The rain poured down over the desolate forest. Living creatures hid from the wrath of nature, burrowing in the safety of their homes away from the thundering wall of water crashing down from the sky.

A flash of lightning lit the blackness, illuminating the gaunt bearded face of a different creaturestumbling through the dense undergrowth. He clutched one arm to the side of his bloodstained gray flight jacket, staggering onward with difficulty.

The sickly gaze of the creature caught a different light from ahead; not the lights of civilization, but firelight. He concentrated on that light, forcing himself to put one foot in front of the other as his iron will refused to surrender to the might of the storm.

The faint shadow of a woman stood, watching as the man went by. He was human, she could see that, but he didn't look anything like the ones she had seen. She looked on in confusion as she saw the light he was fighting towards. The first step she took towards the man was halted as a wave of blackness came her way, and the last thing she saw of the man and the woods was the firelight spreading out at her. In the firelight were eyes.

"Years we have waited." The deep voice resonated through the circular chamber in the ritualistic greeting. As the echoes died down the silence crept in around the figures in the room and a robed figure stepped forward onto the crest set into the center of the open floor.

"And years we shall wait." The dark robed man in the center of the room spoke quietly, but his voice reached all those seated around the circumference of the soundproof walls. "As time runs onward and hope seems dark."

"Years we shall wait." The words echoed around the room, bringing with them an air of finality.

The figure in the center was the first to move. "My brothers," He spoke in a clear voice, unaltered by the black cloth which covered the bottom half of his face. "We wait for the spirit walker, the one who can breach the field of the Ras and liberate the people. I am of the belief she has been found."

The man's quiet voice seemed to stun all those in the room, creating a shocked silence; a silence only broken when another man stood. "You say she? The spirit walker is a woman?"

"I believe it to be so. She is of those of us imprisoned beneath the field, our kinsmen trapped by the Ras."

Directly in front of the lone man another figure stood, this one with a golden circlet adorning the hood of his robe. "And is it your gift that tells you this?"

"Yes, my lord, it is."

"Then Brother Caius, I leave it to you to investigate this woman. You must get past the containment field and find her." His eyes were the only part of him visible, and as they looked out at the figure in the center their depths were filled with sympathy for the young man and his task.

"B-but my lord!" The man who had seemed so sure of himself a moment before was visibly shaken by this pronouncement. "How am I to return?"

The figure raised his head to see the astounded Caius in front of him. "If this woman is indeed the spirit walker then the return shall not matter. Fate will draw you onward, as it has for countless years and generations. Have faith, Brother Caius. Go with the blessing of the council."

Caius bowed, stuttered out an acknowledgement of his mission, and retreated from the chamber.