"Antediluvian Trouble" Chapter 2
Allyssa sat in the atrium of her home staring at the setting sun and trying to meditate away her fury at Olrick. She viewed her lands beyond her open, columned room absorbing the tranquility there, allowing it to permeate her thoughts.
Her home, created from her beloved Atlantis, was safe inside protected borders. It was a world Olrick could never invade, except in her thoughts and she was determined to shut him out there as well. She closed her eyes letting the Atlantean breezes lull her into peacefulness and she was nearly in a state of equanimity when she felt Merlin’s presence.
Allyssa opened her eyes and gave him a narrowed look.
“Why have you breached my circle of calm, Merlin?”
“I could remind you of doing the same earlier when you angrily entered the bookstore but I’m not here to upset your state of calm Allyssa. I have only come here to give you good news.”
“Good news?” Allyssa rose quickly from her meditative position and asked, “Has Olrick allowed David to have the Ephemeris?”
“No, but he has allowed a competition between the two heirs. He wanted you to be the first to know.”
“How sweet of him,” Allyssa said sourly, “but I suppose a contest is fair.”
“Yes I know and I am not ungrateful for the gesture, I just wonder at his motive.”
Merlin shook his head and stated, “Olrick’s only motive is to have the rightful heir possess the power.”
Allyssa laughed cynically, “You have always seen the good in him, Merlin but I have seen the truth in him. I see the implacable judgementalist, whose judgment has not always been kind, fair or justified.”
Merlin didn't agree but understood why she felt this way. Olrick had condemned her father and her family, which by affiliation condemned her. He had wanted to believe Allyssa had not known of her father’s deception but he had no proof to offer the council in her defense, and she’d refused to answer his or the council's questions.
“Allyssa, you refused to defend yourself.”
“I needed no defense, I was innocent and I was not about to marry a man who distrusted me just to save myself from my family’s fate. I was not guilty of anything beyond love for my family and I should have been judged on my deeds alone.”
“Perhaps you would have been but your silence condemned you.”
Allyssa sighed, she had been stubborn at the trial and her righteous anger would have been better served if she’d spoke in her own defense, but it was a moot point now.
“I didn’t know the extent of my father’s deceptions, you know that Merlin,” she offered softly.
“I do,” he said kindly.
“You trusted me, so why couldn’t Olrick?”
“He was torn between his allegiance to his homeland and his heart’s allegiance to you.”
“I don’t think so. He did not believe in my innocence, he believed he was saving me.”
“He did ask the council to allow you a say in your punishment.”
Olrick had made that request on her behalf and she had been allowed to take part of her own lands into a protective realm. Allyssa smiled remembering how her additional request to the council had visibly upset him.
She’d asked that her father and Olrick be forbidden to enter her world without her permission, which she would never give, and the council had granted her request over Olrick’s pained and furious response to the codicil.
“Yes, that was very satisfying,” Allyssa smiled victoriously and nodded, “Very well Merlin, I will accept the contest but remind Olrick I will not allow him to come here for any reason, any concerns will be sent through you, only you.”
Merlin handed Allyssa the golden pen and opened a scroll heralding the contest for the powers of the Ephemeris of Time, naming Katherine Theresa Sinclair and David Noel Seeker as the contestants.
Allyssa signed her name with a flourish.
“Go tell Olrick I intend to laugh in his face when David wins his power.” she said as she handed the pen back to him.
Merlin did not respond to her prediction as he rolled up the scroll and left her realm in the next instant.
Allyssa walked to the edge of the atrium and leaned against one of the large columns surveying her lands. She took a deep, satisfying breath. She had no doubt her heir would soon hold the powers that could release her from this unwarranted banishment.
Olrick stood in the vast gardens of his home surveying the multitude of crops that were growing there. His empire was prospering even though it was no longer part of the known world, it was still his Atlantis. This piece of his homeland was all he could save from destruction and, like Allyssa’s, it was a living, flourishing part of Atlantis. He admitted to harbouring a small hope that one day he could join his lands with hers, to unite what was broken and bring it back into harmony.
Olrick felt the presence as it entered his world and turned just as Merlin appeared.
“Has she agreed?”
“She has.” Merlin nodded and unfurled the scroll to show Olrick the signature.
“Hand me the pen and we shall start this contest in fact.” Olrick took the pen and signed his name boldly next to Allyssa’s. He stared at it and thought of another document that should have had their combined signatures upon it and felt a pang at the loss of time and love between them, but regret was not something he dwelt upon.
“Begin the contest.” He told Merlin as he handed him back the golden pen.
Merlin lit the scroll on fire and it turned into the shape of a dove. It flew off into the unusual blue of the Atlantean sky.
“The contest has begun.” Merlin said softly as they watched the dove disappear into the horizon.
Kit barely held on to the heavy book as she turned her key in her front door juggling it along with the dinner she’d picked up at a fast food restaurant. She made it into her living room before she lost her grip and it slammed down with a thud onto her coffee table. It could stay there as far as she was concerned. She flexed her arm to get the blood flowing again and wondered if there’d be a black and blue mark on her arm tomorrow.
Two minutes after leaving that antiquated bookshop, Kit was sorry she’d purchased the book. What was she thinking? It’s a mammoth of a book and she wasn’t going to be able to bring it to class.
”Kit?” the deep male voice coming from the kitchen made her smile.
“In here, Mark,” she called back, “I hope you’re not cooking. I brought dinner so just open some wine,” she added and kicked off her shoes, more than ready to relax.
Mark Harding, her roommate, walked in carrying a bottle of white wine.
“I opened the white wine but now I see we’re having burgers I should have opened the red,” he gave her a quick smile before he placed the wine bottle down on the coffee table.
“What’s this?” He asked, his eyes narrowing on the imposing tome.
“It’s my ephemeris for Astrology class. I got it at a used book store.”
“You’re going to carry that to your class?”
“No, I’ll have to use it at home to work out chart calculations.”
“Do you have any astrology charts to do tonight?”
“Good. I’ll move it so we can eat in here.” Mark gripped the book but felt an electrical shock and dropped it back down.
“Wow, talk about static electricity, that book or the carpet must be full of it,” he said, staring at the book’s cover feeling a chill race down his spine. “That’s a spooky looking book,” he mumbled.
Kit nodded. It was a strange book, from a strange store and she had seen the little white sparks of electricity come off of it when Mark touched it.
“Just leave it there,” she told him, regretting the purchase of it, “We can use a table cloth and eat on the floor in front of the television, it’ll be cozier.”
“Ah, the lady wants romance, I’ll light some candles,” he wiggled his eyebrows at her making Kit laugh at his comical expression.
Mark had the best sense of humor and that’s why they got along so well. They’d met last year in her creative writing class. She’d been looking for a roommate; she’d needed someone to help pay half the rent. Since, the college was convenient to this neighborhood Mark loved the location, he’d been staying with a group of friends in a very tiny apartment and looking for a better place to live. It was a match made in financial heaven and surprisingly, they’d also found that they got along well.
“No candles. Let’s light the fire instead; it’s thirty degrees outside and I’m chilly.”
Later as the flame grew higher and Mark poured more wine into her glass they became engrossed in the made for TV mystery movie they’d chosen to watch and, with their backs to the book, both were unaware of the power making itself at home behind them.
The book was content to be near her even though it had been made aware of a contention to her power over it. It understood the rules of the contest and was ready and willing to be called upon to judge the contestants.
* * *
David Seager leaned back in the leather chair positioned under the Planetarium’s Observatory Telescope. The alignment of the stars tonight fascinated him and he wrote his calculations down quickly. He looked back into the lens at the heavens and felt the now familiar jolt of awareness; he admitted it still took his breath away when the vast universe called to him.
David was sensitive to changes in the atmosphere and felt the universe’s vibrations. Tonight they had never been stronger. He’d been receptive to astral vibrations since he was a small boy and he’d learned long ago to accept it as a normal ability. He’d also learned at a very young age not to trust anyone with the truth about his talent.
Tonight’s message was practically thrumming in his consciousness. An inevitable change was coming and tonight’s heavenly alignments were configured in stirring degrees, and the change he saw was imminent and it was coming to him personally.
His life was going to change. The prickling sensation down his spine occurred with the vision of the unwanted Ephemeris from his nightmares; the image overtook his thoughts and the book appeared solid in his mind’s eye.
David shuddered at the image of the old book. He didn’t seek its power, he was satisfied with all he had and wanted nothing more. It called to him and it had called to him before in dreams but he'd always ignored it. Tonight, he couldn’t shut it out.
“Hey David, are you done up there? I’m ready to close up and desperate for a cold brew.” Pete Fletcher called up from the bottom of the winding staircase that led up to the university’s telescope. Pete was the University’s head of security and allowed his friend, David, the occasional use of the observatory.
“Hang on Pete, Clive’s Tavern won’t run out of beer. I’ll be right there, I’m powering down the computer now,” David laughed at Pete’s anxiousness. He stood up and switched off the computer monitor and stretched to his full six foot height. He admitted he was ready for a cold beer himself, even though he knew it wouldn’t blur the image of that damn book.
“All right Pete, go set the alarms. I’m on my way down,” David called out and switched off the lights in the small room.
He began to walk down the stairs and half way down a pair of blue eyes pierced his thoughts; he nearly lost his footing on the last step.
“Hey you Okay?” Pete asked, seeing David stumble.
“Yeah I’m fine.” He shrugged it off but stood frozen on the step because the blue eyed image came with a whisper of a name.
“Kitten?” David said softly, questioningly. It had sounded like ‘kitten’ but if it wasn’t, it was close to it.
“What’d you say, a Keg? Yeah, I’m thirsty enough to drink a whole keg myself. So walk a little faster would you?” Pete said impatiently from the end of the hallway near the college’s front door.
David shook his head, not bothering to correct what Pete had heard him say.
David’s green eyes were troubled with the knowledge that soon he would know her name because somehow those blue eyes were connected with that book. He didn’t want any part of that book but he never questioned the knowledge he was given and it told him this was inevitable.
It was fated that he would find her…and that book.