A fog covers the city street as Mashaun stares out each second story window as he paces around the room, his aqua blue eyes straining to make out ghostly figures dancing in the churning mist.Â It has been only a few days since the others returned home, leaving Ericka, Tera, Dalistra and himself to fulfill the prophecy. Sometimes at night, the streets outside sound like theyâ€™re full of people, even though the city has been abandoned for eons. Each day is the same routine Mashaun paces around the house looking out at the fog with disdain, muttering, â€œI want to know what happened here,â€more to himself than the others. Dalistra is hung on a wall and the girls sit at the table doing something, but he doesnâ€™t pay much attention.Â Tired of waiting for it lift, he dawns his swords and wraps his patchwork cloak over his shoulders, Â places Dalistra his spirit bow across his back. The girls watch, before telling him, that he is not going out looking like that.
â€œLike what?â€ He says looking over his shoulder at them.
â€œThat quilt like outfit may work while traveling, but not in the city.â€ Ericka tells him.
â€œI donâ€™t have anything else to wear,â€ he states, turning around and starts for the door.
â€œYes, you do!â€ They hold up a brown tunic with matching trousers and cape laying on the table.
Dalistra joins in on the conversation by reminding him that he is the princessâ€™s Huntsman and protector.
He learned a long time ago, was not to argue with women over his dress, and looking at the two standing by the table with a new tunic and trousers, Â was no exception. He lets out an exasperated sigh, leaning Dalistra aginst the wall, he marches past the Ericka and Tera, snatching the clothes, muttering â€œif you insist,â€ and goes into the back room to change.Â Surprised that the clothes fit, and they look a lot better than what he was wearing. The girls had changed into similar style outfits, Â just different colors. Before he could ask, they told him that they made them also. They step through the illusionary door, into the cold, damp fog, that wasnâ€™t cold or wet.
The fog parts around them, thicker in the back and the sides, while thin in front and within a minute the house is swallowed by the gray veil behind them. They stroll along a surprising dry cobblestone road, in an invisible tube of clear air. Fanning out they never step into the mist, but remain encircled by it even when separated by several arm lengths and they hear whispers coming from the fog. Any time one of them tries to down a side street the murkiness is thick and close, forcing them to return to the group on the original path. Realizing that the fog is guiding them, and doesnâ€™t mean them harm, they let themselves be guided. They recognize the road and that the fog wants them to return to the great hall.
It takes a while before they find themselves at the entrance to the great hall where the others returned home. Mashaun strides up the steps to the entry slab, pillars of white marble that arch to a diamond-shaped gold marble kingpin about ten feet above the floor. Each side has pulsating strands of red, blue and yellow quartz winding up to the kingpin the flashes with each pulse. Ericka and Tera pull on his sleeve telling him not to go inside for fear that he will also leave them. Turning around, he looks at them with carrying eyes, telling them that he is not ready to return home and they have nothing to fear. Behind them he glimpses dozens of smiling faces in the fog staring at them, then the fog is gone leaving a cloudy sky.
â€œYou must have some fond memories of here.â€ Mashaun thinks, sensing Dalistra sadness.
â€œYes, but that was a long time ago, and everyone I know is long deadâ€ She responds sorrowfully.
â€œMy condolences. â€œHe replies with sincerity.
Standing at the entrance of a large room with rows of pillars dividing it into three sections, with the door in the middle area. There is a king and queens chair made of gold vein marble that was grown from the floor, with several smaller chairs in a semicircle on each side.
â€œThat chair should have been mine.â€ Dalistra sighs. Mashaun feels her sadness, but also knows that there is nothing he can do about it.
There are two arches on the back wall, representing passages.Â They proceed down the left passage pass several doors before opening up to a large room, with a mural of the room from a nonexistent balcony on the opposite side.
The room is full of mages with staves of different shapes and sizes. There must be a hundred of each color, red, blue and yellow sitting on threes sides of a hexagon and four more at the end of the room, each with staves that have a red, blue, yellow or rainbow spinning disc in a birdcage-like basket on top. Â The mural moves like a movie showing an argument erupting, just before a lava rock explodes next to them.
Swinging around, they see the same apparitions from the mural in a massive magic fight.Â Balls of fire, ice and light explode on the walls and aginst different magic shields. Instincts have them ducking various offensive spells thrown in their directions, but they never touch them, even though they should have been hit several times. Mashaun sees the four with the spinning staff heads leave the room through an unmarked section of the wall. A few of the other mages managed to escape through the main door, but minutes later the floor was littered with bodies, and the skeletons become visible.
He feels Dalistraâ€™s horror as they realize that the Thesilans destroyed themselves with their power.