The vortex called to him as its opening swirled round and round. Soft whispers from its depths called his name, begging him to enter and discover its secrets. Beads of sweat dewed on Aizane's forehead as he struggled with himself to remain seated on the ground, his back against the cavern wall.
"Aizane! Aizane!" The soft voice coming from the vortex cooed his name sinisterly. Oh how he longed to throw himself into their unknown world. Join them... Control them...
"Aizane!" This voice sounded closer to his ear, and snatched his thoughts out of the zone they were trapped in. "Are you alright?" a man with a dusty face and reddish hair stepped into his line of view, blocking the portal from his hungry eyes.
"Of course I am." Aizane snapped at the man as he climbed to his feet. "Are we nearly ready, Tzar?"
"I do believe I've figured it out." Tzar's fingers clenched into a fist nervously. "It will take a large amount of power, but it can be done."
A small hint of a smile played across Aizane's lips. "Very good. Let us get to it at once."
Tzar's green eyes widened as he stared into his companion's cold blue gaze. "Now? Do you really think we are prepared?"
"I've waited long enough." He growled through clenched teeth. "Now do whatever it is you have to do."
The wizard nodded curtly, his red hair falling into his eyes. He did nothing to remove it as he faced the portal and his hand found the blood red crystal, forever located around his neck. Following a deep breath, strange words flowed from his mouth, as Aizane looked on. Tzar's crystal began to emit a soft glow, which soon grew into a brilliant shine. The light engulfed the wizard as the chanting grew louder, faster.
Aizane's eyes grew wide and the smile his lips formed could never be mistaken for joy. Pure evil showed on the man's illuminated face as the red light reached out to the portal, engulfing it while Tzar began shouting bizarre words.
"Well I'll be damned," Aizane whispered to himself. "The twit has actually done it."
After a few more moments of shouting at the vortex, the wizard fell to his knees as the glow retreated back to the crystal. His pale face turned to his friend's as he struggled to breathe. "It is done," he wheezed, "the portal shall not close unless I command it to do so."
"And that will be when I tell you to." Aizane extended his hand to the weak looking man on the cavern floor. With a groan Tzar climbed to his feet and stumbled. The other man caught him easily, and supported him as they began to walk into the cave, leaving the vortex behind them.
"Wha- What are you doing?" Tzar's voice was barely above a whisper. "We can't leave the portal like that, something could-"
"You need water and a moment's rest before we leave this wretched place. The journey could kill a man as weak as you are right now."
Tzar could only nod in agreement as they followed the many twists and turns the cave offered. After a short time, they came upon a small opening, which was home to the only water source they discovered in the many years they lived on the mountain. Aizane pushed the wizard through, rather harshly, and then followed closely. Tzar dropped to his aching knees once more, as he cupped his hand and thirstily slurped the water they held. A few gulps later, color returned to his cheeks and his gaze met Aizane's.
"Now there's just one thing left to do…"
"What would that be?" Tzar questioned, not failing to notice the coldness in his companion's voice.
The movement was quick, and before the wizard realized what was happening, Aizane had his beloved crystal in his hand.
"What are you doing?!" Tzar gasped as his hand flew to his throat in disbelief, his fingers wanting the comfort of his chain, but grasping only his tunic. "You can't possibly get any use of that! It chose me!"
"Ah, but you see my friend," he spat the word nastily, "that's where you're wrong." With a maniacal laugh, Aizane lifted the crystal into the air as a reddish orange glow burst from it, blinding its owner harshly.
The ground began to shake, and confusion added to Tzar's weakness made his head spin. He had never felt more disoriented in his life. The cave walls began spinning as Aizane's voice filled the air. He was chanting words the wizard had never before heard, and without warning, Tzar's world went dark.