Chapter 2

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Arhyvhynne and Albera sat cross-legged on a midnight blue circular cloth which had the familiar esoteric symbols of the witches intricately stitched in rich threads of gold and silver. They were facing each other, their hands in their laps. Arhyvhynne gave Albera a reassuring smile, then explained the procedure, which differed depending upon the willingness of the one to be read. If one was unwilling, there was a not too delicate probing of the mind. Though the pressure exacted was harsh, great care had to be taken with the subject's health. Drugs could not even be used to make the subject more compliant for fear of clouding the mind or altering the mental images. It also required much more energy from the reader to perform the task. A willing subject, such as Albera, need not have any fears. There was an imperceptible touch on one's mind while concentrating on the events. Only if there was the need to delve very deep or if someone tried to hide something could the process become uncomfortable.

While Albera would try to mentally recount the entire incident with the wizard, Arhyvhynne would "read" her memories, conscious and subconscious—to the point where she could even pick out things that Albera could not consciously remember. Since part of what they were searching for was unknown, it would have to be a step by step recounting. If the unknown was found, afterward Albera would then have to concentrate solely on the staff in order for Arhyvhynne to read the runes.

After closing her eyes and regulating her breathing, Arhyvhynne began reading Albera. Albera began with the swirling winds. No, Arhyvhynne corrected, they are mists. Then the image of the crumpled body came into her mind. Then the cloak of grey. Arhyvhynne mentally questioned, Is it the cloak of grey? "Yes!" responded Albera excitedly. The abrupt breaking of the trance caused something like a static shock to both reader and subject. The jolt wore off after a brief moment and was replaced by the other, more significant shock.

"He wore grey, he wore grey!" Albera was jumping up and down and yelling to the witches, particularly Khyrhyelle.

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