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She watched the sand in the hourglass dribble from one bulb to the other. The room was palpably hot and arid-almost like a desert. It had an aurora of mystique wafting through it because the lighting was turned to various red shades. No green nature or comforting yellow sun entered here. All was quiet.

A methodical melody softly resounded on the backdrop of silence. It was an alien melody, foreign to the human ear, but asthetic and alluring. Issuing from a cloth of gold, it was played by the myraid of fibers which gave a wide range of possibi1ities in tune.

She stood from the divan and the fabric chimed, impatient at the sudden movement. Her stature was tense, alert and emanated a sense of sterness. Accustomed to the low hanging gloom, her eyes were large and piercing. She paced silently to the door and opened it, as a huntress tracking her prey. It opened without the slightest noise and she entered the adjoining corridor.

She followed the corridor, dusky and damp from standing through the eons of history. She paid this no mind as she walked through cobwebs and pushed aside reminders of a grisly past. Another door appeared which she opened and went through. This one opened into a large courtyard, still enclosed in the red, sere atmosphere.

In the center lay a large mirror, it had been inlayed into the unyielding granite floor and shone with an eerie glow. She remained silently standing near the entrance to the yard. Her eyes narrowed when a slight noise reached her. A rat quietly scuttled in a nearby corner but froze suddenly when it saw her. Almost apologetically, it slipped into the nearest crack to escape.

She held her head high and perused the room once more. Suddenly she glanced back toward the center of the room. The mirror was reflecting colors and shapes which did not exist. They finally coalesced into a figure robed in black. She stood her ground but her heart had begun to pound loudly. He turned and his appearance was menacing. He met her direct gaze with steel grey eyes but she didn't drop her gaze or flinch.

"Who art thou that dares come to this place?" he questioned with a voice of subdued thunder.

"A huntress." She answered simply in a level tone.

"And what is thoust prey?"


"Thou art bold to travel thence." He paused and took her in with his unwavering gaze. "I repeat, who art thou?"

"The Enchantress for whom you sent."

Her direct answer startled him but his features scarcely changed. "Thou art too young to be the one for whom I summoned."

"Nonetheless, it is I. Adena, the daughter of Coina and Odina, belonging to the family of Wisdym and Ozino." She stepped from the shadows which had formed around her. "Ozino, you summoned me. Why do you question me?"

Again her knowledge and directness startled him. "Thou hast the Amulet and the Belt." She nodded without dropping her eyes. "Does thoust know their full capacities?"

"No one knows all. Even you cannot fathom what their makers placed in them."

"Thou art correct in saying thus." He finally stepped off the mirror to stand beside her. "Thou hast done well, Adena. I have returned in this form to speak to thou. Is the world safe from the Plague?"

"It is still safe from the dragons. But the plagues of the spirit still run rampant."

"This is unfortunate, but not totally unexpected." Ozino looked her over once more. "Thou art much like Wisdym. Audacious and stubborn yet gentle."

"You summoned me hence. Why?"

"Thoust face is full of child's curiosity."

"I stated that I came seeking knowledge."

"Thoust did." He paused. "I summoned thee to find how the world has done and to tell thee this: In a struggle for honor with a friend, it is often best to lose all honor to keep the friendship than win all honor and lose something more precious." He smiled and cradled her chin in his hand. "Go now. New lives must be attended to and thou must do as thoust sees fit." He spoke with a voice of wisdom and knowledge. "I am grateful that thee came." He dropped his hand as she lowered her eyes.

"I thank you for the knowledge and the chance." She turned towards the mirror but stopped. Tears in her eyes, she returned to the old wizard's hologram and embraced it. She knew that it was only a projection of his essence but she hoped he could sense her gratefulness. She turned once more to the mirror and went to its center. The mirror sparkled and reflected colors and shapes that weren't there and she was gone.

The hologram of Ozino watched her departure and then boarded the mirror. As it once again activated, the colors and shapes reflected in the tears in his face.

 © 1984, 

L. Charles, D. Conrad, A. Duncan, Enad the Great, J. Pierce, B. C. Randolf, and T. G. Taft

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