I should have fired from the hip. I was not fast enough. He knocked the shaft down with the flat of his blade and drew his quicksword back for a piercing thrust. I turned to jump toward Jerem Cozak and took the impact in the side. I gasped when it hit, an icy shaft of flame and pain that went clear through my chest. I kicked back at him, the full force of the Profusionist armor behind it. But he was ready for that and stepped aside. Then he shoved me off his blade. My feet slipped from the mastodon. And I was falling five paces to the deck below, thinking gods, not again. Then blackness came, and blackness took me whole.