Tobal Kane curled up in a dark corner of the Airbus and looked out upon a moonlit night. It was the 18th of February and the full moon cast a soft light on the snow covered landscape far below. There were no clouds and he could see stars twinkling like diamonds in the night sky. It was one of those rare nights that you want to remember for the rest of your life and he was trying to impress the smallest details into his soul forever. He was leaving the only home he had ever known and he was not going back.
He felt the vibration and hum of the airbus against his back and below he saw the lights of New Rome growing smaller and receding into the distance. He was lost in his thoughts. The airbus was relatively empty and he was left to himself.
It had been a simple matter to purchase his own ticket to New Seattle. There were no flights into Old Seattle and that was the closest he could get. He simply booked a flight for a few hours later than the one he was supposed to be on. Uncle Harry hadn't even seen him off at the airport. He had sent the driver instead and the driver dropped him off outside the terminal. Money hadn't been a problem since he had a spending allowance and he had cautiously supplied himself with enough cash to stay for a week or two in Old Seattle if he needed to. Since he would be paying cash Uncle Harry should never find out. He thought he had enough Euros to cover any expenses that might come up.
The Euro was the global currency acceptable in all city-states around the world since the establishment of the Federation. He was carrying almost five thousand Euros and also had a credit card his uncle had given him for emergencies. As long as his expenses were reasonable his uncle had always picked up the tab. Tobal was determined to find the Antiquities Shop if it still existed. He was also determined his uncle would never know about it. Nervously he touched his jacket pocket and made sure the letter was still there. He could feel the weight of the medallion around his neck.
Staring out the window into the night Tobal thought about his parents and what uncle Harry had told him. He hardly remembered them at all, just vague memories without proof they were even real. They had been mysteriously killed when he was only two years old. His parents had been working on a classified project but something had gone wrong and they never came back alive. Their bodies had been found floating in a nearby lake. The investigation had officially listed the cause of death as accidental drowning even though his uncle said his parents were both strong swimmers.
His uncle would never talk about his parents and whenever Tobal asked his uncle would change the subject. There was no one else that Tobal could ask . His uncle had known his parents and worked with them. He didn't remember his aunt Lilly unless she was that woman he remembered swimming with uncle Harry the day he had seen the tattoo. Uncle Harry wouldn't talk about her either. She had been killed in the same mysterious accident that crippled his uncle.
It was all very mysterious and now he was flying into the night headed for some "forbidden city" his parents wanted him to go to. It was the only thing they had ever asked of him. It was their dying wish and he would do just what they asked. He fingered the medallion. There was a calm power coming from it that relaxed him, especially because it was a gift from them.
The flight from New Rome to New Seattle was long and uneventful. There had been several stop overs at other city-states along the way. At last he dozed fitfully. The sky was getting lighter but the sun was still under the horizon when he woke up. It was about 5:30 in the morning when the airbus touched down at the terminal in New Seattle.