I looked at the pile of dust and grasped what happened immediately. I leaped to my feet and ran through the door, past the Korodan at the door. Down the hallway, more by instinct than actual memory, and to the chamber of statues. I got there just in time to see a statue change from unliving rock to the body of Carves-the-Foundations.

My new friend sees me and a rumbling laugh comes from him. I ran forward and threw my arms around him.

“I am glad to see you are safe,” I say, drawing him into an embrace.

“I assumed something like this would happen and was prepared this time. My transition was easy”

We walked back to the room. Carves-the-Foundation helped me to move the body to the side, I sat at the table.

“We should leave soon. What time of day is it?”

Carves-the-Foundation paused for a moment, looked to the side, and replied, “The sun has fallen toward the land. Soon it will be dark.”

I unsuccessfully tried to stifle a yawn. “I must sleep before we go. Let us leave near when the sun returns.”

Carves-the-Foundation nodded. “I will return just before the sun ascends. Sleep well.”

I had trouble getting to sleep. Every time I closed my eyes, I saw Mhorik. At times I would doze off, then wake suddenly thinking my mentor was still there. Then I would remember, and it felt like I was crushed under the weight of the grief that struck me.

The next morning I was gently awoken by Carves-the-Foundation. A quick spell summoned the spark of light again, then I grabbed my staff and got up. I asked Carves-the-Foundation for some water; a basin with clear, warm water was brought to me. I washed myself, took care of other necessities, ate a small breakfast, and prepared myself for the day. I put on some traveling clothes, packed the supplies, and prepared myself for the journey. Carves-the-Foundation came back into the room and with the gentle grace I came to expect, picked up the body and carried it in front of him.

Carves-the-Foundation lead us through the corridors, back to the great crystal chamber that I saw in what seems like a lifetime ago. I stopped a moment to appreciate the colors once again, and swallowed a lump in my throat. I nodded after a while, and we continued on our way.

“Tell me about your home.”

“Hmm?” I said, coming out of my thoughts.

“You have seen my home. Tell me about yours.”

“It is a small village near the restless deep. A few huts. We hunt, fish the sea, and collect food from the woods. Some people make things: baskets and packs from grasses, clothes from furs, that sort of thing.”

“You have friends?”

It had been a while since I had thought about my friends back in the village. I felt a touch of longing for home.

“Yeah. Sama. She is nosy and bossy, but she looks out for me. And, Balar, her brother.”

“What is Balar like?”

“Quiet. But strong. He lives in his older sister’s shadow. He gathers food from the forest most of the time.”

“They sound nice.”

We walked in silence for a moment. Out of nowhere, Carves-the-Foundation said, “I miss the sea.”

That seemed like a strange thing to say as we were leaving a home deep in the mountains.

We walked quietly for a bit longer, and I felt the need to fill the pause. “Tell me something about your home I didn’t know before.”

“Let’s see. Ah, should I tell you about the fire breather?”

“Something that breathes fire?” That seemed frightening.

“Yes, a large beast sleeping in a chamber, far below our home. We dug through the stone and found a sealed chamber with this giant beast. We could feel the heat through the stone. We dug deeper and saw the beast, covered in scales and soot. Ash flew out as it breathed, as if breathing fire. We did not disturb it, just sealed the tunnel behind us.”

“That’s scary. I wonder how it survives.”

“No idea. But, now you know something else about our home.”

We talked a bit more about the area. I never did work up the nerve to ask him about the sea.

Once outside, we set off over the mountain. Carves-the-Foundation picked an easy path, easily carrying the body with his tremendous strength. We made it over the mountain before night fell, and we set up camp.

“Do you sleep?” I asked, as I set down the sleeping furs.

“Not really. I used to, long ago, but I learned that all I really needed was a quiet period to think. You found me during one of those periods in the crystal chamber.”

My face burned with the memory of that encounter.

“It was a rude awakening,” he said with a rumbling chuckle. I smiled at his humor, despite my shame.

“Well, I need sleep otherwise it gets hard to concentrate. And I need concentration if I want to work any magic.”

“Go ahead and sleep. I will rouse you just before the sun rises again from the ground. Good night, Dorua.”

“Good night, Carves-the-Foundation.”

That night, my dreams were unusually vivid. I dreamed I was in a cave, and I saw my friends there. Sama, Balar, even Mhorik were there. We built a fire that burned brightly and grew brighter and brighter. Eventually the fire engulfed the entire cave until we were standing in the fire, but were not consumed.

I woke up drenched in sweat.

Carves-the-Foundation was above me, the rumbling voice low and quiet. “You didn’t seem to be sleeping well.”

I threw off the sleeping furs and let the air cool me own. “A strange dream. It should have been frightening, but I don’t think it was.”

“You don’t think it was?”

“I can’t really explain it.” It was hard to put into words how something so frightening could also be comforting in a strange way.

I decided to just get up and got ready for the day. A quick breakfast of dried meat and we were off.

“The village is pretty close now. We should find it well before the sun reaches the top of the sky.”

Soon, I saw the smoke of cooking fires in the sky between a break in the trees. We quickly found the village after a little more walking. It was down the hill from us, through the thinning forest.

It was surprisingly large for the area, a number of huts constructed from forest wood and mud. I could make out a few people were moving about in the cool morning air, cleaning up the morning breakfast and tending to the day’s activities.

“Hail, Carves-the-Foundation!” a voice called out from above us. In the tree, a young woman sat in the branches, casually tossing a rock from one hand to the other.

“Hamol!” Carves-the-Foundation called back. “It is good to see you. How is Anare?”

“The same as always. Who is this new person?”

“A wizard. I am guiding her for a bit.”

“Another wizard?”

“There is another wizard here?” I asked, my voice trembling.

“Yes, there are two that arrived a few days ago. They are in the village.”

I could feel the rising dread. What if it were some of the wizards from the convocation?

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