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Seeing Red

                              by Jonathon Pierce

Iffley, his sight now fully restored, gazed upon the beauty of Yorkshire with new appreciation. He would never forget the unending blackness, the terror of sightlessness. He had felt so helpless. But now, with the return of his sight, his security had also returned. There was one silver lining to this dark cloud: He had learned that he could entrust Alarius' safety to Adena in his absence. Jonathon, it seemed, after the episode with the Titan, had no interest left in the affairs of the state.

As if on cue, Jonathon transversed the long hallway. His formal apparel fortold of the night's commemoration, "Are you ready yet, Suralio?" The question, however, was almost ludicrous, for Iffley was bedecked in a black tuxedo, adorned with a brilliant red tie.

Iffley ignored the question, "I wonder what Adena's doing?"

"You two seem to have hit it off well." Jonathon said with a blase air.

"How astute of you, Jonathon," he replied. She is everything that I have ever sought. She is so intelligent; so witty; so mature..."

Iffley's torrent of compliments was suddenly interrupted by its recipient. She flew from the bannister, from which she was riding, and backflipped. She sailed through the air and landed with a thud at his feet. She miscalculated her landing, however, and ended up on her backside. She growled under her breath, "Missed again!" She then realized that she was being watched. She turned to face Iffley's unhappy countenance.

"What..." He stopped and lowered his voice to prevent the entire mansion from hearing, "are you doing?!"

She averted her eyes to the parquetry. Then, as if in sudden revelation, she said, "What should it matter to you? You're not my boss! I am The Enchantress! I shall do what I please!"

"Excuse me!" Iffley retorted, "If you want to act like a child, then I certainly won't stand in your way!"

"I don't have to take this!" She stood up and stalked back up the stairs.

After she had disappeared out of sight, Jonathon said, "Well, Iffley, are you going to make up with her?"

"Certainly not, I've done nothing wrong. I am not giving in first, she is."

"Does this change the evening's festivities?"

"No; she still deserves it." Iffley started up the stairs and then stopped; Adena needed to be alone now.

* * * * *

Dion, who had been listening to the conversation, was waiting for Adena to pass her on the stairs. She could not help overhearing: they were virtually shouting at each other. Adena raced passed her and only stopped when Dion called out to her.

"Well, Adena, are you going to make up with Iffley?"

"I don't want to talk about it!" She continued her breakneak pace and entered her room. Dion, uninvited, followed her.

"What do you mean 'I don't want to talk about it'?" She retorted.

"Look, Dion, if you're so concerned with Iffley, then you can have him!" She raised an eyebrow for emphasis.

"I don't want him; you're the one with deep feelings for him, not me."

"In a pig's eye. You practically fall all over him ever time he enters the room. "

"Is that so? Well all you want is his power!"

Iffley, his curiosity overwhelming him, climbed the stairs to catch any drifting phrases on his way to his room. The phrase, spoken by Adena, was not quite what he expected: "Power? I've got more power than you and him combined!" Iffley, shocked at the 'him', went immediately to his bedroom, not interested anymore in the conversation.

Dion's loud 'HA!' resounded throughout the room. "Let's get a little more honest here."

"Honesty? You're about as honest as a cat when the cream is out of the reach. By the way, the 'cream' just went that-a-way."

Dion started to say something and then stopped. She bit her lip, as if her limited mind was being taxed. Finally she said, "Did you really mean that I could have him?"

"I wouldn't have said it if I didn't mean it." She waved her out of the room. Dion was only too happy to go, she had finally won her prize.

* * * * *

The Scapolite Room had been redecorated for the presentation. Several large tables, covered with fine, white linen, lay scattered about the room. One single red carnation gave the table a little splash of color. The finest silverware and china were meticulously arranged on the table, shining in the lambent light.

Adena, arrived to the dinner, unusually late. Her green dress, however, was impeccably radiant. Her hair curled and swept in a very becoming style. A large emerald hung from a silver chain around her neck. She took her place by the podium. The presentation began.

Iffley addressed the crowd, "Ladies and gentlemen, we are here this day to recognize one of the great forces behind the Fleet. She has remained a constant and trusted friend to Alarius. She has helped me personally on more than one occasion. And has been a great comfort during my recent blindness. I present unto you, Adena Ludit, the Carmine Star Cluster of Thrax."

Adena stood up and permitted 1ffley to pin the medal on her. Iffley then continued, "Also, I present thou with the Enchantress to serve you and your needs. Captain," he motioned to the podium, "the crowd awaits you." He managed to smile, but quickly quashed the impluse.

She nodded to him and then to the crowd, "Thank you for this great honor. I shall try to do my best to serve you and the Fleet." The crowd cheered wildly, it thought she was terrific. She sat back at her place.

The evening ended on a rather anti-climatic note. After finishing her dinner, she walked alone to her bedroom. She closed her bedroom door to remain in solitude. Through the frosted window, she gazed into the heavens. The Dark Time would be over soon. It would feel so good to fee1 the sun on her face again.

As she prepared to undress, she decided to take a closer look at her Carmine Star Cluster of Thrax. Silver leaves adorned a brilliant ruby. The light caught one of its facets and reflected inside the stone. It began to glow with some inner light of its own. RED? Yes, of course it had to be red. Iffley was giving his heart to her on a silver platter.

 © 1984, 

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

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