Quin's heart pounded in his chest. Never before had he experienced such a bond in the shadows of his road. A few fleeting times he thought he could sense another's thoughts, but Elisandrya's soul had flooded through him, caressing his back and shoulders, flowing down his arms and into his fingertips. Almost immediately, he wondered if she could see him the same way. When their eyes had met moments after the shadowalk began, he knew she could, they both knew. So much of himself was secret by necessity. Being unknown and near faceless to his enemies strengthened his powers in their presence. He had left his true name far behind him, in the dying ears of the Hoarite priest who'd inducted him to the lone lifestyle of the ghostwalker. It had become a ritual to him, each night before making camp, to reiterate who he was and remember his past, lest he become lost to sword and shadow. He feared abandoning the man he was and becoming like the mindless gemstone golems he'd heard of in legends as a boy in Mulhorand. He had begun this ritual on the banks of the River of Swords, as the small temple that had accepted this strange young man burned behind him. Ever since, the thought of his true name carried the smell of smoke from that fire. Quin refused to look at Eli, afraid of what judgment he might see in her eyes. Instead, he focused on the shadow road. They had traveled for some time, and he expected to reach Brookhollow at any moment if Eli's prediction of a three-day journey had been correct. The shadows had grown swifter over the years as he traveled them more and more. Most times, he could complete a day's journey in less than half the time of this journey. He was anxious to meet this High Oracle Sameska and judge for himself the nature of her prophecy. He dreaded the action he might take, afraid that the path laid out for him might alienate this woman with whom he felt momentarily bonded. He knew he could not abide, could not accept, the prophecy or the edict it had spawned. This gave him pause, cleared his mind, and made him afraid of a mission that might wield Bedlam against people she knew. The blood of the good was demanded more vehemently than that of evil, for it was often the blood of betrayal. The shadows thinned around them. Objects became more distinct, inertia settled in their stomachs as they slowed. Each step became truer to the laws of nature. The walls of nearby homes appeared beneath the shadowy twins.
Rain fell upon them like a tide and the shadows disappeared completely. No one witnessed their arrival, no herald or watchman, no merchant packing his wares at the day's end. The streets were empty and still. Even the rats had sought shelter from the pounding rain, explosive thunder, and flickering lightning. Quinsareth helped Elisandrya to her feet. The transition from shadow to gravity had unbalanced her and flipped her stomach. A flashing bolt above illuminated their faces as their eyes met. Quin could feel her arms clinging to him. "Are you all right?" he asked. She raised a hand to her cheek, catching her breath before answering. "I'll be fine." They glanced about, taking stock of their position. The lightning showed them the curving ivory walls of the Temple of the Hidden Circle, mere blocks away. Both noticed that the storm had grown even stronger. It raged above the Qurth and it moved ever closer, a sure sign that little time remained for conversation concerning their shadowalk.
Quinsareth strode purposefully onward, splashing through the flooded streets. Elisandrya matched his stride toward the temple. They found the structure unguarded, the gates open and banging against the white walls in the icy wind. The tall double doors at the top of the stairs stood unbarred. They opened easily to give the pair entrance to the long windowed hallway that led to the inner sanctuary.