[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Chapter 15

TemLe Kyra stood outside of the gates and watched as the Landale made a somewhat uneasy landing. She wondered what had caused them to decide to practically land on the Mansion itself. The Landale had some trouble finally coming to a rest on the icy surface. Then the protectors walked out to the ramp that lead out of the Landale.

Chaz turned towards Wren. "Wren, I want you to stay here. Keep an eye out for those ships, and make sure the Landale doesn't slide down the mountain on this ice."

"Roger."

"Hey, his name's Chaz, not Roger you silly little android."

"A joke that bad," said Chaz with a smile, "could only come from Raja."

Raja came up and gave Chaz a big bear hug and everyone gave there greeting and such, but then Kyra ended the happy little reunion with a simple, honest question.

"Hey, where's Rune?" she asked.

The mood immediately took a nose-dive into The Edge.

"Let's get inside," said Chaz finally, "We need to talk."

-------------------------

Michael Steiner docked with the Kuran docking bay. Something was bothering him, he didn't what it could possibly be, but something wasn't right. He looked down at the Eclipse Torch, it had gotten very dim. Could that be it?

FLASH!

The Eclipse Torch suddenly become very bright, but just for a very brief instant. Juza sat back in the pilot's seat...

He looked around. He was on Motavia. How can that be? It couldn't have been the Torch could it? He decided to investigate, try and investigate, but he couldn't move! He saw a large fountain in the middle of the square. It looked very familiar somehow. He couldn't quite place it. The scene shifted to the left, he still couldn't move. Then the sight before him would have frozen him in place, if he wasn't frozen there already.

Michael stood there and yet, he was looking at himself. He was smiling, Michael couldn't remember the last time he had done that. But, there was something else, or should I say someone else. A beautiful woman, a beautiful and very -pregnant- woman wearing a comfortable Blue Robe that wrapped around her elegant body came out of the house that Michael was apparently standing in front of.

She kissed him on the cheek, "Do you have to leave today?" she asked.

He turned and looked at her, all the while Michael watched feeling an unusual feeling of contentment, Michael kissed her back, "Now Holly, you know as well as I do, that if we want our child to have food, then I'm going to have to make a living. And, as of today, I'm old enough to join the guild."

"I know. But, we have so much....catching up to do." She leaned forward and kissed him again.

"Oh. You are making it so hard to leave."

"I know. That's my job," she said with a laugh.

He laughed with her and gave her another kiss. "Holly, I DO have to go. Not for you, and not for me." He then put his hand on her stomach as if he could touch the unborn baby. She put her hand on his. "I know. Go on. I'll be waiting. Now you get on over to that guild."

He smiled down at her, he didn't want to leave, but he knew that he had to. "I'll back back before supper," he said.

"You better be," she said.

"Uncle Mike! Uncle Mike!" shouted a very enthusiatic nephew.

"Take it easy Tom," said Michael.

{Wait a second, Chaz's new partner, his name is....NO! It can't be.}

"Uncle Mike, will you take me on a tour of the guild some day?" asked the youth.

"Maybe when you're older." Both Michael and Holly laughed. "I'll be back."

"Hurry, my love."

"Oh, will you two stop with the mushy stuff!" shouted Tom.

They both laughed and kissed each other good-bye, much to Tom's disgust. Little did Michael realize that he had kissed his wife for the very last time.

{Wait a second. I'm starting to remember know. This happened to me, this actually was me. I had forgotten this somehow, for some reason.}

The scene suddenly shifted to the guild. Michael had just been accepted into the guild. Steiner was a relatively famous name due to the Agent and the Guardian that had helped destroy the Mother Brain Computer. So, he became Hunter Rick Stouffer. He didn't know why he had decided to change his name, yet he had changed it none the less. He was with a couple of friends.

"OH, look at the time. I gotta get back home."

"Oh, the little man has to go back to his mommy."

"Yeah, the little...." WHACK!

The second man was on his back at the blunt force of Michael's fist.

"Hey, there take it easy," said the first one.

"Yeah, we were just havin' some fun," said the second one getting up.

"Tell you what," said the first "We'll buy you a drink, No hard feelings."

"Well...."

"Come on, what harm could possibly come of it."

"Well, OK."

The scene then switched back to his home. He saw his wife working on supper that he was going to be late for. Her brother from Zema walked in.

"Hey sis, I thought I the doctor told you to stay in bed."

"Well, I can't let Mike have a cold supper."

"So, you actually think he's going to home on time?" her brother asked.

"What do you have against him?" she asked.

"Nothing. It's the Hunters that I don't trust."

"Listen, you have to understand that...."

KA-BOM!

Outside there were explosions and screams everywhere. A sinister man stood up and pointed at houses.

"Another Gate!"

A wave of dark energy shot out and disintegrated a house, taking its occupates with it. Michael wanted to shout out, he wanted to do something, but all he could do was watch. He tried to turn his head away from the carnage, to close his eyes, but he couldn't even do that. All he could do was watch.

A wave of solders came through, slaughtering the people there, torching houses, doing whatever it took to make sure that noone got out alive. The scene shifted over to his house. Michael tried desperately to move, but he couldn't. Then what he saw was enough to make him want to vomit. He saw his wife, or at least, what was left of her. She moved slowly, but she was still alive. She reached towards the sinister man.

"H...h...help....me" she said weakly.

"Oh, you poor thing. Nafoi!"

A fireblast shot straight down at her, killing her instantly. Michael now had tears streaming down his face. An image of Zio then appeared beside the sinister man.

"Report."

The sinister man turned and his face had come into full view.

{By the light! This can't be!}

Juza smiled. "Everything went perfectly. I think that your message to this planet got through. At least to these Molcum folks. HaHaHa!"

Zio didn't even smile. He just nodded his approval and disappeared.

Then all of the solder had disappeared and all of the fires were out. Michael stood over two graves, one of his wife, the other of his unborn child.

"I...I don't know what to say." He then turned and walked right up to where Michael was standing, observing the whole thing.

Michael wondered {Can he see himself me? Wait a second, he IS me! Boy this is getting weird.}

"Michael," said Michael, "you can't blame yourself. If you would have gone back like you should have then you'd be dead too."

Michael was without words. He then looked over at a hospital bed. He was looking at the man that he had put in the hospital. It's what got him kicked out of the guild. He had black hair and a scar on his left cheek, just like Juza does.

{What have I done! I must have blocked this whole thing out of my memory.} He was then filled with an uncontrollable rage.

JJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!

He sat back up in the cockpit of his ship. The entire incident had only taken but a couple of seconds. He looked over at the Eclipse Torch that now eminated the same amount of light that it usually does.

"You did that didn't you?"

"Kuran to shuttle. You have it?" asked one of Lassic's wizards.

Michael turned on his monitor. He decided that if he was going to avenge his family, then he would have to wait, grit his teeth, and just wait for him to get close enough to Juza. He remembered something else too. Michael had given his nephew a sword, he told him that when he was old enough to wield it, Michael would teach his young nephew, much to his mother's disappointment. And when he returned to find that his village had been burned to the ground, lying beside his late-wife was the very same sword, it had been discarded and left. It was burnt and it had some blood on it. He had assumed him to be dead at the time, and yet he was helping Chaz and Rika.

He held up the Eclipse Torch for the wizard to see. "I took it from those stupid protectors."

"Good. You have been instructed to wait here."

"But...."

"Are you defying me order?" asked wizard calmly.

"No, great wizard."

"Good. Then stand by. Kuran out."

The screen went blank. He looked down at the Musk Cat that he had injured. He suddenly felt very sorry, for a lot of things. A tractor beam caught a hold of him and started pulling him into Kuran slowly. Good, that would give him some time. He got out his knife and cut off some of the cat's fur, he then took one of his claws that still had some burnt hair on it and was a little singed itself. Perfect, he thought. he then placed the hair in various areas of an unimportant control panel. He then took the Claw and shoved it into the control panel, sending out sparks and some bits of debris. He still had some trimates left so he used them on the Musk Cat. He looked at the panel and realized that it wasn't enough.

"Nafoi!"

A fire blast took care of the rest. He then got out a fire extinguisher and prevented the fire from getting out of control.

Kaman, the Musk Cat, came to. Kaman looked curiously at what the human was doing. "What in Algo?"

"You're awake. And your alright, that's good. Did I hurt you?"

"You humans are strange. Yes, I'm fine." He started to stand up, but got dizzy and fell back down.

"No you're not," said Michael, he open a lower compartment. "Hide in here."

"Why should I trust you?"

"You shouldn't. But, unless you want to face Lassic's wizards on your own and in your current condition."

"NaRes!"

A blue aura surrounded the Musk Cat, and his wounds were healing slowly.

"That's better, but still not good enough. I don't trust nor like you, Motavian. But I don't have a choose either," said Kaman, and he reluctantly crawled into the compartment. "So tell me, do they know I'm here?"

"Well, considering that that's all that's left of you," said Michael gesturing towards the ruined control panel.

Kaman looked at the panel. He saw his burnt claw as well as some burnt fur that was in different places. He then saw the lack of fur on both of his arms. "Clever. If it works," said Kaman after he shut the door to his hiding place.

-------------------------

Kyra sat down on the bed of the guest room.

"Kyra?" was all Chaz could say.

Everyone had explained all that had happened to them. When Kyra had found out about the Elysdeon being damaged and Lutz, their leader being captured, well it was more then enough to stun the Esper Leader.

"TemLe, what are we going to do?" asked Sarah.

"Get the Couscel of Elders together, we need to plan an emergency meeting. Do NOT tell them anything. The Espers should be on full alert, I knew that taking that shield down might cause some problems. Go!" ordered Kyra.

"Yes, TemLe," she obdiently said.

"Can you reactivate the shield?" asked Tom.

"No. The original Lutz had nearly destroyed the ability for any Esper to use magic when he created the shield. There is no way that we would be able to reactivate it," said Kyra.

"Umm, about Elysdeon," said Tom.

"Yes?" Kyra asked.

"In the throne room, just before the teleportation took effect, I heard something," he said.

"Like what?"

"Well I heard 'Help us Tom.'"

"Perhaps the Counsel knows something."

They all left and joined the Counsel of Elders. The Counsel consisted of the ten oldest espers. Some weren't quite as skilled in the wielding of magic, but what they didn't have in spells, they had tenfold in knowledge.

"Welcome Protectors," said the eldest of the Counsel.

"Thank you for meeting with us...." said Chaz as he explained everything that had happened.

"Tom, come here," said the Elder.

"OK," said Tom unsure of what to do.

"There is a mountain pass behind the Mansion, go up it alone," said the elder as he handed him a bag. "In here is the Sacred Sword, It called out to you in the moment before you were all transferred back to your ship, thus you must go see Thunder."

"How will I know him?" asked Tom.

"It is He who will know you."

"Alright," said Tom taking the bag.

Kyra turned to the counsel of Elders, "I would also suggest putting all of the Espers on full alert rotation. Wren in the Landale can inform us of incoming ships."

"Unless their cloaked," said Tom.

"Cloaked?" asked Demi.

"Yeah, Wren and I were talking about it when I was helping him reattach his arm. When they ambushed us on our way to the Air Castle, they seemed to appear out of nowhere."

"I see," said Demi, "Any idea on how to get threw it?"

"Wren was working on it, that's all I know."

Kyra spoke up, "We will be able to sense their approach, but not until they are close enough to cause some serious damage. The only one who could sense them approaching from a great distance would be..." Kyra was unable to finish her sentence, nor did she need to.

"What about the Eclipse Torch and the PsycoWand? Rune and I were talking before the battle and he thought that they would both be needed to take him down," said Chaz

The Elder thought for a moment. "Hmm. The PsycoWand could take down his shield, the Elysdeon could defeat him, and the Eclipse Torch can finally kill him and destroy his immortality. It makes sense."

"Well then," said Tom, "I guess I had better get moving."

Everyone gave Tom their best wishes.

"Godspeed me boy," said Raja, "and if don't then I'll..."

"Please not another joke," said Gizo, "I don't think that my old heart could take it."

They laughed at the old Musk Cat's joke.

"I think I need to deal with a younger crowd," said Raja with a sigh.

"Raja," said Ricto, "Laughing Gas couldn't help you."

Everyone laughed again and Tom went through a round of 'Good Luck!s' before he finally left the mansion on a mission to save Algo....No pressure.

After a couple of minutes Kyra put her hands on the table and it looked almost as if she was going to pass out.

"Kyra," said Rika running to her old friend, "are you OK?"

"I was reaching out with my mind, to see if I could sense them," said Kyra.

"Did you?" asked Chaz.

"Yes, they're already here," said Kyra grimly.

Then an explosion rocked the mansion.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]