“The twelfth day of winter, the 236th year Post-Priorae. I saw it today. The voice drew me out into the middle of the cold night. I was barefoot, awakened from my sleep, coerced into the darkness with no heed for my safety. I couldn’t resist the soft voice, following it as it drew me into the trees. I didn’t regain control of my body until I realized I was standing in a field, shivering.”
Thyra glanced up at Kegan, seeing him watching her carefully, his brow furrowed. She drew a slow breath before continuing.
“That’s when it appeared. It looked like a ghost, moving in through the trees. It had a long body, thin legs, and a long nose. Its tail was like that of cat, with a tuft of hair from the end. It came closer, passing through the branches without touching them. I could see the blue of its eyes as it came within arm’s reach. When it spoke, or thought, its voice was loud and clear, no longer the soft whisper.”
Thyra could feel her stomach turning in knots as she turned the page.
“I’m glad you have finally come to me, it said, stepping closer. I could feel the heat of its body and I knew I should have felt fear. But instead, my mind was warm, as if comforted by the creature’s presence. I asked, through my thoughts, why it had been calling me. That’s when it brought its face to mine, its breath hot on my skin. You are special, Doran, it said. I will give you the power to do great things.
I was confused as I stared at it. Why would I have a need to do great things? That’s when the beast lowered its head, pressing an ivory horn against my forehead. A sudden onslaught of images filled my mind, starting with a tall figure standing in a hall. I knew, without knowing, that the figure was one of the Priorae. He was a big man, bigger than even the Inerse standing around him, wielding a broad sword. And there was something about the sword, something I knew again without knowing.
It is an anima, the beast told me, answering my unasked question. It will be my gift to you, and through me, you will lead your people to a greatness never before imagined.”
Thyra felt breathless as she looked up to Kegan. “Is that the weapon?” she whispered. “The anima?”
Kegan shook his head, looking as confused as she felt. “I don’t know,” he said.
They both jumped when a knock sounded on the library door, a servant appearing. “Dinner is ready,” the man said, bowing at the waist.
Kegan nodded, dismissing the man. He turned to look back to Thyra. “Meet me here after the last candle,” he said quietly. “We need to know more about this anima.”