As the phoenix carried them high above the forest, Thorn fidgeted uncomfortably. The words he'd read in the Book plagued him like a horde of bloodthirsty mosquitos, nibbling away at his mind, creating an ever constant itch. An itch that was only made worse by his own fear. The cold, black, parasitic fear that lurked at the corners of his mind, feeding off his nerves, enveloping his mind in a wave of icy darkness that seemed to drain the very life out of him.
No, stop it, Thorn told himself firmly, stop acting like an idiot and pull yourself together. You're supposed to be a leader, not some frightened child. Whatever this thing is, whatever it wants, you've got to face it. It's already taken your friends, your family and your home. If your fear gets a hold on you, it'll take you next. This... Mist of Loss or whatever you call it can only get you on the ground.
Unless of course, there's a Cloud of Loss to match, he added sardonically. Behind him, he felt Kamika shift on the phoenix's feathery back. Thorn turned his head to see the sun beginning to set in the western horizon. They'd have to land before it got dark. Flying at night was not a passtime for the wise in this forest. Even less so with current events.
"There should be a cliff face near here," he said, half to Kamika, half to the phoenix itself, "We could stop there for the night. There's lots of caves in the rockface and it's too high for the mist to reach us. We'll be safe there for the night and it'll give us somewhere to stop and plan our next move."
Sounding a good deal more certain than he felt, Thorn went back to watching the fast-darkening horizon, his mind constantly re-playing the words of the Book as he watched for signs of the deadly Mist.
Not only that, but he had the strange feeling of being watched. As if he and Kamika weren't the only ones riding the phoenix.
As if they were being followed by an unseen presence...