Chapter One – page 2 (put aside)

He felt power surge from the ribbon into the circle. It felt like being doused in cold water. The feeling sent shivers down his skin. The ribbon’s intent began to take hold of him, and it seemed to him as if chains surged up from the floor to wrap around his body.

In desperation, he fought back, his hand lashing out and firmly gripping the ribbon. It squirmed in his grasp, and he heard a sharp intake of breath from someone in the room. He barely even heard it, so focused was he on the thrashing thing in his hands.

It was hard to hold on to. Its form was vague, and it felt as if it would slip through his fingers like mist if he didn’t concentrate. Never once in its struggle, though, did it ever release its intent to drag him away. Even then, it was trying to wrap around him like a noose.

He grew angry. What right did it have to send him back to that hole? His fury grew and rolled and pounded, foaming like waves crashing on a cliff side. Each wave of emotion more turbulent than the last.

He ground his teeth as the ribbon seemed to fill his view. It’s glowing form made so he could only see a wall of white. Dark spots flashed and flickered behind across his vision. He was scared he was going blind from how bright the thing was. It made his eyes and head feel as if there were boulders slamming into them.

He hated it so much it made his throat turn sour and his ears ring. He would do anything to make it disappear.

A battle of strange wills raged within the circle drawn on the floor. The people around the room could feel the tension building. They shifted, uncomfortable and sweating in the heated atmosphere.

He took no notice as his entire consciousness pressed against the force of the ribbon’s intent. His mind rammed against it again and again. It was painful, but he was frantic. Slowly, but surely, he could feel that he was loosing ground.

That realization broke his concentration. The ribbon surged at the opportunity and rushed over him like a deluge water from a burst dam.

Frantically, he retreated deeper within himself to shore up. The ribbon swallowed him, turning into a large, glowing orb with him at its heart. It pressed against him on all sides, trying to break down his last defense.

As the pressure increased, though, he felt something inside himself settling more comfortably into his body. He felt whole now, where as before, he felt like his soul had been a puzzle piece forced into the right spot with the wrong orientation.

His soul’s alignment was now correct, and as a result, his view of the world changed. The orb that waged war against him was no longer frightening. It was more like a pretty light show than anything dangerous.

As he stared at the orb surrounding him, he noticed a thread running through it that was brighter, more breathtaking and vibrant, glowing with a golden hue.

He reached out and touched it. It was silky and smooth, and strangely, he tasted honey as its vibrancy flowed into him. The thread went dark and disintegrated in his hand. The orb drifted away like smoke. He landed lightly on the floor and noticed that the circle was gone. He stared at the slight amount of gray dust on his palm.

Had he touched the heart of the ribbon? Was this dust, then, the remains of the heart-thread of it? He trembled slightly, and then breathed a sigh of relief.

He then noticed how silent the room had gotten. He could only hear the crackling of the torches. Warily he looked up and met with the stunned faces of the eleven people in the room.

There was nothing blinding him now. He could see them clearly, and their expressions made him freeze.

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