Gasping breath invaded his stinging lungs, feet slipping on the glass-formed ground where the Shoalway opened for him to exit the harsh environment of his Shoal, Qorum. Always, the elements of the other realm challenged his body and mind–still in ways the scholars and Wielders did not fully understand.
His wounds required attention. Cuts stung, slashes needed sutures and burns demanded salves. The Wielder, Damrin Graeves, surveyed his body wherever the pain emitted from, revealed by the rips and singed parts of his once fine clothing. The fight had been unexpected. His hands shook, fingers clenched into hard fists. Tears streamed from his eyes down his cheeks, stinging throughout their trails. Not from the pain–no–but from the betrayal he had just survived.
There in the abandoned courtyard of stone and overgrowth in the dead city of Hasselor, Kesree baited him repeatedly like a man mad with deceptive intent. His vile words, lined with poison, echoed in Damrin’s mind. His friend…one of many years since they first encountered one another in the Wielder’s Congress. How had it all unraveled like frayed rope?
Damrin dug his fingers into the dirt of the field outside the capital city of Talloe of the Hold, Teras. Birds sang beautifully around him, mocking his heartbreak. Kesree had managed to slip away to his Shoal but he could not have lived. The wounds he had suffered were far worse–fatal to the body. Passing through the Shoalway to wherever he ended up in the world was a desperate risk. The Shoals did not coddle or pity the Wielders able to bridge the world by their power.
Losing his dear friend would leave a wound that would never heal but the confrontation between them was a slow-moving agony. The betrayal drove his thoughts to consider the turn of events. If Wielders were turning against one another, then war was surely churned up in the garden of peace. He had to seek out allies, but knew the chance of further deception was likely. He needed his mind and body to be healed completely, forcing himself to be ready in an instant.
A small opening to his Shoalway appeared before him, earth melting to glass underneath. He gazed into the portal, able to look through the haze of power to an atmosphere of peril. Even a small opening was large enough to let out some of the most dangerous threats that dwelled within Qorum. But he needed it open. Only then could he draw out the current of power, healing his wounds.