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SEAN WOODWARD well aware their father would not have let them keep it in the house had it been given any other name. Their grandfather pulled his chair close to the large open hearth as the sisters gathered themselves around his feet. Outside the drifts of snow along Brompton Road were getting thicker as the night progressed. N'Tarran lay restless in his casket. He longed to walk in daylight, longed to be free of the moon and this world. He remembered a time when he had some small degree of freedom, when he was able to move across the face of this planet in sunlight. It was the town in Ethiopia where everything changed in the year 1239. He had been a knight then. There was only one order he would contemplate joining. The Pauperes Commilitones Christi Templique Solomonici with their brotherhood and vast reserves of wealth offered the perfect place for him to hide. The Arab Zen'Diq had travelled with them from the Holy Land, shown them the route Solomon was supposed to have taken. When they came to Lalibela, leaving their horses tied to the spare trees, he knew immediately that he was not alone on this dreary planet. The huge stone buildings – crosses and cubes cut out of the rock, fashioned lately as churches, had all the markings of Qube Kinetiks. Their edges held grooves containing the dark wooden control surfaces camouflaged as door and window frames. Even now he could see the slight changes in alignment that would cause the Qube to begin its transformation. He took the small oval stone box from within his chain mail and drank of the warm blood. He had carved their accursed cross onto its top so as to remove suspicion. He wanted to drink again, knowing it would be full already but dare not beside his companions. "Master Natarran, should we stay here tonight?" asked one of the sergeants. "Yes, we need to rest the horses. Tomorrow we'll continue to Lake Tana." The party of knights gathered around the trees where their horses were tethered and unpacked their provisions. N'Tarran pulled blankets from one of the pack horses and descended the stone staircase into one of the cross-shaped buildings hewn from the rock. It would certainly be much warmer when the cold night came. In the casket in New York his body convulsed at the approaching memories, as if it contained its own fragment of the experience still, after all these centuries. He closed his eyes once more and tried to think of his home-world, but the memories of Lalibela remained. That night had been ferociously cold and the rough stone building offered good shelter. After a few hours he heard - 87 -

Estronomicon Christmas 2008  

The eZine of fantasy, sci-fi and horror

Estronomicon Christmas 2008  

The eZine of fantasy, sci-fi and horror

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