Cyrius smiled and opened his eyes. They had changed. The curse was blossoming inside his mind, opening and unfurling layer after dark layer in readiness for the casting, and the blackness began to bleed from his irises into the surrounding whiteness. Static crawled stickily over his skin, sparking from his fingertips and making the hair rise on his arms and scalp. He held out his hands to either side of him, palms facing outwards. Blinding light coursed from his fingers and seared into the rune emblazoned stones on his immediate left and right. The runes burned, blue flame curling up the stones. Cyrius lowered his hands to his sides, waiting. A lance of violet light shot from the two burning stones, connecting first with their nearest neighbours, then with the remaining stones, arcing in thick blue bolts until all eight blazed with rich blue flames. Once all eight stones were afire, the connecting lines of power vanished. The flames grew darker; darker still till there was nothing to be seen but a corona of pale blue along the edges of flickering blackness. Silence. With a sound like the air being torn apart, black ropes of energy outlined in streamers of blue-white light leaped from each stone, transfixing Cyrius at the centre, piercing his chest and back, the turbulent energy locking on to his mind and anchoring his body. Cyrius looked up, the blackness flooding his eyes completely.