. A narrow passage of stairs leads to somewhere unknown. They all peer in, then nod. Star lights her lantern and the star the descent. The passage is steep and dripping with moist heat.
Star: Don’t shut the door! It must be charmed… sure would take a powerful water mage to cast such a spell. I wonder who-
[She’s cut off as the stairs retract, sending the three heroes screaming down a slide. They’re dumped rather unceremoniously onto a stone floor, Cammi landing squarely on top of Jace]
[THE ABANDONED SEWER- framed of arched gray stone, like an aqueduct. There’s water, but it’s been still for ages. A small wooden door is tucked off to one side.]
Cammi: What a weird place! Do you think it’s a secret enemy hideout?
Jace: [strangled] … Get off.
Cammi: [she jumps up, possibly stepping on his fingers] Sorry!
Star: Enemy or not, anyone who reopened this place without telling us must’ve had their reasons. Let’s see what we can find.
[They wander forward, hesitant, weapons drawn. The water begins to ripple, more and more until parts of it rise to form amorphic blob monsters that slither towards them.]
Jace: [utterly grossed out] Fuck the what?
Star: Nocturne’s Fury! [she presses her hands together, like a prayer, circles them around and pulls them apart in fists, now glowing with purple-black energy. She dispatches a number of monsters with high kicks and megaton punches]
Jace: Crimson Hurricane! [He twirls his sword above his head, sending pinwheels of flame in every direction.]
[Cammi shoots a few rocks from her slingshot, to little effect. More and more monsters rise from the water. She shuts her eyes and thinks back…]
[THE CAMPSITE- LAST NIGHT. Cammi is pouring over the book of lightning magic by the glow of the fire. Star is at her side, in her reading glasses with her hair piled up. Cammi chews on her lip and leans into Star, close enough so their shoulders and knees touch.]
Cammi: This one seems easy enough. But what does it mean, ‘to see with absolute clarity behind closed eyes’?
Star: It;s the most important part of spell casting- visualization. When you can picture the outcome of your attack perfectly, it’ll be executed perfectly. Eventually you’ll learn to cast spells without speaking, or even make up your own. Just imagine it’s happening right before your eyes…
[Back in the present, Cammi’s eyes snap open. She raises a hand to the sky.]
Cammi: Lightning Strike! [Lightning screams down from above and explodes into her palm, which she hurls into the water. It’s a livewire of bursting light and crackling electricity, taking out every last monster before the water finally stills.]
[Cammi, gasping for breath, stares and her hands in disbelief. Star and Jace gape, openmouthed, as well as a blob monster Jace was in the middle of fighting. Whom he then punches.]