Meliek wiped the sweat and blood from his hands against his trousers. The night air caused sweat to form over his forehead and on the back of his neck. He cast his gaze ahead, though he couldn’t see but just a few feet in front of him. Magic pulsated all around him and he was relieved he couldn’t see the tower he walked towards. He guessed it was another half mile until he reached Shadruck Tower, but the magic pressed against him with each step forward. He stopped, took a deep breath, and tried to ignore all his doubts. He pulled a scroll from the worn, tanned pouch he wore tied to his waist and unrolled it. He couldn’t see the words, but he’d read the damned thing so many times, he didn’t need to see them. I need to see you. He sighed and looked up; released a groan and began walking again. He cursed under his breath, remembering the promise he’d made when he’d come to Ashnladas. No more magic. Ever. “What the bloody hell does the Oracle want of me?” He fought an urge to turn back as he rolled the scroll back up. 

Shadruck Tower was upon him and he stepped through the tall, archway. It had no door to open. Meliek raised his hand and slowly touched the steel and concrete surface as he passed through the entry. His handprint left a swelled red shimmer against it and then then the tower sucked the oil and blood into it. Meliek gasped and jumped back. He watched as the print glowed until it disappaited into nothing. “Shit.” He turned and slid through the entry sideways, afraid to turn his back on the, now gone, handprint. As he reached the middle of the base, light illuminated all around him. He watched, turning round and round, as candles on the walls around him, leading him to a stairwell. He almost laid his hands on the banister and then stopped himself. His gaze moved with the lights and stairs, up, up, until he couldn’t see. Just how far up does it go? He hesitantly began his ascent, doing his best to stay in the middle, away from the wall’s surface.

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