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Bus 57 to CedarwoodBUS 57 TO CEDARWOOD
Amanda woke up as the bus plunged down the steep cliff.
Around her small things flew, floating in the falling vehicle.
Time began to slow down. With it, everything around her blurred; all
ambient sounds became a slow stream of incoherent waves.
Today, of all days? Why did it have to be today? she thought.
Some moments later, time came to a full stop. Silence and blurriness reigned.
The bus driver was nowhere to be seen, and so were the other passengers.
Except one: a teenager seated in the very back row. He wore a hood so
she couldn't see his face. In his hand he held a small metallic thing
that shone like a small sun.
"It works!" she heard him say. His voice sounded very familiar.
A happy family
The phone at Rimes' house rang. Daniel paused his XBOX and moved to pick it up.
"Leave it, I'll take it," his father shouted from the kitchen. He
stormed into the living room and picked it up.
(a female voice greeted)
Shadows Lost, 3 of 3
‡ ‡‡‡‡ ‡ ‡‡‡‡
(Twenty years ago)
The sun flares over the Desertlands of Haas'na. Its ancient, bleak mountains cast sharp shadows on its narrow gorge-paths. The wind whistles between the mountains and the narrow paths, carrying dirt about.
A warhorse stops its galloping, obeying its rider's throat-latching. He uses the reins to make the horse lift its head and empties the content of his canteen into the animal's mouth; the beast drinks with relief. The rider dismounts. He examines the horse's legs and hooves; they have been injured from the paths' sharp stones. He caresses the steed's neck and, after tying the reins at a nearby rock, he begins to ascend on a mountain across the pathway. He loses his stepping a few times as he walks, tripping at some steep rocks. He looks overhead, at his destination. After not much time, he reaches it.
He stands in front of the entrance to a small cave and then steps inside. The cave's interior, no bigger than a small room, has a
Shadows Lost, 2 of 3
§§§§ § §§§§
(Twenty years ago)
Freezing wind blows in the temple: the birds that hadn't left when the traveler entered do so now, flapping their wings hurriedly. Even the rain dares not entering the temple through the half-collapsed roof; the penumbra of the clouded day degrades.
The traveler rises from the broken Holy Table. He wears his crown and holds the golden rod. His face hardens as he turns around. He beholds shadows; shadows of men and women that do not crawl on the ground as peoples' shadows do: these shadows hover just over the weeded, fractured marble floor, staring at him with beads of red light where their eyes should be. More enter the temple through the entrance and the broken windows.
You needed not bring your crown and scepter, king Saal, he hears inside his mind from a thousand voices. We know who you are. We do not forget.
I am not here as a king of shadows lost, Saal thinks back. I come here as a liberator of tormente
Shadows Lost, 1 of 3
By Nektarios Chrissos, August-December 2005
Dedicated to Wai Peng Lee
Prologue: Erethea and the Twin Cities
In the Eternal Libraries of Akkash a whole series of leather-bound Tomes are stored, containing the Chronicle of Erethea, one of the myriad worlds floating in the infinity of Creation. These books speak of the many tribes of the world's inhabitants, and how they built their cities, their hopes and their dreams on three islands-continents, separated by the vast expanses of the Great Ocean.
On one of these continents, Abatania, stood two neighboring cities, Ancesl and Telenia. A great earthquake took them down once, leading the Era of Expanse to a sudden end. The survivors of that Shake and the fires that followed built their cities again; they never managed to regain the grandeur and riches they possessed before the great disaster, however. Abatania abandoned El-le, the Sun God's Light, to immerse itself in the Darkness of Ga-ogg, the Night
Duel by the First Wall, 3 of 3### # ###
His dagger had been deflected, landing on the dirty pavement of the alleyway.
"Where are you going to, Alessar?" said a voice in the darkness of the narrow street where he had thrown it, aiming at a stalker invisible to him. "Why take the short route towards the outskirts of the city? Are you in a hurry to depart for some reason?"
The voice was familiar. He was filled with terror.
He turned around to run away, but the entrance to the alleyway was closed; men wrapped in black clothes waited there, steelswords naked. His terror turned to desperation: he turned again and ran toward the darkness ahead, his other dagger already in his hand. He saw the outline of a man; he raised his armed hand; he lowered it to stab. A powerful grip on his wrist signaled excruciating pain; he dropped the dagger. A quick punch doubled him up: he fell to the ground, moaning. A booted foot kicked him flat on his back.
"Pity," the man over him said; middle-aged but well-standing, he possessed rough fa
Duel by the First Wall, 2 of 3####
It was faint, but Alessar saw it, blue light escaping a small transparent room at the top of the pyramid.
The enemy is there. That was no natural light!
Perhaps, perhaps not. I must not reach conclusions so easily. His thoughts were angry.
Alessar rose and started running towards the pyramid. His footing was sure and steady, decisive as a lion's but soft as a cat's. Taking a closer look at the pyramid, he saw it was higher than the wall, its surface polished, shining in the night. Its top, a transparent room, released a faint bluish glow. No doors or windows could be seen on the building; he reckoned it was a building of the Mediators.
Yes, that's it! My enemy is a Mediator. A mindfighter!
A small rectangular area at the pyramid's base shimmered and faded away. He heard barking as six or seven hounds burst in the open area from inside and his breath quickened. He halted his stride immediately and crouched.
The dogs looked to their le
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