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                               BY: ALEXANDER DUNCAN

Blue sat on a park bench in a little known area of the People's Gardens. The bluebonnets were in bloom throughout the national park, but the blossoms surrounding him were imports from the home of the original Ledic, Texas, where the flowers had also abounded. This secluded spot was Blue's refuge when times were tough and stress was heavy. He used it now to relieve the stress Adena's pregnancy caused. His mouth twisted in a wry grin. He wasn't the one feeling the pressure, he told himself, but he was here to help Adena as much as himself. She had accepted her pregnancy for the most part, but every now and then she made some cryptic remark about her childhood or, more appropriately, the lack thereof, and lapsed into despair. Blue wanted to do whatever he could to cure this despondency because it hurt him to see Adena hurt.

Blue also came to test the note more fully. He had all the knowledge of it that his ancestor (not father, as most of the present world thought. Archimedes was tenth in the line.), Alyne had, but only Aven himself knew its true limits. Blue knew only the major functions of over half of the dozen instruments. He figured to kill two birds with one stone.

Blue pressed a violet-blue stud on the bottom of the Note, and the harmonica shimmered as it fluidly changed into an oboe, the same color as its stud. He wasn't too good on this instrument, but his line's innate talent in the musical realm kept him in good stead. He warmed up with an open C and the world melted around him...

The time, under little control, fled around Blue in myriad patterns, showing glimpses of the far past, beyond the PUTR, before the Plague, back to the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Ceremonies of high school flashed by and Blue's eyes widened in recognition of the original Ledic and Ludit. The titles Valedictorian and Salutatorian were mentioned, but time passed by and the titles could not be identified with their owners. Blue's head whirled in confusion and in new knowledge of his heritage. He calmed himself and forced control into the music as he modulated up a third. The scene clarified into a courtroom in the late twenty-second century. Argument was being heard over a title claimed by two lines. The plaintiff clan, mostly female, contended that the defendants has stolen the Valedic name from them. The defendants, a family of masculine majority, claimed that the records had been destroyed in a fire but the plaintiffs owned the Saludat title. The judge threw the case out because the main branches of both families disowned the title-hungry cousins. It was only a name. The "Capulets" and "Montagues" of the twenty-second century had pledged eternal friendship, a bond that had never been broken. It never will be, Blue mused. But by stopping the music, he returned to the park and the present, the late afternoon sun creating cool breezes.

Blue sat back and took a rest. That had cleared up a lot of questions, but it wasn't what he had come here for. "I guess this instrument needs practice just like any other," he said. He changed his fingerings to play the middle register.

As the reed began to vibrate and higher tones wafted off in an increasing breeze, the time waves moved back slower to the Plague. They settled on an empty forest, almost. Wisdym, her face full of concern, peered out from behind a massive trunk and whispered, "Where art thou?"

"I am here. Art thou ready for the task, m'lady?" the bodiless voice was like a wind in the trees.

"Yes, yes, but hurry. Nobody must know."

From the blank area in the forest a breeze blew, one that meant nothing to anyone but Alyne. To him, it meant everything. He set up the pyramid in the Room Without Doors and Ayne and Suaet disappeared safely inside with no interruptions. Meanwhile, Wisdym set up two holographs which were given substance in the mystic wind. The combined powers created a (Blue) red herring that would fool anyone in any time, past, present, or future. Blue quit playing and returned to the present, the park shrouded in shadow as the sun disappeared.

Blue closed his eyes and thanked God for his ancestor's thoroughness. Blue had always thought that a loophole had been left, but careful planning had closed it. No one even knew if the holograms were necessary. No one, thought Blue, except any perpetrator who would have mistaken the holograms for the real thing.

"The pitch controls the time, and the tone, the place," said Blue. "Now I have sufficient knowledge and control to help Adena by learning her past." Using only the higher notes, Blue played a sweet melody that caused the time to ripple back and focus on Furanose. As they solidified, he saw Adena, a child, living a happy life as the heir of monarchs. Her family loved her and all she wanted was hers. A spunky kid with long hair braided back, she allowed no one but mom and dad to order her about. Blue had to force himself to keep playing and not laugh. Then Act III started. The scene shifted to a happy outing of Odina, Coina and Adena. The innocent child was enjoying herself and her family. The dragon which appeared was totally unexpected. Blue's melody modulated into a minor mode as Adena's childhood disappeared into the dragon. Adena was forced to grow up immediately, and though it had made her a strong person and ruler, it had left innumerable scars, scars no one could mend because no one knew of them. Now someone knew. Blue broke off and returned to the moonlit park.

Long he thought, and along two lines. Adena needed to know her children were not scarred by her past. She also needed to know that her scars could be mended. This thought train was full of hope and lifted Blue's spirits. The other was more sinister, The dragon had suprised Coina and she had not been able to use the Amulet. That was normal. The fact that the Amulet hadn't sensed the dragon before it attacked them wasn't. The only possibility was that the dragon simply hadn't been there before it attacked. That meant it had been brought there there through time. Only one person had the power and the will to do that, Blue concluded, but he determined to make sure before pressing the issue. Meanwhile, he had to return to the palace. Adena would soon begin to miss him, and, in her condition, she couldn't be allowed to worry. He brought out the violin and strummed himself right into the his private study. He then pocketed the Note, walked through an archway into the bedroom and, to the vision in green in front of him, he said cheerfully, "I'm back, honey. What's for dinner?"

"Dinner?!," she yelled mockingly from the bed. "It's midnight. Get a snack and come to bed before I get angry!" Blue laughed. "You'd be much more convincing if you'd raise your right eyebrow, dear." He left the room before she could reply.

A couple of minutes later he returned with a bowl of fruit and a glass of milk which he handed to his wife with a smile and bow. He then sat down on the bed. She raised her eyebrow. "Is this better?"

"Oh, much. Now drink your milk while I fill my face." He proceeded to do so. She watched his every move with a loving eye and an amused face. "Do you know that you're messy when you eat?" she asked, baiting him.

"Am I? I'm finished anyway, so I'll blow out the lamps and draw the curtains and you won't be able to watch me sleep messily."

She acted miffed. With all the lights extinguished, Blue got undressed and into bed. She drew up against him and they soon fell asleep.

Had anyone been noticing, they would have seen the trees in the center of the People's Gardens blowing outward on all sides. Wind rushed out of the park but none went in. The wind went over the southern moat, through the streets of Camelot, around the Castle Blue, and in the bedroom windows of the royal chambers. Once the breezes reached the royal bedroom, the wind stopped. All was silent once more.

Blue began to dream. His early school years in the PUTR flashed in front of him, spelling, writing, reading, arithmetic all jumbled together. First words and products and then just letters and numbers floated around his head. A voice like a wind spoke in his head. It said, "Look for these things. To use the present to protect your future, you must know your past." As the voice spoke, the numbers and letters ordered themselves into patterns. A list was framed:

1 Ledic

2 Inev

3 Avin

4 Suaet

5 Ivan

"Learn all you can and know the world is not black and white. You should know, Knight of Color. Blue is not black or white. Nobody is totally given to evil in the present world. This also means death is not the end. The wizards are dead. So what? Learn and apply your knowledge. Vaya con Dios, mi hijo."

The wind blew out of Camelot and Blue slept.

 © 1984, 

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

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