A/N Another story that I wrote some time ago, most of it is just a ramble – I'm sort of testing some different ideas right now, so it may be changing around a bit. I suppose I'll stick to an idea if I get any good reviews, or any reviews at all.

Pronunciation:

Cian: Kee-Ahn.

Raguel: Rah-gyoo-elle.

Chapter One: Time, the Fickle Mistress

Time is such a fickle thing! It lolls about from here to there, playing with one's mind, skipping in meadows, hiding in corners, watching things with a crooked smile of amusement. Lacy threads flip around the corner of the eye, as one tries to catch time's tail whipping at the heart, stealing the breath. Time is perhaps the most curious creature in existence, for it does not exist, yet presses us, pushes us, and smothers us. It enjoys its ambiguity, ravishing in the chaos it produces, the fretting, scheduled meticulousness. Those who exploit time make it stronger, larger. They stretch it and pull it, far more than was intended. At one point in space, time was a small thing. A little seed, perhaps, a shadow of a thought, a sense more than anything. And it grew, with the rising of each sun and passing of each moon. Its space grew larger. Its boundaries became boundless. It limits our actions, and prohibits our thoughts, in the very finest sense. It controls our thoughts of past, present and future, Without time, all things would happen at once, and not all together at the same time. They would all happen a million times, and never at all. Time sets labels to such things. Things are done precisely, carefully, only once in a lifetime, making everything precious and not all together so. Time makes our lives heavy with meaning. Such a dirty trick it plays on us all, such a dirty trick we play on each other. We measure things with time, weigh their importance, for time makes every molecule important, every second, every grape entering one's body, traveling through the esophagus, the acids breaking down the fibers and passing the remnants through the intestines, the anal tract, and again out through one's body, a twisted tunnel of a two hour process. Time is a simple function of our lives, the length of one's expanse in the universe. We are ruled by our own limitations of life and death, weary of an un-set date, that is nearer than we would hope or perhaps farther away. It acts as a personal measurement functioning to compare oneself to others. One's life span silently dictating every decision, every thought of time, and time peacefully sits there, laughing at such foolishness. Competition, survival of the fittest, such comparisons and measurements, criticisms of finite incapabilities label us as human, majestic, godly. Rolling around in our own minds, time strolls joyfully, arms crossed behind its back, an eerily distant smile plastered upon its clear, vacuous face.

The text was hastily written; words unclear, scribbled letters, small droplets of ink splayed across the page, as if the words were spilling from the author's pen to which he had no control. She had stumbled upon a revelation of some unknown, easily forgotten writer, throwing his guts out for display on tattered parchment paper. The dust was thickly layered on the cover of the journal, making the brown leather a rather displeasing type of grey, like that of sickly waste. Small spurts of light filtered in through cracks in the decaying rock walls, playing with the dancing dust particles currently burying mountains of intellectual books of different sorts. Here and there were medium sized in-tables, layered with a similar coating of dust, most of them holding some trinket or another, a globe on one, a compass on another. The book cases spiraled upwards, along the staircase, towards the top of the muggy tower, until they reached the top where a large device stood in the center of the room. This area had carpets strewn about, lamps and candles hanging in various places, crumpled pieces of paper with odd sketches, and numerous books lying open to marked pages. The stone walls were covered with intricate engravings, mostly for decorative use. Red velvet drapes coated in sheets of grey covered large window panes on the west side of the room. One end of the device, raised upon a small platform, pointed towards the middle window. It had numerous buttons and levers flanked on the sides, as well as an eye piece at the other end. A chair sat next to the eye piece, along with an in-table flooded with torn papers and piled books. The girl gingerly shifted the papers on the table, catching a word here and there, skimming astronomical observations as intimately written as that of a diary entry.

3rd Cycle, 5th sun, Age of Oreillon

Cerelos and Uvelin have reached 3rd and 5th positions; It remains undetermined when the other three will reach their positions.

Third and Fifth positions? On the third Cycle and fifth Sun; what a strange coincidence. I wonder which planets he was talking about, which three? He speaks of these positions as if they hold some sort of significance, I wonder what that was. The girl continued to flip through the piles of paper but found no further mention of the positions of the three planets, nor mention of Cerelos and Uvelin. That's so strange. What happened to the rest of his recordings? But her thoughts were interrupted by a sudden burst of loud music emanating from the bottom of the tower and bouncing off the stone walls toward the top.

"Milady Nephele? Someone with a deep, accented voice spoke to her back from the doorway to the upper tower. "The ceremony is about to begin."

A large man wore brilliant deep silver armor, intricately etched with gold designs interlacing with one another, leading to the center of the breastplate which held elaborate gold plating in the form of the God Helios presiding over the Inner World. The arms of the suit were embellished with ivy patterns, adorned with glinting red jewels and crystals. Underneath the breastplate was a tunic made of a rich velvet material, the color of deep red with fine gold lace weaving various patterns and hanging off the end of the fabric in tassels. The hilt of his sword also gleamed with various red jewels and crystals, with hints of pearl and ivory on the sides. He held his helmet, pinned between his arm and his waist, his weight shifted onto one leg. The helmet was of the same design as the armor, with a head plate extending upward, four to five inches high from the bridge of the nose to the top. The plate was an oval shape, etched to resemble bird feathers, with a fine set of jewels encircling the bottom of the plate and the base of the helmet.

"Many thanks, Raguel-Cian, I thought I would look at these ancient books that have been long waiting to be Seen."

"I deserve no such title as Cian, a man of my standing and profession could never be so Wise. It is you who should be called Cian." The girl chuckled lightly and raised her light gray eyes to the soldier.

"There are many interpretations of the Wise. I am merely a girl who befriends intellects long since dead. I have seen little in my life, and know nothing of battle or death." The man's creased eyes glinted in the sun as his lips curled into a soft smile.

"Such things do not make one Wise, they make one weary and doubtful." He looked down and examined the large stone blocks composing the floor. "Those days have ended now." Nephele smiled as she scanned the glinting armor, reflecting specks of sunlight and enhancing the beauty of the gemstones.

"I see the monarch has his soldiers clad in their finest armor." Raguel scoffed loudly.

"Fine armor, it may be, yet it is simply a farce the young king uses to flaunt his wealth. The age of true honor has withered away, and old soldiers such as myself are mere trophies of the Court, idling in this world of new knowledge. You are truly blessed by the gods with your intellect and sorcery."

"You flatter me, Raguel, yet I am simply a passing interest of the Court and the People. In a few months time, no one will remember my philosophies, much like the thoughts of this long lost scholar." Nephele waved around the dust covered leather book she had been reading. "We must revel in this Golden Age, for all things loose luster after Time has performed her magic." She gazed thoughtfully through the arched window.

"Perhaps you are right. Ah, look at me! This is no time for such intellectual discussion, the entirety of Inner World is waiting to hear your Wisdom, and I am stealing it for myself. We really must be going, or I fear the world will pass us by."

"Of course." Nephele picked up the silver ringlet that she had placed on a table and positioned it delicately around her forehead, tucking it into her braided brown hair. She then grasped a long silver staff encrusted with diamonds and pearls along the length of the staff, with a large crystal sphere perched on top. "I fear I pale in comparison to your grand attire, even with this ridiculous spectacle the king likes to call 'the splendor of the Necromancer'". The two chuckled as the exited the tower, momentarily casting the room in shadows when their bodies blocked out the sunlight filtering through the entrance.