Hable stood before the trees. He shook, as they did. The wind made their dry leaves tremble and whisper. Nothing about the two trees stood out.
Except he knew.
The man bowed his head, hands and teeth clenched in indecision. He looked skyward to the distant sparkle of Ambiter. Somewhere, in that parallel land across the sky, his wife and sister slept in Albiss, unaware of the circumstances back home. Somehow that bolstered his resolve. They need never know.
In a rare moment the moon breached horizon, illuminating the two lands of Asbriong and their shared sky. The ring of stars dimmed in its light, and Hable could make out the bloodstain upon the tree bark. Navimnier waited on the other side, and Reller…
…and Blake.
Whatever that thing claimed to be, he knew it was not human, and likely malevolent. It called itself Blake there, but in his world it was a dark, savage beast. That was why he stopped traveling in the first place. Now he was forced to return for his son.
He stepped forward into the trap.

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