Time’s Warriors Prologue
Lexandria stood to one side of the long table in the center of the Galactic Library of Time’s Edge and contemplated the woman who sat there. Books, pods, and hologram globes lay scattered over the table. The woman was staring intently at the pages of the Book of Galactic Prophecies.
The woman was perfectly quiet and cordial, but Lexandria felt uneasy. The woman had only spoken to ask for the materials and then had remained silent as she poured over the information. She had done nothing objectionable, but there was something about her that Lexandria found unsettling.
One of the dark-robed assistants glided over to Lexandria.
Who is that woman?
The librarian turned as she felt the gentle vibrations of the question.
“I do not know,” she replied. “I have never seen her before.” Then she frowned. “And yet she seems familiar in some way.”
Lexandria looked once more at the woman. Her dark hair was coiled neatly on top of her head, a flowing brown cloak covered her body, and a pair of large black-rimmed glasses dominated her face. Lexandria did not know every scientician in the galaxy, but she had the uneasy feeling that she did—or should—know this one.
She is powerful, the assistant observed.
“Yes,” Lexandria nodded. “I think so, too.”
And she is dark.
Lexandria turned her head sharply. “Dark?” She looked back at the woman. “Yes,” she said slowly. “Perhaps that is what I am feeling.”
At the table, Meredith Xylea Miren was staring thoughtfully into the distance. It had been six months since the Realm of the Scienticians had been left without a Keeper. Rista Jhalan, the former Keeper, was still missing, and the denizens of Time’s Edge had not been able to locate her. Of course, the realm was not the same as it had been six months earlier. It had not escaped Meredith’s notice that most occupants of Time’s Edge had ceased searching for the missing Keeper.
Actually, the realm technically had a Keeper. Michael Blayne checked in periodically, but he had made it clear that he did not consider himself the Keeper even if everyone else did. That was fortunate. It had enabled Meredith to locate the core.
She closed her eyes and remembered…
She wandered through Time’s Edge for hours. She passed the concealed center a dozen times before she spotted the small seal embedded in the stone floor. It looked like a gold coin and was engraved with the symbol for eternity.
She stood over the seal and held out her hands, pouring energy into the golden lock. The seal began to glow and a column of white light shot up from the floor. She stepped through the shimmering veil of light. A pulsing globe of pure energy floated inside the column. It was revolving slowly and burgeoning with an infinite variety of colors.
She held her hands out toward the globe. The colors dimmed. Even the column of light that protected the core turned gray.
Meredith opened her eyes. She had spent the last months watching and waiting. She had reacquainted herself with the realm, a world she had explored thoroughly as a child and young woman. She had wandered wherever she liked, safe in her disguise. Her red hair was now a non-descript shade of brown. The lenses of her seeming old-fashioned glasses made her turquoise eyes appear blue. Her lips curved into a slow smile. No one had looked twice at the plain-looking Earth scientician who came to study in the Galactic Library.
And while she waited, the realm had gradually grown darker.
The Realm of the Scienticians by rights should have been hers. Her father, Tristan Miren, had been the Keeper for many years. He had showed her everything and taught her how to use her great power. He told her repeatedly that she would be the next Keeper. It had pleased him that on his death his daughter would stay on caring for the realm he loved so much.
Then he had died, and Rista Jhalan had become Keeper of the Realm.
Meredith’s smile vanished. She leaned back in her chair, her fingernails tapping softly on the table. Her life had changed after her father’s death. Although many years had gone by, she had not forgotten.
Fortunately, just as abruptly as Rista appeared, she vanished. Rylante Vahl had emerged from the Great Realm and removed Rista. Meredith vehemently hoped that Rista was dead and not just entombed somewhere within the realm.
Meredith nearly laughed, her good humor restored by the thought that Rista might be dead. It was even more amusing that after Rylante had taken care of Rista, Michael Blayne had come along and taken care of Rylante.
Meredith stretched and bent once more over the Book of Galactic Prophecies. Her eyes lingered over one passage.
The Altar of Time and the Realm of the Scienticians will fall under the spell of the Dragon with the Crystal Eyes.
Now that Michael had gotten rid of Rylante for her, there was nothing to stop her. She was not even worried about Michael himself. Once she fully controlled the Realm of the Scienticians, even he would not be able to overcome the forces she would unleash. She hoped she wouldn’t have to kill him. She had other plans for Michael Blayne.
Meredith closed the book, her hand resting lightly on its cover. She was a seer as well as a scientician. She knew the time of the Dragon with the Crystal Eyes had come.
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