Introduction Tonight I will be reborn, thought Enlys Thecksil.

He stroked his short trimmed goatee and stared at his likeness in the scroll worked mirror on the heavily tapestried wall. Waist length golden-red hair framed a hard square jawline and his high brows above sharp pale blue eyes that stared across his prominent nose and told his inner thoughts, even his doubts of surviving the night. Turning from the mirror, he walked the four strides to his work table and looked again at the preparations he had worked on for months. The phylactery was ready and he had paid dearly for it, almost with my life, he mused. He walked around the table to view it from every angle. This curious little container, whose ingredients, he had traveled half way across the known spheres to procure. It was a glass and steel mixture with just a hint of the rare mithril in it to fortify it against drops and jars. No, this one will not break., he thought. The shipmate on the deck above called out that the flow warning was over and they had entered wildspace once again. This crystal shell had been charted by the Arcane and they had charged a healthy sum for what they claimed to be the originals, but more than likely they were copies. With these charts he had hired a crew and on his hammership had taken off to explore this newly discovered sphere. Crystal shells contain the vacuum of the universe and all the planets therein. The shells themselves float on what is called the Phlogiston, a rainbow ocean of color that contains the ether of life, according to sages . This newly discovered sphere was simply charted and not explored, ideal for Enlys for no one had heard his name here. It has been said to contain an asteroid colony, called Xetg’on or some such, a pirate haven according to the Corsairs Guild. Not that he was a fugitive, but after the death of his beloved Shou wife, Ashidamura, he had simply not wanted associate with anyone from his past life, and at age 22 fell into depression. Her relatives had adopted Enlys into their family and tried to convince him to stay with them. But the unbearable loss had overcome him and he fled on the next departing spelljamming ship. Enlys signed on as the helmsman’s replacement. The ship was basically a glorified pirate vessel and the captain’s golden tongue got them out of most of the trouble they got into. The life was rich and the gold was flowing. Three years later he bought his own ship, a restored hammership and sailed with out a care. Still, his relatives and concerned friends of old had found him, and cornered him with their concern. He had talked with them for hours. While trying to forget his past for such a long time, he had been glad to remember the good times with old friends. It was a turning point for Enlys, and he had made a promise to himself that night to find somewhere new someplace he could live and forget the past. It was just to painful. Two years later while exploring an ancient tomb on the planet called Krynn, Enlys found the spellbook of an ancient mage along with the incomplete journal of his life. For months he stayed secluded at an inn in a city called Palanthas, studying the life and spells of this long dead mage. The man was called Tyraitian and his entire family had been murdered. His writing had become erratic as his madness set upon him, he had tried to become a dreaded lich. Choosing to go on with eternity as an undead, rather than join the family that had deserted him. Though the journal had been kept up, right until the day he had chosen to be reborn, as he called it, after that dreaded final entry, nothing. In his ranting entries Tyraitian had described the technique in detail and the precautions he had made, so there would be no mistake. For the lack of a further entry, he must have met his family on that day. Perhaps he had simply forgotten about his journal and went on his way in his new life or undeath, or perhaps he had died in truth. The idea that he could join his wife and live forever with her, or live forever here in this existence, all with a single act, intrigued Enlys. He started to do research, he visited Mount Nevermind and talked to the gnomes there. Discovering that there are two ways to find out about being a lich, one to talk to a fal, or two, talk to a lich. Enlys decided to talk with a lich, since he did not have the time to hunt down a fal. Besides which, if it did not know what he wanted, he would end up having to find a lich anyway. During his 27th year he found a clue as to the whereabouts of a lich who was reported to live on an asteroid fortress in the sphere called Realmspace. The information proved to be true and the lich was none other than Tyraitian himself and for returning his beloved journal to him ( of which Enlys had made a copy), the lich gave Enlys information about the phylactery and how to make it from the glassteel compound. Tyraitian talked to Enlys for months, telling him of the power and knowledge he had achieved since being reborn into his new life. They shared Enlys’ knowledge of the recent events

going on in the spheres. The pair came to an agreement, and Enlys’ decided to stay out of Tyraitian’s territory. He would find himself some new place to live, in peace and away from his painful memories. After coming to their mutual agreement and finding common ground on which to stand, the two new friends parted company and never looked back. One would forget the other in a matter of minutes, but the other was somehow different, and would be changed forever. During his 29th year of natural life, Enlys discovered from a trader, that an arcane had charted an unknown sphere from his recent flow journey and might be willing to sell the chart. He paid the arcane and retrieved the chart, his only thought to settle in an unknown place and explore new territory to call his own. He paid thirty times the highest price ever paid before or after for a star chart, In the spheres for thousands of years later when someone buys a star chart, they hope they don’t get Enlysed. Using the last of his pirate bestowed money, he purchased supplies and hired on his crew for his last voyage. Looking out the porthole in his cabin he beheld the stars of his new wildspace home. Smiling down at his little jar, he had to laugh and then began to work the first spell of his final natural act, to die. Laughing as the power of his spells took effect with a clap of electric charge and the collapse of air, he picked up the jar and drank the toxic potion, smiling, he swallowed then fell to the cabin floor and thrashed in pain as his life ended and blackness rushed into his mind to pull him down. Two hours later, a knock on the door brought him out of his dark swirling delirium. He rose to his feet and strode to the door drunkenly. He opened the door and his first mate stood in the companion way, gasping as he saw the state of his captain. His clothes had been wrinkled and dusted from thrashing on the cabin floor, but it was his eyes that held the first mate’s gaze. Looking to his right at the mirror on the wall, he himself gasped at his withered flesh as in his sunken eye sockets burned a blueish-purple flame. A sick looking smile crossed his now dark features, and his wrinkled hand came up then touched his face. Amazing, he thought to himself, I should be dead. The man looking at him had no idea what had just happened. But he was scared, more scared then facing a thousand neogi, on a life boat. “What happened, sir.” gasped the sturdy first mate, visibly shaken. “Would you really like to know?” asked Enlys, in a slightly rasping voice that seemed deeper and now more resonant. “Uh.... well sir....” said the man, taking a hesitant step away. With a withered hand he reaches out and grabs the first mate by the shirt. He pulls him inside and shuts the door. With a flick of his wrist Enlys hurls the startled mortal across the room, where he slams into the wall and crumbles to a heap on the floor of the cabin. “What are you....” came in a whisper from the pile. “You don’t want to know” laughed Enlys. Standing over him, he reaches down and grabs his head in one hand. Now to see in if Tyraitian was right, thought Enlys. “Adi Juxkityer stoleios Da gytxwsiuos.................Da gytxwsiuos” he said in the language of magic. The power surged through his wrinkled body, and began to fill it out and make it seem whole again. After a few moments the head in his hand flared as if on fire and crumbled to dust, and all that was left of the first mate was a few rags, and a pile of ashes. Looking in the mirror, Enlys saw his old face and the only difference was his eyes, they still burned with the purplish - blue flames. A deep booming laughter filled his ears and he smiled at himself. Walking to the porthole he looks out at his new home, the intricate constellations and wondrous planets thrill him. “I wonder if this sphere has a name.” CHAPTER 1 The gilded lamps of the Temple Square hurt Unoshato's eyes, as he watched the Ptah clerics in their daily blessing of the masses. Touching his cousin Tai on the arm, he said, “Let’s go, it’s time.” The two Shou youths quickly walked down mainmast street and disappeared into the flow of the dispersing crowd. ••• Shin Yar’e scribed on a piece of parchment with his short feathered pen, and watched the two walk away. His close cropped dark hair and slanted eyes made him the perfect spy in this district, with so many Shou coming and going to the Temple of the Path and The Way, he blended in, unnoticed. A couple, with their wedding ribbons still tied to their arms, approached his carpet and asked him to draw

them in charcoal. Posing as a street artist was his cover, and most days found him here or sitting in the great market. Handing the piece of paper to a passing Shou with tattoo covered forearms, he grabbed his charcoal box and began drawing. Jukio took the paper from the artist, and glanced at it as he walked toward mainmast street. It showed two youths, one with close cropped black hair and brown eyes, wearing a black shirt open in the front with a piece of a black tattoo on his chest, the other with long black hair tied in the back with a piece of leather, his black eyes were squinted in the drawing, and he was shirtless, displaying a radiant dragon tattoo on his chest. Jukio laughed to himself and folded the paper into his shirt pocket, as he hurried back to Shou Town. ••• UnoShato tossed his long black hair back over his shoulder and glanced back to see who had stumbled into him, but there was no one there. Looking back around he sidestepped two passing lizardmen in their red-mail shirts and glanced at his cousin Suwen Tei. “Who was that” he grumbled. “Looked like a corsair, why are you so paranoid” replied Tei in a calm voice, that never failed to sooth the quick tempered, Unoshato. Uno, was the name Tei had called him since they first learned to talk. Growing up and being the son of a Monk, Tei was his best friend and their parents had let them play together in the crib. They had trained in the martial arts apart though, because their fathers had different styles. Other than each morning in training, they were always together. Sometimes they were joined by Bolo Chaeng, who was there at Unoshato's training and was also a cousin but from Uno’s side of the family. Their fathers were sons of BoloShato and they both had different mothers, Grandfather BoloShato had in fact 5 wives and even at 83 years old, was still looking for more he boasted. He had come to the Rock of Bral when he was 18. He learned martial arts from his Grandfather who died, and left his little money to his favorite Grandson, BoloShato. He bought passage to the Rock, and grew up working on the docks and in the yards. He then went to live in the The Temple of the Path and the Way. There he studied with the monks, priests and warrior priests and learned their style and they his. Bolo is into his new girlfriend, Uno thought sadly. She was probably telling him what to do and how to sit, right this minute. Smiling he glanced at Tei, “You think Bolo is ever going to get that tattoo finished?” Like Unoshato, Bolo had the beginnings of a radiant dragon on his chest, while Tei, from the other side of the family had a Blue Dragon tattoo. Uno had never felt more proud then the day his grandfather had told him he had been accepted into the monasteries’ force of bushi retainers. Tei must have felt the same on the day that he was accepted as a sohei. “He must if he is going to impress that new girlfriend of his. He should marry her so he can get rich off her father’s money,” said Tei, with a quick grin. Watching Tei dodge among the people on the crowded street Uno again felt his humiliating flash of jealousy. Uno was truly embarrassed at the way he felt but could do nothing about it, except practice his martial arts harder and become one with his chi. He is so effortless he looks as though he floats above the ground while the rest of us flounder in the mud, Uno mused to himself. “More likely, he will dump tea on her father’s lap, and get himself killed, I hear her father is very good with the katana and very quick with his temper,” laughed Uno back at him. “A wise man once said the worst enemy is a relative, so don’t wish him bad luck or he probably will marry her, and we will never get to watch the jettisoning of criminals again,” replied Tei, his mood darkening, and his smile growing. He always seemed happiest when he was thinking of things like that. Strange how someone who can walk on the one inch pegs to the platform of harmony can think such things and enjoy them. The path to harmony started as round two inch pegs sunk into the ground and raised itself up to twenty feet off the ground. The pegs narrow down as one climbs and get down to one inch width. There are two shoulder width apart pegs at the end, which to meditate upon is said to be very enlightening. Only five people have ever climbed the whole way and found that enlightenment. One was Suwen Tei Mow. Mainmast Street merged into Hammer Street and angled toward Lamp Street, the crowded street flowing toward the docks. Passing by open-fronted shops and inns and taverns, the two youths ignored the cries of of hawkers and beggars alike. A group of towering Giff strode by, with the crowd clearing before their huge forms, but also because of the set look of battle readiness to them. “Those fellows look ready to commit murder, eh Tei?” asked Unoshato as he looked back at the group of huge creatures plowing through the crowd.

“They always look ready to fight, but today they look ready to massacre anyone not bowing and leaving at the sight of them,” replied Tei, with a half-grin and a flash of teeth. More and more lately he seemed pleased with the thought of morbid deeds and dark actions. “Just what we need today! Next thing our bloody tattoo artist will show up and tell them they’re giff artist is a useless, fumble fingered idiot.” said unoshato with a huge grin. Showing that he too had much darkness inside himself. “Be careful what you wish for...” started Tei, as the thunder of what sounded like a battle began almost behind the pair. Turning they spotted the source of the trouble and it was indeed the giff. The huge dark-skinned fellows had quickly come to blows with a group of lizard-men. The crowded street ebbed, then stopped completely. The fight quickly developed and the giff spread out to give themselves room to swing swords on the street. The mail-clad lizard-men spread across the street as well, out-numbering the giff by four to one easily, they advanced. Grouped in threes and fours the lizard-men approached the giff. Unlike thunder, the melee was drawing people out of the shops and inns, but all stayed well back and ready to bolt away should the fight swing toward them. “Two silvers on the black giff against those three there,” shouted Unoshato pointing to the indicated giff. One of the things his own father had proudly boasted of was Uno’s ability to read the fighting ability of another persons chi. “Done!” Shouted back a black-smith in his leather apron, as he waved his hammer at Unoshato. “Two silver on the red lizard-man with the axe,” yelled a fellow in a black cloak with sharp pointed mustaches. Indicating the only standing member of one of the groups, his three fellows were down before the massive assault of a blood-red giffs’ sword. “Done!” shouted Tei, with a gleam in eye that stated clearly he wished to be in the midst of this fight. The black-skinned giff quickly finished off the three lizard-men before him and started toward another group of adversaries who were trying to come from behind one of the giff. UnoShato smiled at his good fortune, and at the blacksmith, who seemed to scowl for some reason. The blacksmith walked over and handed UnoShato his money and then walked away into the crowd. Meanwhile, the giff finished off the lizard-men and started cleaning they’re blades off and laughing, a sound not unlike the bellows of a blacksmith. Uno and Tei turned and walked away counting the money they had won. “I should make a business of gambling, I’m now 10 silvers up.” said UnoShato. “Yes but there are sweeter rewards in what we do this night my cousin.” replied Tei. Rounding a corner into Shou town the pair approach the family tattoo-artists’ house. A rundown looking house with peeling brown paint and a warped roof, the place was in need of repair. Lightly leaping onto the porch to avoid the broken steps, and traps, the youths tap on the door. Smiling at each other they counted out loud, “One, two, three.” then each took a step away from the door UnoShato to the left and Tei to the right. The entire crooked door frame and all falls outward and lands on the porch. The boys are lifted about two inches off the wood slats and both land with a grin. “He should really fix that thing one of these days.” says Tei as he lightly leaps over into the front room of the house. “Well if he does the whole house may collapse.” replies Uno and he leaps into the room beside Tei. The broken-down appearance on the outside of the house, was a trick, to lure away would-be thieves. The pair sit on a low futon in the front room to await the artist. The front door, frame and all swings up shut behind them and closes with a tight click. A young girl comes out from deeper in the house and kneels in front of the pair, “Tea?” she whispers. At nods from each, she rises and hurries off into the house. In moments she returns and places a tray before them, pours the tea and then leaves again. “If he gets done with me today, I’m going to celebrate at the Laughing Beholder” says UnoShato with a grin. “Your money will not last ten minutes in that place.” replies Tei. A curtain parts and an middle-aged shou emerges with a tattoo covering his entire upper body. The artist looks at UnoShato and Tei and smiles then opening the curtain behind him he gestures at the boys.

“This way” he says in clipped cantonese. “Sir” they reply. Five hours later the pair emerge from the house and wander down toward the Laughing Beholder. Rounding the corner off Dragon street to cut into Laughing town, the two youths pause as they notice someone nailing a sign over a gate on a reconstructed building. Tei looks at Uno and mumbles “must be a new dojo.” The man on the ladder pauses in his hammering and glances at his work. A stocky asian with well defined muscles and long red hair gathered in a strip of leather on top of his head. Touching Uno on the shoulder Tei moves into the alley beside the dojo and continues into Laughing town. Rounding two more corners they come within sight of the Laughing Beholder, the legendary bar where it is said anything can happen. The front of the place is bustling with people coming in and going out, and above the open double doored entrance flashes a strange magic sign. A huge circle with an eye in it and the name The Laughing Beholder, flashing in huge green letters seem to pull the youngsters into the doors. The tavern is packed with people and the jam around the bar itself is thick enough to make them both wonder how anyone can possibly get a drink here. The bar itself is situated along the right hand side of the huge common room running from the front wall to the base of some wooden railed stairs leading up into the guest rooms. The rest of the place is filled with tables and chairs and the crush of hundreds of bodies all moving and laughing and some even singing. A group in the farthest corner are gathered around couple of old Shou, one is a bard with a biwa sitting on a table. The other man is dressed in a black robe and as they approach, they notice that he is clearly ancient and has a twisted staff propped against the table beside him. “Wu-Jen” mumbles Uno, with a nod toward the old man who appeared to be reading from a book. They sit near the table and catch the last of what the old man is saying, “and the storm rains down and the companions will never know where this strange road will take them.” Then he closes the book and looks up at the crowd sitting around him. A serving girl walks up to Uno and Tei, and asks them what they want. They order water and the girl wanders over toward the bar. The serving girl returns, and the pair get a look at her. She wears a tiny pale green silk kimono. Long black hair is tied back with small wooden combs and a red rose. Uno looks at her face and realizes the rumors of this place are all true, she is beautiful. Wide almond shaped eyes of brown stare out from under delicate brows of black. Looking into those eyes Uno found it hard to breath, his heart and stomach wrenching around inside of him. She set the glasses down and favors the boy’s with a quick grin that seems to light the whole place up. Then she was gone. She is so pretty, he thinks. Tei looks similarly impressed as his smiling face follows her progress away through the crowded common room. Looking at each other they both speak at once. “Did you see…” starts Uno. “How in the…” begins Tei. Laughter erupts from both as they raise they’re glasses up and insist the other speak first. Uno looked at his cousin’s smile and knew what he was thinking, and knew Tei had a good idea exactly what he himself was thinking. “Nice place, huh?” began Uno. “I would like to have heard the story he was just telling” said Tei. Waving his hand to indicate the old man sitting by the bard. The elders seemed to be deep in a hushed conversation and both gestured grandly as they talked. Looking around himself Uno stared in open wonder at the montage of life. Every race of beings could find peace and a stiff drink at the Laughing Beholder. The peace was not kept by the usual bouncers and or guards, it was the owner Large Luigi. With his abilities and powers the large Beholder is reputed to stop trouble before it starts no one has ever started a fight that lasted for more than one blow in the Beholder. At the next table to the right, Uno observes a group of Shou in plain clothes talking over wine cups and looking around nervously. Beyond them, a group of black leather-clad Lizardmen sat around laughing and trying to fondle a serving girl with one hand as the other hand held a brimming flagon of ale. Uno looked back over his right shoulder and observed a group of grey-robed men sipping wine and gesturing at each other in conversation. To his left sat four redhaired Hadozee, who all appeared to be grunting at once. Past them Uno blinked twice as the beautiful serving girl who caught his eye was smiling at him, while a man in strange painted armor talked to her. She lowers her eye from Uno’s and slips away from the man toward the bar. So many people and things and its, how does she manage? thought Uno.

How can a Beholder keep track of all this chaos, Thinks Tei to himself, where is the order? Nudging Uno, “how about a drink, for have not become men today?” “But we just got some water, what else is there?” replies Uno with confused and puzzled look. “Good point Uno, what else is there? How about love?” Queries Tei. “Huh?” Uno says looking completely startled at his cousin. Once again I have understood nothing of a situation while my cousin takes in all and then makes light of the whole thing leaving me confused as usual. Everyone always says I am confusing but if they listened to my cousin when we talk like this they may understand what leads me to my confusion, thinks Uno. “Leave love to young Bolo Chaeng, since we have finally finished our Tattoos and have become men, perhaps we will be forgiven, if we have just one drink.” says Tei very seriously. “Yeah but what to order? Hum…” thinks Uno out loud. “I would say the thing to do is ask that pretty serving girl what she would recommend” Smiled Tei. As if magic the girl appears and and asks what they need. “ We would like to know what you would recommend for us since we are celebrating today.” says Tei. “Celebrating today? Well that calls for a very special drink, I would say that you would rather enjoy a Giff Ass-Kicker. Very popular around here.” she says with a flashing grin that is a bit mysterious. She turns and both young men watch her walk away with a grin and then look at each other and laugh. “Nice place. This should be a fun night.” Says Uno with a grin. “Look out for your pouch” says Tei gesturing toward the door. A group of about 6 Kender had just walked in. Little fellows with long brown hair some with topknots and others loose with feathers and beads braided in. The group wandered among the crowd by the door yelling and talking at the same time. Everybody in the bar was laughing and pointing at the comical little fellows, who seemed to think this was quite fun. The crowd seemed to part for the little kender as if they had the plague. Uno finally got a good look at the bar, rather what was behind it. Behind the bar shelves of bottles and barrels were stacked up about 12 feet and there was a rack of wine and ale flagons in the middle. The most prominent thing behind the bar though was not a rare bottle of wine from some in Darkspace though, it was Luigi himself. The huge beholder was six feet around with eight huge arm-like tentacles each ending in an eye. Each eye was different colored and looked around everywhere at once. The keder approached the bar and the crowd milled back around and Uno lost sight of the huge beholder. The girl walked back up and placed two huge metal flagons upon the table each full to the rim with an evil black looking substance. “Two giff ass-kickers, 10 silvers please.” she says, and smiles at Uno and then Tei. Both reach for some money, and hand her six silvers each, she smiles and drops the money into a tiny pouch on her waist. “Enjoy” she says and walks away. “Well here is to manhood” says Uno holding up his flagon. “To manhood” agrees Tei, bashing his flagon into Uno’s. They take a heavy pull on the thick black drinks and swallow. Setting his flagon down Uno looks around and says “it is almost time, huh?” “Yes almost” says Tei and takes another drink. “This is really good” he continues, and sets down the flagon. Uno nudges Tei with his elbow and nods his head indicating tei should pay attention to someone beside them. Turning, Tei sees a gaunt figure sitting in the shadows of the corner and talking to a slim cloaked person across the table. “Tonight you shall find him at The Floating Skiff, on the second floor and in final room on the right. Do not fail me.” spat out the gaunt half-seen shadow. The figure across the table pulls back the heavy black hood on the cloak and reveals a beautiful half-elven woman. She smiles and hisses “I have never failed you yet, have I? And tonight will be no exception, the Enlys Grimoire will be yours and you will meet me, with the gold tomorrow, at the fifth bell of deathwatch.” The lithe half-elf rose and seemed to float rather then walk out of the bar. The gaunt figure in the shadows seemed to fade away and then was gone. “Well what do you think of that?” whispered Tei to Uno. Leaning over the corner of the table to be sure he wasn’t heard. “How can she be going there?” asked Uno. “Do you think we’ve been set up?” asked Tei.

“Lets review our information, first at sound of deathwatch tonight, which is from midnight till dawn, we are supposed to go to The Floating Skiff and kill the man in the last room on the right. But if she...” Stated Uno, in a cold voice betraying no emotion toward the killing of another human. He has been trained from birth in the art of the Ninja, the process of emotion control had been trained into him. “If she shows up she will die, no witnesses...” stated Tei, in a measured voice frosted with the ice of long dead bones. The two ninja rose and left the tavern and walked to the great market.

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