Kevin glanced out the peel tower’s windows at the still raging wind and dry lightning storm. The battle between the Sky King and Duke Northstorm was ongoing, but no battle can last forever. And earlier, when the Ethereal Legion was approaching Lord Lewis’s manor, Galwynn had seen the pale glow of Empress Moon crisscrossing the sky looking for her daughter, and then recede to the Upper Reaches. Kevin knew the Empress would return sooner than later. 

Perhaps it was Kevin’s intuitive sense of enlightenment, or what any fool on a hill could intuit, but Galwynn had a keen feeling that his time to persuade the man on the other side of the weirding wall to free that star-child, was running out.

“Do you mind if I eat a snack?” said Kevin to Lord Lewis, as he dipped his hand into one of his tunic’s voluminous pockets. “It helps me think,” he said, as he pulled a bright red apple out of his pocket. “Pardon me for not sharing, your lordship; but you know—” he apologized, gesturing frustratedly at the weirding wall, “—an impenetrable barrier—alchemy, magic, and so on.” The baron despondently waved his hand in forgiveness. Kevin nodded his appreciation, and then took a bite out of his juicy red apple.

“I cannot help but admiring your fine collection of books,” said Kevin, perusing the books he had returned to the shelfs after Duke Northstorm’s tempest. “As a Master of Enlightenment, I and my apprentices are constantly inundated with new books and scrolls from all the Domains.”

“To be able to read a book in peace,” Charles said, wistfully. “That sounds idyllic.”

“You seem to have a copy of the most rare and vital books any aspiring academician or mage must own. Your collection is quite impressive.”

Charles wanly beamed with pride. “And those are just the books I use day to day. Many more are in my loft library,” he said, pointing to the balcony loft supported above the far end of his workroom.

“And yet,” said Kevin, as if perplexed, “you do not seem to have the three most important tomes for a man of your proclivities: The Unshelved Library: or, The Book of Everything That Should be Written Down, But Isn’t; the Theoria Omnia: or, The Theory of Everything; and theAnte Tempus Aetatis: or, The Age Before Time.” 

“You…have…those books?” Charles said in amazement, as he turned halfway round to look at Kevin squarely through the rose-colored wall. “Those books are the most rare and difficult of all to acquire. They are reputed to have existed before the creation of the universe, although it is a mystery how such a thing could be possible.” 

“Those volumes and more are in the rare books section of the Basilica Lux library,” Kevin said, convivially. “As master of the Basilica Lux, I am honored to be the caretaker of many unusual documents. If you are interested, your lordship,” said Kevin casually, “perhaps you would honor the library with a visit someday.” Then Galwynn paused to take another bite of his apple. If you’re trying to catch a fish, it’s best to not wiggle the hook too much. 

“I frequently use the first two books,” said Kevin. “But even though the third volume is reputed to have been created before this domain ever existed, I believe its pages are directly relevant to you, here and now, and your tragic situation. You see, The Age Before Time describes the design plan that the Cosmos used to create the universe. Would you be interested in hearing the gist of the relevant chapters?”

Charles was so astounded by Galwynn’s offer, he could not make his lips form proper words. So, as wordlessly as a court jester mimes his japes, Charles gestured for the Master of Enlightenment to tell his tale. 

But before Kevin could speak, the ongoing furor in the sky compelled the eyes of all who could see, and the ears of all who could hear, to give pause and take note.

Previous page | Next page