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     [ Interlude 1 ]


May 24, 1740 EQ, Cah Bel, Andril Region

i Nursing Home

i Disputed Territory
i Cah Bel
i Salmonil Camp
i Cah Bel


Elevated View of Cah Bel

Firesmyth Mancuso sat down on the stone bench grieving over the loss of the small chest.  Granted, it was only of sentimental value and not vital to his mission, but still, it meant a lot to him.  For a man driven single-mindedly to redeem history, he did not allow himself many luxuries.  This was one.

The poem was not for him, but for his mother written by his father.  He would never see them again and hadn’t seen them since he was nineteen.  Mancuso possessed few articles from those early years, and this scroll was one of them.  Over the years each of these articles had fallen out of his possession like the leaves falling off of a tree in late autumn.  This recent loss served as a reminder that deep winter quickly approached.

He shook himself trying to clear the memory.  “Face it, old man,” he said to himself in his thick accent, “It is gone and has served a greater purpose.”

He lifted his right hand over his head.  The stone bench he sat on melted back into its original shape with the control panel overhead.  He pulled it down and forward and it came to life with a low rumble of an engine.  Dozens of jewel encrusted geometric designs joined by flowing ribbons of gold ivy adorned the table.  To one who had not used such a device before this would look like a form of art, but to his experienced eyes, the symbols and jewels were powerful tools.  He pressed a few and a soft female voice came from the control panel in an ancient language, “Hyper-jump activated.”  The air filled with an electric hum. 

“Now, where to next?  He pulled the scroll out of the inner pocket in his cloak and looked at it.  Ancient words surrounded a hand drawn map that represented the continents of Epi though the mapmaker could use a lesson in proportion.  Seven stars dotted the map, somewhat evenly spaced across the globe. 

He lifted up his head in a short prayer asking for guidance.  Then he pointed to one in the western hemisphere near Cah Bel.  “That one.  An old friend awaits his destiny.”

The humming had grown and divided into harmonic beat patterns.  It turned into a high pitched whine and the vessel shook a little.  With a couple more adjustments on the table he sat back and smiled.

“Not a bad morning’s work.  It was sure good to see the old place again.”

The dome shaped exterior of the POD reformed and the wind stirred.  The hum increased in pitch and the POD faded into an outline.  It whipped fallen leaves into little swirls.  The wind grew, gathering the little swirls into a larger whirlwind around the silhouette of the POD.  Sparks of light jumped between the flying debris.  The silhouette shimmered and disappeared.  A high-pitched noise faded with a lingering pulsating beat.

The leaves settled.

All was as it had been in the beginning except for the unconscious Shadow Knights lying among the ruins of Cah Bel.  The ruins, like a silent witness to all that had transpired, fell asleep once more.


Interlude 1