the old mage looked out of his tower window at the storm clouds on the horizon.
the thunder claps and flashes of lightening were now starting to die away
and the storm was losing the fierceness of its early powers although it had
appeared to be a natural storm zyndale knew this wasnt so. ther was something
in the way it had appeared too quickly and too suddenly that gave the game
away. this storm had been the work of the hand of man. zyndale knew that a
deep and dark magic had been practised that had given birth to the tumult. it
was not however the storm itself about which he was concerned it was the
reason for its bringing into this world, that storm was not the end result or
objective ther had beena darker reason for its creation it was merely a
secondary effect the real work was directed elsewhre the storm was just a
shadow. the storm had appeared from out in the east and ther was no one who
came from that direction that zyndale knew of who would have been capable of
practising the dark arts to the degree which would have resulted in the storm
alone let alone what had caused it. zyndale turned back into his room set
high in the tower where he lived and considered the matter. he was uneasy
knowing that there were powers at work that at least rivaled his own and that
they were apparently hostile to put none to fine a point on it.After soem
thought about the matter he decided that he had to find ways to find out
exactly what that power was and what it was capable of, who was behind it and
what it was they were doing. taking up his staff and collecting enough food
to last for a few days in asmall haversack on his back he descended the
stairs of his tower and walked out into the now bright light of day. outside
he looked east and on the horizon the trees of the great forest where few went
and fewer returned lay dark and foreboding. he had been in the forest a number
of times and knew well enoughits ways to avoid the trouble spots and waht to
avoid. he set off down the bridleway that led to the forest and after an hour
or so journey came to the edge of the trees domain. passing quickly under the
canopy of leaves the light of the sun was rapidy lost and the eternal gloom
of the forest meant he was as much feeling his way as seeing it. there was
something different about the atmosphere in the forest though. he couldnt
quite put his finger on it but things had changed and a chill shiver ran
down his spine as for a brief instant he had a sense of what he was up against
and the sudden wave of malevolent power that was its sing. at this zyndale
stopped for a moment, he now knew that whatever he was up against was not only
hostile but was downright malevolent and obviulsy meant harm , tohimself
andall hose who lived in the western kingdom. he continued down the path
then felt the wave of power once again it sickened him to his bones and he
could feel the malevolence in it in every bone and sinew of his body. they
were screaming out the wrongness of its intent it was enough to bring him
abruptly to a halt. Pausing for a few minutes he listened to the forest around
him and ther was silence ther were no sounds of birds or animals in the
undergrowth and even the wind had stilled this was not natural and zyndales
suspicions were raised to the nth degree. whatever the hell he was up against
was quite definitely at work here and was casting the net of its power over
the entire of the old forest. there appeared to be little for it but to move
forwards to see if he could find some way to confront whatever it was that he
was up against, so taking his staff firmly in his hand he started to walk
forwards, into the eternal gloom and darkness of the trees, dark shadows
started to appeaer flitting through the air and some of them emitted a
screeching sound like nails on a blackboard. the waves of power started to
come more frequently making it difficult for him to think clearly. he could
almost sense the presence now the power aat work was almost palpable and the
sense of it left him with feelings of revulsion at the touch of its decay.
the path opened out and he came into a clearing from which many paths
diverged and in the centre of which was a dark lake. through the staff in
his hand he could feel the waves of power washing through the atmosphere. the
dark shadows flickered through the gloom and the screeching sound was eerie
and haunting. the surface of the lake rippled forbodingly even though there
was no physical windmoving to the waves of power that were washing through
the atmosphere. then abruptly the light disappeared it was as if the sun
had suddenly dropped from the sky, now it was pitch dark and ther was nothing
but the sound of the water and the sounds from the dark shadows. however
zyndale could feel and sense the power at work through his staff and it had
almost become alive in his hands. rasing the staff above his head he could
feel the full force of the tumult that was now developing through his staff
and he stood for a while with his arms upraised and the staff in his hands
sensing the power pouring through the world around him. then the staff almost
writhed in his hands and ther was the loud sound of cold cruel vicarious
laughter cutting through the air. he clasped the staff firmly and concentrated
his mind on sensing the nature of what he was up against, the darkness
engulfed his mentality and he felt for a moment as if his very existance
would be snuffed out. focusing on the full force of his will his mind smashed
into the opposing force comming against him. he could feel the violence and
hate and the whisperings sliding beneath the surface of his consciousness.
attempting to wrap itself around him as if to strangle the very essence of
his spirit the darkness writhed in a cold dark way full of violence
malevolence and hate, the whisperings almost seeming to cut into his flesh.
then as he felt himself being submerged under the weight of the hate form the
force opposing him his staff suddenly started to glow. and a single beam of
pure white light shot out from thecentre of the staff and for a brief
instance the whole clearing which had now become the battle arena was vividly
lit. the dark shadow that was engulfing him screamed in rage and hate and
continued to do so. then slowly it started to evaporate and the screams of
rage and hate became quieter and were no more than echoes of the previous
screams. then the darkness faded and the light that was dispersing it
softened and melted into the natural daylight that now filled the clearing in
the trees. zyndale knew from a source he knew not what that whatever the
menace had been it had now disappeared and that ther would be no more trouble
from that source the old sorceror turned away from the lake that was now
still and calm in the centre of the clearing and started to walk back down the
path from whence he'd come. the sounds in the forest around him had now
returned and were the simple natural sounds of the birds singing and animals
rustling through the undergrowth.