With a yell, she slipped down the slope. Instinctively, she closed her mouth and her eyes because the wild slide whirled up a lot of sand. She fell much longer than she had expected, and she was surprised. Did I really climb this high? Desperately she grabbed for the bushes that should have been around her but her fingers remained empty. Finally, she landed feet first in a hill of sand. She opened her eyes. The sight around her had changed considerably, and day dawned over the sea.
At the same time in the darkness between the worlds, Djarret pulled the black coat closer around his broad shoulders. It was cold. He heard his warriors breathing behind him: fifty of the best men of Ceres’ elite.
“Is it much further” Djarret dug his fist into the back of the magician who walked in front of him. The magician moaned and shook his head. Beads of perspiration rolled over his forehead and temples into his long, white beard. He stopped. With trembling hands, he pointed into the darkness. Djarret’s gaze followed the finger, and he nodded contentedly. The universe’s blue pearl, Earth, lay in front of them. Although the fogs of forgetting surrounded him and his men on either side of their path, Djarret could see it clearly. He wondered if High Priestess Durimeh had really thought that Korosadja would be safe there.
The stone will be mine, soon. No more arduous walks through the darkness with only a handful of men to reach other worlds. Soon, the dark warriors of my Liege will reach any world they choose in a matter of minutes, and all he needs is this stone. Djarret shoved the magician. “What are you waiting for? Walk on.”
The magician did not move. He looked directly into Djarret’s ice-blue eyes, and Ceres right hand found no fear in his gaze. “It takes a lot of strength to lead so many men through the darkness between the worlds, sir. The fogs of forgetting are ubiquitous.”
“Guard your tongue!”
“This is no stroll through the Worlds of the One Power but a walk through Chaos. Earth cannot be reached as easily as Palumâ or Lumitana. You should treat me carefully because you need me, sir.”
Djarret wanted to kill the magician on the spot but he knew that the old man in the wide, white robe was indispensable. He pressed his lips together. Finally, he caught himself. “Walk on.” His voice sounded hoarse.
The magician wiped his pale face with a cloth, turned away and strode on.
On Greenwitch, the World of a Thousand Kingdoms, the witch Lysande felt the darkness. Unconscious, she dropped to the ground. Her green eyes glazed, did no longer see the fruit-trees around her. Forgotten was her little house in the woods and her beloved white raven. The darkness came closer, embraced her, and she sensed dreadful things. The witch’s pulse raced, and her breathing was ragged. She had never been that much afraid. The darkness was so cold and so close. Like hate that could be felt, the chill soaked into the witch’s limbs until her muscles cramped. She screamed with pain. Blue bolts of lightning shot out off her fingertips and burned an ugly hole into the bark of the old cherry tree above her. It moaned audibly. A trembling ran through its mutilated branches. The witch fled the darkness like a red deer ran from the dogs of the hunter. Sweat appeared on her forehead, rolled over her face and burned in her eyes. Several more bolts of blue lightning shot out off Lysande’s fingers into the tortured wood of the cherry. Slowly, she returned to the reality. Although she still felt the pain, it had become bearable. She breathed a sigh of relief.
Her white raven hopped over the hard ground of the yard towards her. Slowly, Lysande got up. Her body hurt as if she had fallen from a cliff, and her black hair stuck to her forehead. She put her left hand on her head and sent healing magic through her body. The pain eased slowly.
“The same vision again and again, Lukas. The black shade is coming closer every time.” She patted the dirt from her green velvet dress.
The raven crooked his head and croaked as if he understood every word.
“No, it isn’t a magical threat. It is a normal person. I am quite sure about that.” Lysande flung another couple of lightning bolts into the tree and the last pain disappeared. The air smelled of burned wood.