Turstin, the apprentice, pushed his way through the dense brush, continually snagged by the sharp, bristly branches of the surrounding pines. An attempt to free his pack strap from a jutting thorn bush spun him around; the struggle left him at a loss of both breath and direction. Turstin’s heart quickened as he realized he could no longer hear the footsteps or occasional scolding of his master.
“Lord, I have lost sight of you! Where are you?” Turstin braced himself on a rotten, old fallen tree trunk. The softness of its decaying splinters put Turstin in mind of thick, matted hair. He withdrew his hand quickly and held it out for balance, perching precariously on a large, uneven rock.
“ASTAVES SYLVANIE EDULAMIN!” his master called. The great booming voice of the magnificent seer overwhelmed the forest ambiance, sending several of its nocturnal creatures into an uproar. Squirrels skirmished up into the branches, raccoons hurried beneath low bushes and a frenzied flock of birds burst into the air in a moment of alarm.
A soft glow appeared, permeating the blackness of the dense growth, illuminating the surrounding area as if it were bathed in midday light. The apprentice shielded his eyes until they adjusted to the growing radiance. All was white to his eyes, yet they remained open and unburned. The master’s silhouette slowly darkened into view, standing directly ahead of Turstin. He floated on the light as would an angel delivering blessed tidings.
“Come to me,” the master urged. “Pay no mind to your steps.” Turstin walked with confidence toward his master without ever taking his eyes off his goal. The light dimmed as he neared the wizard, and the surrounding darkness had completely enveloped them by the time they reconnected. Turstin forced his breathing to slow into a soothing pace as a soft breeze caught his hair, cooling both his face and temperament. He turned toward the wind to take in the fresh air and found himself facing a large, wide river.
“We need to cross,” said the wizard. He stood for a long time with his eyes closed, entangling his hands into various formations. Turstin shifted his weight from one foot to the other as he waited for instruction.
After some time, the wizard opened his eyes and walked toward a large, nearby stone. Kicking it with all his strength, he screamed into the night air: “EMOVA SEDIMENTIS EDA CONETRIS!”
A great rumbling issued from the rock and shook the earth deep beneath the sand. Turstin wobbled and braced himself on his mentor, grasping the wizards’ thin, bony arm. The stone broke and separated into large masses that moved individually and yet remained somehow connected, forming a grainy monstrosity that stood and bent beneath the sky like a hulking, human form. Turstin covered his ears to protect them from the intensity of the creatures wail.
The sound faded long after the stone man had finished his cries. He glared at the wizard and his apprentice before shaking, flexing and stomping thunderously toward them. “Why have you woken me?” he demanded.
The wizard leaned forward and patted his new friend’s shoulder tenderly. “You will help us,” he replied with a smile.