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The shuttle that they had taken to the surface lay quiet as the early morning dawn broke over the silent Earth. Inside, one occupant was beginning to stir.

Adena stretched her cramped muscles. She decided that what she needed was a bit of exercise. She dressed quickly and left a note for Iffley on the computer. Ducking out of the shuttle door, she entered the bright sunshine of the winter morning. It is good to be back on Earth, she mused to herself. The winter season had always been her favorite. Her feet crunched through the snow, leaving a trail of warm footprints behind her.

She came to a grove of trees and went into them. Directly in front of her lay a pond frozen in its motion. She knew this place well from her childhood and its memories flooded her with warmth. Checking its solidity, she found the pond in perfect condition for her favorite sport.

She laced up the skates that she had brought and pulled her hair from her face. She used the Amulet as a comb to hold her long tresses in place. She stood confidently on the thin metal blades and took a few deep breaths of the frosty air. Stepping onto the natural rink, she began her paces. Forward for a few laps and then backward, she felt the old rhythms returning to her feet.

The exercise had already produced a great deal of warmth and she stopped momentarily at the side of the pond.

Pulling off her sweater, she stood in an aquamarine suit and tights. She returned to the ice and thrilled to the sharp wind whipping through her hair. The sheer enjoyment caused her to forget all her worries; she was living for the moment. Loops, spins and jumps now entered her routine, revealing her as a skilled artist of the ice.

A small whimper brought Adena's attention back to the world. Quifquaf, the new baby quische, had followed her to the pond and was getting cold. She glided into the band and unlaced her boots. She wrapped Quifquaf in her sweater and jogged back to the shuttle.

A gust of icy wind entered with her as the shuttle door opened. "Morning." She excused herself to change into her uniform. Returning a few minutes later, she had changed into the metallic flexxon suit of captaincy. She slid into the seat across from Iffley and Quifquaf oozed into her lap. "Hi. What's on the agenda today?"

"Quite a bit. Where were you all morning?"

"It's only a nine, Iffley. I was skating, if you must know."

"Still as good as you were?"

She flushed as she responded, "I hope so."

Dion had just entered the section. Good morning, Captain...and Adena."

"Lieutenant," they both returned.

"Would you two please man you stations?"

"Course?" Adena slipped into the navigations console and placed the transmitter on ready.

Iffley leaned in front of her and plotted in the directions himself. Adena raised a skeptical eyebrow. "It's not that you cannot do it, Adena; let's just say that it's a surprise." Her eyebrow arched a litter higher with his comment.

The shuttle came to life as the engines throbbed with energy. The craft hovered slightly above the ground and then angled off in its determined direction. The trip was uneventful; Quifquaf nestled down into Adena's lap, while she worked on the computer, Iffley patiently reviewed several files and Dion impatiently drummed her fingers on the table in front of her.

"Course, destination reached." The computer's autopilot announced the message to its crew. Adena retook the navigator's seat and landed the shuttle softly on the ground. The three picked up jackets and opened the shuttle door.

"This looks like the area of the Pool of Remembrance, Iffley. Why all the secrecy," Adena remarked.

He smiled mischievously in return. "Just watch." He led the way to the City of Remembrance. He watched as Adena's curiosity began to get the best of her. She was dying to know where they were going.

"Iffley, where are we going?"

"You'll see, Adena."

"I can't wait; tell me."

"Be patient."

When they reached the city's entrance, Adena bolted ahead to look. Iffley easily caught up with her; she was entranced by all the beauty of the city as he had been on his first visit. "It looks like the Enchantress has finally been enchanted."

Adena barely whispered, "How could one not be? It's so beautiful, Iffley." She ran ahead to study the buildings in front of her.

Behind Iffley, Dion was mocking her curious pleasure. "It's so beautiful...brother." Iffley silenced her with a quiet glare.

He went the way Adena had gone. He found her staring into the Fountain of Remembrance. She had her head cocked to one side as if she had heard something from within it. Iffley came to stand over her. "Your reflection is as pretty as you are, if that's what you're wondering." Her reflection flushed distinctly. "The Fountain has its own powers, Adena. Let me show you." He took her hand in his and brushed the water; the ripples reached the other side and returned...

It was under a midnight sky, but the moon was full, so it seemed to be day. A hunting horn sounded its baying cry and numerous horses pranced in excitement.

"In honor of our beloved Enchantress' eighteenth birthday, we hold the Selena Stance." The announcer's voice boomed loudly over the fields. "The rules have been read and the prize has been set. Good luck to all! Begin!"

The air was filled with the neighing of steeds and the cheering of the crowds. Adena sat tall in the saddle of her white Danae, Prism. The silver saddle flashed in the moonlight as Prism pranced with excitement.

"No boy. We're not racing this time; we're being raced in honor." Adena smiled over her subjects as they watched the race line disappear from view. Many came to congratulate their young ruler; a few voiced their opinions on various issues. Adena took it all in stride; she'd become used to the ins and outs of leadership.

"Congratulations, Enchantress." Iffley's steed trotted up beside Prism.

"Are you game for a race?"

"I'll beat you." She nudged Prism into action; he flew like the wind for several lengths and then she reined him to a halt. Iffley's steed finally caught up to her; Adena had already dismounted and was patiently waiting. "I told you, silly. Never challenge a danae."

"I got my prize though."

"Oh." She arched an eyebrow as she got to her feet. "And what was that, a bit of exercise?"

"No." With that, he swept the young monarch to him and kissed her.

She stepped back, at a distinct loss for words. She shrugged away and leapt to Prism's back. The horse wasn't expecting her hurried mount and quickly bucked upwards. Adena landed several feet away on her feet. "Never challenge a danae, Adena."

She shook her head and walked back to her horse. "You are obnoxious," she hissed. "But I'll race you back!" With that, she boarded her steed and they the horses to exhaustion. Adena had loved that birthday the best...

"And that's how it works, Adena."

"Thrilling," she quipped sarcastically, trying to not sound flustered. The noise of falling water caught her attention. "Is it a real waterfall, Iffley?"

"I haven't figured that out yet. What do you think?"

She approached the shimmering curtain. She felt water, but a ghostly moisture it was. "It's just an advanced hologram. I could do one; it just takes inordinate amounts of energy to keep its shape. "

She walked towards it. "Is there anything behind it, I wonder."

Iffley yanked her back. "If there is, it's not yet time to find out." He didn't want to burden her with the extent of the trip yet. "Let me show you the rest of the city."

"Don't think you can keep my curiosity down forever, Suralio."

"I've got to try."

"Lead the way." As he walked from the tumbling waters, she looked longingly into the falls. Suddenly, a man appeared.

"Welcome, I'm Fred. You must be Adena."

 © 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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