Freezing mid-step, I stared in disbelief. There, standing very calmly in front of me, was a Gardener. Copying what I’d seen Garth do, I slowly sank to one knee and held out a hand. He smiled at me, a small curving of the lips, and took my outstretched hand with warm fingertips.
“Riicshaden,” he hailed in a surprisingly deep and clear voice, “I greet you.”
“Well met,” I responded shakily. Busted buckets, his voice and presence in my head was overwhelming. How had Garth done this? And several times to boot!
“We have a task for you.”
“Ahhh…” It was probably stupid, but I felt compelled to ask anyway. “You sure you want me? Not Garth?”
“We have a task for you,” he repeated patiently, a twinkle in his eye. “A young Weather Mage has awakened in Chahir. The land is not as it should be. We awakened a mage and have given her the task of restoring the land. She is lost. We task you, Riicshaden. You must find her. You must protect her. She is very precious and if she dies, there will not be another to replace her.”