The redhead raised her arm as the wind began to whip around them. Everyone glanced around nervously. Tris wiped her forehead as the sweat trickled down her face. "Don't go doin' anything stupid now Coppercurls," said the boy standing behind her with his hand over his face.

"Leave me be! I've just got to try and stop them Briar. I wish I had more of my magic." Tris and her friends from Discipline, Briar, Daja, and Sandry, had been working on a surprise for Frostpine, Dajas teacher. They had stopped when a noise had been heard coming from outside the cottage. They rushed to see what it was, and discovered a mass of thieves and brigands headed towards Winding Circle where they lived. They had been pouring their magic into a special box that Daja had made. It was made to be able to hold multiple items that a normal box would not have been able to contain. This made them all weaker in their magical abilities.

"This is all my fault," said Briar. "I know better than to let my guard down." He got his hands ready to unsheathe one of the numerous knives that he had in his sleeve.

"C'mon mate, let's go see what we can do." He grabbed Sandry's arm and started pulling her towards the gate. All of a sudden, they heard a tremendous yapping coming from inside the cottage. A large dog with golden hair came bursting out of the door and started running after Briar and Sandry.

"All right Little Bear, you can come too," said Sandry. They reached the gate just as the first big wave of thieves came pouring into the Circle, yelling obscene things. They looked back at Tris to see her slumped over, face pale. "I didn't know she put that much of herself into Frostpine's gift."

"Neither did I," replied Briar. They gripped each other's hands and started concentrating on their breathing. In…hold…one, two, three…. six… seven…out. Repeat. They reached out with their magic. Sandry could sense Briar standing there. Lying on the ground was the warm, fluffy form of Little Bear. Briar called out to the roots in the ground. Making them sprout, he mind-called to Sandry. Sandry, do you think you could weave the plants? To make a net of some sort? He let go of Sandry and put his hands on the ground. I don't know. I think I can. I might need some help though. I feel so drained, she said.

I know what you mean, so do I. I don't understand it though. Its not like we did anything big and extraordinary. Sandry put out her magic and saw Briar wrapping himself around the roots and weeds he had grown, to make them stronger. She grabbed a huge handful and tried to spin them into one thread, planning to do so with more and then weave them into one big root-rug. All of a sudden, they sprang loose of her giant hand and started to go back into the earth.

"Briar! What are you doing?" she said aloud, forgetting to mind- speak.

"I'm sorry, but my strength and my magic supply seems to keep getting smaller and smaller. I don't understand it. Its like someone is nickin' it." He sat down, hard.

"I need a rest already! This is ridiculous!" he yelled. He tried to stand up but only ended up pulling Sandry down to sit next to him. He went on breathing and tried to push out his magic once more. After he got to the end of the path with it, he pulled out the rest of the roots and underground weeds again. "I think I need to get my shakkan. I'm gonna have to draw on its magic." He tried to mind-call to Daja who was supporting Tris, now sitting up against the wall of the cottage.

"Sandry, why can't I seem to mind call? It's not working. You try it," he said. So Sandry reached for the connection that she usually felt between herself and Briar and the girls. But she couldn't seem to sense them at all. Except for the magic they were working.

"Briar, something is terribly wrong," she told him.

"Gee, I didn't seem to notice. Okay, can you run back to Discipline and get my shakkan for me? Uh..please?" His voice was beginning to get shaky. Sandry wrapped her arms around his neck, and then stood up and ran back to get the shakkan tree. As she was running down the path she heard screaming coming from behind her. To afraid to turn around, she ran faster. "Sandry! Sandry! You've got to hurry child, its Lark, something is wrong!" This was Briar's teacher, Rosethorn, riding up beside Sandry on horseback, reins in hand.

"Well what is wrong with her? Oh, Rosethorn, do you know what is going on? None of us have our magic, it's just gone." Sandry took a glimpse at Tris still sitting up against the wall as she ran by. She tried to mind-call to her once inside, but with no success.