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Taft pulled his coat tighter as the cool east wind blew down the collar of his winter shirt. He stumbled against a wall, worming his way through the narrow streets of Peej. Peej was one of the busiest cities on all of Ralle; second only to Gnatsum; but it was a well accepted fact that Peej would soon outgrow Gnatsum. After all, Peej had been picked as Bronson Colt Randolf's capital city.

Taft shivered a mighty burr and stepped into a diner occupying a small corner of two dubious looking alleyways. He looked at the sign above the bar which proclaimed, "Free motel key with every 20 drinks."

"A sleezy place," Taft murmurred, choosing a deserted, small table in the darkest corner of the bar. An old woman noticed Taft and strode over to his table.

"Can I get you anything?" She asked loudly.

"No, I just want to rest..." Taft said. The old lady ignored him, and sat down to his right. She lowered her voice.

"I know who you are. You're T. G. Taft, once a Keyholder. Listen. Don't bring up trouble here. You are in an establishment owned by Bronson Colt Randolf. And you know he's looking for you...."

Taft reclined, an exhausted look on his face. "This too is owned by him? Is nothing here of private property?"

She looked sympathetic. "All of Peej is his."

"I thought maybe, in the slums," his voice began to become weaker, "I had to flee my ranch, but where could I go? It's all I knew." He groped for his pocket. The old Lady thought that he was reaching for a handkerchief, but he pulled out two square pieces of glass that were pressed together. Inbetween the two was a flattened piece of flab. "It's all I have left of my wife..." Taft said, tears streaming from his bloodshot eyes.

**T. G. Taft**

Bronson overjoyously walked through the Corridor of Suspension that he had built in his castle on the outskirts of Peej. The huge, marble floors echoed the click of his diamond-heeled boots. The ceiling rose well over forty feet, and, at the very tip top of the structure were four gold ropes attatched to the Tiara of Phumos. There were huge glass chambers, spread to either side of the Hall, some empty, most full. Bronson's face lit up as he read each of the plaques that lay at the bottom of the glass chambers. The first on the left read simply "The Ledics." Inside were motionless figures of Bluewill, Bluemotion, and Bluemind. There were also similar objects of Kyan and Kirstie. Adena was there too, holding tightly to her long, flowing hair. There were also two decomposing bodies of small children laying at Adena's feet--all held in a time suspension. Bronson let out a small giggle.

Across the aisle, to the right of the Ledics, was a much emptier chamber. Yet, alone in the middle of it stood Adel in all her wisdom and beauty. In her lovely hand was the Talisman of Ranet and around her small neck swung the Periapt of Wisdym. Bronson beamed. "You have the Talisman, my dear. What--can't you use it? You should never have let your guard down!" Bronson looked up at the Tiara above. "Ha ha!"

He moved on. The next chamber on the left was a beautiful, deep pink. It too had prisoners, three in fact. A young, beautiful girl; the Belt of Excho around her slender waist; and the Amulet of Wisdym around her sexy neck. A sign below read "Eve Eden."

Eve admired herself in the mirror turning her marvelous body from side to side. She was wearing a lovely pink gown which stretched from her small shoulders, past her full bosom, and down to her skinny ankles. She had her hair tied up with pink barrette and her lips were painted with a new, delicate shade of pink lipstick. "Tex should like this." The "Tex" to whom she referred was one of the wealthiest men in all of Ranier. He was a close friend of Bronson's, but when Tex asked her out to dinner she had forgotten about all the nasty things that Adena had told her about Mr. Randolf. And so she expected a beautiful evening out on the town. But when Tex arrived at her Suite he did not take her out. Indeed, he admired her lovely figure, but instead of escorting her out the door, He pushed her back into her room and slammed it. "Get on the bed," he screamed, pulling off his huge Tex-sized hat. Eve stood immediately up, and, with a scared look on her face, touched the Amulet. A laser burst forth and hit Tex's knee. The knee immediately dissolved, and Tex fell to the floor. But Eve could do nothing but stare. "Just how I wanted you," said Bronson, who had walked through the suite door. He had frozen Eve in a permanent time state with the Tiara that he held in his right hand.

Bronson nodded silently in appreciance as he looked again at Eve's frightened little face. "You look so cute when you're scared, he said, blushing. Then he turned his head to the right, admiring the plaque inside a compartment that read "Eve Eden: See ahead."

He strolled to the next set of chambers, these done in a dark maroon-red. This is when Bronson got excited. He jumped up and down and screamed, "bring him in!" Two strange men paced forward from where Bronson had just walked, toting Suralio Frith Iffley in a time status. "Put him in there!" Said a jumping Bronson Colt Randolf, pointing at the compartment to the left.

Iffley had a strange, compassionate look in his face. It was obvious that, at the time he had been taken into this time state, he had been a willing volunteer; but why he had agreed to such a horrid condition was not obvious. The red cabinet on the left opened with an eerie creak, but before Iffley entered, Bronson grabbed the Sceptre of Ozino from his outstretched hand. "I'll take that," he said with furvor.

"And I'll take you!" Said a familiar voice from the other end of the hall. Bronson jumped around, squinting at the horizon. He noticed the voice to be coming from the Ralle'an T. G. Taft.

"You'll do what?" Bronson laughed pointing the Sceptre of Ozino at Taft.

"Don't! If you harm me, you will never find her!" Taft pointed to a tiny picture in his right hand.

Bronson immediately noticed the photograph. "Debbie! But... the fire..."

"This is our Debbie, not your Terna'n one. Ours still lives."

Bronson lowered the Sceptre, memories flooding into his already full mind.

Taft spoke up again. "Give me the Sceptre."

Bronson held out the powerful Key, waiting for Taft to take it. "Now, Debbie..."

Taft held up the Sceptre. His form disappeared and that of Debbie's appeared. Bronson's face became like that of a little kid's again. Little did Bronson know that this young girl was actually a transformed body full of an old barlady's spirit.

 © 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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