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King's Pawn

                              by Jonathon Pierce

Iffley and Campuria gazed deeply into the brilliant sky. Saturn's rings glowed brightly, their icy fingers stretching out into the endless black sea. Dione arced from Saturn's rim and spun around her orbit. Countless other moons glistened in the newfound light of SOL. The clouds then began to gather, obstructing the couple's view.

The wind blew listlessly across the island. The tiny grass shack which temporary housed Campuria shook with each gust. Iffley pulled the covers around Campuria's neck and prepared to close the door-cover. However, he noticed the hurrying figure of Fizzbin, the law-giver. She darted into the tiny nut and greeted her guests.

"Better do you feel, Campuria." Campuria gave her a weak smile. Then her countenance turned downcast. "My little-ones, Feldi and Fewo. Missing are they. You have seen them, yes?"

Iffley grimmaced at the nickname he once used to taunt Adena. He was still not able to completely cover his loss, and, Campuria, with her uncanny empathy, noted his recognition. Soon, she would not have to play second fiddle to Adena; soon, she would win Iffley completely to herself. Her next move would capture her King's heart--but as of yet, she was only simply a pawn.

Iffley spoke with great concern, "Have you been searching long? I saw them at the bubble-fountain four Janus-cycles ago." He used the native chronological measurements. Fizzbin duly thanked the couple to continue her search for her little-ones.

* * * * *

The room suddenly grew quite warm. An intense heat filled the entire chamber. The steaming mass shaped into Sterling, a scowl on his face. The Shard pulsed in his grip, radiant energy surrounding the crystal, "Thou hast lied to me!" Sterling accused Iffley, "Thou said the danger was past!"

Iffley sensing the belligerence in Sterling's voice calmly said, "The danger has past. Do you now feel threatened?"

Sterling stopped mid-sentence, his mouth agape. He then shook his head slowly. His voice dropped to a whisper, "I don't understand. I remember my mother...she came once to visit me. She said she would come for me once the threat was gone. She said that she loved me!" His words were lost in a blubber of tears.

Iffley spoke softly, "There must be some reason for your mother's delinquence. Use the Shard and seek out the truth."

Sterling acquiesced. The Shard clouded in his grip, searching out his deepest thoughts. It probed the deepest reaches of his mind and entered the activation mode:

Wisdym wept at her husband's feet. Her pleads fell on deaf ears as Ozino ordered her away. Aven was there to comfort her. As the pair left, Ozino grew angry. They had not discovered his Punishment, but eventually they would learn his secret. With the help of the other Wizards, he had devised a punishment befitting Aven: a punishment that would affect not only him, but also his descendants.

Upon Aven's death, Ozino blocked all the power and prevented its entry into the Note. The Note, at its rediscovery, was simply a farce. The real power of the Note lie in the Wizards. It was an easy scam: the other Wizards were only too willing to help. Despite Blue's continual use of the 'Key', he never discovered its actual power. Ozino served the instrument transformation. Phumos offered her service during the far-sensing. Each Wizard, in turn, disguised the Note's lack of response by giving it a small, transient power of its own. Ozino had, in fact, made fools of all the Ledics. He smiled evilishly. Aven would eventually pay for his insolence...

Sterling gasped as he sensed Ozino's vendetta. A scowl once again crossed his face, "Who is this Blue person? and why have I not been told of him before. It seems that my father likes him better." His eyes reflected jealousy as he waited for his answer.

Iffley explained Blue's appearance and connection to Adena. Upon the explanation, Sterling laughed at Blue, for not realizing his useless 'Harmonica.'

Campuria wondered about Blue. He, a pawn, too? Surely someone was controlling these moves. Someone must be moving toward the object of the game. They were all pawns--but pawns to whom?

"What is the answer to my question. I now know of the Act and of the Punishment. My question, however, is still a question." Sterling looked inquisitively at Iffley.

Iffley spoke, "I think not. You wanted to know why your mother did not return for you. The answer is obvious. She was afraid that you would jeopardize her happiness. What would more harm her relationship with Aven than a son that she never wanted. Why do you think that she left you here on Titan?" He paused as he saw the hatred welling within Sterling's eyes. "But, we can safely assume that Wisdym tried to reach you, Aven probably stopping her. Your mother, you see, is essentially a very kind woman. It was Aven that manipulated her, destroyed her, and ruined her life. It is Aven that should pay for your grief, not your mother!"

Sterling, now completely under the spell of Iffley's voice vanished in a burst of energy. Iffley was sure of his destination. The denouement, however, he could only guess.

His thoughts were interrupted as Fizzbin rushed into the hut. She was frantic, "Me you must help! The Little-ones missing are still! Coming is the Dark Time! Hurry we must!"

Iffley nodded and concentrated on the Little-ones. He raised the Sceptre and his surroundings changed. He and Fizzbin appeared on the edge of a cliff. Below them, Feldi and his sister, Fewo, huddled against the rock wall on a tiny ledge. He waved the Sceptre, changing the grass into a long rope. He then lowered the rope down to the children. The rope, having been secured with a rock, Iffley climbed down it and rescued the Little-ones. He climbed up the rope and set the kids down. The children ran up the slope into the awaiting arms of their mother. He then teleported them back into the grass shack.

Next, he repaired the damage he had done in the rescue. The Ledics would receive his punishment for destroying his life. They would pay for harming his love. He wished Jonathon were here, he would be able to think more clearly. His thoughts returned to Campuria again as he teleported to Opgirg.

The gracious Law-giver, after hugging--and then spanking--her Little-ones, bid her guests farewell as they departed for their short journey to Accardi-By-The-Sea.

* * * * *

The shuttle zipped across the ocean's whitecaps and soared through Accardi, the location of Yorkshire. In Yorkshire's underground hanger, the shuttle landed near smiliar craft. Iffley and Campuria then exited the shuttle and transported to the Sardonyx Room, the Control Center of the Alarius Space Fleet.

The Sardonyx Room was one filled with enormous technical wizardry. Several large computers occupied a vast amount of the floor space, while others hung attached to the walls. Tracking devices and scanners were operated by graduates from the Alarius Space Academy. The floor, covered in Sardonyx, gave the room its name.

Meric, the occupant of the first shuttle, greeted them and reported on the Fleet's status:

"The Devonshire and the Enchantress are in complete readiness. The Yorkshire, the Paladin, and the Pegasus are almost completed. The Scimitar, the Cutlass, the Sickle, and the Rapier are orbiting Titan as per your orders. The Spectre and the Cavalier are orbiting Dione, awaiting final orders. The Captain of the Altair reports excessive buildup of Taft's forces. He suggests immediate revisals. I would recommend the Ceres forces to rendezvous here at Saturn."

"Yes, Meric, I agree. Inform the Altair to continue on their mission. Good work, Mr. Tartre. The makings for a large-scale war are present. The piece are set; the pawns have moved. We hope to be the victors. If not, let us hope for a stalemate..."

 © 1984, 

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

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