The Golden Globes of Light: Part Two
I have to admit, Ky really had outdone herself this time. In addition to causing a commotion that thoroughly embarrassed both Master Vex and yours truly, she had stumbled on to a genuine opportunity. The information in the remaining books was amazing; I could barely resist diverting my attention from my work and settling down to read. Even so, I had managed to find about five pages worth of notes in some of the books that I skimmed through. I would have little trouble finding enough information to write my essay, but I found that there was much more to the Citadel than I could ever analyze. I was rather surprised to find that there actually were cookbooks in the Citadel library. They weren’t conventional, of course, but they did explain how to make some rather delicious sounding dishes, so I stacked them in the pile of books to be set aside and read more thoroughly later. Glancing up from my work, I noticed that my sister had not been able to refrain from getting off task. I frowned, and nearly jumped when Kassiel nudged me. Raising an eyebrow at my reaction, he whispered, “What is she doing? I know she likes to read, but she has been looking at that one book for nearly twenty minutes.”
For some reason, this startled me. It wasn’t like Ky to ponder over a book for that long. Something was wrong... I picked up one of the books as a pretense for asking for advice and strolled over to my sister. When I gently shook her, she didn’t seem startled, but looked up in confusion. “Tell me, Shriek,” she said in an unnaturally calm voice as she held up the book to me, “is this door familiar to you? Or anything on it?” At first I thought she was joking. Why would I recognize something in a book that was already thousands of years old in the time continuity outside of Meridell, and probably still several centuries old even within the Lisha Loop? When I saw the picture, however, I nearly fainted from shock.
Perhaps I should explain something to you. In addition to being a skilled storyteller (even if she had not had any success with the Neopian Times yet), my sister is somewhat of a craftspet. After defeating the first level of NeoQuest, she had decided to research into the field of the making of certain kinds of trinkets. After a great deal of practice, she had made six unique rings. She gave one to Ash, one to Kassiel, one to me, and she had kept one for herself. I didn’t know whom she had given the remaining two rings to, but that wasn’t what was on my mind. The object of my concern was the fact that the very same design that sat on the ring I was wearing, the design that was one of a kind and no more than two years old, that exact design was sitting right in front of me in a book that was practically falling apart with age. I looked uneasily at my ring, and held it up to the picture for comparison. The images were identical.
I looked back over at Ky. She looked quite pale, and I couldn’t blame her. She always had a runaway imagination, but she was still very practical. The sight of one of her designs in an ancient book must have been quite a shock. With a slight grimace, I pulled her to her feet and marched right up to Master Vex. The Mynci raised a scarred eyebrow at my manner, but didn’t comment. I held the book out to him, and he took it from me. As he looked at the cover and the picture of the door, I asked, “Do you know how old this book is?”
He gave me a slight look of surprise, and my heart sank as I noticed that he looked uneasy as well. “Yes,” he said slowly, “I do know how old this book is, but I am quite frankly surprised to see it. This is the oldest book the Citadel ever had, and apparently it still exists. It is said that this book dates back to the Founding of the Darigan Citadel, which was at least five thousand years ago.”
Ky would have fainted had I not been holding her up with a grip of iron. “Are you sure? I mean, that this is real?” I said in a choked voice.
Master Vex nodded his head. “I am completely satisfied that it is genuine. There is a picture of a legendary door that is enchanted to appear only to citizens of the Darigan Citadel, and such spells were lost long ago.”
“But Master Vex, we saw the picture of the door, and we were born on Terror Mountain,” I protested. By this time, the rest of the group had crowded around to see what was so interesting. Master Vex waved his hand for room, and everyone took a step back.
“That is highly unlikely,” he said with a frown. Everyone had completely forgotten the original mission and began to contribute suggestions. Master Vex got a pained look on his face and raised a hand for silence.
Suddenly, Lilly piped up. I must admit that I jumped, because I hadn’t heard her speak since we left Meridell. “I can see the picture too, sir. It is a door of gold that has twelve stones on it, each with a different symbol. And one of the symbols looks like this,” she added, displaying a ring not too different from my own. One by one, the six of us displayed our rings next to the picture of the door. Each ring had a corresponding stone in the picture, and the designs were identical to the smallest detail. Master Vex looked like he was about to faint.
“This is extremely unusual. I suppose since you can see the picture of the door, you can also tell me its location on the Citadel,” he said with a hint of disbelief and sarcasm.
Alex shook her head. “No, but we could follow the map,” she offered helpfully. Everyone stared at her. “What?” she protested. “There is a map in the back of the book.”
Master Vex quickly turned to the back of the book. “I don’t see anything,” he scowled. I blinked in surprise, because I found myself looking at what appeared to be a blueprint of the Citadel dungeons.
Celestial cleared her throat. “We have been researching for several hours. Now would be a good time to take a break. We could try to find the door; it is rumored that there are treasures of great worth behind it.”
Master Vex glanced at Lilly. “Alright, we’ll follow this map of yours. But I swear, if this is all an elaborate hoax...” He let his tone speak for itself.
Ky led the march through the dungeons because she was the best at reading maps. I was relieved that she knew where she was going, because the path was extremely complex. After a while, we left the portion of the dungeons that was lit by torches; as soon as it became too dark to go on, however, our rings blazed with enough light to make a light faerie jealous. This solidified our feelings of unease, and Master Vex had unsheathed his dagger. To my great amazement, his dagger was glowing as well.
Other than the sounds of our footsteps and our breathing, our journey was completely silent. We seemed to have been walking forever; the further we progressed, the more sinister everything looked. The shadows almost seemed to take on a form of their own, and there was even a mist in the air. It all felt like we were some sort of storybook characters. I was not pleased. There was something about the entire ordeal that screamed danger, a sort of pattern. The fact that it was probably staring right in front of my face did not help one bit in grasping what it could possibly be. Before I could ask anyone else if they noticed anything strange, we arrived at the door.
The Door of the Founders is breathtaking. I don’t know why it is called a door, since there are no handles or knobs of any kind; it is all one smooth slab of marble. In the middle of the door, there were twelve stones arranged in a circle; six of them I recognized. Using the design of a Techo Clock, I shall describe them here.
At the position of noon, there was an oval sapphire with a picture divided into four parts: the burning landscape of the Lost Desert to symbolize sand, the depths of Maraqua (albeit the Maraqua that stood long, long ago) to symbolize the sea, the frozen tundra of Terror Mountain to symbolize the snow, and a serene group of clouds and open air to symbolize the sky. This picture corresponded to Ky’s ring.
At one o clock, there was another oval; an emerald. On the emerald there was a set of scales in equilibrium. The scales were blue with jagged streaks of yellow. I suppose this symbolized rational judgment. That would make sense, seeing the corresponding ring belonged to Lilly.
At two o clock, there was a third oval, a stunning ruby. Not surprisingly, the symbol on the ruby was the shield of Meridell. This stone matched to Alex’s ring, and I could not help but find the irony of the stone it sat next to.
At three o clock, there sat a brilliant diamond shaped tanzanite with a picture of two spears crossed over a circular black and white shield that was ringed with purple. This was the symbol of the Eyrie Guard, so the placement of it right next to the Shield of Meridell was probably a deliberate irony, and Kassiel did not seem amused that the symbol of his ring was placed in such a way.
At four o clock sat a diamond shaped amethyst. The symbol it portrayed was rather simple, and not very clear; for some reason, my sister had chosen to make Ashiel a ring that had the symbol of a compass on it. I never understood why, and seeing Ashiel’s symbol on a larger scale did not make the intent any clearer.
At five o clock, there sat a diamond shaped ruby that was flaming with such intensity that I had to squint to see the picture on it. Sure enough, there was a picture of the Citadel, the Citadel as it once was, long ago. In the background, my first initial was displayed twice; forward and backward, so that if I wanted to use my ring as a seal, it would be symmetrical.
The next six stones were ones that I did not recognize, but the symbols were of the same style as the first six were. At six o clock, there was another oval; a black pearl. The only things on the pearl were a simple ring with a dot in the middle and a large brown “X” superimposed in the background, very similar to the manner that my red “S” was displayed (only there was just one “X” instead of two, probably because “X” is symmetrical and “S” is not), which was a strong indicator that whoever the symbol corresponded to had a name that began with “X”.
At seven o clock there was another diamond shaped ruby, only this one was clouded and dull. A wicked looking staff that was emitting bolts of lightning was centered on it, but there were no initials. For some reason, both the staff and the ring on the previous stone looked annoyingly familiar, but I could not say why.
The stones at eight, nine, and ten o clock were connected by a ghastly looking current of energy. The stones were cracked and dull, but glowed with the same color as the current that connected them. I shivered again, and the feeling that there was a pattern right before me was almost overwhelming, but I still did not recognize the danger for what it was. At eight o clock there was a simple dagger, covered in what definitely was not rust. Nine o clock boasted an evil looking throne. The stone at ten o clock displayed only piles of gold coins. I really should have recognized what was going on by then, but I couldn’t think properly.
At eleven o clock there was a spherical pearl that displayed a red amulet on a golden chain. The amulet looked familiar, but I did not understand why. At last, I gazed at the scene in the center of the circle of the twelve stones. I cried out in astonishment as I finally understood what was going on, but I was too late. A cold laughter filled the air, and the twelve stones pulsed with energy, the energy from the stones of The Three spreading out and encompassing all the stones. The picture in the middle became a portal to another dimension, and I knew that The Three were about to be freed. I did not know what to expect, but I certainly did not expect what happened next.
Master Vex suddenly threw his dagger at the portal. It stopped right between the two dimensions, and crackled with energy that became a very strong barrier. The energy from the stones abruptly began to streak toward the dagger in the pattern of a spiral. The light from the rings diverted into beams of energy and ran right through the dagger, causing the entire hallway to be filled with an eerie light. Then, before anyone could move, the energy lashed out and enveloped the six of us. Master Vex and Celestial cried out, but they could do nothing as we were dragged through the portal to another time and place....
To be continued...