Ryne reached his hand up to scratch his cheek, then caught himself and resisted. He hadn’t had time to shave before heading out that morning on the seven-hour drive up to the man’s estate. He glanced around the display room. The man he was meeting was a private collector of artifacts. And Ryne was waiting in what appeared to be a preparation room of sorts. The man had the skeletal head of some dinosaur lying on the ground on a plastic sheet. On the same sheet were some tools like brushes and something that looked like the tool dentists use to scrape tartar off teeth. On a nearby wooden work bench was one of the original prop ray guns used in that popular 70’s science fiction adventure show that Ryne used to watch with his grandfather when he was a kid. He wondered what his grandfather would make of the place. Gramps never did approve of private collectors. As a young man, Ryne’s grandfather had come across some rare artifacts while on holiday. He could have legally kept them and sold them, but he chose to donate them to a local museum.
He had instilled in Ryne a love of museums and old artifacts, a respect for the past and those who came before. Ryne ignored the items in the work room. He had come for a rarer treasure. A myth come to life. That was his specialty. It was his passion. It was his life’s work. And in this particular case, he had another reason for wanting the artifact he sought. For he had a promise to keep. He’d been seeking the artifact for almost five years. The Shield of the Rainheralds. Continue reading
“They were known as the Queens of Time,” Gramps said. “There were three of them, one for each of the keys.”
Ryne looked forward and up to where his grandfather pointed. On the wall was a small glass case and mounted inside were three ornate keys. They looked similar, though the designs were slightly different. Each key was made of metal with a polished oval stone set in the middle. One stone was red, like coral or jasper. Another was green like jade. And the third was black, like onyx or obsidian. Continue reading
No, not his dream. His dreams hold no answers that make sense. It’s possible his dreams don’t hold any answers at all. Not the ones we need to find her.
It’s her dreams we need. It’s the link we need. He had something of hers from the island. But he lost it on his way to rescue. He lost it in the delirium of dehydration. Now he has only his memories, his dreams, his desperate hope. And to help him, I have only the Abacus.
“Will a ring do? It’s small enough. It won’t be a hindrance.”
“No,” said the queen of the northern kingdom. “It must be something that won’t fall off in battle.” Her maidservant had brought a great many fine things into the chamber for consideration. Rings, diadems, collars. She did not know the queen’s purpose and therefore could not judge what article would be best suited for that purpose.
The northern queen moved to the table of arms. Weapons and armor could be damaged during battle, removed and tossed aside. Helms, shields, swords, lances, breastplates, greaves. The queen considered them all and she rejected them all. But when she reached the gauntlets, she lingered on them.
A glove would do, she thought. A glove for each, underneath the gauntlet. Continue reading