It was pretty impressive. A halo of light gathered around his hands looking like nothing more than a faint glow at first. Then the magic reached full strength, or something, and the halo was replaced with a bright blue flame like she would have expected from a gas burner. That washed back down his arms and surrounded him in a largely man shaped sheath of flame. It wasn’t tight to his skin, in fact it didn’t look like it was touching him anywhere, but she still wasn’t exactly sure how to punch him through it. Maybe she could club him with a branch.
Then he raised his hands at her and the flame along his arms intensified, bunched up, and billowed off rolling through the air at her in a great rush. Even with her accelerated perceptions the wash of fire seemed to come on fast and she was barely able to leap out-of-the-way in time. She thought she heard a bit of her hair singe from the heat.
However, she did make it out-of-the-way. Her leap carried her up and backwards a dozen feet to a nearby tree. She hadn’t aimed at any part of it, hadn’t really intended to hit the tree at all in fact. Fortunately, its truck was fairly narrow and she was able to twist in the air and wrap one arm around it and press her feet up against it coming to rest in a sort of crouch.
She thought she’d have to dodge another blast of fire, but nothing came. Instead leader guy was standing where she had left him looking back and forth through the forest rather desperately. It took Jessie a moment to figure out why, but when she did she almost giggled. Being wrapped in flame was likely terrible for his night vision.
She jumped off the tree trunk to a branch in another nearby tree where she’d be even better hidden and considered. She needed to call for backup. Actually, now that she thought about it, Jessie realized she was supposed to call for backup as soon as the sorcerers had shown up. She’d just gotten carried away with wanting to fight them and engaged with them before radioing to the members of the team stationed outside the park. Something in the back of her mind nagged that desires like that were messed up, though she couldn’t think why.
Intending to, belatedly, follow instructions she reached up and tapped a button on the headset she wore behind her right ear. “West team leader, this is Watcher Gamma reporting in. I’ve made contact with the target. Please dispatch the flying teams. Over.” She tapped her headset again. There was nothing but the soft whisper of static in her earpiece.
“West team leader. this is Watcher Gamma. Do you read? Over.” Nothing again. Oh well, now she felt better about not calling in when she first should have. Apparently she’d managed to lose reception. That was odd, their equipment was supposed to be really good. Maybe the sorcerers had used something, or maybe the landscape was just too hilly.
Leader dude was still down below peering off into the forest. He seemed a little more relaxed now, maybe thinking he had scared her away. Jessie decided he should keep thinking that. She’d let him wander around the forest using up his magic and getting a sunburn while she attacked one of his other less guarded teammates.
That shouldn’t be hard. At this point, none of them would be far away. They’d gotten a bit out of sight before she’d attacked College Guy, but probably not out of earshot. That in mind she made a series of jumps from limb to limb up the tree she was already in until she could poke her head out of its top and see a fairly wide swath of forest below her.
There, off to the right, probably less than 200 feet was what looked like another bipedal campfire. Jessie wasn’t sure if it was Sorority Girl or Hoodie and she could only see one figure, but whoever it was probably wasn’t expecting her. She set off, jumping branch to branch, through the trees again. It was a fun way to travel.
Or at least it was until a wash of some sort of black cloud rolled up through them turning the branch she’d intended to land on into a desiccated husk while she was at the apogee of her arc. Jessie made a flailing attempt to air-break that would have made a Loony Toons character proud. It didn’t do any good. She hit the branch. There was a loud crack, and it gave way without particularly slowing her.
She looked to the ground. It was about 50 feet away, which was more than she could comfortably fall even with her spell fully active. She’d probably survive, but she’d also probably hurt a leg or two and there was someone down there gunning for her. There were a few branches, but most of the lower trunk of this tree was bare.
Most. Left with little choice she stretched her arms out to their maximum and caught the remains of a dead limb at the very edge of her reach. It put her arms in a bad leverage position and they felt like they were being ripped out of her shoulders. That wasn’t far off. She heard something pop in her right shoulder-blade. A lance of pain shot through it and her fingers went numb. She let go of the branch and continued to fall.
Still, the desperate grab had slowed her enough. She landed on the ground, rolled sending more pain through her shoulder, and managed to come out of it with only the one arm injured. Not ideal, but better than two broken legs. Jessie came out of her roll into a crouch and tried to find her attacker.
That wasn’t hard. It was hoodie and he was standing less than ten feet away making no effort to conceal himself. The sight of him was enough to make Jessie pause, which was saying rather a lot when she was bound up in her own magic.