Wren stumbled forward, and fell to the floor. Dust from under the grates was disturbed by his fall, and slowly settled upon the faded black shirt and black and gray pants he wore.
A soft groan, and his dust covered eyelashes twitched.
A closer look showed a man whose skin seemed to hang form his bones, pale and transparent.
Even now, his mindís eye replayed torments visited upon him at first only during meditations.
The same scene started to seep into his conscious mind.
Now it haunted him at every hour, waking and asleep.
His attempt to cleanse his body and free his mind had gone horribly wrong.
Now weak and helpless from four days of fasting, his mind was allowed to be free of all distractions, and the vision increased in detail and vividness.
He could smell the burnt flesh, taste the coppery flavor of blood, and feel the cold sweat of certain and impending doom.
He tried to cry out to the spirits of his forefathers, but even before the moan left his lips, he knew that they had deserted him.
A sob rocked his body as his fingers poked through the grates, he pushed himself to his knees, and reached up and ripped the neck of his shirt, his fingers felt numb and burnt as they strained against the fabric.
His eyes opened to the darkened corridor, and his vision again was being superimposed over the hallway.
He reached up and took a handhold on a doorknob and pulled himself to his feet, and started to open the door, but caught his reflection in the small mirrored glass window.
There before him was the ghost he had seen over and over before.
The entire vision replayed in sharp detail and his body shook and spasms threw him back to the floor.
Eyes, face, mouth, they form the face of Karin Midular.
She smiles, as if looking at her lover.
Then slowly, blood seeps through her teeth, her facial expression doesnít change. Canít she feel it? She starts to lift her hands, as if in an embrace.
It is only then that you see she is standing above a prone Sebiestor. His face is turned away, but he is bound in thick ropes.
Her eyes well up as tears form in her eyes, tears of joy. But they are all wrong, they are inky black.
The poisoned tears slide down her cheeks as the blood from her mouth suddenly spurts into a cascading fountain.
Her hands are now visible, covered in a dark burning fire.
The man struggles, but doesnít ask for mercy.
His body is slowly consumed by the fire, leaving nothing but a perfectly white spirit.
The blood and poison flow up from the floor like living ooze. The spirit howls in rage and terror.
The spirit starts to twist, distort, and is filled with black and red.
That is where the vison usually ended, but now Wren could see the spiritís face reflected in that mirror.
The hallway echoed his wordless and hoarse scream, and he screamed back at his echo and passed out.