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"Star Keys" (Mark of the Knights)

After inspecting his now-leveled former lair, Ze groaned. Outside, facing due south, he tossed steady eyes to the distant monadnock, Berepnion, then in the direction of Gameon and to the Nayan Pass where twisted Trunt had been tried and tortured. Hands to hips Ze inhaled deeply then stopped to cup one hand to cool water of the cascading, mountain stream his big cats, Citaga and Cayain dared play in, lick tongues to. He paused. “I will cherish all memories and certainly not forget why I have come here, what I intend to do, and how some wish to thwart me. The means to accomplish great deeds is within my grasp,” he said, then drank.

Then, after a delightful dinner, where fascinated Torg and Trot wheeled gleefully to all parts of Spider 92, on a Ghint’e land-jet (a car not dissimilar from G-T speeders), Ze raced away, alone, for the mountain-top. Zooming on he soon sped up the steep incline, the rocky path he’d been on before with Trot. Shortly, he reached the crest and set his mobile earth car, down. He strode. Here, too, he tossed eyes. “East, the Naradorran and Bai Nai Ogre, west to the Nayan Cliffs with their own sloppy, yet friendly brute cousins, then south,” he said and turned to cast eyes. “Beyond the little people lays the great ocean and old stomping grounds of some who crossed the void. Flew on starships, they did. Wondering, they found the earth sacred as Theman and I did. With their own bag of tricks spell-bound mystics brought the ancient war here. Why, I’m not certain yet. They spilled blood and I sense it now as I do my brides who tumbled to the fiery, mystic depths of Berepnion, my pets, too, falling meters from my feet where I cast a spell with the nucleus of my brother so my own son might revive. I’m thankful for this. I am, as Boryion lives. But, there’s sorrow. Too, I’ve questions,” he babbled and breathed in greatly. “Yes. I do love the spirit here, the possibilities. Thema worlds, Gameon, Imhotep, and Aristo-Tlay known to me, we will find more.”

Spinning, he then glared to where the Magic Book had been set to stone.

“With art and science, metamorphic and igneous, uranium-laden rock might reconfigure as bowels of Berepnion forge elements to life. The Dark Art carries power. Over the water, I must learn.”

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