Enjoy this Special Preview of Silty the Sorceress and the Wizard's Duel
The mountains were called the Coffin Nails, because those were what you'd need if you climbed them. This ring of spiking peaks surrounding the Kingdom of Hauntergast provided a natural defense for the secretive and secluded nation. Few knew the hidden trails through the treacherously steep, rocky hills and woe to any who ventured up there without a map. Those unfortunate souls would almost certainly end up like the gentleman Silty now stared at.
"Silty! Don't get distracted by old skeletons. We're nearly there," her teacher Ilazeka called from up the precipitous mountain path. The young sorceress left the skull and followed after the older woman. At least he would not be lonely; the mountainside was littered with bones.
"Master?" asked Silty, "Where did all these skeletons come from?"
"Lost travelers," the azure-skinned witch turned back to her pupil, "And failed initiates," she said with a smirk.
A shiver ran through Silty, though whether from fear or the cold she couldn't say.
"Relax," said her teacher, "I'm only joking. You'll be fine. Come, the shrine is just over this ridge."
The young sorceress swallowed hard, trying to take her nerves with it. She pulled her cloak tight and headed up the path. The mountains possessed a timeless quality at this height. Grey stone slivers plunging heavenward from an ocean of mist, if not for the bones there would be no evidence mankind had ever visited here. Some of these rocks probably hadn't been disturbed since the Coffin Nails had risen eons ago. The only sound was the echo of wind and the caw of distant condors. Somehow, these lonely peaks were a fitting place for Silty to make her Pact.
"Are you sure I'm ready for this, master?” she asked, “Is there no more magic I can learn without doing so?"
"I've taught you all I can Silty," Ilazeka said, "If you wish to continue your studies, you must take this step. Here is the only place where you can complete your initiation. The witches of my clan have pledged at this shrine for centuries, since before the founding of your father's kingdom and before the fall of Xur. Unless you wish another to be your teacher?"
Silty paused for a moment, caught offguard by the question. She shook her head and said, "No. My father trusts you, as do I. I will do as you instruct Master."
"Excellent, because we've arrived."
Ilazeka gestured toward the shrine's entrance, a broad, dark gash in the cliffside. Around it were carved numerous runes & glyphs. From her lessons, Silty recognized them all as symbols of containment. What lay within this cavern?
"This is the point of no return Silty. I cannot make you cross this threshold nor can I force you to do anything once inside its walls. The ancient laws of the arcane arts forbid doing so. From here on, you must proceed of your own free will. Will you go forward?"
Staring into the darkness, Silty took a deep breath and steeled her resolve. She was afraid, but she would go forward.
"Then leave all notions aside, and enter the shrine."