With a sharp hiss, the flame vanished. The room went dark. There was a moment of silence, then the ground began to shake. From outside the chamber, Ark could hear rubble falling.
Storm! Ark ran out of the chamber, half stumbling over an old vine that had grown across the doorway. Stones, leaves, and dust were falling all around him. The earth rumbled, like he was stuck in the belly of a great beast. Ignoring it all, he ran towards the place where Storm was lying and tried to shield him as best he could.
After a few moments, silence fell again. Storm still lay motionless but seemed otherwise unharmed. Ark growled to himself—he’d had enough of playing it safe. He grabbed Storm’s paw, closed his eyes, and reached for the Mists.
Something had been waiting for him. A great power pierced his mind and yanked his consciousness away.
“There you are.”
Ark found himself floating in a nightmare of mist and vines, and there was something else with him—something vast. It regarded him for a moment before it spoke again.
“Curious. You are not one of mine… Not yet.”
Ark tried to speak but couldn’t—this was a dream, but not his dream. Still he struggled, and that seemed to amuse the creature.
“I like you. Perhaps you can be useful.”
Out of the mist, a massive clawed hand reached for him. This wasn’t real. Ark knew this wasn’t real. But he also knew this creature’s power over his mind was more than real.
Instead of piercing him, the claws stopped in front of him. The hand held something glowing: power. The power to heal Storm.
The creature laughed.