Activity rippled through the encampment. Three young porters with broad shoulders, ruddy faces, and hair matted by the dawn’s mist, hurriedly carried Master Galwynn’s belongings toward a pair of packhorses at the end of the line of skyriders. Kevin; the Master of Enchantments, Thaddeus Álainn; and a few undermages accompanied the porters to the place where an equivalent complement of celestial sorcerers and squires awaited.

The porters were young and guileless, and gawked at the Skyfolk with eyes as wide as saucers, and jaws as slack as wet laundry. They carried two small, leather trunks reinforced with brass-studded leather straps, and a small oaken box inscribed with runes formed from mother-of-pearl. The box contained a few delicate instruments and tools that Galwynn thought might be useful, while one trunk was full of carefully selected books and scrolls, and the other trunk was packed with Galwynn’s personal belongings. 

The porters carrying Master Galwynn’s luggage were so busy gaping at the pale Skyfolk, that they lost their footing on the slippery meadow grass and almost dropped Kevin’s baggage. Just in time, they regained their balance and awkwardly put the luggage safely on the ground. Thaddeus dismissed them summarily, and they took their leave bowing their heads again and again like ducks bobbing for pond grass.

Then a Sky sorcerer with a thick, blue-white beard began a spell. From a pouch beneath his riding cloak, he withdrew three vials of liquid and painted a rune on each item of Kevin’s luggage. The first vial contained a liquid as black as a starless night; the second was a pigment as golden as sunrise; and the third tincture was as lustrous as moonglow. 

With the black liquid, he painted a circle and then divided it down the middle with a jagged line. With the gold liquid, he painted the left side of the circle; and with the silver liquid, he filled the right. Then with the black liquid he drew a dot on either side of the jagged line, one-third of the way from the top; and a shorter horizontal line across the line, one-third of the way from the bottom. 

Then the Sky sorcerer said in a crackling voice like the winter wind rattling through barren tree limbs in the forest, “This glyph is the sign of Sun-and-Moon.” Now that he had been given the hint, Kevin could see that the rune depicted the face of the Sun eclipsed by the profile of the Moon. “It marks your possessions as things welcome in the Domain of Sky.”

Even as Kevin looked at the symbol, the items they marked seemed to change: Their edges seemed to grow less distinct, and their rich earthen colors cooled into bluer shades of their true selves, as if seen in twilight.

Then the sorcerer pulled from his cloak an amulet suspended by a thin silver chain. The amulet carried the same rune of Sun-and-Moon, and in one graceful movement the sorcerer slipped it over Kevin Galwynn’s head. Kevin was caught by surprise by that gesture, and was about to utter something in protest, when he was taken aback by what was happening around him. 

Suddenly, Master Álainn grew pale and ephemeral, while the Sky sorcerer before him became more vivid and substantial. “Master Galwynn!” exclaimed the Master of Enchantments, but to Kevin, Thaddeus’s words were muffled and distant. Galwynn looked down at his hands, arms, and body, and was amazed. There was a bluish cast to his person and garments, now, as if he was standing beneath the shade of a sheer, azure, silk canopy.

“Heed me well,” warned the Sky sorcerer, as he stepped forward and stuffed the amulet inside Kevin’s tunic. “You are held in the Sky Domain by the spell within this talisman. Wear it always, keep it close, lest the spell be broken.” Then the sorcerer stepped back, perused his handiwork, and grunted his satisfaction. 

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