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With the energy of the place, generated by his chrysalis, he maintained spells over the course of days and months and years, and recorded data from millions of microscopic probes he had planted across Soom. He monitored those probes constantly, nourishing his relationship with this world and everything on it.

On the far side of the planet, a herd of wild tak trotted toward the Lang River, the sunrise shining through their voluminous hair.

Across the continent, the desert city of Drel baked under the high sun. Deep below it, the stress in the planet's crust had been safely dissipated, preventing a disastrous earthquake.

Closer by, the coastal city of Tain was fading into dusk. Tain was one of the largest Soom cities, an unplanned patchwork that served as a center for trade, mainly by sea, but in a modest way, also by space. The sole spaceport on the planet was quiet, a single row of small trading ships parked out on the grassy field. The corrupt leader of this city, the Rook of Tain-His Exaltedness, as he liked to be called-appeared particularly thoughtful as he chewed energetically on his dinner, a swugskin souffl©.

In nearby Lok, the town Elric had made his home, the streets were quiet and the air was clear. Elric had altered the weather patterns so the arrival of the mages would not be obscured by mist. Many of the townspeople had come down to the mak to watch the wondrous display in the sky, and the landing of the ships. They were welcome for this opening night of the convocation. After that, the proceedings would be closed to them.

Behind Elric, Fa watched from the shelter of a tent flap. Though Elric had placed no probes in the tents, out of respect for the mages' privacy, he knew that within, cooks, attendants, and cleaners, hired from Lok and the city
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