Aislinn shuddered and withdrew from the window. "They're out there, maybe three or four men."
She shrugged. "Yes. I hardly think anyone else would bombard us like this."
Dylan scanned the immediate area and the deserted highway beyond. The rocks and fallen trees provided endless hiding places.
A fiery glow suddenly illuminated the walls around them. They turned in unison and stared in disbelief as a gibbous light emanated from the canvas bag.
"The skull," she said.
They glanced at each other. She slowly approached the bag and gazed into the kaleidoscopic colors. Without fear, she removed her gloves, reached inside and clasped the skull. Her eyelids fluttered in response to intense warmth that coursed through her flesh.
Dylan moved toward her as a diaphanous veil of color enveloped that insinuated through and around her like an ocean current. "Are you okay?"
Fixing her eyes on the skull, her expression suddenly became vacant. "The way is clear," she murmured in what Dylan recognized was Italian, then again several times in various other languages. He overcame his fear and approached. With an awestruck expression, he gazed into the bag to see Aislinn's hands merged with the glowing skull. A ribbon of light emerged from the eye sockets and spiraled to the ceiling. Continuing her recital in strange tongues, as though making an announcement to a distant audience, he watched the other talismans shimmer with almost dazzling intensity.
A voice suddenly boomed around them. Dylan started. Its resonance echoed off the walls and broke Aislinn's trance. The beam of light winked out and her eyelids fluttered open. She withdrew her hands from the still glowing skull.
The path of escape is clear. Blow the trumpet. Its sound will not disturb the pure. Those who wait for you will not be able to withstand it.
"Joshua brought the walls of Jericho down with the sounding of his trumpet," Aislinn said.
Yes, and so will you bring down the elementals who await you outside with the sounding of this trumpet. We have shielded you against their assault, but now you must go. The way is clear ... the way is clear...
The voice faded to a whispering resonance.