The temple in Brookhollow was silent and still, disturbed only by distant thunder from the northwest. The storm had at last broken, and the citizens were grateful it had done so elsewhere. Enough trouble and dire news had affected their lives in the last few tendays, indeed in the last several months. The blush had not yet taken a strong hold this far south, but it would. Only time stood between them and epidemic. The Temple of the Hidden Circle had been quiet, doling out only what minor divinations might reveal. The lesser oracles did their best, but growing whispers and rumors surrounded the subject of Sameska. Dreslya was still awake when the thunder began and the horizon was lit by flashes of faraway lightning. She'd sent riders out to gather the Hunters of the Hidden Circle, warriors of Savras and champions of his church. The other oracles would be informed as they awoke for morning prayers and the breaking of their fasts. Sameska's look and words haunted her. After revealing nothing for months, for nearly a whole year, the high oracle called a meeting of the Hidden Circle. Dreslya knew something was wrong; something horrible hid in autumn's early chill and the gathering black clouds. She had never stepped within the rune circle itself, but she felt the changes in Brookhollow and in Sameska. Faith in the wisdom of Savras was all that held her together. "His plan will be revealed as he sees fit, no sooner," she told herself several times throughout the night, wondering what would come next.