Wolf sat on the rocky outcropping, watching the ancient stone temple sink slowly into the jungle. The red glow of the lava far below threw faint highlights across the gray stone as the full moon illuminated the scene. On the astral, tendrils of energy still wisped out from the Deep Well, echoes of the power summoned by the foolish human.
Wolf could taste the familiarity and fear coming of the others with whom it shared this new body. John had found Miriel, as he had in every other repetition of the cycle. But the Joining was incomplete this time. A complex and unexpected battle for control had sapped the spirit’s power for crucial moments while John escaped.
And Miriel was different this time. Gone was the magic that her soul always carried, replaced with something else. Something Wolf had never encountered before. Something beyond the limited creatures of this plane, yet not tied to the astral realms. It had fought much harder for control than Miriel, yet also opposed the girl’s attempts regain control. Wolf was certain there had been a battle raging well before it had arrived. Glimpses of anger, jealousy, rage, love, and fear writhed within Miriel’s aura, most of them focused on John. Whatever this strange force was, it was not friendly to Wolf’s other half and had worked hard to destroy John.
This new young body was fit and agile, although not as strong as the previous girl. This time, less essence had been ripped away by the technological pollution of this world. And her mind contained extensive knowledge about the technology that ruled this cycle. Skills that far outstripped what even Mr. Jones had possessed. Skills that would help tracking down John, destroying his meddlesome allies, and completing the Joining.
As the last of the ancient dwarven ruin disappeared from view, Wolf rose from the rock and turned into the jungle. The spirit could sense the chupacabras lurking in the undergrowth, circling some unfortunate prey nearby. But the awakened beasts would stay clear of Wolf as it restarted the long journey to find John and reunite their spirits.
The ancient cycle must be completed.