1 The old man sat alone in the shadow of the Dragon's Teeth and watched the coming darkness chase the daylight west. The day had been cool, unusually so for midsummer, and the night promised to be chill. Scattered clouds masked the sky, casting their silhouettes upon the earth, drifting in the manner of aimless beasts between moon and stars. A hush filled the emptiness left by the fading light like a voice waiting to speak. It was a hush that whispered of magic, the old man thought. A fire burned before him, small still, just the beginning of what was needed. After all, he would be gone for several hours. He studied the fire with a mixture of expectation and uneasiness before reaching down to add the larger chunks of deadwood that brought the flames up quickly. He poked at it with a stick, then stepped away, driven back by the heat. He stood at the edge of the light, caught between the fire and the growing dark, a creature who might have belonged to neither or both. His eyes glittered as he looked off into the distance. The peaks of the Dragon's Teeth jutted skyward like bones the earth could not contain. There was a hush to the mountains, a secrecy that clung like mist on a frosty morning and hid all the dreams of the ages. The fire sparked sharply and the old man brushed at a stray bit of glowing ash that threatened to settle on him. He was just a bundle of sticks, loosely tied together, that might crumble into dust if a strong wind were to blow. Gray robes and a forest cloak hung on him as they would have on a scarecrow. His skin was leathery and brown and had shrunken close against his bones. White hair and beard wreathed his head, thin and fine, like wisps of gauze against the firelight. He was so wrinkled and hunched down that he looked to be a hundred years old. He was, in fact, almost a thousand. Strange, he thought suddenly, remembering his years. Paranor, the Councils of the Races, even the Druidsgone. Strange that he should have outlasted them all. He shook his head. It was so long ago, so far back in time that it was a part of his life he only barely recognized. He had thought that part finished, gone forever. He had thought himself free. But he had never been that, he guessed. It wasn't possible to be free of something that, at the very least, was responsible for the fact that he was still alive. How else, after all, save for the Druid Sleep, could he still be standing there? He shivered against the descending night, darkness all about him now as the last of the sunlight slipped below the horizon. It was time. The dreams had told him it must be now, and he believed the dreams because he understood them. That, too, was a part of his old life that would not let him godreams, visions of worlds beyond worlds, of warnings and truths, of things that could and sometimes must be. He stepped away from the fire and started up the narrow pathway into the rocks. Shadows closed about him, their touch chill. He walked for a long time, winding through narrow defiles, scrambling past massive boulders, angling along craggy drops and jagged splits in the rock. When he emerged again into the light, he stood within a shallow, rock-strewn valley dominated by a lake whose glassy surface reflected back at him with a harsh, greenish cast. The lake was the resting place for the shades of Druids come and gone. It was to the Hadeshorn that he had been summoned. "Might as well get on with it," he growled softly. He walked slowly, cautiously downward into the valley, his steps uneasy, his heart pounding in his ears. He had been away a long time. The waters before him did not stir; the shades lay sleeping. It was best that way, he thought. It was best that they not be disturbed. He reached the lake's edge and stopped. All was silent. He took a deepBrooks, Terry is the author of 'Heritage of Shannara', published 2003 under ISBN 9780345465542 and ISBN 0345465547.