PREFACE: This is the second installment in a series of loosely connected Science-Fiction stories set in a Roman-like setting. Though they can be read separately, it is recommended to read them in order. The first installment is here, in case you missed it.
As I stare at the Glow—to the point it begins to blind me—I consider the confines of our world. It is vast, and yet limited. At over three hundred square miles, it would take a week to travel on foot from its southernmost part to its northern edge. On either side, your journey would end at a wall of stone that rises miles above your head.
Those who have studied the matter claim our lands are enclosed within a dome.
There are stories of a world outside, beyond our reach. But if these are real, then where is it? None of my people—much less myself—have ever found or seen it. Perhaps it once was there, but is no more. Truly, there is only Satlanea and nothing else. Of this, I’ve grown convinced.
Anything else is but myth or the rantings of madmen.
The first fire started yesterday.
There was nothing unusual about it. We often have fires, and the Vigilēs are always prompt to respond and to put them out.
But there have been three more since.
This makes the matter more concerning.
The most troubling was when witnesses claimed to have seen a man wielding a device that spurted out flames.
Of course, I had to investigate.
Identifying the instrument was no challenge. It was an ignisor. The Vigilēs use it to fight fires, not to start them.
It is a short walk from the Praeneum to the Vigilium.
The building is a black cube, two stories high, with a single entrance that opens on its eastern wall.
I stepped into the reception area and walked to the desk. The woman there looked up and smiled.
“Eddo Silius! It is a pleasure to see you again. It has been a long time.”
“It has,” I said with a nod. “I wish it would be under more pleasant circumstances.”
The woman’s expression turned serious.
“The fires, I presume?”
“Of course. I will tell Gaius Mantus that you wish to see him.”
Two minutes later, I was sitting in a small office with white stone walls, a red carpet, and a wooden desk. Across from me sat the leader of the Vigilēs.
“This is terrible,” he said. “We can’t allow our people to run amok like this. What will citizens say?”
I had assumed the ignisor had been stolen, but Mantus’ words implied otherwise.
“Are you certain one of your own did this?” I asked.
“It’s not an absolute certainty. But if not, it would be a very odd coincidence indeed. One in our night team has gone missing a few days ago, along with his ignisor. It is possible they were both taken by some unknown party, I suppose, but how likely is it?”
“Not very, I agree. Did you report the disappearance?”
“You realize that they typically report such cases to us, don’t you eddo?”
I laughed and nodded. “Silly me. Of course. So I assume you investigated the matter?”
“We have. There are no clues at his home. His servants say they haven’t seen him in a week. He must have moved before stealing the ignisor.”
I pondered those words for a moment. It was interesting that he had called it ‘stealing.’ Furthermore, the fact that the man had vacated his living quarters before committing his crimes suggested the whole thing was premeditated.
“I will need all the information you can provide on this former employee.”
“Of course, eddo. I will have his file transferred to your office right away.”
Like many of the Vigilēs who work at night, Nelius Assilius was recruited from the ranks of the Stealth Society. Though thieves by trade, the guilders play a major role in maintaining peace across the land—in part because of their involvement with the Vigilēs, but there is more to it than that. Their relationship with the Consulate is intricate and I will not attempt to explain it here when I am in the middle of an investigation. Perhaps some other time.
Part of me marvels at the irony of a thief stealing from himself. Had he planned to use the ignisor to burglarize homes? If so, there was no evidence of it. All the fires he has started so far—and I believe there will be more—seem to have solely been intended to burn. Even the deaths that have occurred feel more like accidental fallouts.
What did the man hope to accomplish with this folly? I can not fathom it. The whole affair seems so excessive and pointless.
I must speak to the Dux. Perhaps he can help shed some light on all this mess.
The Dux is a rotund man who wears his fat with pride. He received me in the Society’s Hearth, tapping his belly with a grin.
“Eddo Silius, always a pleasure!”
Though I felt differently, I returned the compliment. In truth, I would have rather been burning in the fiery pits of Sadin. I have a profound dislike for this man, though it has little to do with his profession and everything to do with his disposition. The worm was arrogant, obnoxious, rude, and utterly shameless.
“Sadly,” I said, “I am not here for pleasure but for business—”
“Aren’t you always?”
Of course he would make a point to point it out.
I managed to retain a grunt.
“We must speak of Nelius Assilius.”
“Never heard of him.”
“He is a guilder who volunteered as a Vigil.”
It irked me that he would force me to spill everything out with so little involvement, as if he cared little for the matter. Which, to be fair, likely was the case.
“You have heard of the fires, yes?”
He nodded as he rubbed his oversized belly and walked over to a counter where a dozen bottles were aligned.
The Hearth was a greeting room, a library, and a drinking parlor all rolled up in one. It was normally crowded, though at that moment there were only a couple of others there, sitting at a table in the back. Regardless, that he had chosen to receive me here showed how little he thought of the Consulate—let alone my station.
“Your man is the one who started them,” I continued. “Using his ignisor.”
The Dux burst into laughter.
“You find this funny?”
“Very,” he said as he poured liquor into two cups. “You must pardon me, eddo, but there is so much irony in this that I cannot resist. It drips from every side. A splendid sight, truly.”
He handed me one of the cups, which I turned down with a sharp shake of the head. I tried to keep my face expressionless, but I must have failed.
The Dux sighed. “You are upset. I understand.”
He put down my cup but kept his. He took a long and slow sip from it before he spoke again. I waited.
“As you know, the Society wishes no harm to those above. After all, we could not steal from the dead, could we?” He smiled, but still I remained quiet. “We cannot allow for this to go on.”
Though he did not say it, I could read in his eyes that he thought “despite how amusing it is,” and it further kindled my anger.
Still, I showed none of it. It would not have been proper. This man, no matter how little I thought of him, was powerful and had his hands in political matters way above my head. He could afford to be candid—I could not.
“What did you wish from me?” he finally asked.
“All information you have about this man. Where he lives, the names of his friends and family, how long he’s been with the Stealth Society, how he came to it... Everything.”
His expression now serious, the Dux nodded and pressed two fingers against his temple. He closed his eyes for a moment, then opened them and nodded again.
“I have given instructions. You will receive all you have asked for and more within the hour. You may go now.”
Without waiting for an answer from me, he turned and walked off toward a bookshelf.
I clenched my fists.
Part of me was glad not to have to thank him, but I have not spent years climbing the ranks to the top just to be treated this way.
I stormed out, caring little if anyone noticed.
I sit here in my office staring at the file the Dux has sent me. Though I despise him, I must give him credit for being thorough. Anything I could have wanted to know about Nelius Assilius is in here, from the first time he had committed a crime to the name of his first love—at least, the earliest he knew of.
Of course, there is nothing about his youth, nor had I expected there to be. How could they have known about it when Nelius himself must not? None of us can remember so far back.
Now I must follow the threads until one takes me to him.
I started with his villa.
Though the man was single, he owned a large and comfortable house—as many of his peers did.
I know some who find it offensive that such riches are amassed through theft. But I concur with those others who feel it is our responsibility to shield ourselves from theft. If anything, the Society teaches us to be more cautious and to watch our belongings at all times—if not in person, through trusted agents or foolproof devices.
Nelius himself used a mix of both... or perhaps he did not trust his agent so much.
Said agent was a portly man with gray hair and a prudent gaze. His name, the file had revealed, was Harrus Lintilius.
“When was the last time you saw your master?” I asked after he had let me in and we were seated in the tablinum.
Servants brought plates of fruits and goblets of wine. As easily as I had declined the Dux’s offer, I gladly accepted this one.
The man pondered a moment. “A week ago, I would say.”
“Did he seem different?”
“How do you mean?”
“Was he nervous? Frightened? Was he acting in ways or saying things he normally would not have?”
Harrus Lintilius remained quiet for a moment, staring in the distance with a thoughtful expression.
“In retrospect, I believe you are correct.”
He glanced at me. “You must pardon me, eddo, but it is uncomfortable to speak so of my master.”
“I understand. Take your time.”
He nodded and took a deep breath.
“He had been acting differently, as you say, for some time, though I had not noticed until now. I believe because it did not happen overnight. It was a slow change. Over the course of a month, perhaps two.”
“In what ways did he change?”
“He grew more distant, more quiet. More irritable, as well. He would often mumble things as if to himself.”
“What sort of things?”
“I could not make out much, safe for a few words here and there. Such as ‘outside,’ ‘fire,’ ‘freedom’...”
“Have you some idea what might have prompted this change?”
Lintilius shook his head.
“I am sorry, eddo, but I do not.” He paused. “Although...”
He sighed. “It’s probably nothing, but he had been spending much time at the library in the weeks prior.”
“Do you know why?”
“I am afraid not.”
“Very well.” I rose. “Thank you for your time, domus Lintilius.”
He walked me back to the door.
As I headed back to the motorum, I wondered if a visit to the library might be fruitful. I doubted it. Still, it would have been negligent on my part not to follow any lead, no matter how small it may seem.
While there are many libraries throughout Satlanea, there is only one per city.
I parked as close to the entrance as I could and walked the rest of the way.
After explaining my needs, a clerk looked through the records and grimaced.
“I am sorry, eddo, but there is not much I can do. He must have done all his research here, so there is no way to know what books he looked at.”
“Does anyone remember helping him find specific titles?”
“I can ask around...”
The woman nodded and walked into the back office. After a few minutes, she came back out and shook her head.
“None who are here now have assisted him. Some of our colleagues are absent, and I will make sure to ask them when I see them, just in case. But, eddo...”
“Tilius Maximus, our head librarian, tells me domus Assilius did borrow some books last year. If this is of interest to you and you would allow me a few minutes, I could look the information up in the archives.”
“Please. That might be helpful.”
She smiled and nodded as she hurried away.
I browsed through books as I waited. Histories of Satlanea. It made me sad, because we know so little of the old days. It is as if all our older writings were destroyed at the same time as our people. How could this be?
No more than ten minutes had passed when the woman returned.
I closed the book and placed it back on its shelf. The clerk glanced at the cover and blinked.
“That was one of them.”
“Well, not that particular title, but a similar one about the history of San Sanea. That was the first one he borrowed.”
“There were others?”
She frowned and nodded. “Historical records, at first, but then he delved into more arcane documents. That could explain why he stopped borrowing.”
“How do you mean?”
“Many of the more... esoteric, shall we say? The more esoteric material cannot leave the premises. They are some of the oldest we own and are in poor condition.”
“I see. Wouldn’t there be a record of those consulted?”
“They are not kept. As soon as a document is brought back, the note is erased.”
“That is unfortunate.”
“No need to apologize. This is not your doing.”
“I did get you a list of the books he borrowed last year.” She handed me a piece of paper and I looked over it.
“Could you bring me copies of these?”
She smiled. “Of course.”
There were twelve books in all. I did not know in which order he had read them, though I could guess from the dates he had borrowed them—in three batches—and, to some extent, from the contents.
Some of the books were more generic, and must have served to plant a seed. From there, he had worked his way to darker stuff. Myths, legends, nonsense talk of otherworldly fantasies. There were no hints in these of fire and I could make no connection.
I asked the staff that handles the restricted documents if they could think of anything relevant, but they could not. Nor did they remember Nelius Assilius.
All I can do, then, is try to follow in his footsteps. But that requires thinking like him, which I—
I must pause here, for I have just received word that a new fire is in progress. I must hurry.
The world was ablaze.
At least, that was how it felt.
It was night, but you could not see even the darkness of the Glow. The air was red; the walls were red; the earth was red... Here and there, with licks of yellow.
The heat melted through metal while covering men and women with sweat.
Hundreds had rushed to the scene. Each Vigil used his or her ignisor, while citizens came to help with buckets of water.
This was no time to ask questions. The flames had to be stopped, or they would take more buildings and lives.
I chipped in and for the next half hour, there were no differences between us. No Vigilēs, no censor, no soldiers, no poor man or wealthy man. We were all one, all working together to save our city from destruction.
When the fire was finally quelched, I looked around to consider the extent of the damage.
An entire block had gone up in smoke, leaving only scorched ground and blackened ruins. A lingering stench of burned flesh hinted at more victims.
I froze as I saw him. Standing on the side, near a dark alley. His clothes were clean, as was his skin. And he was staring straight at me.
Appius Quintillus nodded when he saw I’d spotted him and stepped toward me.
I wanted to ask him what he was doing here. How long he had been watching us fight for our lives with his arms crossed. Why he looked so relaxed and confident in the midst of such chaos.
But none of that would have been proper.
So, instead, I said: “Good tidings, enno.”
The man distractedly adjusted his purple toga as he approached and stopped a few feet from me.
“And to you, eddo. I trust you are not too exhausted?”
The question left me speechless. Had he not seen what had just happened? How could he be so casual?
Before I could gather my thoughts, he grabbed my shoulder and gave it a slight nudge.
“Walk with me,” he said, and I numbly followed.
As we walked away from the crowd, down dark and quiet streets, my mind slowly started working again. But I said nothing, both irritated that the senator had caught me so off-guard and curious to hear what he had to say.
“I must ask a favor of you, censor.”
Must? A favor? From me?
What joke was this?
He smiled amiably. “You have never married, yes?”
“Not that I remember.”
He clicked his tongue. “Of course.”
I eyed him suspiciously. The man had no daughter.
“I trust you do not plot to marry me to a niece or a cousin?”
His laughter was light, like the flight of a butterfly.
“Quite the contrary, my friend, quite the contrary.”
I wished he’d get to the point already.
“The favor I am about to ask,” he continued after a moment, “would not be a proper one to ask of a married man. And yet, it is of utmost importance.”
“I am listening,” I said as we turned down a new alley, further into the depths of San Sanea. I idly wondered if the senator had a specific destination in mind, or if he just let his feet wander.
It mattered little, I suppose.
“Few people know this,” he whispered. “It has not even been discussed in the Senate—yet. It will need to be addressed soon, however. But I would rather the matter be resolved before it is brought up.”
How so typical of this scheming politician.
I remained quiet.
He glanced at me, though I pretended not to notice, staring straight ahead.
“The Sadin Codex has been tracked down to the Flammae.”
I tried not to frown, not to show any reaction. I do not know if I succeeded, but at least the man made no comment.
Of course I knew it stolen. And though there is no real need for the book, as everyone knows our laws by heart, it is considered a sacred document. Many suspect the Stealth Society—they are thieves after all—but no one in the Senate, least of all the consuls, has given such gossip a hint of credence. The guilders help to uphold the law. Taking the Codex would defeat the purpose.
Some might argue that the book itself has no direct effect on people’s behavior. While there is truth to this, stealing a sacred text—as evidenced by recent events—could only create unrest and lead to discontentment and disorder.
The Society knows this, and thus could not have committed such a crime.
When the senator let the silence settle longer than he should have, I realized he expected me to say something.
“What does it have to do with me?” I asked.
“Is it not obvious?”
I gaped at him.
“Are you seriously expecting me to go get it?”
He smiled amiably. “Who better than you?”
“I can think of a few. The Vigilēs, most of all.”
Quintillus dismissed the proposition with a wave of his hand.
“That would make the matter much too official for my taste. This needs to be handled quietly. Efficiently.”
A knot formed in my stomach as I realized where our steps had taken us... No. Where the senator had taken us.
Of course he had known all along what he was doing.
He continued to walk for a moment, then stopped and looked back at me with a slight smirk.
“What is it, eddo, scared of a few women?”
A couple more turns and we would enter the pleasure district. Already I could hear the distant music and smell the distinct aromas of the brothels.
“You are assuming I will do your bidding,” I said sharply. “I will not.”
Without waiting for a response, I turned and walked away.
I must start anew.
My life is in shambles.
The world is upside down.
I have lost everything.
And amidst all of this mess, I must find the man who started it all.
The elusive Assilius still eludes me.
Where is he?
I cannot think straight.
I need to focus! Find a place where I can make sense of it all.
Oh, how I wish I could die.
I sit on a boulder at the edge of the city and stare at the charred remains of the forest.
Not all of it burned, but so much.
The fire started in the morning. It spread far before anyone noticed or had time to react. It took more men to stop it than any of the previous ones. Help was sent by the neighboring cities that were just as threatened as San Sanea was.
It lasted hours. Well into the afternoon.
I look at the Glow. I can tell its light is starting to fade. Soon it will be dark again.
How will I find my prey?
That is what he has become to me.
A prey I must hunt down and capture—perhaps kill, if it comes to that. I cannot allow this folly to continue.
He has wreaked too much havoc.
And will wreak more if I do not find him.
There is no doubt in my mind.
Resolve bathes me.
This is now personal.
I looked for the point of origin. With the help of the Vigilēs, we found it as night crept upon us. No one dared use a torch, but we had other means to light our way.
The beams of our devices revealed the scorched earth where it had started. And, there, covered with blackened branches, I found his footsteps. Faded and singed, but visible.
Holding tight to my resolve, I followed the tracks.
I heard them sing and pray—the worshippers of Lady Gaia. Understandably incensed, they had decided to search for the culprit as well.
At any other time, I would have found this in poor taste and ordered them to stop. But I just wanted this over with. I cared little how the matter was resolved, so long as it was. If they found him first and butchered him, so be it. I would not lose sleep over it.
Not after what he’d done to me.
This was personal now.
The tracks led us eastward, away from the city, toward the limits of our world. As I walked, I could see the distant stone wall rise high, fading above into the shadows around the now darkened Glow.
And then I saw it. A spark. Far away, straight ahead.
A new fire?
So soon after he had burned half the forest, would he be so reckless?
Of course he would.
He did not care, that much I knew now for certain.
The men who walked with me knew as much.
It was not difficult to understand.
After all the atrocities he had committed...
Assilius had fallen off the edge, down into the depths of insanity.
There was no other explanation.
None of the books he had read could explain this. At least, none of the ones I had seen.
Assuming he had a motive was assuming he was sane.
I preferred to think he was not.
We sped up, sensing that answers were close at hand. Or, if not answers, at least closure.
As we moved, the sparks grew brighter, larger.
The Vigilēs held their ignisori ready, but this did not feel like a fire that was spreading.
It was something different.
When we finally reached the wall, we understood.
The madman was aiming his device at the rock and shooting at it again and again. The flames licked the surface and blackened the wall. In some places, where the heat was most intense, matter melted and small holes formed.
“Assilius!” I shouted.
The man jumped and turned, his eyes filled with rage. He screamed when he saw us.
“Go away! Leave me alone!”
“Drop your ignisor,” warned one of the Vigilēs.
But the thief did not listen.
For a moment, I had feared he would turn his device against us, but he did no such thing.
Instead, he spun toward the wall again and continued to shoot flames at it.
I motioned for the men to wait.
“What are you doing?” I asked over the racket of the crackling flames.
“I will set us free!” he yelled. “Whether you like it or not.”
“You are not making sense, Assilius!”
“There is a world beyond! Don’t you see? Can’t you feel it? We all know it, deep inside our bones, but we refuse to accept it as truth. Because if we did, oh if we did! That way madness lies, does it not? We are entombed! Buried alive! But I shall free us if it’s the last thing I do!”
He continued sprouting this nonsense without looking back, still intent on his task.
Did the man truly think he could dig his way through the wall? What did he expect to find on the other side? Assuming there even was another side. Of course there wasn’t. This was all lunacy.
The ravings of a madman.
Each word he uttered made me grow more convinced of his insanity.
How could one soothe one such as he?
I was about to speak when I heard their chant.
The worshippers of Lady Gaia.
They had found us.
The Cult of Gaia is old. Perhaps as old as the world. Her disciples are everywhere, in every stratum of our society.
Including the Vigilēs.
Those who were had brought their ignisori. Which they now aimed at the madman.
Before any of us could say or do anything—and before Assilius himself even noticed—they triggered their devices.
The thief did not even scream. I suppose he had no time.
His body burst into flames. His skin melted and his bones crumbled to ashes within seconds.
The heat of a hundred ignisori was so intense, we all had to take several steps back.
And then it was over.
Five men walked out of the assembled crowd. I noticed they wore the sigil of the Stealth Society. One of them came to me.
“When Assilius revives”—and we all knew he would—”he will be dealt with. The Society takes care of its own. You will not see or hear from him again.”
As he spoke, guilders gathered the ashes and all other remnants of the thief.
I nodded, wondering what would happen to him. Would they burn him with his ignisor, again and again, in perpetuity?
It would be fitting, would it not?
I walked back to the city exhausted.
What was done was done.
Part of me would have liked to understand Nelius Assilius. He had gone mad, obviously, but why? What changed him? How could a respectable member of the Stealth Society, and a volunteer Vigil, suddenly snap? What prompted it?
Was it something he read?
Or was it a deeper, more devious issue?
One, perhaps, we all share?
Is it there, within us, just waiting to leap out?
I shudder at the thought.
Having nowhere else to go, and needing to collect my thoughts, I went to my favorite inn and sat at my favorite table.
I was nursing my third ale when I saw him come in and walk straight to me. He pulled a chair and sat across from me without waiting for an invitation.
Good thinking on his part, I suppose, as none would have come.
“Are you stalking me now?” I asked.
The senator smiled amiably. “You left abruptly.”
“You can’t take a hint, can you?”
“We had not finished our conversation.”
He shrugged. “That matters little.” He waved to a waitress and ordered the same thing I was having. I wasn’t sure I liked that. He was going to spoil it for me, wasn’t he? Heck, he was spoiling the place. It was tainted now.
I wrinkled my nose. “What do you want, enno?”
“You know what I want.”
“And I already told you—”
“I don’t care. You will do as I say.”
I frowned. “You have no authority over me.”
He smiled amiably. “You might think so, but you are wrong. Besides, why would you not? This is a matter of law, after all. It is your duty.”
I let go of my mug when I realized how tightly I was gripping it.
“For all I know,” I said, “this is a trap.”
He took a hurt expression. “I would not do this to you.”
“Of course you would! And we both know it. It would serve you to discredit me—and Maxius Pius through me.”
He pursed his lips, thoughtful rather than offended.
“Yes, I suppose it would. Still, I have only spoken the truth.”
“Even so, I am not getting involved with the Flammae.”
“Because they are ladies of little virtue?”
“No. Because they have never given me cause to question their morality.” This made him laugh. “You know what I mean! On all accounts, they are law-abiding citizens.”
“So, you do not believe they have the Codex?”
“Why would they take it? It makes no sense.”
“Still, you will do this for me.”
“I will do no such thing.”
“Oh yes, you will.” His smile faded and I saw steel in his eyes. “If not for me, for little Agra.”
My heart thumped faster, and I felt the blood drain from my face.
How could he...
Only one man knew about Agra. And Maxius would have told no one—least of all this wretched worm whom he despised even more than I did.
“Fine,” I hissed. “I will do it. But I warn you—”
He quirked a brow and I stopped, biting down on my lip. No matter how much I hated him, he was a senator. I had to watch my tongue.
I downed the rest of my ale, slammed the mug down on the table, stood, and stormed out of the inn without another word.
“We have a problem,” I said to the floating face of my friend as the motorum took me outside of the city. “Quintillus knows about Agra.”
Maxius straightened and frowned.
“Feel free to ask him next time you see him,” I said bitterly.
He watched me quietly for a moment.
“He asked you to do something, didn’t he?”
I looked away and nodded.
“And you won’t tell me what?”
“I will shield you from this as much as I can, and as best I know how.”
“You should let me help you, Caius. I could—”
“No. If I tell you, you would be bound by our laws to bring it to the Senate. Then Quintillus would crush you.”
“Come, now! There is no way—”
“How would you explain that you even knew about it? All would think you were involved. No, it’s better this way. You must let me handle this.”
“It doesn’t look like you are giving me much of a choice.”
“I am not.”
“Very well.” He paused, studying me.
As he did so, it occurred to me that I had kept something from him only once before. This was twice... and in a rather short span of time, which made it even more disconcerting.
But, like previously, I had no choice.
“Do you have a place to go?” he asked. “You can stay with me as long as you need. You know this, yes?”
“Thank you, Maxius. I might take you up on that. But I need to be alone for now.”
He nodded and I ended the communication.
I sit on a fallen and scorched tree trunk, staring at the ruins of my once beautiful villa.
It had stood proudly at the edge of the forest, a five-minute ride from the city. When the trees went up in flames, so did my home.
There is nothing left of it now.
Only melted archways, blackened carpets, fuming furniture, and the burned carcasses of once intricate carvings.
My heart boils as recently did the water in my pool.
For the millionth time, I wish I could die.
Not this parody of death enacted by the disciples of Gaia.
But real death remains beyond our grasp.
What will I do?
I have lost everything.
Despite my loss, despite my weariness, despite the inescapability of my life, I laugh.
Because, despite all of that, there is irony here.
It is not as if I had no time to rebuild.
There is never a lack of time.
Oh, no, of that, there is no lack at all.
Yes, I will rebuild.
For me, for Maxius, for Agra...
I will start anew.
And Quintillus... One way or another, he will pay.
He has to.
I cannot allow him to control me.
I will do his bidding this once, but no more.
I will find a way.
Resolve bathes me.
This is now personal.
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Want to read more of my Science-Fiction stories? Check out these titles, if you haven’t already:
Malarqi and Thyme (time travelers in Ancient Greece)
To Tame a Wild Sea (creatures from Earth mythology living on an ocean world)
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Text (c) 2023 by Alex S. Garcia.
Header: royalty-free stock images, edited by me.
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I am so curious about what’s beyond the wall. If there’s even anything beyond the wall. They could be stuck in a pocket dimension for all they know.