Capricorn, and Basta stood in a room in the midst of Capricorn's fortress. Basta, always his master's dog, had Dustfinger by the collar. Dustfinger, having just refused to teach Capricorn his secret of playing with fire, was being thwarted. He was beginning to regret his decision immensely. Just when he was about to give in something about the place changed.

It was as if a fog had covered his eyes and in or on the fog was the picture of people. Basta and Capricorn seemed to be seeing the same thing as they paused in their device, still looking at their prey. Steadily the image came to life in front of their eyes: a fire burned in the grate, and two people sat on a rug in the middle of a tiny room. One of them was a full grown man with black hair, holding a book in his hands; the other was a toddler who also held a book.

As the three turned toward the others in the strange room a noise like cracking paper filled the air. The man's mouth was open as if he had been speaking. Basta roughly pushed Dustfinger to the rug at their feet and tried to pull his sword from his belt. The sword dropped to the floor with a clatter.

Capricorn all the while had stood looking dizzily around at the strange place. Never before had he been in such a place, and so cluttered with books everywhere. Capricorn looked at the child on the floor; she was staring at the strangers as if she knew who they were and what they might do.

The man, most likely her father, leaned forward and picked the fallen sword up, holding it clumsily in both hands. He stood up almost as unsteady as Basta or Capricorn gripping the sword tightly its end pointed toward his feet.

Capricorn staggered forward. Awkwardly the man held the sword between them and he stopped the point held at his chest.

The man started gibbering something, which neither himself nor the objects of this conversation could understand. Basta had his hand on his knife while Capricorn stared uncomprehendingly at the wizard.

"That's enough talk." Capricorn told him. "Never mind how we arrived in this miserable place. Just send us back at once, you accursed magician, or Basta here will cut the talkative tongue out of you mouth."

The poor dumbfounded man nodded and reached for the book on the floor that he had previously discarded. He read tripping over the words. Capricorn glared at him and signed to Basta behind his back, who took out his knife and rubbed the blade with a finger. He looked up at the two and put the book down, in the same moment picking up the nearly forgotten sword. Basta leaped for the weapon but was too slow.

He brandished the sword at the strangers like a baseball bat making them back up if they expected to keep their lives. Basta jumped in front of his master and began to counter the attacker. With his knife against a long-sword he looked a sorry sight, but he was trained in it unlike his opposition.

The man swung again and broke a vase that stood on a table beside the hall entrance. Basta jumped back with each swing from the sword and the broken glass. From the main room the child began crying. At a moment of hesitation Basta sneaked his knife in and slit the man a deep cut along the arm.

"Damn you, you sorcerer." Capricorn spat at him in a fury.

Basta brandished his knife again and swore, but Capricorn had thrown open the door and ran outside. His servant had to follow not getting to finish his threat.

The two ran down the drive and out onto, then across the road, wavering like drunkards. Basta tripped and fell but his master was still running on into the night so he had no choice but to follow.

At the time Basta had caught up with him, Capricorn fell onto the grass, and Basta being now close behind fell right over him. Basta stayed sprawled in the woods, but Capricorn forced himself to his knees. He gasped for air something Basta had never heard before from him, but everyone has the same human weaknesses, right?

"Basta," Capricorn gulped lung fulls of air. "How could that damned magician have brought us here?"

Basta too panted, "Haven't the slightest."

Capricorn took a wheezing breath as if to retort, but instead fell dead over in the grass. After a few moments of silence it seemed he had gone to sleep and Basta, ever-faithful, tried to waken himself for a watch. He was none-too-successful.