"Run." Amos said.

"There might be people still in there," Victana said. "They might be hurt."

"Whoever did this," Amos said, "Left no survivors."

"How do you know?" Victana asked. "How do you really know?"

Amos pointed. Down the main lane, almost past the next plaza, stood a figure. Its back was towards the two children. Its hands were waving slowly through the air, its fingers outstretched towards the Guardian Tree.

"The Guardian Tree isn't attacking," Amos said. "It's barely holding onto its own life. That's how this whole attack is possible."

"That's impossible," said Victana. "The Guardian Tree is..."

"A powerful totem," said Amos. "But I always suspected it wasn't the most powerful source of magic in the world."

"That's still impossible," said Victana.

"Doesn't matter," Amos said. "We need to get out of here. Now!"

The figure had paused in its incantation. It was slowly turning around, its black flowing robes rippling in the fiery winds. Its hood fell back as it turned. A gray face stood out on a too-long neck. A horrid half-smile stood out on its too-large mouth, leading up to a disfigured, wrinkled nose.

Where there were supposed to be eyes, there was nothing. No slit, no gently rounded pupil, no light reflected back. Just a flap of skin covering a poorly designed skull.

"What is it?" Victana asked.

"I don't know," Amos said. They were still standing still.

"Can it see us?" She asked.

"I don't know," Amos said. "But it knows we're here. We need to leave. Now."

"I'm trying to run," said Victana. "My legs won't move."

"Sigils," said Amos. "I can feel the lines of power from here. We tripped some sort of perimeter sigil."

"On our own village?" asked Victana.

"It's probably the same ones the Guardian Tree used for inner perimeter defense," said Amos. "That thing is somehow controlling the Guardian Tree."

"We are going to be killed by our own Guardian Tree," said Victana.

"I think everyone was," said Amos.

"But how?" Victana asked.

"Does it matter?" Amos said. "It doesn't seem important in light of our impending death."

"Is that another one of your gloriously powerful words?" demanded Victana.

"Hush," said Amos. "The sigils are flickering. I think I can release us."