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The Empty Golden Sea

                                   by Jonathon Pierce

Much to Blue's surprise, Kirk had provided the transportation to the site of the score. He had transformed their molecules into Gamma-Rays. Amazingly, Blue was aware of his surroundings and the presence of Kirk. His hatred for this man was swelling within him; his fear for the twin's lives was the only rampart strong enough to withhold his fury.

KErk, who had reverted to light, had arrived at the rednezvous point. In minutes, the main group would rejoin him. He stared at the rusted, steel box, imbedded in the ocean floor. Coral, once bustling with life, began to dry in the sun's scorching heat. He pointed at the lifeless organism and flashes of lightning struck it. It exploded in a blaze of glory, surrounding the entire area with debris.

KErk smiled to himself; a power even greater than that of the original belong to him. Soon, they would be powerful enough to conquer the universe.

* * * * *

Jonathon and Iffley watched the group depart. Deep feelings of remorse and hatred filled them. "Now, the time is right." Iffley voiced his opinion, "Kirk must not use the Score. Ozino surely would not object to the full use of his Sceptre."

"I concur, Iffley." Jonathon replied, as he touched the Ring to the Sceptre. The Sceptre began to glow serenely, and the various jewels hummed softly. The stones grew into a vehemency which concealed all normal sounds.

Iffley whispered the word 'Ozino' and raised the Sceptre. Sparks flew from the Sceptre and encased them in a surging, writhing electrical field. The world suddenly melted away, leaving the two friends tumbling into a void..."

* * * * *

Adena slowly roused to conciousness. Her head throbbed at her every movement, so she contented herself to remain on the floor. Above her, a Kirk Clone stood, smiling at his defeat over her. She knew that the battle must once again be waged to protect her children; a battle that would surely end in her defeat.

Her thoughts centered on the twins. Hopefully, they would not be scarred from this traumatic event, so young in their childhood. Logically, her thoughts moved to her husband. He was strong, but perhaps not strong enough to combat the power of Kirk. Could she, without the support of her husband, raise her children? As she slipped into unconciousness, her last cerebration centered on life--alone.

* * * * *

Campuria waited for Iffley in the castle. The time was right to share her secret with him. She knew he would understand the pain she has undergone. The Pain. Yet somehow, Pain never travelled alone. Where there was Pain, Fear and Regret were always close behind.

She walked up the stone steps into her room. No, it really wasn't her room, it was the guest room; to Iffley, she was always only a guest. She kneeled down (her knees popped with age) and removed a stone in the corner of the room. She reached into the hole, removing a small bag containing everything she was...and isn't.

She untied the bag, shaking its contents onto the floor. A small rectangular object landed near her hand. She picked it up and read the inscription: Sweet Sixteenth Birthday. She pressed the small button on the bottom of the device. It hummed as it came to life. Dimly, the holographic projector produced its image; the image of a party: Campuria, only 16 at the time, seated at the table, a large cake blazing with candles in front of her; her parents, standing at her side; Adena and Iffley, laughing at each other; and licking icing off the cake, Kirk Jameson... Suddenly, her mind began to ache, as she felt the torture of Adena. Her perception of pain had always been acute, but never this clear. She called the Quische and they flew off toward Furanose. She hoped they would arrive in time...

* * * * *

Kirk and Blue arrived at the rendezvous, to find that KErk had already uncovered a stone box. The box, made of obsidian, was intricately carved. Gleeming sapphires lined the borders of the box, glistening aquamarines covered the top, and the lock was fastened with turquoise; the box seemed fashioned for Archimedes to open it.

Blue gingerly inspected the lock. By some unseen force, the turquoise lock secured the box. Logically, the box would have been fastened with a substance exhibiting more density; however, the use of turquoise would discount any logic in this matter. At the mere touch of Archimedes, the jewelled box opened to reveal its contents: a roll of parchment and bagpipes. Quite suddenly, a hologram appeared, its form was that of Aven.

"Thou art the one. As fortold in Times past, a descendant of Ledic would receive this, the Score, thy newest destiny. Contained in this box, oh Ledic, is a Power even greater than that, which thou now hast. A power which must not be used for evil. Thy destruction is sure, if thy intentions be evil.

"Any use of this, the Score, shall permenently erase its existance in all Times: in past, in Present, and Future. Once thou hast used it, thy canst restore it again. Wisdom is a mighty virtue use thy wisdom and the Power shalt be thine."

The hologram contorted and fluxuated, colors mingling into a mass of blue, until at last the hologram faded away. Without further ado, Kirk reached into the box and gathered its contents. He thrust the bagpipes into Blue's arms, and stared at the Score.

After amassing its contents, he turned the Score to face Blue. With a vociforous growl, he said, "Play or die, the choice is yours!"

Unexpectedly, he whispered, "I choose the latter."

* * * * *

The void was infinite. Utter blackness filled its unending boundries. It probed, writhing into the brains of its two captives. Dark shapes floated by, as even darker figures whispered ahead. The deafening silence roared through the void, unbreached except for an occasional whisper from the dark figures.

A brilliant flash raced throughout the void. Colors, one by one, began to appear, until the entire spectrum was visible. Ozino, seated in a glistening throne, stared at the intruders.

"Why hast thou come?"

"We have come to seek out your guidence, Ozino, Master of the Wizards." Iffley answered, using all his protocol.

"Thou must decide where thy destiny lies, I canst help thou there."

"Obviously, the Sceptre is not complete in its powers, for I reassembled it long after it was destroyed." Jonathon said.

Ozino's countenance began to show despair, "What thou hast said is true. Throughout the years, my magic began to leave the Sceptre. The damage is not irrevocable, however. But why should I restore my Power to thee?" Ozino spoke, his voice resounding throughout the hall, "Suralio, thou hast lived a hard life. Treachery, it appears, abounds in the Present, as it once did in the past. Go now, thou hast received the full use of the Sceptre." As his last word reiterated across the chamber, the pair disappeared.

Ozino was still not comforted. He felt a bond of kindred with Iffley; he, too, had led a hard life. The Act was still fresh in his mind, though it had happened centuries ago. Even worse, the Punishment still wrapped its icy arms around Time. From the Past, into the Present, and beyond the Future, the Punishment would ever be present.

Ozino was tired. Charades was a difficult game to play; yet the Punishment would not allow rest. It would have to be endured throughout untold centuries.

* * * * *

Adena drifted through several layers of conciousness, and finally, slowly awoke to a terrible reality. Her power was fading with each moment; she knew she would not be able to stop the clone. This, it would appear, was to be her final battle. "Ah, my dear, you have awaken." He expressed with glee, "Prepare yourself, this won't take long." With that, he began his relentless attack. Soon, she would be forced to give in; soon, she would die.

* * * * *

The Quische soared toward the castle, as Campuria located Adena. The pain served as a homing device, wherewith Campuria's Empathy followed its signal. Campuria knew that Adena was close to death, yet she also knew that she must reach her in time; for her future rested with Adena's safety.

The pair landed in the courtyard. Campuria glanced at the Book of Incantations. She recited a spell called Merp. As the incantation was completed, a mystic vapor surrounded her; immediately, she felt no fear--for fear leads to self-preservation.

Suddenly, the Kirk-Clone appeared at the end of the hallway. With a wicked smile, he began to change. His body began to shimmer, dissolving into the surroundings. Finally, he completed his transformation.

A great surge of water began to rush at Campuria. She frantically began to search the Book for a counter spell. The water was nearly upon her now, and she would surely be crushed.

* * * * *

Kirk stared at Blue in disbelief, "Perhaps a little persuation would force you around to my way of thinking." He nodded to KErk, who obliged his master. A bolt of electricity struck Blue directly in the chest, sending him flying to the ground. "That is a mere sample of my power. Concede...or die."

Blue stood up, brushed himself off, and gave his negative reply. He braced himself for the next stream of energy. He could not understand the Amulet's lack of response. It, by his reasoning, should be protecting him, instead of allowing this torture to continue.

The energy struck him with a force even greater than its predecessor. The electricity arced through his brain, numbing his nerves and senses. He shakily stood up and prepared for the next attack. He would never allow Kirk to achieve total power, not, at least, while he was alive.

* * * * *

Jonathon and Iffley appeared in the dense woods of Devon. The Sceptre shone with its new power, a power which must be tested. They raise their Keys in unison and concentrated upon Kirk. The Sceptre grew brighter as it searched for Kirk. Suddenly, before the pair, Kirk Jameson, KErk, Blue, and the Score appeared in the clearing.

"A challenge at last!" Kirk screamed with glee, "Attack!" KErk aimed his hand at the pair, throwing lightning at them. Iffley raised his Sceptre, transforming the water vapor in the air into a metallic ball. The electricity, attracted by the ball, arced from the pair. The Sceptre then created a battery and attached it to the ball. The electricity struck the ball and entered the battery. KErk screamed in terror as the ball began to draw more of his power away.

"Fool!" Kirk shouted, as he transformed the grass beneath their feet into rubber. The process continued until it had reached the ball, until it, too, had been transformed. KErk, now released from the charged ball, fell to the ground. "Now, its my turn." Kirk said, as he transformed his molecules. His body withered and disappeared.

Blue, sensing that his captors were incapacitated, grabbed the Score. Suddenly, however, he vanished in much the same manner as Kirk.

Iffley then turned his attention toward KErk. He raised the Sceptre, but a wave of dizziness prevented him from further action. He and Jonathon submitted to the effects of the gas and settled into unconciousness.

A voice whistled above the treetops, "Ether, gentlemen. Ether, Have a pleasant rest." KErk then joined his master, thoughts of mutiny filling his mind.

* * * * *

The water surged toward Campuria, but she had found her spell: Relvup. She raced through the words of the spell, trying to finish before the water reached her. As she completed the spell the water halted and split down the middle.

As she raced down the long hallway, the spell began to loose its power over the water. As she reached the Mirror, the entrance to Adena's bedroom, Kirk reformed to his normal appearance. "I wouldn't go in there if I were you!" He bellowed. A quick change transformed him into a dragon.

"Not this time, Kirk," she said, while she cast Spyng. The enormous, green, fire-breathing dragon suddenly changed into a small, green, sticky blob of jelly.

With a glance at the blob of Jelly, Campuria entered the mirror. Upon appearing in the bedroom, she spied the twins and Adena. She quickly scanned the Book and recited Lamg. A small, invisible forceshield appeared around the twins. She knelt over Adena to check on her wounds. Adena was severly bruised with a laceration on her forehead.

"Foolish old woman!" The clone screamed, "You forgot: I am a shape-changer." Campuria turned to meet her assailiant's eyes. "You may have protected the twins, old woman, but you left yourself unguarded." One swift, sure blow knocked her unconcious; another defeat on Jonathon's side. Soon, there would be no one left to oppose them. Soon the entire universe would fall under the Reign of Kirk.

* * * * *

It was dusk.

The sand danced arrogantly over the dried ocean floor, as the wind swept it up in its icy grasp. The sun's beaming rays began to sink over the horizon, illuminating the entire area in an orange hue. The stars shone their bitter-sweet light upon the box, while the moon hung undaunted in the heavens.

Kirk appeared once again by the box. Presently, Blue and KErk reformed in their original positions. The torture was about to begin again.

Blue raised his hand, "I think, gentlemen, that this shall stop. I have something that you want; something that you can never have: Talent." Blue took a deep breath and began his story, "It would appear, gentlemen, that we shall have to strike a bargain. You cannot achieve total power without me, and I cannot hope to escape alive without completing your task. If I die, gentlemen, you will never achieve total power, and the Score will be lost forever. This is a Stalement, gentlemen. Unless you release my wife and children, I will never play the Score. I may die, but you still won't win."

"Perhaps you are right...KErk, bring Adena here." After his servent had left, Kirk stared at Blue, "I never lose."

In mere minutes KErk returned with Adena, leaving the clone to deal with Campuria.

The battered Adena was very glad to see her husband. She was also joyous about the Amulet. Being near it seemed to renew her strength. Its energy coursed through her body, resuscitating her will for life.

"Are the children safe?" Came Blue's first question.

"Silence!" Shouted Kirk. Adena telepathically informed Blue of Campuria's valiant rescue attempt, of the twin's safety, and of her undying love for him; this was easily accomplished, for she still wore the Belt. Yet Kirk seemed as unmoved about the Belt, as he had concerning the Note and Amulet.

"Now, play Ledic, or watch your wife die!" Blue glanced at Adena, who silently shook her head. "Never." He calmly stated.

"We shall see." KErk emitted a bolt of electricity, aiming it straight for Adena. The Amulet, sensing Adena in danger, helped her to raise a shield around her body. The energy struck, throwing Adena onto the ground. The sheer force of the blow reopened the wound on her forehead, causing a stream of blood to flow into her eye. She shivered for an instant, then as shock took over, she slipped into unconciousness.

"I...I will play for you." Blue whispered, watching his wife die before his eyes. "I will play."

Blue began the somber melody, the bagpipes echoing across the empty sea. The music crescendoed to a triumphant finale. As the last note faded into the darkness, the Score began to glow. Slowly it transformed itself into the shape of a Crown. Kirk magestically place the Crown on his head.

The Crown began to glow in an eerie aurora, as it began to drain the power from all the other Keys. Finally, the Power, now encased in the Crown, belonged to Kirk Jameson; it was the culmination of his lifetime: He was the Ruler of the Universe.

A mere thought transformed their surroundings into an elaborate palace, whose walls were made of solid gold; another, produced the leaders of the planet: Taft, plucked from his orbiting spaceship, Bronson, Pierce, Iffley, and Enad, whose nudity spell had obviously been broken to admit his presence.

"You may all keep your so-called 'Keys.' They will be, unfortunately, of no use to you. You shall all be my slaves, to serve me until your dying days." He turned toward Adena, "Adena, my dear, you may join your husband in servitude, or you may come with me and be my queen."

Adena looked at Blue, and then at Kirk. "I will be your queen." She decided after long moments of thought.

"But, Adena..." Blue pleaded.

"Silence, Fool. Bring me refreshments!" Adena ordered, stifling any further protests from Blue.

Kirk created an intricately carved throne for Adena and, after healing her wounds, he presented her with the Keys. Adena thanked Kirk for the gifts and kissed him on the nose.

Kirk said, "I must announce my Power to the entire world. KErk, keep a close watch over them, and I might let you rule a country." He slowly dematerialized, to begin his itinerary of conquest.

* * * * *

The slave quarters were a small, featureless room, which housed the entire leaders of the world. The talk was of escape, Bronson spoke first: "There must be a way of getting that Crown away from him."

"And then what do we do with it? give it to you?" Taft retorted.

"Gentlemen, if we are ever to escape, then our hope lies with Adena." Blue stated.

"I think she's just with him, because she's power-hungry." Bronson spoke again.

"Yes, Blue, why is she with him, instead of suffering here with us?" Jonathon asked. Blue evaded his question with a 'how-should-I-know?' look.

Blue, too, was worried about Adena. He had not expected her to help Kirk, no matter how dire the situation became. Yet, the hope for their survival still rested with Adena; he hoped she was still loyal to him.

* * * * *

Adena watched KErk pace nervously across the room. She spoke softly to him, "KErk, what is the matter?" She dare not upset him, for she knew the power he was capable of performing.

He glared at her, "What's it to you?"

"It was only that I was noticing how rotten Kirk treats you. Why should he have all the power, and give you nothing but insignificant things? Surely you are as powerful as he. Why don't you claim what is yours."

KErk was taken aback: Here was a woman who understood his problem completely. "Yes, but how can I accomplish this feat?"

"When he least suspects it, join with his body as pure energy. Only in this way will you be able to overtake the Power."

Without as much as a thank you, KErk changed into light and disappeared, in search of his master.

* * * * *

Kirk stood before a mass of people, who cowered at his sight. It had taken little time or trouble for him to destroy their city. Word would soon spread of his greatness.

He raised his hand and began his oration, "I am Kirk Jameson. Remember that name. Remember this face. I demand all the precious gems and money that you have. Bring it all to me. And bring it now!" He watched in amazement as the townspeople began to pile their valuables at his feet. Power, he surmised, brings money.

That was the last thing he ever thought, for at that instant, KErk entered his body. The contact of pure energy with his atoms produced an explosion which leveled the entire area. Azzev, the Pride of Alarius, was destroyed. And so was Kirk and his Reign of Terror.

* * * * *

The Power, now free from the Crown, settled back into its appropriate Keys. Adena, once again, held Power. A Power which many men have sought, and for which many men have died. She appeared in the slave quaters and announced her victory.

"Kirk is dead." She said, "With the loss of his life, his Clones are sure to follow." She turned toward Taft, "I believe this is yours."

Taft grabbed his Tiara, "I knew you weren't a traitor."

"I'm sure." She then turned toward Iffley and presented him with his Keys. "If you would oblige, Iffley, I do believe you can send us all home."

Iffley nodded and raised his Sceptre, transporting everyone to their appropriate locations.

* * * * *

The Titan appeared unmoved by the entire incident. Kirk had been a fool, surrounding himself with numerous weaklings. He would accomplish his task, for he was alone. He glanced at his watch: 19:11:21:21:46:19. The Reign of Kirk had ended, but the Reign of the Titan was just about to begin.

 © 1984, 

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

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