Lily Landry opened her eyes and immediately squinted. She noticed the sounds just as quickly as she noticed that the light shining through her window did not reach all the dark corners of her bedroom. Those sounds, like some kind of industrial machine. She searched her sleepy mind and found the reference. Jet propulsion? And wind. She flipped aside her covers and donned her slippers and robe. She walked out onto the balcony of her third-floor apartment, holding a hand up to her eye as she squinted up at the source of the light. It was too bright. She couldn’t see anything beyond it. Before she could think another thought, she was swept off her feet. She gasped as she started floating upward into the light.
Chloe glanced again at the handsome man who was lingering at a sculpture. The sculpture was a caryatid, a column shaped like a woman, in this case, a celestial being. He gazed up at the stone carving of the heavily robed Herald of the Gods. The Herald too seemed to gaze down at him. She pointed up to the heavens with a hand that held a scroll, the scroll upon which was written the spell that brought the world into being. Her other arm bent gracefully behind her head. The sculptor had captured the moment just before the herald unrolled the scroll and read the spell. The moment when she stretched after a long journey from the center of creation to its outer edge, where the gods had deigned the mortal world should be placed. The moment before she spoke the spell and the world bloomed into existence.
Marcus watched as the thief pulled a cylinder from her pack that was the size of her forearm. He wondered if that was it. She uncapped the cylinder and pulled out a roll of parchment. Marcus held his breath. But when the thief, Lily, glanced up at him and saw his expression, she smirked.
“This isn’t it,” she said. Then she sighed. Her hand flicked to her collar and suddenly there was something in her hand. It was only the size of her longest finger. A fine bit of parchment, it seemed. Nothing special. But that was it. She was the one, the Only Honorable Thief. And that bit of parchment was it.
The Protean Scroll.