Look for The Violet Keystone in a bookstore
Tal and Milla are only one step away from
death. Evil is only one step away from triumph. An old war is made
new again. The Ultimate power is up for grabs.
As shadows rage, ancient spells return.
Illusion reigns and corruption threatens. The search for hope is
the bravest quest. The Seventh Tower is the key to it all.
The Crones slid forward. Tal watched them nervously, but didn't
move as they clustered all around him. He had to shut his eyes,
unable to meet their stares.
He felt the Crones pick him up and opened his eyes again. He saw the mast and its Sunstone high above, and the darkness beyond.
The Crones threw him up in the air. It was exhilarating to be thrown and caught again. The first time he went up half as high as the mast. The second time he was level with the Sunstone at the very top.
The third time, he didn't come back down. He just kept going up and up and up into the dark sky. Then there was a tremendous flash of light and all of a sudden Tal was wide awake, crouched inside the crystal globe. Fashnek was only a few stretches away, frantically turning the wheel that controlled the green gas. Vapors were beginning to swirl around Tal’s feet again, but he ignored them.
Without hesitation, he reached out to the seven Sunstones around him and took control. Each one flashed, then steadied into the appropriate color the code to unlock the crystal globe.
There was a faint click and the globe split at its equator. Tal threw it fully open and jumped out.
Fashnek shrieked, a strangely high-pitched shriek for a Chosen. He dropped the Sunstone he held in
his right hand and scuttled back, both of his halves in total panic.
Tal snatched up the Sunstone as it skittered across the floor.
"No, no, it wasn't me," moaned Fashnek in one breath, and then in the other, "Get him! Kill him!"
His two Spiritshadow companions obeyed. The Urglegurgle bounced twice and launched itself at Tal’s head, while the wasp-waisted shadow lunged forward to grab his legs.
Once again Tal acted instinctively, almost without thought. He stepped back against the globe. Still in tune with the seven Sunstones, he summoned a thin line of Violet from each of them, to form a fence of light around himself.
The Urglegurgle hit the fence as it came down and was split in two as cleanly as a cut apple. Each half landed badly and bounced away. They came together for a moment, failed to join, and then there was a pop as the Urglegurgle disappeared, either back to Aenir or destroyed for good.
The thin-waisted Spiritshadow was quicker. It twisted away, losing only a hand to the Violet wire.
Tal raised the Sunstone he had picked up off the floor. The Spiritshadow raised its remaining hand in a gesture of defeat and vanished. Its rapid disappearance troubled Tal. It showed that free Spirit-shadows could retreat to Aenir whenever they wanted to. He hoped it was much harder for them to come back, though with the Veil weakened and possibly already failing, it might not be.
"Spare me, noble master," whined Fashnek, prostrating himself on the floor. "I am but a humble servant of the Empress."
"The Empress is dead," Tal said harshly. "Besides, I know your true master is Sushin. Where is my Spiritshadow?"
"A deal, an agreement, your Spiritshadow for my miserable life," Fashnek whimpered. "Oh, your generosity"