At first glance, the gate seemed deceptively normal. But as I approached, I noticed a subtle visual disturbance on the metal bars. Tiny yellow sparks danced from top to bottom. Beyond, all was mist – aside from the nearby purple tower.

“My hair is standing on end,” said Tetrax. His voice made me jump. No-one had spoken for over an hour. “My moustache tickles. That gate is infused with lightning.”

I moved closer to the fence and immediately felt the hair on my neck rise. A soft hum emanated from the metal bars, blending with the rumbling to create a humourless discord. I felt an inexplicable desire to reach out and touch the sparkling yellow snakes.

Tetrax caught my hand mid-move. “Careful, farmboy. There is subtle magic on top of the lightning, I wager.”

I let my hand drop and hardened my mind. The thief was right. Now that I concentrated, I sensed wisps of magic in the air. It took me back to the Fractious Nebula and the power there. However, here I felt no peace. The incessant rumbling saw to that.

“I wear a protective suit of armour,” said Rash. “I could try to force the gates open before the lightning finds its way inside.”

I grimaced. “I don’t like the sound of that idea.”

Rash bowed his head. “As you wish.”

Passage To Celestial Glory – Chapter 14 Extract