Prologue

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Weariness had long since made itself known. Forneus stifled another yawn, tracking the progress of the ten, transparent images floating in the air, orbiting him like planets around the sun. The images drifted slowly, Forneus not once losing sight of them as long, thin fingers tapped the keys of the crescent-shaped console in front of him. The room was otherwise dark, save for the projections encircling him, casting their luminescence over the console's gleaming surface. From an amethyst cluster, to a winged staff; from an elegant sword, to a feathered crown, until finally, all ten images came full circle, returning to the amethyst once again.

That should do it. With a final tap to the runic keys on the right side of the console, Forneus settled back in his seat, releasing a weary sigh as he did. Now that the hourly log has been filed, perhaps I can finally—

No sooner had the tension seeped from his shoulders when the whole system began to sputter, the projections wavering before vanishing completely. Pinpricks of light danced in Forneus' vision as the room plunged into total darkness, the whirring and beeping of the console's ethereal intakes and cooling system grinding to a halt until the only sound was Forneus' laboured breathing. The very projections that had illuminated his pale features only seconds ago danced before his eyes, only now inverted like the negatives of photographs.

What's going on?

Forneus was on his feet in an instant. Ordinarily, he was not so easily panicked. But something in the way the blackness had fallen over the room had him spinning in a wide circle, his luminous, silver eyes darting every which way as he tried to catch a glimpse of whoever, or whatever, was responsible for the system's sudden failure.

He never got the chance. Just as a warning prickle started at the back of his neck, fatigue settled into each one of his limbs, his eyelids drooping heavily. The clarity of mind he was so well renowned for—that had secured for him this very position—became muddled, mired in a perpetual fog from which no amount of urgency could release him. Forneus stumbled forward, legs trembling, no longer able to support his weight. He landed face down on the hard, cool floor, a rush of air ghosting past his lips as he reached out toward the last image he'd seen before the system had gone down; that of a young, blonde-haired girl.

Forneus could feel himself being pulled into slumber, unable to fight against it as he watched the girl's after image swim across his vision. A pang of guilt seized him as fat droplets poured from the child's large, green eyes, a stuffed bear clutched to her chest.

I'm sorry. I failed...

*

This chapter is dedicated to @JoanneWeaver. She has been (and continues to be) one of my most supportive and encouraging readers, and to top it all off? She is a "weaver" of extraordinary, paranormal tales. Please, if you have a hankering for some paranormal romance with humorous overtones, I promise you won't be disappointed--check her out. :)



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