He was jarred from his sleep, startled by the sudden realization that someone had entered the tunnel not long before. No, he thought, sitting up, two ha entered. Only one remained. Hurriedly he threw on his cloak as he ran outside. The night was not yet black, but it made no difference. Though the lesser Wizards could not read the wisdom of the sky until the sun’s glow had completely fled the darkness, he could. He closed his eyes and threw his head back, letting the vibrant colors flow around him. Soon the rich hues all change to sparkling gold and silver, the markings of the true magic. He followed as they spun their way through time and space, these shimmering specters. Some began to resemble the True Wizards of old while others seemed content just to dance and twirl through the tunnel, bouncing off the walls and filling the small space with an unnatural light. Suddenly, there in front of him stood the young Healer. She steeled herself, straightening her shoulders against what she must surely think would be a recurrence of the test she faced before.
This time, however, the crippling pain was not present and the deafening roar had been replaced by a hauntingly beautiful melody. The young girl made no move to approach, nor did she falter and shift backward. Instead she stood proudly, accepting of whatever fate awaited her. He watched as the gold and silver beings swirled around the Healer, amazed at her ability to stand unflinchingly in the midst of them. Her only movement was an unconscious fluttering of her right hand to touch the small silver bracelet given to her at birth.
He smiled as he opened his eyes, once again seeing only the night sky. The young Healer would prove to be a tremendous asset to the true king of Tundyel.
Syndria stood still, half expecting to disappear as had her escort in their earlier encounter with the shining lights. When nothing happened she began to relax, the tension draining from her neck and shoulders as she silently watched the beings twirl around her. Unlike before, this time she could see three faces within the light, all peculiar mixes of gold and silver. Though she felt certain she already knew the answer, the young Healer asked softly, “Who are you?” Though no sound came from the beings, Syndria heard their answers ringing deep in her heart and mind.
“We are truth.”
“We are righteousness.”
“We are just.”
“The True Wizards,” she realized slowly. “You are the ones who determine worthiness, the ones who say who may pass through the tunnel.”
“Wrong!” she heard.
“The heart determines one’s worth.”
“We merely reveal the heart.”
The luminous beings pulled back and Syndria began to fear they would leave her soon. Hoping to keep them near, though she did not know why, the young Healer began walking toward them as she spoke.
“Masters,” she began, her voice smooth and calm, “may I ask for your guidance? I am on a strange path to which I see no end, but to you it must be clear.”
“Each must follow his own path,” the Wizards answered, now speaking as one voice. “It is not our place to change the young Healer’s steps.” As the True Wizards began to fade before her, Syndria hurried her steps.
“I do not ask for your magic to end my journey,” she said, “merely for your presence to illuminate the trail.”
“The eyes of your heart are unclouded. Follow them, for they need no illumination.” With that, the Wizards were gone and Syndria was left standing in the dark. It took a moment for the girl to realize she was standing in the midst of a forest, no longer in the tunnel. Spinning around Syndria searched for the opening, the gate that had let her out of that enchanted place. She saw nothing but trees ad the faint glow to the northeast which told her the feast in Caron was lasting well into the might. Not sure where to go, not knowing which direction would provide some measure of safety, Syndria took a deep breath and turned west, deciding her best decision would be the one which put as much distance between herself and the castle as she possibly could in one night. Perhaps tomorrow she could make it to Saun.