By Alicia Steen
The three princes stare at two large double doors of heavy stone with a lock of crystal magic sealing them. The doors are too large to move, and the magic sealing them makes breaking the obstacle unreasonable. As the lock itself is made of a single magic crystal, and an inactive one at that, bypassing the lock or shattering it likewise unattainable.
There is no way inside but to activate the crystal lock with the required spell.
“No doubt, this crystal requires flawless activation of White Judgment,” James says as he crouches to examine the lock closely. He stands. “The master spell handed down through the Gathyran princes.”
“Have not you three already performed it?” Jeske asks.
Mykl shakes his head. “Performed? Yes. Mastered? Far from it. Full execution requires activation of all three parts.”
“We’ve only done two parts at a time,” James continues. “Parkr’s senses pick up every nuance of the spell, so the last person has their hands full managing the focus of the group.”
“None have executed the full spell for generations, so perhaps the secret lies in increasing the number of persons involved.” All eyes turn to Parkr. He explains, “All the traps we’ve met until now were designed to force different pairs of people to work together. A team of only three could not have come this far.”
Jeske nods. “It could work.”
The three princes join their magic together; then Synrn, Jeske, and Kyle connect theirs. When the spell is ready, Parkr, Mykl, and James add the last components in turn: spells embedded deeply in their own crystals, the proof of their title.
“And the One who governs both.”
The various colors of their magic come together in purest white and pierce the lock. The double doors grind open, revealing a rounded room with a single stone coffin in the center. Three beams of light shine on the coffin, also illuminating a pedestal beside it. On the pedestal, preserved from time, rests a letter from King Cenryr himself. James reads:
To the Champions of the Next Age,
You truly at a place foreseen by few and longed for by many. Heed well my words, those of my blood, and the warriors who accompany them. Shadow shall not hold dominion over the worlds forever, but when times have reached their fullness the Ancient of Days shall move against it. However, the Ancient of Days will not act alone. He will call champions to his side, that through them his power may be made manifest in the worlds.
If you have heard the call of the Ancient of Days, do not delay! Give him an answer, yea or nay, for you may refuse his call as you will, as the Ancient of Days delights in creating purpose, not destiny. Nevertheless, if you would listen to the advice of an old man, who once was young, never in all my years of service has the Ancient of Days forsaken his own. My own choice to follow him into the unknown is one I would never change, even given a thousand chances.
I have traveled on each of the three Sentinels, in Jeshrun, Gathyra, and Nilonia, and here in this chamber are weapons of the former age which I was granted to discover. If they may be of help, take them and wield them in your own travels.
His service is not easy, but neither in all the worlds is there anything that compares.
King Cenryr, First of Gathyra
Soft grindings open more beams of light, which shine on four shelves carved from the stone wall. On each is an ancient magical weapon. Synrn examines the first, a red double-edged sword. The inscription below reads:
This is the blade of the former Phoenix Lord, who perished in despair in the RedStone of Jeshrun, the first Sentinel. You who take up this blade, may you meet this despair and conquer it.
Jeske finds a lamp on the fourth shelf. At first it looks like an ordinary lamp, but upon closer examination engravings upon its clear surface make it anything but ordinary. The inscription below this one reads:
This is the watchman’s lamp of the former Eihn Lord. Great is the burden of the one who carries this, for the watchman who sees danger and fails to warn his peers is guilty of their shed blood, though he raises not his sword.
Kyle moves toward a crown on the third shelf. The work of a master goldsmith, this crown needs no jewels to prove its excellence. Below it reads:
This is the crown of the former Leviathn Lord, king of the seas, who forsook his power for bread. May his example be a warning to you, that you not hold the favor of the Ancient of Days in contempt.
Mykl moves to the second and last shelf, which holds a mighty sword. The inscription below causes him to ponder before he claims the blade. It reads thus:
This is the weapon of the former Eihn Lord, murdered by Lord Dragon on the towers of Ariel, the shining city of Jeshrun. Stained with blood that cries for justice, that city shines no more. This weapon holds testimony against Lord Dragon, that his cause is founded in blood.
In silence the six future champions leave the chamber, for King Cenryr has given each much to ponder in coming times.