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Dawnstorm
April 8th, 2004, 02:25 PM
"Oh, is it inconvenient? Sorry, but I don't have much time. Travelling is fast when you're not encumbered with a body, but... I do hope you're not hurt?"

"Not my blood." Mya was scrubbing at her body with a wet, rough cloth. Blood wasn't easy to get rid of. She turned and squinted at the wraith, the cloth wet in her hand. "You're back. I don't know what you want from me. I can't stop that spell. You know that."

Gilli shook her head. "This isn't about what I want from you. This is about giving you all the information you might need to make a decision when the time comes. If the time comes."

"There's news, then?" Mya dipped the cloth into the bucket. It no longer contained only water.

"The spell, as you call it. Well, it's not a spell. I've talked to an expert. It's raw magic, with a mind of its own."

Gina cocked her head to the side, paying attention.

"It protects you, and in turn you give it a shape. Unfortunately, this raw magic, it's ancient magic. Magic that eventually evolved into the magic that is everywhere today. It really shouldn't exist anymore, you know. And this is where I have no idea how to explain, because I just don't understand..."

Gilli hovered, paused. Mya rubbed at a particularly stubborn stain of blood. "Magic," she mumbled, "Who understands magic?" Gina turned her head and gave a short smile.

Gilli went on: "You see, magic almost faded, but then there was a sudden revival. One day there were no elfs, no dragons, no unicorns, and then, poof, by golly, there they were. And suddenly they've always been there." Gilli looked frustrated. "Apparantly that happened a few years ago."

"What?" Mya dropped the cloth into the bucket and stared at Gilli. Gina frowned.

"The expert, she says that magic, it exists independant from time and space, that the sum of magic is equal at all time... Don't ask me, I forget what I don't understand. Anyway, Reed and a few others played an important role in the revival of magic, and this is why this ancient magic is inherently tied to their lifetime. But nature, which includes time and space, dictates that magic begins with the beginning of time. So..."

Gilli looked like she was going to cry.

"...magic has two beginnings," Gina finished for her. "And one is now. We're witnessing the birth of magic, while, at the same time, it's been around for ages. We're caught in a paradox."

"You understand?" Gilli looked at her, hopefully.

"Kind of... No, not really. This is impossible." Gina shrugged.

Mya had stopped cleaning herself. She just stared.

Gilli sighed. "It gets worse. The expert I've consulted, she thinks that someone, she calls her 'the child of magic' might want to prevent the birth of magic. The Kult'ar might have a secret function, you know. As long as it's not used it might accumulate nascent magic. Imprison it, destroy it..."

"So, basically, someone's using magic to prevent the magic it evolved from from being born?" asked Gina.

Gilli nodded. "If the expert's right."

Gina sighed. "Never mind. Who's this child of magic?"

"She's... Well, when magic was fading, it infused a still-born child with its essence, hoping that this child will restore it to its former glory. The child had no such intentions. They found someone else, someone mortal, and withdrew their attention from their rogue child. Well, she felt deserted. And it's very likely that she still holds a grudge."

Mya shook her head. "What are our options, then?"

Gilli shrugged. "I don't know anything about magic. How do I know? Anyway, I'm off. I've got to get back to the carriage."

Richardb
April 9th, 2004, 12:00 AM
Again in the dark chamber, deep under the earth, Bass sat in the silence.

"What makes you believe they know?" Sacrifice spoke finally.

"I listened," Bass said, "but they can't possibly understand. I am afraid they are going to destroy us all, all the while thinking they are doing the right thing..."

"You must put it right, you are the avatar of..."

"I know who and what I am, and don't invoke that name lightly! We must ensure that the source of magic is destroyed, and that the bottle is there when it happens. "

Bass sighed. "Yes, we must destroy the current incarnation and re-infuse the magic with a more pure source. We must counter this stroke of the enemy, and this is the last chance."

"The aligment of forces and persons will not come again. Each is in place to play their roles in this."

"Yes," Bass answered, "the board is set. But, as a wise man recently mentioned, the board can be tipped."

"You must not let that happen. My sacrifice must not be in vain. You must survive, and you must save my daughter. The rest don't matter, not after they play their roles."

Bass lowered his head and let himself flow back through the stone to the surface camp, where Boldar snored as loudly as always.

"But they do matter. To foget that is to damn the world to a fate worse than what may come," he whispered. He then pulled Boldar's blanket back up over his hulking frame and lay down in his own blankets wondering if he could save them, how he could save them, and what the cost may be. He wanted help, wanted to bring the others in on his secrets, and yet, he just didn't know who he could trust to understand.

As he lay near to sleep, he smelled something horrible. He picked up a stick and poked Boldar in the back. Boldar grumbled. "Turn your back away from me, you big oaf, and for the sake of all the gods, move away from the fire!"

But Boldar just smiled in his sleep and started snoring again.

Jadziel
April 9th, 2004, 09:40 AM
Mystiqe rode on through the dark, following Hume and Kahn. Their progress to Dilger was slow, meandering through Yon Wood rather than taking the more direct route via the roads. Hume had insisted on the need for stealth and concealment. The locals were only now beginning to recover from the devastation wrought by the war, and were understandably suspicious of outsiders. To avoid conflict, the party rested by day, sleeping in hollows, their blankets covered with fallen leaves. At night, they rode silently through the trees, using the silvery glow of the moon as a guide.

In the far distance, the Highwall Mountains dominated the skyline, dark and foreboding. Mystiqe gazed upon them, lost in thought.

*******

"There's no time, damn it. Just go.", Mystiqe urged, pushing the rogue backwards.

"How many are out there?", Juzzza asked, searching her eyes.

"Thirty... fifty... a hundred... i don't know... it doesn't matter".

Rocks crashed against the cave entrance. Lightning streaked through the darkness outside. The sun was a faint memory. All that existed was a wasteland of mud, ashes, ruins and rubble. The 'civilised' world had fallen, plunged into a war that had no end. Whole generations had lived and died amidst the devastation. Few remembered how the war had started or knew what they were fighting for anymore. They killed and killed again, desperately trying to make it through one more day. One more day, fighting knee deep in mud, blood drenched and wounded, waking up next to the corpses of friends and lovers, seeing only flashes of fire in the distance, and dark shapes stumbling towards them in the ever blackness.

The foul smell of death pervaded the air. Clouds of poisonous gas drifted across the mountains, choking and suffocating all in their wake. Traps lay invisible in the mud, claiming victim after victim. Corpses lay abandoned where they fell, sinking into the trampled earth, the primeval nothingness. Rain lashed down, harsh and acidic, exposing bones, severed limbs, shattered armour and weapons. A child's doll lay amongst them, beheaded and mutilated.

On the far horizon, barbed wire ran across lines of dug out trenches. The last bastion of the men of the north. Still their banners flew, proud and resilient, against all odds. Grunting chants flooded the battlefield as the ogre armies clashed yet again with the exhausted defenders, driving them forever backwards. Behind the desperate fortifications, the human cities lay weak and ravaged by fever, stripped of all able fighters, weapons and armour. Tens of thousands had succumbed to the plague, whole families dying in each others arms.

A horde of ogre warriors ascended the slopes of the Highwall mountains, closing in on their prey. There was only one other route out of the caves, through a series of narrow, tight passages. The exit would emerge behind the lines of the men of the north, not far from the Crystal City.

"Come on!". Juzzza grabbed Mystiqe's hand, tugging her deeper into the cave.

"No, we won't make it if we both go", she pleaded, blue eyes flashing in the dark. "You have to get the Kul'Tar out of here. I'll hold off these b******* for as long as i can, it should give you time to escape."

"No", he snapped, "Either we both go, or we stay and fight together. I won't leave you."

Arrows whistled through the air, scraping against the slate rockface.

"We'll both be killed", she argued, yanking her hand free.

"I'll stay and fight then, you take it". Juzzza pulled a wrapped package from inside his leather jacket and thrust it towards her.

She shook her head, refusing to touch the parcel. "Juzz, look at me. I'll be killed on sight if i go any further north. You're wounded and ill with fever. You have to get to a human city. I won't let you die".

The mountain echoed with the raucous chanting and stamping boots of the ogre horde. They were waiting outside, lined up, baiting their prey with frenzied taunts, clashing their swords against their own armour. Louder and louder the chanting grew, filled with hatred.

"They'll tear you apart. You're stuck out here between men who'll slaughter you and ogres who'll... ", his words choked away. "You can't go back to Duredin..."

"I've no intention of dying, Juzz". She hugged him tightly, and felt him shaking. His face was ghostly pale with fever and blood loss. "Promise to stay alive, rogue. You can't die. I won't allow it."

"You won't survive this, Myst, you haven't got a chance in hell. Come with me, please". His blue eyes pleaded with her.

"Kill! Kill! Kill!".

The ogre commander's warcry sent shivers down Mystiqe's spine. A clattering mass of steel ploughed through the mud, charging towards the cave entrance, weapons aloft. She kissed the rogue slowly, then turned away, drawing two curved blades from sheaths on her back. Vanishing into the shadows, she emerged to strike the first ogre from behind, sliding a blade across his throat. The brute's corpse slumped to the ground at her feet.

"I love you", Juzzza shouted, voice hoarse.

She didn't respond. She was lost in a whirl of blades, cutting and parrying, stabbing and feinting. Ogres fell left and right, crashing on top of their fallen brethren, but still more came, surging forwards, surrounding the dark elf from all sides.

"You're going to give up your life for me and you still won't admit that you love me?", he shouted. "Damn it, Myst, just say it for once. This is the last time...".

"Go", she shouted back at him, "Just get the hell out of here."

He turned and ran, clutching the Kul'tar tight to his chest, unable to watch any more.

She fought on, a blur of motion, acting on instinct, without thought, always three steps ahead of the massing horde. Tears slid down her cheeks.

Holbrook
April 9th, 2004, 02:05 PM
Albert sat on the side of a small stream that meandered through Yon Wood. His boots were tucked by his side and both feet, along with a fishing line bobbed in the water. Daniel slept tucked by the side of the Hat Man. You could almost see the outline of fish in the drake’s distended belly.

“It’s all about love you know that don’t you?” Albert said softly to no one in particular. “There is nothing more powerful or destructive. Strange really the thing that creates and gives life can destroy it totally. I know, once I thought I loved someone, trusted them, taught them all I knew, helped then see the true nature of the universe.” Albert sighed and the insanity that wrapped and protected his mind fell away and he was in the maelstrom of Linstock again, two worlds and five hundred years away.

Stripped, hung in chains, using his last once of strength to free the woman chained by his side, knowing she would kill the once love to save a world, herself and the future she came from. A future that contained him, their children and grandchildren. A future he would have to survive a thousand years and a dozen worlds to reach. And in each year and each world, he would be the observer, the traveller passing through until the Gods were content he had paid his dues.

“You think they are up to it then?” Albert again addressed nothing. “You think the love is strong enough? And Juzzza, he still has to learn a number of things about himself.”

“That’s an understatement, “Daniel mumbled as he yawned and snapped open his small wings. “Does he know he is part Mage?”

“Doesn’t count old fruit, my magic is not this world’s magic won’t affect the Kul'tar. All I do is a few party tricks and illusions.” Albert said winking broadly.

“Still magic though,” Daniel huffed and belched, eyeing up the bobbing float.

Dawnstorm
April 11th, 2004, 09:55 PM
The assassin had slipped into Dilger at night, reducing the chances of discovery. The asylum had been easy to find. To find out the accomodation of his mark therein had been slightly more difficult, but no real problem. He wasn't looking forward to his job. Mentally ill people were hard to assess. While he was walking across the corridor he was recalling the list:

"The Source:

The Trigger (Aynsley Logg) - Dilger - Asylum
The Channel (Arleena D'Jyle) - moving - soon Crystal City
The Vortex (Barnabas Reed) - moving - Currently Crystal City
The Stasis (???) - ???

The Prison (Kult'ar) - ???"

A cryptic list, but his task was clear. Eliminate the Trigger.

===

"Deary me, I really blew it. I could swear you're an elf." The mark chuckled.

"That is what I am," said the assassin leaving the shadows. "You should be sleeping," he added. His mark shouldn't have noticed him. He eyed him very carefully.

"Oh, I was. I'm sedated. But I dreamt of shadows and they told me I was going to die by the hands of an elf, if I did not run." The mark chuckled again. "By an elf. Everybody knows elves don't exist."

"I exist, I assure you," the assassin said, "and so does this dart."

As the poisoned dart hit the mark in the forehead, he chuckled yet again. "Killed by an elf. Hehe... by an elf..."

A few seconds later, searching for a pulse, the assassin was content to find none.

Dawnstorm
April 11th, 2004, 10:32 PM
Damn that wraith! Leaving her alone with that garrulous fool! Arleena did her best to ignore Nasim, the Adventurer, but it was a hard task. Again and again, she found herself picking up some incredulous point he made, immediately cursing herself afterwards.

"...but Academia was undeserving of the ingenuity of Nasim, the Scholar. I have found a coded message in an ancient Drow poem. The key is based on probability."

"You found a key, based on probability?" Damn!

"Indeed, I did, fair maiden. A quarter of all 'd's and 'r's are followed by a letter that is forming a message. And half of all 'e's, too. Nasim remembers the message well: 'Beware the shadow hunters. Susy.'"

Arleena snapped to attention.

"The key equates to 'Deer'. So Nasim knows it is not a coincidence. Deer, Hunter."

Arleena stared. "You discovered a code based on probability; and they laughed at you?"

Nasim frowned. "They have scorned Nasim's brilliant discovery. They have said, it is not possible, the Drow text being older than the language that the message is written in. Impossible! These narrowminded fools had forced Nasim to endure the ignominy of ridicule. This is most incredible, do you not agree?"

Beware the shadow hunters. Suzé.

"Nasim," said Arleena, "have you considered spelling 'Deer' backwards?"

Dawnstorm
April 11th, 2004, 11:25 PM
The slow waters of Karst River joined the faster Longfin River in its journey southwards. Mistress Vexx of the Guild of Gamblers liked to come here to prepare her lessons in the Art of Confusion. Watching the ordered chaos of the eddies created by the conflux of waters was at once inspiring and calming. It would, with time, lose its lure; but the Roving Village wouldn't stay in these parts forever. Master Henshel, head of the Merchant's Association, said that business was already slowing down. And the Fabulous Yaldo, owner of the Invisible Circus has noticed a decline in visitors as well.

There was a soft "pop" in the air. Mistress Vexx' impish ears rose, listening closely. She needn't have bothered.

"What did you think, Vexxy? Huh? Setting that Sharn upon your pet?"

Vexx turned her head to look at the small, gossamer-winged dragon. "You seem upset, don't you?"

"You've set things in motion, you know." The Faerie Dragon let down beside her. "Big things. We need to call a Council meeting."

"Surely, you're exaggerating, Master Jinx?" The old imp was smiling. "Surely, Reed can deal with a gangster. He'd learned well. I was simply curious to see how well."

"Then you must have followed his progress, Vexxy." But Jinx didn't sound convinced.

Vexx threw a clawed hand in the air. "Oh, why bother. Sooner or later, Reed'll tell me himself." She frowned. "Or someone else will inform me of his death."

"Like me," said Jinx.

Vexx tilted her head, "He's dead? He couldn't even deal with Sharn?"

"Oh, he's alive. And trust me, you'll wish he wasn't!" There was an edge to Jinx' voice, out of line with the fickle nature of chaos' creatures. What was going on?

"Don't tell me, I underestimated Sharn!"

The Faerie Dragon suddenly soared, stopped and hovered right before her eyes, irritating her no end. "Forget about Sharn. How about Dark Elves? Or the Loveable Rogue Inc.? Or a powerful telepath in the possession of the Kult'ar? Or a God with a mission? And what if your pet had been scared enough to invoke the Shadows?"

Vexx frowned. "The shadows? That was such an amusing story. And he told it so..." Then, suddenly, she grinned. "That bastard. That unbelievably brilliant bastard. He's the best student you've ever sent my way, darling. Lying the truth. That's bloody brilliant!"

"You don't seem to realize that this could mean the end of the world!" Jinx retreated a few inches, giving Mistress Vexx a chance to notice his temper.

Vexx pouted. "So? Everything ends. You're no fun Master Jinx. Lived too long with that human, eh?"

Jinx calmed down. "You've never cared much for politics, have you, Vexxy?"

Vexx made a dismissive gesture. "Tedious affairs." But then she sighed, "Still, we can call the Council if you like."

Richardb
April 12th, 2004, 03:40 PM
Camped along the edge of the Krill Bay, and only about a day out from Crystal City, Boldar sat staring out over the dark waters, slowly receeding over a long mud flat.

"Bass, I just can't keep up."

Bass eyed him. "Keep up, come now, Boldar, I really do think you could outpace all of these youngersters, and still have a good fight at the end of the trail!"

"It's not that, it the complexity of the damned thing. I can't keep up. I came along for fun, and perhaps a bit of excitment. I don't even know what we are doing anymore, its all become so twisted..."

Bass nodded his head. "Yes, I suppose it has. Perhaps when we reach the Crystal City, we can get everyone together and figure out just who is up to what, and try to get all the undercurrents mapped out. As a matter of fact, I may even have a few secrets to tell."

Boldar looked at Bass. "You've always had secrets, Bass. Its not your secrets that worry me, however."

"Perhaps they should, big man."

Boldar just shrugged, and sat in the dark alone with his thoughts.

juzzza
April 13th, 2004, 06:05 AM
Boldar was staring at the moon's reflection upon the water, every now and then a fin or bubble would break the surface, catching the giant's attention.

He looked over his shoulder at the fire and shook his head, out here they were too visible to be lighting fires, but that damned cook had barked orders at some of the other men and they had built the fire at haste.

He shrugged, if they came, they came. He was ready for a fight now, the politics, talk of magic and worlds ending, was too much for his black and white philosophy to unravel. He looked over at Juzzza and grunted, young pup and his secrets. He liked the man but didn't like to be anyone's puppet, not even as a mercenary for hire. He needed to believe in the cause and whilst he had started this journey, seeing it as his last battle, with no intention of returning alive, the romantic notion was starting to wear off.

He looked across at Mya and Gina and smiled, those girls had spirit, especially the big one.

He looked passed the girls to the young men of the LRI, they seemed like boys to Boldar, un-tested and green. He laughed to himself, what on earth was he playing at? He suddenly felt very old and foolish.

Boldar stood up quickly and drew his sword. Someone was coming, he couldn't hear them but he had an internal sense of danger and his stomach lurched.

He looked over at Mya and she held a hand up to Gina to stop her companion from talking, wondering what the giant was up to.

Then the camp heard them. Cavalry, and they stormed into the camp firing dark-feathered arrows at the LRI.

Boldar cursed and ran towards the attackers. Dark elves. An arrow took a man in the throat and he fell into the fire screaming. The giant saw Gina slice into a rider, knocking him from his saddle, the warrior moved in quickly to finish the elf.

An arrow thudded into the ground by his feet and Boldar ran forward, his war-cry howling above the clatter of steal and horses' hooves. He sliced his blade into the neck of the nearest horse and it reared, falling to the ground on top of its rider. The giant stepped over the dying animal and sliced his blade into the elf, cleaving skull.

An arrow took him in the shoulder and he growled, pulled the shaft clear and threw it to the ground. Two riders galloped towards him, they slipped gracefully from their saddles, dark, curved blades in their hands.

Boldar sliced into the first warrior, almost taking his head from his shoulders, the second elf stabbed at the giant but Boldar side-stepped and elbowed him hard, catching the elf at the temple. The elf fell to the floor and didn't move.

A man screamed and Boldar ran towards the youngsters who were slicing at the attackers but the bowmen were picking them off one by one.

"Bass!" he yelled and looking over his shoulder as he ran he saw his companion casting. A blue fire swept across the camp and engulfed the archers, the horses reared in pain and the screams from the beasts and their riders were stomach turning. Boldar grinned, "bastards," he said.

Mya was pinned by the water's edge by two swordsmen and Boldar was about to help her when he saw Gina slice a dagger into the throat of one man and when the other turned to face her, Mya thrust her blade into his back and through his chest. The elf fell to his knees, blood spraying from his mouth.

The giant turned and blocked a vicious slice at his face, he grabbed the elf around the throat and lifted him from his feet. Dropping his sword to the ground, Boldar grabbed the man by the groin and lifted him above his head then turning, he threw him screaming onto the fire.

He watched as the chef parried a dark sword with a pot and then brained his attacker with a large ladle. The elf staggered back and the youngster, Terk, cut him down with his short sword.

Arrows sliced the air and Boldar ducked, and retrieved his sword. He looked behind him and saw Juzzza take three arrows in the chest. The man took a step forward and two more shafts thudded into the Loveable Rogue. Boldar swore and ran towards him.

Another spell split the air and rippled across the camp, elves screamed and horses whinnied and then the battle was over.

Two elves rode off into the darkness, leaving twenty of their comrades behind either dead or dying.

Boldar knelt by Juzzza and placed the back of his hand at his throat. The Rogue coughed and his lips were stained red with blood. Mya ran forward and kneeling, she placed a cloak behind the head of the fallen leader of the LRI.

"Sh*t," she said.

Juzzza looked up at her and smiled.

"Sorry," he said and died.

Boldar reached across and closed the Rogue's eyes then looked over at Mya. Gina and Bass had moved in close and the group stood silently staring at their leader's body.

Boldar stood up and looked around the camp, he could count seven other LRI casualties. The chef and Terk walked forward, battle weary and covered in blood.

"What the hell do we do now?" asked Gina mystified.

"Juzzza is dead and he is the only one who knows the damn plan," added Mya.

"No he isn't and no he isn't," said a voice from the shadows. The group turned to face the source and wearing a splendid hat, Albert stepped forward. For once, his smile was not present.

"Unfortunate," he added, looking down at Juzzza.

"You could say that," said Boldar sarcastically.

"What did you mean no he isn't?" asked Bass. "What is going on?"

The smile returned to Albert's face and he walked over to the body of one of the dark elves.

"The truce is over," he said.

"What truce?" demanded Boldar.

"Between humans and Derudin. It seems the threat of the Kult'ar is too great for the emperor, these are his men. Belaris would have sent assassins, and assassins don't ride in on horse-back."

"Then it's over," said Boldar, "for the LRI anyway, Juzzza is dead."

"As I have said, no he isn't. That my friends, is the body of Hume. A necessary deception. The man you were all lead to believe to be Juzzza was in actual fact Hume and the man you believe to be Hume, is actually Juzzza. Juzzza is with Mystiqe and Kahn as we speak."

"I knew something was wrong," said Gina, "the way that Juzzza and Mystiqe were with each other... I knew it."

"This is bullsh*t," said Boldar angrily, "we have all been lied to from the start."

"That is so Boldar, but as I have said, it was a necessary deception, even your enemies believe this man to be Juzzza and the two riders who are returning to Derudin will report it as so to the emperor. Word will spread to Belaris and even Danika. This will give the other half of the LRI a much greater chance of succeeding."

"But surely someone knows who the real Juzzza is?" said Mya.

"No they don't," said Bass, "Only Myst, Danika and Tularis, who is dead anyway... And I am guessing that Kahn and Mik knew the truth."

"You are correct Bass, and now perhaps it is time to share your secret with your colleagues, your part in this journey is far from over," said Albert looking at each of the survivors in turn. "The fun is only just beginning."

juzzza
April 13th, 2004, 08:46 AM
"I am sorry," said Albert.

Juzzza sighed and turned away from the Hat Man.

"Well, he knew the risks but he was a good man, I will miss his guidance and his humour," said Juzzza.

"As we suspected, the emperor has broken the truce, that means the Imperial guards will be forced into alert however, neither side will risk an all-out war, instead the race will be on to recover the Kult'ar," said Albert, not allowing Juzzza to dwell on the loss of his friend.

"Any news on Mik and Crom?" asked Juzzza.

"They are with Danika's brother, a little charred around the edges but otherwise unharmed."

"Then Boldar and the others should continue to the Crystal City, Mik knows the second phase of the deception," said Juzzza.

"Why are you here Albert?" the Rogue added.

"The balance of course," he replied. "There are many worlds Juzzza but only one sum of magic to go round... This world of yours is like a sponge, because of items like the Kult'ar and the lost bottle, not to mention the Shadows... No world should have so many catalysts. The more magic this place consumes, the less magic there is for the other worlds. Something needs to be done."

"And would you care if this world was destroyed?" asked Juzzza.

"Not particularly, the magic would be evenly distributed again, you can never destroy magic my boy, just shuffle it around. Although I have to admit, this place is fascinating and is keeping me occupied for the time being. You have everything here!" laughed Albert, "Dragons, sorcery, Elves, you even have fairies! There are also some interesting characters who shouldn't be here, such as Reed. They are travellers like myself but are delving too deeply and should know better... And I thought I was quite mad."

"Well I am glad my world amuses you," said Juzzza dryly. "My friends die and unfortunately for them and myself, we can't skip into another world when things get a little rough, this is the only world we have," said Juzzza.

"Oh come now lad, don't be so sure about that," said Albert grinning, "you may surprise yourself at what you can achieve."

"Do you know what is going to happen?" asked Juzzza.

"I know what may happen lad, I've seen many futures, many outcomes but just what actually transpires is the mystery that keeps me here... That and some family ties and a great affection for the tea-leaves that grow in the North."

"What are you exactly, a wizard, a mage... A God?"

Albert laughed, "Come now my boy, I've never liked labels, I'm just a traveller."