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Three Coins in a Fountain Blues

                                   by Jonathon Pierce

The search for Kirk Jameson ended without discovering his location. The only lead left to the posse was the City of Remembrance, where they hoped to find some clue to his diabolical sceme.

The entire compliment of Devonshire-excluding Iffley, who had recently been turned into a crystal statue-began to explore the underground city. Each member, being assigned to a different location in the area, set off towards unknown mystery.

The reservoir of the City of Remembrance was an astounding feat of engineering. Canals wound their way through the city to a large lake at the south end of the cavern. A large waterfall roared to the north. The Fountain of Remembrance stood majestically at the entrance; its Waters fed the Pool of Remembrance.

Despite the breathtaking beauty of the surroundings, Campuria continued exploring in a business-like manner. Her age, however, made research more difficult than she could remember. Yet, hard work was a good remedy for a broken heart.

Remembering an ancient myth, she turned to the fountain and dropped a coin into its murky Waters. The coin stirred the fountain into life with a myriad of ripples. The Water cleared:

A beautiful young girl strolled quietly along a shady lane. The sunshine, filtered through the trees, gently caressed her face. Hearing a noise behind her, she turned sharply around.

"Dion," a figure said softly, while emerging from the trees.

As the Fountain told her forgotten story, Campuria fled the chamber. She clutched her bracelet, the possessor of her destiny.

Years of effacing had helped to bury her past; now it stood before her like an open wound. She was no longer Dion Cameo Puriantio; that was a name she must forget...

* * * * *

Jonathon had taken the task of searching the Library of Remembrance. The Library was filled with an incredible amount of books on the history of the Earth. Three stories of the building had been dedicated to the background of the Earth.

Each story was stacked with books under the call letters of B.P., P., and A.P. (Before the Plague, Plague, and After the Plague). The librarians, it seemed, had taken a great deal of interest in the preserving of history.

In amusement, he searched the section titled 'Humor B.P.' After scanning the entire shelf, he pulled out a colorful book on the middle row. Vibrant plaids contrasted the light pastel of the title: The Seduction of Miss Marple (B.P.). He opened the book and read the prologue:

The wild party had lasted five nights. The entire town of St. Mary Mead had participated in this function. Unfortunately, however, everyone had died but Miss Marple--and every eligible bachelor within 50 miles.

"Let's dance, Baby!" Terry said, giving Miss Marple several hickies.

"Not now, Dearie," she said. Quite suddenly, a short man with a black moustaches fell dead at her feet. "Herc...such a pity..." She examined his corpse and removed his wallet. "I've got some bread now, Honey, let's go boogey." She said as she lead the way to the Blue Boar Motel.

The registar stared at the unlikely couple. He gave the pen to Terry to sign the register. Expecting an 'X', he was quite startled at the autograph of 'Smythe.'

"Adena should enjoy this." Jonathon laughed and deposited the book into the cart.

* * * * *

Ambercrombie and Fitch searched the Museum of Remembrance for clues about the Silver Chalice. Beginning their quest in the Hall of the Plague, the Twins' forces triangulated on the source of the psonic disturbance.

The Hall ended in the explanations of the Keys and their uses. Holographic images of the Key-bearers and their accomplishments lined the walls. The first five Keys were explicitly described and outlined with detailed holograms of their design.

The last Key, however, was not superfluously itemized. A single hologram of Aven--taken during one of his brief visible periods (now you see him, now you don't)--encompassed most of the entire exhibit. A small list of his outstanding achievements flashed on a small screen:

Aven the Invisible devised a plan to ensure the protection of the entire Earth from power-seakers. His plan included several steps to discourage would-be-tyrants:

1. Three Chalices, having the ability to contain bodies of water were displaced upon the world.

a. The use of one Chalice would inevitably discover the next in the series.

b. The three combined Chalices could drain the entire Sea of Discord.

2. Upon the use of the Chalices, the bearer would discover a strong box. In this box is the prize you seek, the Score.

a. The Score's power is unknown at this time.

The Knight Blaxu discovered the Bronze Chalice and donated it to the Museum. It will remain in a totally foolproof security system until the other Chalices are found. Unfortunately, the Knight died, leaving only a map of the possible locations of the other Chalices.

(The Museum of Remembrance must strongly suggest that any adventurer considering such an action must refrain from doing so, as it is hazardous to your health. Thank you for your cooperation.)

The screen changed to show a rough map of the world. Two spots were flashing, one in Alarius, the other in Furanose. "Jonathon must be told of this at once." The Twins said in unison and ran for the exit.

* * * * *

Jonathon returned to the entrance with a cart-load of artifacts from his trip to the library. He had removed as many books as possible for further examination at Devonshire.

While waiting for the others to return, he began to read a rather dusty volume entitled Nations (A.P.) With great interest he began to read of his ancestors and their rule over Alarius. The last chapter on Alarius dealt with the reign of Lowr the Terrible, Jonathon's grandfather.

It was then he noticed the Orm coin lying at the bottom of the fountain. He fished in his pocket and came up with a similar coin, the Zok, only slightly higher in value than its silver counterpart. He tossed it gently into the center of the Fountain. The Waters became troubled:

The Pierce Palace shone majestically in the lambent sunset. The sun's golden rays penetrated the French door into the dining room, where the Pierces were eating. Florence brought in the last course to complete the dinner and returned to the kitchen. The meal proceeded uneventfully with the constant chatter of young Jonathon to comfort the royal couple.

"What kind of flower is that?" asked Jonathon, never contented with just eating at the table.

His mother picked up the centerpiece and examined the card, "It's a black lily, they're very rare...Monte, do you know who sent this?"

"No, madame, I found it this morning at the entrance to the castle." Montgomery, replied. He nodded to the royal family and left to answer the door.

Joanna read the card, "In remembrance of times past'...and it is signed by someone named Titan."

"Strange, but that name seems familiar." Marc said thoughtfully. He stopped and stared at the figure, who had entered from the kitchen.

"Well it should, my king. Your father and I were quite close. The black lily is from me in memory of Lowr's death." Said a figure dressed in black. A mask of the same ominious color covered his face and a cape donned his shoulders. Holstered in a black sheath was a long, sharp stiletto.

"Never mind that, sir. Kindly leave the way you came, or I shall have to call the guards."

"You will do nothing of the sort." He grimly pulled out the stiletto, caked with dry blood. He advanced toward the king and Jonathon began to cry.

"You leave my wife and son out of this!" Marc shouted above his son's bawls.

"I have all intentions of letting your son go, my King. Just because I'm a murderer doesn't mean I'm not fair." He laughed viciously, "Your wife, however, is a completely different matter." With one quick stroke, he severed her head from her shoulders. The stiletto slashed again and Marc, too, fell victim to the intruders swift blade. The Titan calmly picked up the lily and handed it to Jonathon.

"The magic word is twenty, my boy, twenty. I will return in twenty years...for you."

The Waters clouded, yet Jonathon's tear-stained face did not look away from the fountain. Later that night, Jonathon remembered, the palace burned down-victim of some unknown arsonist. The entire wealth of the royal family was lost forever.

Jonathon became ruler of Alarius and was aided by Iffley. In the course of his rule, he had dismissed all royal titles and created a semi-formal government. He rebuilt the Pierce estate and left the government to be run by others.

He reached into his pocket and pulled out the Timepiece, a pocket calendar encased in a watch he had purchased on that fateful night. He stared at the numbers in horror: 19:11:03:10:47.06; Time was growing short.

He quickly wiped his face as the rest of the explorers walked up.

Ambercrombie sensed something wrong with Jonathon, but said nothing except of the mystery of the Score. A search party would have to be organized--and soon.

* * * * *

The Titan watched unseen as the group left. He flipped a Zrid into the Fountain:

The fight had not lasted long. With his enormous strength, the Titan had overcome Jonathon with ease. He nonchalantly stabbed his opponent. As his adversary fell, a sinister smile curled on his lips.

Jonathon Pierce lay in a pool of blood; the deadly stiletto imbedded in his heart. Its jewelled blade sparkled in the dim light. He, too, had met his fate at the hands of the Titan.

The Titan laughed uproariously, "Soon, my boy, soon."

 © 1984, 

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

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