Wait,” says the Bizra to me and the Gen.
“Watchers must be taught Sindar’s laws, the Madar language, and the secrets of the towers.”

Neebol and Vala back away from the tower, and the opening closes.

“How long will this take?” I ask.
“I need to leave for Siksa as soon as possible.”

“But you’re a watcher!” says the Bizra.
“You can’t just leave.”

I never intended to stay in the tower, but it’s too soon to reveal the truth.
First, I need to gain the knowledge that the watchers have, in case they know something I can use against the Kizak.
“Sindar was also a watcher,” I tell them, “but he left Kihyez in his place, when there was a need.”

“True,” says one of the Madar.
“You can leave after you learn our ways.”
“A few hours in the trainer should be enough.”

“Let Yagrin absorb the training first,” says Vala.
“If it’s safe, and there’s enough Gen in him, he’ll be able to transfer the memories and skills to us.”

I feel distrust floating through her, directed at the inner races and the watchers.
Toward me there’s curiosity, and a hint of trust.

“Why trust me?” I ask her.

She touches my mind to hide her words from the others.

You look like an alien that I met long ago, and your energy reminds me of him.
My energy sight was weak then, but I remember that his fire was so strange.

Who was he?
The one who Gen legend calls the black star?!
The one who took you through the first birthing?!

How do you know?
Even Neebol doesn’t know that I’m the first Gen.

I didn’t know for sure, but I suspected it.
You should tell Neebol the truth.

I was planning to tell him when we reached the towers, but I haven’t found the right moment.

I call up memories of Sindar’s fire body, and physical body and show them to her.
Is this what you saw?

The physical body looks just like yours, Yagrin.
I’m not sure about the energy body.
I told you my inner sight was fuzzy then.
I can’t be sure who I saw, only that he wasn’t like the Mehkeel or the Gen.

It can’t be me.
I wasn’t alive then, but my brother, Sindar was.
He died here, only days ago.
But how did he reach your sealed world, and know about the birthing and the whisheeku!

She has no answer.

We need to trust someone in this world, Yagrin.
If Sindar was here, we would follow him.
Can you take his place?

At Gen speed, I share memories with her of Sindar and my other brothers.
I show her my family, how I came to Siksa, my time as an old one, the sword, the Kizak, and Sindar’s death.

“Enough,” she says, and turns to Neebol.
“We can trust him.”
“We’ll wait here while he absorbs the training.”

Kihyez brings me into the second tower, where the simulator rests.
“Where are the stasis machines?” I ask him.

He takes me to a nearby room, with a row of silver machines.
There’s a space in the middle of the row with a sparkling cloud.
One of them is turned on, and the cloud surrounds it.
Its energy is strange, but I’m not surprised.
The stasis projector shields its contents from time.

“Where were the embryos kept?” I ask.

Kihyez shows Yagrin a large square container.
“This box held you, your brother and sister through the long years.”
“And the box was protected by several stasis projectors, including the one that covers your friend, Disu.”

I stare at the cloud, but I can’t see Disu, or even feel his energy.

“Sindar thought that Disu’s energy could be healed if I brought several healers to work on him.”
“Can any of the watchers or the inner races help?”

“None of the current watchers are healers.”
“And the inner races have strict rules about interfering in the lives of other beings.”

“They traveled to different galaxies, to teach about energy ways.”
“The actions of the Madar and Bizra both led to war and death.”
“What happened with the other races?”

“There were wars fought in three of the other galaxies.”
“The inner races are peaceful, but their students abused the power they were given.”
“Still, only the Madar have left their students.”
“The colonies of the other races still continue, to turn their students away from war.”
“The races have sworn not to use their energy strength, outside of those galaxies, and their own worlds.”
“They will only act on the tower world to protect against outsiders.”

“But they healed me.”

“You were hurt while passing through the watcher’s test.”
“That’s different.”

“What about the Madar?”
“The Kizak were once their students.”
“Won’t they heal Disu?”

“It wouldn’t violate their pledge of non-interference, but I doubt if they’ll agree.”
“Disu is the son of the emperor.”
“The risk is too great that he will rule someday, and spread war, like his father.”

I’ll have to bring my own healers here, after I fight the Kizak.
I lay down on a padded platform, and Kihyez activates the trainer.
The device adjusts the speed of knowledge transfer according to the capability of the student.
When I let my mind operate at Gen speed, the knowledge moves faster.

An hour, I’m done, and I return to Neebol and Vala.
“I’m ready to give you what I’ve learned.”

“The transfer will go faster,” says Vala, “without our physical bodies.”

We let our flesh melt to water, and I link my thoughts with the Gen, to give them the memories and language skills that I received.

“Your mind is not Gen,” says Vala when we’re done.
“It moves as fast, but feels different.”

“Time to find out what’s in the tower,” says Neebol, after we complete the transfer, and reshape our bodies.
He and Vala touch the stone wall, covered in ice, and the dark opening appears again.

A bitter wind blows out of the tower.
Neebol and Vala grab my hands, to pull me in.
Their Mehkeel bodes start to pass through the doorway, but my Jiku shape is stopped by an energy shield.
The black tower will only let Gen through.

“We won’t go in without you,” says Vala, backing out.
“How do we know that the others won’t trap us there?”

I shake off their hands, and flow into the golden form.
“Follow,” I say in Madar.
Then I lead the Gen inside, into the cold.
The world shifts, and the opening is gone.

The doorway transports us deep into the tower, to the middle of a round room, twenty feet across, the floor of smooth black stone.
We’re standing on a large whisheeku symbol embedded in the floor.

No wind here, and the air is warm.
Our ceiling opens into the tower’s thirty-foot, translucent spire, and the space is filled with soft light.
The walls are made of rough, black stone with a band of smooth white crystal three feet high, that circles the whole room at eye level.
Another small whisheeku sits in the center of the white crystal.

“What is this place?” asks Neebol.

“The guard room,” says Vala, “where we keep watch for visitors.”

“How can you tell?” he asks.
“They told us that the room is different in every tower, and no one has been here before us.”

“Yes,” says Vala, “but the guard room is the heart of each tower.”
“It leads to all the inner rooms.”
“Where else would we enter?”

“How long will we stay here, Vala?” asks Neebol.
“I want to explore, not sit.”

“I agree,” she answers, “but every universe touches the world of the towers.”
“From here, we can go anywhere!”
“First, we learn to open the gateways that Yagrin told us about.”
“Then, we go.”

She turns to me.
“We need your help, Yagrin.”
“Will you teach us?”

“PathFinding talent is rare, Vala, and it takes time to train.”
“Few beings can learn to do it.”
“Even then, they can’t travel between one universe and another.”

“Gen transport living things and objects at will, Yagrin, without using gateways.”
“We call it slipping.”
“We feel the energy of the two places, and pull them together.”
“This creates a weak tear in space.”
“Then we slip the object through the tear to its destination.”
“PathFinding isn’t so different.”

“Can you move between planets or galaxies?”

“We can slip objects to our sun, but that’s an exception.”
“A few hundred miles on the surface is the usual limit, sometimes a thousand miles.”

“What about here, Vala?”
“Can you slip objects on the tower world?”

“No,” she answers quietly.
“I’ve tried, and it doesn’t work here.”
“But we have plenty of time, Yagrin.”
“We can learn to be PathFinders.”

“Why guard the towers, then,” asks Neebol, “if no one but you can travel here through the gates?”

“Once a tower gate has been opened and closed, an ordinary PathFinder can travel through it.”

I give them memories of my experiences, so they can feel what it’s like to find and open gates.
“Now you know what to look for,” I add.
“Can you see the gates?”

“No,” they answer after searching for a few minutes.
Their energy senses are strong, but not sharp enough to see the gates.

I transfer knowledge of the PathFinder training.
“The exercises I’ve given you strengthen the senses, enough to see the gates.”
“Practice,” I tell them, “and maybe your vision will grow stronger.”

“How long will it take?” asks Neebol.

“In the Jiku, it takes months or years, if it works at all.”
“Who knows what will happen with you?”
“I’ll return when I can.”

“How do we get out of the tower?” he asks.
“Even our fire bodies can’t penetrate the walls.”

“The path to the outside is in the guard room,” says Vala.
“We just have to find a way to active it.”
She walks to the wall, and touches the whisheeku in the band of white crystal.
The crystal glows, and then lights up.
A bright, stable image of the towers appears around the whisheeku, while the rest of the crystal is filled with dim, drifting images.
I recognize places on the tower world and Siksa, but other scenes are from strange, alien worlds.

“The teachings speak of this,” says Neebol.

Some towers are filled with images, moving like water.
Follow the light.

“We can get out of the tower, by touching the bright image.”

“What about the other images?” asks Vala.

“They come from our own minds,” I tell her.

“I know that,” she says, sharply.
“I was wondering if those images will also act as gates.”

“I don’t know, but stay away from them.”
“They could take you away, and give you no way to return.”

“Vala,” Neebol shouts, as he points at an image of three snow-capped mountains.
“It’s the Triangle of the Sun.”

“The mountains are from Tehwi, our homeworld,” she tells me.
“No Gen goes to the triangle.”

“Why not?”

“Those who go never return, and end up in the sun.”

I feel her emotions churning within her.
She has some history with the triangle.

“How do you know that?” asks Neebol, as he looks closely at the images.
He touches the image of the mountains without thinking, and is pulled through the image.
“No,” Vala screams, as she rushes to grab him, and is also taken.

I feel responsible for them, and I have an uneasy feeling that I need their help to save Siksa.
I expect to regret it, but I follow before the image fades.

The transfer leaves me dizzy for a few seconds.
When my awareness clears, I find myself in an ice cave.
I stand up and walk to the opening.
It’s night here, a few hours before dawn.
This area is thick with mountains, their sharp peaks covered in snow.
The cave is carved out of a glacier that rests on one of the three mountains.
The mountains are the same height, and the top of each one is the same, a flat circle, ninety feet across.
Thin stone paths, covered in ice, three hundred sixty feet long, connect the three mountains.

I turn back toward the cave to see Neebol and Vala lying here, eyes closed, motionless.
I glide toward them and reach down to touch their bodies.
Still warm and alive, but I can’t find any thoughts.
They’re unconscious.

The energy around me feels strange.
It resonates with my ekrisa, the star heart within me, and makes it glow brightly.

What is this place?
I scan the mountain range, and find the boundaries of the triangle’s influence.
It extends for a mile in all directions, filled with a dim echo of the energy found in a sun.

The inner races, including the Gen, have a tradition that the stars are gateways to worlds of pure energy, where the dead go, like great waves of migrating birds.
The Gen have kept watch over their star for thousands of years.
They’ve seen countless Mehkeel die, and the energy bodies drawn toward the star, where the dead wait.
The gateway appears only two or three times in a century, and remains open for a few months.
Gen are not pulled to the star, but when the gateway opens they feel a longing to approach the star.

Some Gen choose to follow the dead.
Twenty million miles from the sun, their awareness fades, they’re pulled in, and disappear through the gateway.
No one truly knows what lies on the other side.

The Gen who remain on Tehwi are governed by a council of elders, the oldest and most powerful among them.
Their laws are enforced by the elders.
Gen who are too wild, or violate the most serious laws, are thrown into the star by the elders.
Only the most powerful Gen can slip others to the sun.
At least that’s what the Gen are told.

An image flashes through my mind, and I understand why no Gen come here.
Each day, these mountains gather star energy.

The Gen fire body gets its strength from the distant stars, but the concentrated star energy in these mountains or near the sun is overwhelming.

When Gen enter the triangle at night, the energy drives them unconscious and imprisons them, as it caught Neebol and Val.
When day comes, the three mountains focus the sun’s strength, creating a river of energy that carries the captive Gen into the star, to wait for the next opening to the worlds beyond.

Do the elders know the truth, and hide it from the others?
Do they send the criminals here, for punishment?

Sunrise is coming, all too soon, and when it arrives, my friends will be gone.
I shape a whisheeku in the air, and fill the cave with energy from the black well.
The gateway to the tower appears, but I quickly discover that it won’t help the Gen.
Their bodies and energy are held in place by a powerful force that I can’t overcome.
I’m as strong as ever, but I can’t drag them, pick them up, or glide them away from the spot where they lie.
I try to shield them from the triangle’s energy, but my shields have no effect.

I could flow the mountains into water, or shatter them into dust, but the energy might still hold the Gen.
And my way back to the towers would be lost.
Instead, I explore the three mountains at Gen speed, looking for anything that will help Neebol and Vala.
The mountains seem quiet and ordinary, inside and out, except for one spot on the north peak, where I find two Madar words, shaped out of energy.
Dinzeh fong,” crossroads of death.
Who left this here, and what does it mean?

I scan the area again, wondering if I missed something.
There’s nothing else on the mountains, but what about between the mountains?
I fly to the airspace at the center of the triangle, and follow it down to the plain, rocky ground that sits between the mountains.
There, eighteen feet below the surface, I find and extract an artifact that fits in my hand.

The square base is translucent silver, except for a small black circle on the bottom, with a white X in the circle.
The base rises to form a dark blue dome with white, sparkling stars.
I squeeze the object, and my hands disappear into a thick darkness.
“This is a crossroads stone,” whispers a small voice within me.

The crossroads?
I was there, once.
It’s a place for messengers, energy beings who serve the creator.
They run there to find a path to their next mission.

The black well is a gateway to the crossroads, but few can see it.
It chooses when it will open, and whose fire can pass.
Nothing physical can survive this trip.

It takes more than an energy body to reach the crossroads.
The forces along that path will scatter energy, unless it shines with a special strength.
I took a great risk going to the crossroads, and I promised myself that I’ll never do it again.
I could be trapped between worlds, or sent far away, with no way to return to my family.

What use is the crossroads to me?

There’s an underground refuge in the capital city where Gen go for emergency help, but it’s rarely used.
What help would a Gen need?

The artificial cavern is shaped from stone and filled with gases that will kill any organic life.
The space lies two hundred feet below the hall of elders, and is covered with an energy shield.
Only a Gen energy body can pass through the shield and walls of rock.

Two guards are posted at all times for shifts lasting a day.
It’s one of the most undesirable jobs that the elders give out.

I find the place easily, and penetrate the shield.
The walls are dull stone.

“You’re late,” comes the thought from one of the Gen.
“You were scheduled to relieve us hours ago.”
“Where’s your partner?”

“I’m not here for that,” I tell them.
“I need help.”

“You’re joking.”


“What is it?” asks the other Gen, bored.
“Did someone threaten to get the elders to throw you in the sun?”
“Or did you see a Gen abusing one of the slow ones?”

“Two of my friends are caught in the Triangle of the Sun.”

“That’s a new request.”
“No one has been stupid enough to go there for a century.”

“Yes,” agrees the other one.
“We can’t help you.”
“Find some new friends.”
Her feelings cover her.
She’s afraid.

I raise an energy storm within the cavern that pushes their fire twenty feet away from me.
I focus on the frightened Gen, and turn my glow on her.
An image rises within me of a young Mehkeel girl, lost in a strange place.
This was her, long ago.

“You can’t harm me,” says the Gen.
“I’m as strong as you.”

“No,” I tell her.
“I’m not Gen, but my friends are.”

“Whatever you are, the elders will crush you.”

I see a dark forest, long ago, and a Mehkeel child.
I push myself into that vision, and fill the shadows with light and long rays of color.

The girl is crying.
Her parents are dead, two piles of ashes.

I push on the edges of the vision, and time moves backward.
A Mehkeel couple is hiking through the forest, the mother carrying the girl in a harness.
A Gen appears before them as a bright fire, blocking their way.

He’s recently born as a Gen, and means no harm.
He’s only playing with them, expecting them to laugh.
Instead they scream at him, and yell at him to go away.
Emotions are strong and wild in new Gen.
Anger runs through him, and he kills them without thinking.
Somehow, the girl survives, and sits crying on a thick pile of red leaves.
The Gen’s fire hovers over the girl, and then disappears.

Soon, a great wind comes and scatters the ashes.
Another Gen appears, wearing a Mehkeel body.
He picks up the girl, and carries her above the trees, holding her tightly.
Then he flies her back to the city, and leaves her at a Gen school.

She can’t come here.

I don’t care about your rules!
Take her.
Gen killed her parents, and she has no one else.

He gives the girl a silver necklace that he shapes from the air.
Then he disappears.
Her name is Oka.

His face is familiar.
I’ve seen him before!
A moment later, a voice whispers at me, and I know the dark answer that she hides from.
Dikan is the one who killed her parents!

“Do you still have the necklace, Oka?” I ask her.

“Stay out of my head!”
Fear and hatred are a storm that fills her.
Gen emotions are more intense than the emotions of physical beings.
Most Gen shut off their feelings, but Oka has never been able to block the ones that she has carried so long.
Her heart has no rest, no peace, wondering if each Gen she meets is the one who destroyed her childhood.
She is still afraid of the forest, and has never searched for the place where everything changed.

I must find it.
There are answers there.
My only clues are the memories I’ve stolen from her.
She was sleeping for much of the walk, but she saw enough to guide me to a popular hiking area, a few miles long.
Over a hundred years have passed since she was here, and the forest has grown.
How will I find the exact spot?

I reach out to the trees and the ground.
Hold me.
Give me your strength, and show me where to go.

My hands glow brightly, and my listener fills the forest around me.
The leaves swirl and clear a thin curving path.
I follow for half a mile.
My listener returns to me, and the wind is quiet.

Buried beneath the dirt, my inner sight takes hold of a small gold star, with a blue circle at its center, hanging on a thin white chain.
The chain is short, meant for a young child.,
I bring it back to the cavern and drop it on the floor.
Then I take a crystal form.

“Destroy the silver necklace, and take this instead,” I tell her.
“The Gen who saved you is the one who killed your parents.”

She takes a shape like mine, and picks up the gold star.
She holds it tightly, and something moves within her.

She’s still too shocked to respond, but her partner sends his thoughts to me.
“Leave her alone.”

I ignore the guard.
“The Gen you met was Dikan, and he’s gone,” I tell her, “sent to the sun by one of my friends that I’m trying to save.”
“Dikan will never hurt you again, Oka.”

She’s silent for another few seconds, before looking me in the eyes.
“The elders might know how to free your friends,” she says quietly, “if you can get them to talk to you.”
“See who is in the hall, and request an appointment.”

“You could get lucky,” says the other guard, “and they’ll see you in a year or two.”

I feel like sending him to the triangle, but I ignore him, and reach out to Oka, touching her head gently.

She reaches up and covers my hand with her own.
“Where are you from?” she asks.

“My name is Yagrin.”
“I came here from the Seven Towers, but I live in a world beyond them.”

I spread my listener throughout the cave, and fill the space with a thought:
“What does this place need from me?”

Energy pours out of my fire body, and decorates the walls with multi-colored veins of crystal.
I look around the room.
“Something is still missing,” I think, and plant a whisheeku in the center of the floor, surrounded by green birthing stone.
Then I leave the guards behind and look for the entrance to the hall.

The building is round, built from white stone, with thin, curved lines of black and silver crystal, that rise toward the domed roof.
There’s a powerful shield around it, and Gen standing in the one doorway, where there’s a gap in the shield.
I approach the walls with my fire body, far away from the guards, to test the shield’s strength.
There are no pain receptors in the energy body, but the contact with the wall twists my senses.
My inner vision grows dark, and I’m pierced with violent emotions and wild images.
I pull back quickly.

I could probably break through the shield, but that’s no way to get the elders to help me.

I shape a Mehkeel body, and appear near the doorway.
“I want to see them,” I tell the guards.

“Do you have an appointment?” they ask, in flat voices.


“First day of the month, there’s someone here to make appointments.”
“Come back if you want, but the soonest appointment is a year from now.”

“I can’t wait a year.”

“That’s not our problem.”

“It’s urgent, and it will only take a few minutes of the elders’ time.”

“The elders don’t care about you or your crisis.”
“Just go.”

There’s no more time to argue.
I focus on the star heart within me, and draw energy from the web.
The ekrisa glows brightly as I stream energy through it, creating a ray of star energy, and directing the beam toward the guards.
They fall unconscious, and I disappear into the building, looking for the source of the shield.

The inside of the building is a spiral.
Thin, glowing walls shape the curved corridors that circle the inside of the building, and turn slowly in toward the single destination.
The meeting rooms are at the very center, and make up only a small portion of the space.
Tradition demands that the Gen walk through the long corridors to meet the elders.

My inner sight finds twelve projectors set just inside the outer wall of the building, in places where the wall is thin.
They feed the disruptive energy into the crystal, and it spreads across the outer surface, and weaves the shield.
I scan the last of the projectors at Gen speed, and record the structure of its components, down to the molecular level.
It takes me more than a minute, but now I can reproduce the device, except for its power source.
I need to connect with the building’s infonet to learn more.

The Gen touch the net and stream information with an energy interface that they shape.
Vala taught me to do this, when I gave her some of my memories.
There are dozens of access points to the infonet throughout the hallways, and I stop to make a connection.
I start with the projector, but then I review details of other tech, hunting for anything to use against the Kizak.

“Neebol?” asks a Gen, approaching.
“What are you doing here, and why are you using Vala’s access identifier?”
This Gen wears a Mehkeel body, covered in a gold robe with dark green stripes.
An elder.

I forgot that every Gen has their own energy identifier.
“I look like Neebol, but I’m not him.”

“Why did you force your way past the guards to connect with the infonet?” she asks, angrily.
“You could touch the net anywhere.”

“I came here to see you and the other elders about an urgent matter, and the guards wouldn’t let me pass.”

“Why do you hide behind Neebol’s form?”

“This is my true appearance when I take a Mehkeel shape.”

I feel her fear.
“There’s a recent vision,” she says, “known only to the elders.”

The black star has a face, too familiar.
A strong one will rise, the greatest since the first, with a face like the star.
His eyes will turn toward the towers, and when he disappears, a dark twin will take his place.

“The strong one is Neebol,” she says, “and you are his strange twin.”
“Your energy betrays you.”
“I don’t know if you’re the black star who took the first Gen through the birthing, but you’re no Gen, and your darkness is not welcome here.”
“Let the sun take you.”

She pushes me through a slip gate, back to the triangle.
I’m unharmed, standing in a cave on one of the three mountains.
My inner sight reaches past the horizon.
The sun will rise soon.

I open a gate back to the hall, and find the elder where I left her.
“You’re right,” I admit.
“I came here from the towers.”
“And I’m not Gen. I’m stronger.”
“The triangle and the sun give me strength.”

She throws an energy blast, but it can’t penetrate my shield.
“Stop it,” I tell her, “or I’ll throw you to the sun.”

“What do you want?”

“I’m a friend of Vala and Neebol, and they need your help.”
“They’re caught in the triangle.”

“You knocked out the guards with star energy!”
“Why don’t you free your friends?”

“I don’t know how.”

“There is no way to free them.”
“Return to the darkness that you came from, and let the two Gen go to the next world.”

“You don’t know what you’re suggesting.”
“Without them, the Gen will be lost.”

“Will you destroy us for refusing to help?”
“Is that why you looked at our tech?”

“I need the tech for other reasons.”

“Then you’ve gotten what you wanted.”
“Leave us alone.”

“I can’t leave until I help Neebol and Vala.”

“Why do you care so much about these Gen?”
“What are they to you?”

“Tehwi and its universe were given to the Gen, but there are many other universes, and they all meet at the towers.”
“Long ago, the Gen were the most powerful of all races, and great explorers.”
“They were permitted to go to the towers, but no farther.”
“When they violated the law, they were diminished and the towers were closed to them.”
“It’s time for the Gen to regain their old strength.”
“I opened the way to the tower, so Neebol and Vala could pass.”
“Without them, the Gen will never be more than they are today.”

“We’re satisfied with what we are, and have no need for other races!”

“Most of you are restless and arrogant.”
“If you stay as you are, someday, one of you will destroy the Mehkeel.”
“What kind of a future is that?”

She grows quiet.
“We’ve seen the future you speak of, Tehwi turned to a dead rock in space.”
“The council gives all of its strength to prevent that tragedy for as long as we can.”

“Then help me save my friends, and change your future.”

“Even if I wanted to help you, there’s no way to free them.”

“What if I destroy the triangle?”

“You accuse us of arrogance?”
“If the mountains are shattered, the star energy will be released, and spread across the planet.”
“The energy will resonate with our sun and ignite a solar flare that will burn away the oceans and the atmosphere.”
“Tehwi will be empty of life, and all the Gen that are here, including your friends, will be trapped and drawn to the sun.”
“Is that what you want?”


“Then just go.”

First Light
I walk slowly out of the building.
Sunrise will reach the mountains in a few minutes, but I have no way to save my friends.

The Gen guards have regained consciousness and taken their place by the opening.
They glare at me, full of anger, as I reach them, but they’re afraid of my power, and they’ve been told to let me pass.

I open a gate to the triangle, and find my way to the cave where Neebol and Vala are trapped.
At least I can stay with them until the end.

“Fool,” I scream at myself.
“Why do you give up?”

I flow away my Mehkeel body, and raise the crossroads stone from where I left it, bringing it to meet the star heart within me.
I send my listener to cover the three mountains.
Then I stream energy from the web on all sides of me toward my ekrisa.
The energy pours through me, wild and powerful, a thousand times stronger than when I attacked the Gen guards.
I’m not sure if I can stay conscious, but I need this brightness if my plan will have any chance of success.

A beam of star energy flies from me and strikes all three mountains.
The triangle responds by sending back a focused, stronger beam at me.
My light grows, fed by the energy that reaches me.
The dance with the triangle continues, and our beams of star energy grow in strength with each passing second.
I feel the crossroads stone supporting me, helping me stay focused and awake.
Neebol and Vala’s Mehkeel bodies burn away, but their fire bodies are undamaged.

I wait, wondering if the energy around me will get strong enough before first light comes.
I have no physical body, but I move my fire through the Jiku movements called the greeting to the sun.
My ekrisa glows even brighter.
Neebol and Vala’s fire bodies are pulled toward me, and soon they’re bound to me.

I shape a whisheeku in the air, and fill the cave with energy from the black well.
The gateway to the tower appears, and we pass through it.

      Read Part 4: Return »

Empire of Stone -- 3: Fire and LightPrevious Story
  1. Silence
  2. Colors of the Heart
  3. Long Way Home
  4. Lost Light
  5. Bright Shadows
  6. Outsiders
  7. Starlight

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