Heart-key and the Morph Scroll

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2012-05-01
  • Publisher: Textstream
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I sat in the pitch blackness of the early morning with a small fire crackling at my feet. I shifted uncomfortably in my chair as I read the invitation over and then over again. Light from the fire danced upon the wall as if trying to pierce the darkness which seemed to swallow it up. It felt parabolic of an inner conflict. This little piece of paper kindled a light deep inside, but it seemed to be swallowed by a greater darkness.     An unexpected knock at the door jarred me from deep thought. Who could be calling at such an odd hour? I looked through the window but a dark mist hung heavy in the air, making it impossible to see who it was.     I stuffed the invitation deep into my pocket and cracked the door ever so slightly. I winced and nearly fell backward: a frightful figure, an entire head taller than myself, stood before me wearing a white, flowing cloak adorned with a large ominous hood. The hood cast a veiling shadow over his face.       “Can I help you?” I trembled.     “No, I’m here to help you,” was his gentle reply. “I’m here about the invitation in your pocket.”          I swallowed hard, “What do you know of my invitation?”     “I commissioned the man who wrote it…may I come in?”     Here in the Tresed Valley, we do not trust lightly. This man’s mysterious knowledge of the invitation, not to mention the timing of his visit, should have been cause for suspicion. There was, however, something so utterly trustworthy about his voice that I reluctantly invited him in.     While stepping through the door, he removed his hood. The sight of his face helped to ease my apprehension. I couldn’t tell how old he was, for while his head was graced with curly silver locks, his face had no appearance of advanced age. His eyes were deep blue; they were fixed upon me, as though he were looking into the depths of me. His other features were rather plain, and yet they were distinct from any I had seen before. His movements were smooth and deliberate.     “Who are you and what do you want?” I demanded.     “Rennis, my presence here will raise many questions. I will answer each in due time. Let me introduce myself; I am humble Steward of the Castle of Ekklesia. I’m here on behalf of its Master to confirm your invitation.”     His voice was strong and yet he spoke in whispered tones. I don’t know how he knew my name, but when he spoke it his words enveloped me like the warm summer winds. I pulled the invitation from my pocket, ashamed by its condition. When I received it, I had thrown it in the fire as I had those I received previous to it. Later, however, I found it lying upon my chair, its edges charred, but otherwise intact. I never determined how it got there, but I had since kept it and spent many nights pondering its unsettling ultimatum. It essentially said that if I wanted to live, I must come to the Castle of Ekklesia. It concluded with a warning that should I remain in the valley, I was facing certain death.       As my eyes fell blankly upon it, the Steward assured me that the invitation was a sincere offer as well as a grave warning if not heeded. “I’m here to escort you personally to the Castle.”

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