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PAST REFLECTIONS

BY: DANAE CONRAD

"Who are you?" Adena was startled by his harsh question as well as the mirror's shattering behind her.

"My name is Sterling."

"You'll have to be a little more specific than that. I have never seen you before in my life."

"I will avenge my parents' deaths. I believe that you are the cause of their death's, so you will receive my vengence."

"Who are your parents? I don't make it a habit of killing people, and I don't recall having killed your parents."

"Aven and Wisdym."

"Surely, you jest!" Adena had trouble concealing her mirth. "They have been incapable of childbearing for centuries now--putting it politely. You are far too young to be their child."

Sterling appeared to boil visibly in front of her eyes. "You ridicule the son of the wizards!"

"I am a grandaughter of the wizards. Besides, they aren't gods; just people, like you and I, having special talents."

Sterling appeared nonplused. His enemy was calmly confronting him with logic enough to shoot holes through his theories. "Surely, then I can have no fight with you. I have locked the real culprit inside the walls then."

"You have done what?"

"The mirror is cracked. The Hall has become a prison." Sterling bowed politely to her. "I take your leave now. Please forgive any inconvenience that I have caused you. I must go to seek out another responsible for my parents' demise."

"Who may that be?"

"Adena, the Enchantress of Furanose." With that, Sterling, oblivious to his goal's obvious presence, left.

Adena turned her attentions to the Hall. The waterfalls refused to part for her and allow her passage. Thinking that perhaps it was closed only to her, she sit down to wait.

Adena heard a faint voice calling her name. She bolted up in the now darkened City of Remembrance. Listening intently, she heard it again. Someone, somewhere, was calling her for aid. Approaching the falls, Adena listened once more. The voice summoned from within the Hall.

"Who is calling?"

"Adena! Is it you? Are you safe?"

"Iffley!" She paused waiting for a response. Nothing came. "Are you safe?"

"I'm trapped. The mirror is apparently cracked; I cannot return."

"Do you want to return? Or are you telling me goodbye?"

There was a pause, before a confused voice angrily asked, "What kind of question is that?"

"One that requires an answer."

"Of course, I want to be back."

Adena thought for a few moments. "I am going to have to get help. There may be a possibility with a friend that I know."

"Hurry, Adena. Please, hurry."

Adena left the city and rubbed the Amulet to invoke its holographic powers. A Romanesque chariot appeared with appropriate harnesses and reins. Summoning other holograms, she produced a Danae which she quickly hitched to the chariot. The steed began to pull, controlled by her innate powers, and the vehicle climbed towards Furanose.

As she soared high above her lands, a strange sight met her eyes. The place was green again. The damage...was gone! She was confused but quickly oriented on Odina. Iffley's plight was put on hold as her defensive love for Furanose came to the fore.

Her ghostly chariot landed silently in front of her beloved castle. The image faded as soon as it hit the ground. A familiar bulk of a figure came forward to greet her.

"Enchantress!!" The faithful Centurian dropped to a knee in front of his ruler. "We all had faith in your recovery and return."

"Stand, my friend, please." Adena was smiling widely; it was so good to be home. "What has happened?"

"Bronson appeared with a claim to rejuvenate Furanose."

Adena was furious! Foreigners on her soil were not tolerated without express consent. "Where is he?!"

"Within the palace," the Centurian promptly replied. "Would you like some aid?"

"I will handle the invader!" Adena stalked up the palace steps, sharply returning salutes from her guards. Opening the door, she saw a generator that ran the defense shields. "Furanose is guarded by the power and rule of the Enchanter's lines, not by machines!" She hardly flinched as she blew it calmly out of existence with lasers. The alarms it was attached to vanished with equal alacrity.

Bronson heard the disturbance and hurried down the stairs. "What is going on here?"

"You dare to stay in this place! I will defend her forever--fight!!"

Bronson became aware that this surprise wasn't working out well. Adena was armed with a foil and was waiting for his answering weapon. "I am not here to take over, Adena."

"Enchantress to you," she snarled furiously. "No one steps in blithely to my country without answering to me!!" Her eyes glowed with an intense fight.

"I will leave--at once! I mean no harm. The restoration is permanent; Furanose has healed from its scars. The defense system will be removed."

"I have already done that." Adena's weapon returned to the air and she stood, listening to him. "Your motives are true to your word. However, I request that you return to your origin. I have not given up rule of Furanose."

Bronson bowed to her and, within the hour, he and his contingent were out of the country. Adena was settling back into her usual routine. She brought the Danaes back to her country for transportation.

Trying Shamrok, Adena approached the small cabin. The dense Furanose woods seemed to embrace their returned ruler as she knocked on the door. A young lad answered her knock; he stumbled back on seeing the visitor. "Who is there, boy?"

"The...the Enchantress."

There was an answering silence from within the house. A man's steps were heard coming to the door. He stepped into the sunshine and closed the door behind him.

"Toltec?!" Adena's eyes were wide with disbelief. "Is it really you?"

"Yes, Enchantress," he responded, bowing. He face obviously showed restraint as if her appearance there startled him.

Adena smiled at him and shook her head. "I would never have guessed in a million years...it has been a very long time."

The man nodded slightly in response. He was looking off to the left, trying to avoid making eye contact. "Can I be of service to you, Enchantress?"

"If you can tell me where Besou has gone to."

"He is dead, Adena." With the realization that he had said her name, he looked quickly to her face. His grey eyes locked onto her.

"When?"

"Just recently...he left me with his secrets, if that will help."

"You would have been of the help that I needed, if I had known where you were."

"What did you want?"

"Someone to fix a cracked mirror."

"Is that all?" She nodded without removing her gaze. His face was deeply tanned from his outdoors life; it was still as strong as she had remembered. "I'll get my tools."

She kicked at the mossy sod with her shoe. She had appointed Toltec to Chief Advisor when she was eighteen. He had justly come by the position, he was well-qualified, but he had made one error. He had fallen for Adena.

She passed it off at first--he was only three years older than she, with a full political career ahead of him. Soon, she had found herself drawn unmistakeably to him as well. The other council members had begun to grumble--that she was playing favorites, she hadn't even looked at their sons or the like.

Toltec, to save her from any further pain, left without a trace. For years, she hadn't known if he were alive or dead. He shut the door behind him as he told the boy within to behave.

"My cousin's child," he said in explanation. She nodded and smiled. The second Danae that she had summoned had arrived. Edison and Shamrok flew steadily side by side back to Alarius and Iffley. The horses were left to graze as the two humans entered the city.

Adena said nothing, but led Toltec to the falls. She then explained the problem. "The glass is broken, but we cannot get in and he cannot get out. The glass must be mended, but I have no extensive restorative powers."

"It really won't be too hard, Adena. My advice is..." he stopped, realizing that he was addressing her as a Chief Advisor once again.

"Continue, Chief Toltec," she prompted.

"That we apply a mending laser through means of spread bullet."

"Your guess is better than mine on this. Execute."

Toltec simply loaded an odd gun with a lump of quicksilver in a plastic skin. He fired through the falls with directional points given by Adena. They heard pinging as the various bullets lodged themselves within mirrors. Suddenly, an image shimmered than appeared on their side of the falls.

"Iffley!" Adena ran forward to draw him from the falls. "Are you alright?"

"Fine, Adena." His eyes narrowed when he saw Toltec. The two men had never gotten along well. Often, they contradicted each other in policies of state and Adena had been forced to choose between plans. "Toltec."

"Yes." Toltec was almost forced to smile that he had rescued Iffley without the other's knowledge. "Looks like the prince on the white horse strikes again."

Adena laughed. Toltec had always said medieval things like that in competitions. That was another of their links. They had always partnered in the various tourneys held in Furanose.

Iffley hadn't said anything as yet. "Adena," he began. "I best check into the ship. We should be ready to go home soon."

"I am home. I have got to stay here a while. I owe it to my people and...myself." Her face was set determinedly against any protests that he might make.

"As you wish. I was going to stay with Bronson a while anyway--see what plans are for the future. When you are ready to go, we'll leave," he said tightly.

Adena nodded and returned to the Danaes. Toltec was repacking the equipment that he had used. "Keep your hands to yourself, Toltec."

"With those Keys, I can't get near her unless she lets me." He shut the box and stood up, "Good evening."

Adena waited for Iffley to spell himself to the palace, before she mounted her Danae. Toltec followed suit and rode up to Adena. They lifted to the air; as if by premeditaion, the couple landed softly on an isolated stretch of beach.

Toltec reached up and helped her dismount. They left the horses to walk down the water's edge. They didn't say anything for a long time.

"I got married." Sensing Toltec's tension, she added, "It's no one you know. He died recently under horrible circumstances."

"I know, Adena. I...I've kept up with you. I had to do that. And I'm sorry about Blue. He was very good man for you."

"Did you know that you're one of the few to have said that?"

He heard her voice choke slightly and she stopped walking. He wiped the tears from her face and willingly accepted her shaking shoulders. He realized how much he had missed her. The silkiness of her hair and tunic coasted over his arms. Her hair smelt of spring and sunshine as it mixed with the aura of tears.

He warned himself not to rush himself or her. She had stopped crying and was apologizing for the scene. "I wouldn't have missed it for the world," he told her.

They sat on the beach and talked, trying to catch each other up on the years they'd lost. The early dawn still found them wide awake and talking. Adena decided that they should return to Odina.

Adena slept for most of the next day in her study. Upon awaking she felt hungry so she went to get lunch. Thinking that she had had a strange nightmare, she ruefully shook her head.

Upon entering the kitchen though, she smiled.

"Good morning, Enchantress. The Wizard just called and said that he will arrive later."

"Toltec," she begun. "How would you like your job back?"


 © 1985, 

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

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