When the shifting stopped, Maral was in an overly crowded section of Ambiguberg. Having just witnessed a preventable tragedy, she was frozen in a state of shock. Individuals frustrated at the unusually-timed shifting scurried about to find their destinations. A little Gnome blocking the sidewalk was not a welcome obstruction. Roughly, Maral was pushed aside and bumped into, until large, gentle hands took hold of her.

The most pleasant voice Maral had ever heard asked, “Can you see me, dear?”

Maral looked up; before her was an unusually tall, elegant woman. Beside her stood a short, plump woman who seemed to sparkle. Maral felt an awe towards the first and a desire to embrace the second. In the presence of these two, a sense of peace washed over her removing the fear and horror of the tragedy. Maral relaxed.

“Mercy, I believe she can,” said the second woman, her voice was like a song. “Look at her eyes; do you see it? She is different.”

“What are you doing here?” Mercy asked

“Looking for the city,” was all Maral could manage.

Mercy seemed to understand exactly what she meant and smiled. “Good, we will help you find your way out of this place.”

“Who are you?” Maral asked as the second woman took her hand and together all three began to walk.

The second woman said, “I am Grace. This is my sister Mercy.”

Maral noticed the lack of being bumped and jostled. Though the crowd was still thick and individuals walked directly toward them, at the last moment all automatically stepped around. Even if it meant violently bumping into someone else.

Grace noticed Maral’s observation, “They cannot see us, but they feel our presence.” Sadly she added, “They have long since stopped being curious. They have lost their wonder.”

“They are too busy to consider wonder-let alone who we are and why we are here,” Mercy said with frustration, “They simply side-step us and continue on their busy way. Hold on now, dear.” She grabbed Maral’s other hand just before the city shifted again.

The other individuals on the street loudly grumbled about the more frequent and unpredictable shifting. Without looking around to find their bearings as others did, the sisters instantly reversed their direction.

Grace asked, “What is your name?”

“Maral,” she said as they began to turn sharp corners. “I am from Phythrage. Home of the strange fire.”

“How wonderful for you!” Grace said excitedly.

“Yes, it is.” Maral smiled, “In the fire I was given the instruction to seek an unknown city. But I don’t know where to go. I need direction.”

Mercy looked at her while continuing over streets and around corners, “Are you different?”

Maral felt self-conscious and exposed, “Well, yes.” She whispered uncomfortably, “I can breathe the fire.”

“Excellent,” Mercy said briskly, “You need to find Wisdom. She is traveling east through the country on the main road. She will give you the direction that you require. You will find her; she leaves a large wake.”

“Do not hesitate or become distracted. It is a long, dangerous road.” When Maral stumbled as she received these words Grace steadied her. “You can do this.”

Mercy placed a hand upon her head and smiled, “The city awaits you. Now, as quickly as you can, run! There is the boundary!”

Maral’s feet took her in the direction indicated, though her heart longed to remain to say goodbye. She felt the ground begin to shift as she neared the final street. With all her strength she threw herself out of the city. She landed hard, but was able to get her head around just in time to see the two mysterious women disappear as the city moved.