BY: DANAE CONRAD
Iffley raised the Sceptre to transport them, Adena grabbed his arm.
"Where on Earth are we?"
aren't on Earth, Adena."
what are we doing here. That man looked a lot like T. G. Taft."
it's not the right time to let you know yet."
why? You've always told me things before. Why is it different now?"
looked at her eyes, pleading with him to tell her. Her face looked worried and
even frightened. "Wait, you'll see soon."
dropped her hand from his arm. Her head dropped in unison; her voice was
downcast and heavy. "Let's get on with this."
Sceptre was again stretched to the sky and suddenly the world around them
faded out of focus. They then regained clarity a few leagues distant. A
beautiful castle stood before them. The stone was rough and unpolished but the
banners flew proudly above it.
Adena practically screamed the word with delight. Iffley stopped her.
exactly? That's my castle--see the standards on the turrets. It's
isn't our earth."
and Iffley began to walk closer to the beautiful structure. Adena was
obviously not convinced that this wasn't Furanose. Slowly, she stepped toward
the castle with Iffley following. Quiff was whimpering with tension as they
approached the splendid palace.
Maelstrom approaches!!" The two visitors froze as the cry resounded
throughout the yards. People began to scream in frenzy and a plea was heard
throughout the area. "Get the Enchantress!!"
I am the Enchantress!" Adena was confused and the chaos around her began
to wear her patience thin. "What is going on--for the last
guess is as good as mine!" Iffley shouted above the din. Both of them
stood in the courtyard, unsure of what to do next. A lightning bolt struck the
ground near Adena. She jumped clear of it and tumbled to safety.
is attacking the Enchantress?!" Adena yelled this challenge to the
stood shocked for a moment. She recovered enough to respond, "Show
yourself. We mean you no harm! "
Maelstrom! He always brings harm! "
is the Maelstrom?"
is a trick!"
I know not of whom thou speaks!" Adena hoped that her switch to Old
Tongue would give her credibility. No more lightning bolts fell, that was
the palace doors opened and out stepped...Adena. "I am Adena, The
Enchantress and you..."
me." Adena finished the phrase and both stood dumbfounded. Adena stood in
her silver flexxon uniform facing her double who was clad in a green silk
riding outfit. On both necks, a similiar medallion hung, the Amulet for one,
the Periapt for the other. "What place is this?"
is Ralle. From whence do thou come?"
Earth. Therein lies my domain, Furanose. How is it--that you are I?"
have crossed the mirror. You have been expected--though not in this
parallel or alternate, Iffley?"
little of each, Adena."
will not harm thee. Thou art my twin from another space and thou art welcome
thee. Are my companions allowed as well?"
course." She winced slightly at the appearance of Quifquaf however.
ran up the steps to join her second self. Turning, she saw Iffley studying
both of them. "Identical." She heard him mumbling. "Exactly
three walked into the stateroom of the great palace. Adena was becoming
excited with the resemblance of her twin's palace to her own home. They were
seated around a large table and immediately the questions began.
Adena began. "This won't work. We need a second name for one of
address me as Adel, then. It's short for..."
Adena completed for her twin. Both smiled at the exactness of the copy.
is it that you do not know of the Maelstrom? Especially when..."
cut Adel off. "I haven't had time to explain it all to her
tell me now! I have waited long enough!" Adena softened her approach.
will not! This involves my life, yours, everyone's it seems. Taft appears to
be alive. Do the dead walk again?"
Adena. He just hasn't died in this universe."
sensed the tension of the situation. She excused herself to tend to other
affairs. Adena immediately turned on Iffley with a barrage of questions.
thing at a time, little one."
stamped her foot and then he saw the fear on her face. "Please explain
this all." He reached for her arm and she came towards him. They walked
to the window of the room and Iffley began to talk.
universe is being torn asunder by an evil being known as the Maelstrom. he is
intent on destroying all who oppose him; I had been chosen to rescue the
universe from his grasp. Dion's entry into Ralle upset the balance of things.
It is our duty to restore it, Adena. The universes are similiar, but not
totally the same."
Taft has a double and apparently I have one. Who is yours, though?"
sure we'll find out."
why didn't you tell before? I'm not ready for all this! This is so
unreal!" She looked out the window over the fields and forests.
"It's so much like home; it is so open and free." She paused
momentarily. "Iffley," she began excitedly, "if Taft was alive
in this universe, then my parents would be. I could see them--and
apologize." her eyes shone with hope and he hated to squelch it.
Adel's parents were still alive, she would not be Enchantress. Besides, they
wouldn't be your parents."
I guess you are right." Suddenly, Adena's temper flared. "What am I
doing here anyway? I could be back on Earth, seeing home again. Instead, I've
been drug off into another universe that I know absolutely nothing
about!" She began to pace the room. "Why?" She stopped and
faced Iffley. "I'm willing to help, but please, tell me
discover it soon, Adena."
it then!" She stalked across the room to sit on the edge of the
me for overhearing, Adena," Adel said as she entered the room. "I
wish I had what you have--independence. I have fought my battles and fought
them well, but I am just a ruler. You have the inborn fight of a
smiled with her words. "Thank you, Adel." Sometimes it gets in the
way though. Like when you should trust someone who you've known for so long,
but you don't." She looked ruefully at Iffley, who nodded his acceptance
of her apology.
lucky to have such a gift, however. It will serve you and us well." She
turned to Iffley. "I have addressed my country's representatives. I will
offer all the help I can give. You will also stay in the palace as my
was about to extend her thanks, when a large bark was heard from the window.
Looking down, Adel saw a huge hound leaping at the door.
Maelstrom is attacking!!"
Adel it is just a hound," Adena protested.
is controlled by the Maelstrom, though." Adel ran from the room, followed
closely by Adena and Iffley. When they arrived at the door, the hound had been
joined by several other wolves and dogs. They leapt at Adel, who drew quickly
back. Adena however pushed to the fore and began to stare them down. Her
natural empathy for animals was unknown to her twin; Adel tried to rescue her,
but Iffley stopped her.
he said, "and watch her." The hounds slowly crept back as Adena
approached. She commanded them to leave and they did as she bade. She turned
back to Adel and smiled.
it's easy!" Adel returned her smile with thanks, but screamed as she saw
a huge boar bearing down on Adena. Adena turned quickly and leapt smoothly out
of its way. the creature moved to fast for her to keep that up for long
though. Adel summoned the Periapt's power and a lightning bolt struck the
boar, turning it into a pile of ashes.
came up the steps, panting from the exertion. "Now we are even." She
extended her hand and Adel shook it in friendship. "Now, who is
in the forests surrounding Adel's territory, a man stood watching the baying
hounds begin their attack. He would have the power he craved. He laughed
visciously as he heard their furied barks and growls. Suddenly, however, his
wolves fell silent; he approached the castle grounds. There his gaze fell on a
young woman in the center of the pack. The hounds were groveling at her feet
and backing up. A single word from her turned them all around to return to the
forest. She had triumphed over the Staff.
was then he had sent the boar to run her through. She had kept away from it
until his enemy, Adena, had summoned her Periapt to kill it. Curious, he
thought to himself as she stroked his short-clipped auburn beard, that
newcomer looks very much like Adena. But, she obviously has more power. He
heard an upraised voice. Looking into the yard again, he saw the woman arguing
with a man that looked just like him. He immediately recognized him as the
Restorer and his enemy.
the altercation, he saw her win; the man returned inside with Adena of
Periapt. This might be his chance.
go ahead! I want to look around for clues of some sort. It might be of some
use to us!"
says that the Maelstrom is still nearby. It's dangerous!"
am going to stay!"
be stubborn then!" Iffley stalked into the castle.
began to pace the grounds. She was unaware of her observer, which was just as
well. For he was beginning to like what he saw, her gain and bearing showed
her as a woman of power and leadership; she was also free willed and spirited.
her Amulet glistened in the sun and her Ring sparkled in the same. This was a
woman that a man would do well to get his hands on; in more ways than one, he
thought to himself.
drew closer to the vicinity of his concealment; she stopped abruptly and he
noticed that several of the gems on her Key were glowing. "Maelstrom, I
wish to speak with you! Now!" Her eyes were trying to pierce the canopy
of trees. He was shocked at her naivete; she was actually ordering him
said now! You immature tyrant!" She was purposefully goading him, in the
hope that he would confront her; she felt confident of a victory against
felt his anger rising at her jeers. He summoned a snake to him. He laced a
message around it and forced it to go to her. Adena saw a movement from the
brush. The huge reptile inched towards her; its fangs, exposed through
Maelstrom's magic, darted hypnotically in front of her. Suddenly, it lunged
past her and left the note behind. Picking it up, she felt a chill shoot
through her; she looked around quickly before reading its contents.
AWARE THAT I HAVE HEARD YOUR CHALLENGES. YOU ARE TO COME TO THIS YARD AT THE
MIDNIGHT HOUR. DO NOT FAIL THIS MEETING, ON THE STAKE OF A LIFE.
you so afraid that you do not show your face?" Adena shouted to the
forest before her. She glanced at the note that she clutched in her moist
palm; he had thrown down the gauntlet, she wondered if she would have the
courage to pick it up.
| ||© 1985, ||K. Blaire, L. Charles, D. Conrad, Enad the Great, A. Mann, J. Pierce, B. C. Randolf, and T. G. Taft|