"I am going to be a great warrior when I grow up," said Windy. His arms were skinny with youth. Only ten summers had passed since he came into the world. "I am going to follow in the footsteps of Brother Ti."

Rain squatted down between two massive ribs jutting out of the grass. They towered above her, but her interest lay only in the shiny web stretched between the bones. It was a huge web, wider than her armspan, but the spider within was small.

"My name will be known throughout the grasslands," continued Windy. He wrapped his belt around one of the ribs and started to climb. "Beyond the grasslands," he said, proudly, as if it were ancient history.

Rain smiled, breathing slowly, staring hard at the little spider that moved patiently across its vast domain.

"What about you, Rain? Each of my victories would reflect well on you. As my sister, you could keep my lands in order."

Rain turned slowly and gave Windy a blank look. She then returned her gaze back to the spider.

"I was given a prophecy yesterday," she said. "The Old Woman said that my voice cannot be heard by Him, of the Spider's Web, Prince of Secrets and Lord of Shadows."

"What is that supposed to mean?" Windy stopped climbing. His younger sister's words just didn't make sense. The conversation was about his future greatness, after all.

"I will rise up and rival the darkness. I shall challenge the eternal hold The Spider in the Shadows has over secrets. He will not hear me approach. He will only know of my passing by the stir of echoes I leave among his followers. In the coming centuries, He will feel motion in his web, but he will not know its cause."

"Girl, you speak nonsense. Maybe I won't let you maintain order in my lands."

"I will maintain order. Maltharius will chase you across the world, thwarting your empire building, but he will not feel my breath upon his neck. He will not hear my commands that dog his schemes. He will ..."

Rain looked down at the web and saw that the spider was gone. She turned and found her brother had snuck up on her and was standing within arms reach of her.

"Be wary, brother, there is danger about."

"I see nothing, sister. You are being silly. Trust a warrior to know when danger is near."

He turned and grabbed his sack. It was noon, and time to join the others.

Rain saw the spider clinging to Windy's bare calf. A small read circle told her he had already been bitten. She stood and grabbed her own sack. As she followed, she thought about the future.

"If Maltherius could hear me, the spider would have come for me, not my brother. I will grieve for him soon, but I will not follow him thereafter. I will come for you, Spider in the Shadow. I will take the path of the Hero, then the Legend, then the Myth. I will become a Demi-god, climb to the rank of Lesser God, and one day, centuries, maybe mellinia from now, we shall struggle in the shadows for the right to pull the strings."

Windy swatted at his calf, but the spider was already gone.

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