Fedlir took a long, rattling breath and lifted his face from the grass. He was back. His mind had made it back home. It was impossible to gauge how long he had been gone, yet… without even opening his eyes, he could sense that the eclipse was just passing overhead. The locusts chattered their morning song, confused for a few moments, before falling silent again.
Before he thought of it, Fedlir was on his feet. He felt light, renewed. His body barely felt real, as it was simple an extension of his will. As if physical law no longer truly applied to him. In a way, it didn’t. What he had seen in the trance had brought him beyond the world,, beyond all the laws of magic he had ever been taught. There was a truth there, a grace, something eternal that he had touched.
He had won. For the first time in a thousand years, an eclipse mage had arisen from the trial of choice. This feeling of elevation, of exaltation, was only the beginning. Fedlir had the power to change the world. To remake it for the better. The other magi would stand behind him, he knew.
Fedlir looked to the sky as the disc of the moon retreated from the sun. He could stare at it directly and see it, now. The sun held no mystery to him. As his gaze returned to earth, he stared out across the field.
Another figure was standing up now, from her place in the grass. For a moment, they stared at each other.
Garna. Fedlir’s rival for so many years. Earlier, he had hoped to see her retreat, then to fail, so that only Fedlir could hold the glory that would come. As they stepped closer, their gazes never left the other’s face. There was no anger or pride there, just as there was none in Fedlir’s heart. Instead, he felt an awe and an overwhelming relief. Here stood someone who knew what he had seen, felt what he had felt.
Hundreds of years had passed without an eclipse mage. Now there were two.
Fedlir and Garna locked eyes and smiled. All was as it should be.