The snow was falling softly. The wind was a gentle breeze. There was no sound. Yet scents of danger filled the air. All that was around were a few sparse trees, but the compass was wavering back and forth.
All thought left Xavier's mind, to be replaced with an animal-like instinct of survival. He knew that if he wanted to survive, he would. He would do whatever it took. His companions, in a fight, would be valuable to him. But if they became more hindrance than help, he would not hesitate to dispose of them.
He could see nothing different, but the scene somehow appeared to be changing. What was going on?
Wait. Now Xavier noticed. A change so subtle, so small, that it was barely noticed. Footprints in the little snow there was.
"They're invisible!" he alerted. Moving with an almost dance-like motion, he struck out above one of the prints.
"Auh!" came a groan. This caused the victim to lose his lack of focus, making him visible again.
All the other enemies became visible as well, revealing a tight ring around them.
"They're all carrying weapons," Xavier said quietly. "A lot of them. Don't let humility take charge. Don't lose your head. And don't hesitate to kill."
Then he revealed a knife that had been hidden, wielding it with his dominant hand.
"Careful now, they're magicians," he warned. "Like as not they'll have some tricks up their sleeves."
And so the fight began.