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WE ARE THE CHILDREN

The day became endowed with new life; yet somehow, somewhere, an ending drift of black approached the happiness of the entourage. Iffley walked amidst Rose Square, modeled after a similar one in Devonshire Mansion, deep within the castle of Furanose. Thoughts cruised through his mind--thoughts of loneliness, of isolation, and of solitude. He looked at the crown of Furanose which he held tightly in his hand. He turned it over, amazed at some of the portraits etched into it. He smiled at one of them, a picture of an ancient threshing machine. Slowly he set the crown down, and began to recall times past. The memories he had tried not to face: Iffley stopped for a moment, knowing that they might hurt. But nonetheless he needed something. Slowly he felt himself being drawn in as he thought of a time when Jonathon and Kirk were fighting over who wrote the best: That was the time when the people were easier to deal with. Back when there was only Taft, Enad, Jonathon, Kirk, himself, and--of course--Adena. But all were gone, now, save Jonathon and Enad, who were not all together with it anymore either. What happened to the time when simplicity ruled? Iffley felt himself as the last of a strong generation. He sort of felt like Ozino did before he died, isolated in a world in which he no longer belonged.

"Maybe it's time to let the next generation take over." He sighed to himself.

A deep voice boomed behind him. "You giving up?"

Iffley jumped around, startled to hear a familiar voice. Before he saw who it was, he began, "How dare y..."

T. G. Taft smiled at the shocked man.

"You're dead." A confused Iffley stated.

Taft nodded sardonically. "And you're looking good, too."

Iffley gave a broad smile. He was, actually, glad to see someone from the olden days: But, before he went too far, he realized that he had better see what his old enemy wanted, "Taft, you were buried in the ground. I saw pictures of your funeral."

Taft glared, watching every word. "You have two words wrong. What you should have said was 'Taft, he was buried in the ground.' Iffley, how much do you know about my past?"

Iffley walked over to a short stone wall and sat on it. He didn't like being treated like a kid. "You have one word wrong. What you should have said was 'Iffley, how much do you care about my past?'"

Taft smiled. "That should be quite a lot. You see, Iffley--or should that be Enchanter of Furanose--do you know what my initials, T. G., stand for?"

Iffley rolled his eyes, "Theodoric Gabriel, as I had them looked up years ago on some travel passes you owned in Alarius. But get to the point. The suspense is really killing me."

"Very good. I expected as much. However, the person that was killed a year ago was not Theodoric Gabriel Taft, but Titus Gerrard Taft, one of my two brothers. Titus and I were twins."

Iffley yawned. "So are you going to take over rule of the Domain again?"

"I'm not finished yet," Taft stammered. "You may be interested to know who my other brother is."

"I doubt it." Iffley declared.

Taft stared at Iffley in disbelief. He paused for a moment. "Do you like my watch?" Taft pointed to a very beautiful gold-crested diamond heirloom. "It was a gift from my father."

Iffley, slightly angered by this change of subject, was nonetheless intrigued by the high quality of craftsmanship that the watch exhibited. He was no longer impressed by material worth--he had plenty of that--but this watch seemed to have a certain aura about it that made it intriguing. "Can I see it for a second?" Iffley queried.

Taft took off the watch and handed it to Iffley. He admired the frontal design, noticing the tiny and delicate detail on the hands. And then he turned it over to the back. Iffley stared in disbelief as he saw the exquisite design engraved on the rear. It was a picture of a shield--checkered in red and black diamonds--with a dragon behind it. A bolt of lightning could be seen discharging from the dragon's mouth. And below the design were etched eight small words and a date:

To my eldest son, Theodoric.  From Naidis—438 AP.

Iffley looked up. "Who was your other brother?" He asked meekly. "Haven't you guessed?" Taft asked with a sigh.

**T. G. Taft**

Iffley stood petrified, not knowing what to believe. Taft noticed the expected perplexity and began to explain. "You know, by now, as explained to me by Prior, that Furanose was once ruled by the Iffleys. What you do not know is that not only Furanose and Alarius, but the entire world was ruled by the Iffleys. Everything--the land, the seas, the air--and everybody was quite happy. Except, and this is where it gets important, for two distinct groups: The Ludits and the Wespeaks. The Ludits, of course, overtook Furanose while the Wespeaks--Bronson and Enad's forefathers--took the Wastelands. But all that took place about a century ago; long before you and I were even given any thought."

Iffley nodded. He felt a sense of pride overwhelm him. "But what about the Domain?"

"Iffley, Titus and I were born five years ahead of you, a set of identical twins, I was the firstborn, and thus it was believed that I was entitled to the birthright. We were, to say the least, daddy's boys, outgoing and all that good stuff. When you were born, five years later, mama took a great preference to you and the two of them stayed up late at nights arguing about which of us--you or me--would get the birthright. It almost broke them apart. But daddy was smart. When you were only two, he put Titus and I in the care of a very wealthy and noble couple in the Domain, giving them instructions to bring us up and then, when I was 16, to separate from Alarius and become a separate entity. His name, that is, my adopted father's, was Sir Donovan Taft. Though publicly we became a new country immediately, privately we were still ruled by the Iffleys for 9 more years."

"Wasn't your--our--brother jealous that you and I received the honors?" "No. Not really. You see, it was he that married, he that had a child. I was single. It was his son that was always considered to be the next ruler of the Domain even though he was not the rightful heir. Titus and I wished our twinship to remain a secret, and, in that way, we could trade places for a day or two in case I needed a rest or he wanted to play king."

Iffley paused for a moment. He hated asking questions, especially about his own ancestry, but he had never looked into the history of the Domain. He had always assumed that it had been separate, like Furanose, since the Plague. "Where have you been all this time?"

"On board the Sworshk: In disguise, of course. I came back when I heard about the "surrender" of the Domain to Ranier. That's why I'm here, Iffley. The Iffleys ruled the planet Earth once before, and, seeing as how you have eliminated the Ludits..."

Iffley became interested. "There is only one opposition left."

"Correct. From what information I have been able to gather, the Domain still has a fleet. Together, Suralio, we can regain the prestige that the Iffleys once had."

Iffley felt a small sense of excitement wind up his spine, but it stopped when it reached his heart. "I can't do anything to..."

Iffley stopped midsentence to pause as Bronson entered the room.

"Iffley," Bronson began, "I have come to ask you for the crown of Furanose. After all, you do have T'mir, and, well, Furanose is such a little price to ask. And don't forget. I do have the biggest starfleet..." Bronson had so far not even looked at anything in particular in the room, except his feet. He was impressed with Madison's Proportion Spell, which had shrunken Bronson's feet to about a size eight. Suddenly, however, he looked up, and he stood in bewilderment.

"Aaaahh... The men disobeyed my order, you know, when they destroyed the Domain's fleet..."

Iffley felt his fist clinch as he remembered the words of Condrake Iffley: "Seek revenge for the indignities that the house of Iffley has suffered." He felt himself mumbling. "Take back what is ours."


 © 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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