The wound festered and boiled as Cyrrus struggled to carry Devon over his shoulders. He had hoped to see some sign of travellers using the trail he now followed, but alas there was no living being in sight.
Eventually though, Cyrrus’s eyes settled upon a hut to the east, tucked into the corner of the mountain so that they had not been able to see it from their vantage point. Cyrrus changed direction and began to walk towards it.
Several tense hours later Cyrrus was almost at the hut. A small garden of mushrooms provided an excellent hiding place for the now unconscious Devon. Leaving Devon amongst the mushrooms, Cyrrus walked up to the hut. Outside was a stooped figure, holding a staff and muttering.
"Mythran?" asked Cyrrus. The figure ignored him and he walked over to this person and boldly touched its shoulder.
A haggard, old white haired crone faced Cyrrus. The face resembled Mythran in many ways.
"Who? Who? Who are you? Mythran did you say?" said the old woman.
"No… I am Cyrrus… I thought you were Mythran."
"Thought I was Mythran did you? No – haven’t seen that fool for many years. Probably dead by now. Him and his studies. No – when we split our ways in the olden days he wandered off to be with some people who he said would thank him some day. The fools probably killed him as a heretic, like they did almost all the rest of our people."
"Why, Zealans, like you and I. Worshippers of the… the… six… or is it the three? Anyway who are you?"
"I am Cyrrus and I need your help. My friend…"
"Oh I know all about your friend. I felt his power getting nearer."
"So you can help him?"
"Take me to him," said the old crone.
Devon finally came to in the small garden of mushrooms. He felt an odd sensation on his lips. It was a stone bowl.
"What… what happened?" asked the Tempest.
"One of my nastier spells, a Plague Bearer, must have got you," said an old woman who looked a lot like Mythran.
"What?" said Devon, looking into the eyes of Cyrrus. "What happened?"
"I don't know," said Cyrrus. "All I know is, this woman has saved your life! Her name is Mystell, and she seems to be a mage like Mythran."
"Did you cast the spell?" asked Devon rising to his feet, "The thing… that tried to attack me?"
"I… I…" the old woman held her head, "There was another… what spell?"
"The plague bearer! Did you send it?"
"To summon a plague bearer you must know the target by sight and its name. Who are you?"
Devon looked puzzled, "What is it?"
"The ether… my ether receiver is broken. It was so in the duel… now I must defend the magic."
Cyrrus looked worried, "What is she talking about?"
"Master of the magic and now he draws from the Titans. He claimed to be in search of enlightenment but he stole. His potential was great, but he was not dedicated. He sought it all. On this world few can take it all… but he has, and he uses it for his own gain… to control… to dominate. He is all but a god now with the Titans gone."
"Who?" asked Devon concerned.
"You… your potential is great… your bloodline contains unnaturally strong elements of the Ether!" Mystell pointed at Devon accusingly. "You must be he returned! Returned for the key, but you won't find it. None of my spells will locate it now that your forefathers lost it. You cannot tap into the power of the lost three and complete your powers!"
"What are you saying? I do not understand, lady!"
"You cannot understand the evil you are! Then prepare to feel my wrath!" Mystell yelled, and she began chanting.
There was a flash of light, and both Devon and Cyrrus fell to the ground. Two ghostly figures appeared, one of a man, and one of a woman.
"Servant… calm yourself…" said the man, "for this is not the infidel we seek to destroy, but rather one who is destined to play a part in his destruction."
"I am Siren-Nepity, the last High Priestess of Felicitar, goddess of Joy."
"I am the warrior Dnumed-Nagirrek. The person who this servant of the six refers to was a Snik-Poh, one who sought to master the powers of the Thaumaturgists. He soon became more powerful than the teacher, and defeated Mystell in a battle of wits."
The ghost of the priestess spoke, "When the Titans were defeated Snik's power became more dominant. He was the one who was able to restore Hydros's power by use of the spell Ethereal Travel, which he has partially mastered. Only his consciousness can roam the Ethereal Realms, yet he has established a partial link between Hydros and the Great Obelisk."
"Snik-Poh seeks the power of the remaining three Zealan dieties. Long ago his ancestor, Sargon-Poh froze them with a powerful spell. Only by reuniting the shield-key can their powers be set free. But we know not where the key is, nor does Snik-Poh. He who finds it first will be able to access the ultimate power of both Pagan and Zealan, and set them free."
"We know where the shield key is," said Devon. "The Three in the shrine we passed through told us."
"Then you are blessed," said the ghost in unison, "You must succeed for all our sakes."
With that the ghosts vanished...