A man sat in his dark, damp cell, turning the pages of an old, dusty book. The pages were heavy because of the dust, but the man didn't let that deter him. He was looking for one thing, one thing…

"Ah," he said as he found it, his finger resting under the title. The language wasn't his own, but that didn't matter. As long as it was in his alphabet…And it was.

He skimmed through the page, reading it aloud as best he could. The pronunciation was tricky, but as soon as he said a word, he knew what it was. It wasn't inexplicable; he knew why he understood these foreign words.

A black cat sat at his feet, larger than most cats. Its gold eyes glinted in the dark, reflecting what little light there was. It gazed at the man questioningly.

The man noticed the cat looking at him, and he said quietly, "Not now…not yet…"

Her voice harsh, the cat said, "But when, then? We don't have all the time in the world. Either world, for that matter."

"Soon," was the man's short reply.

"How soon is soon?" demanded the cat.

Sighing, the man addressed the cat sternly, "We have to do this right."

"But your brother…"

"I am aware of my brother," snapped the man. "And I think he had the coin far too long. I think it…affected him. We should have acted sooner."

"How much it affected him is the pressing issue."

The man shook his head. "No…the first thing we must do is get out of here. Then we can worry about my brother."

"Does he have the other coin?" asked the cat doubtfully.

"No…the bearer of that is unknown."

The cat lifted her head higher. "But we don't need that…"

"Not to do this."

The cat hissed, "I hate his djin! I hate that jackal!"

"Whose djin?" asked the man, but he knew perfectly well.

"Your brother's!"

"Naturally," commented the man.

"As much as you hate your brother!" the cat added forcefully.

"Well, that does make sense…"

The cat stretched and said, "We've been here too long."

Quizzically, the man glanced at the cat. "You're changing the subject," he pointed out.

"But you're wrong," continued the man. "We still aren't ready, not even now."

"What?" asked the cat. "It's been too long already!"

"You're forgetting about the rocks…We cannot possibly get the right one for our cell. So…" he said slyly, "we need someone else to unlock it for us."

"Which is what you're looking up in the book, right?" asked the cat.


She climbed up into his lap so she could see the book. "This spell," said the man, "will summon someone able to do this task. And then we will be free to seek out my brother…"

"He knows more about the Sands of Time than we do…" the cat agreed. "And we need his knowledge, don't we?"

"Yes…there are no books pertaining to the Sands of Time; nothing is written about it…So we cannot just ask for a book like we asked for this one…"

"Even getting that book was lucky," said the cat.

"Yes, it was. Fortunately, this is the biggest stronghold in all of Terra, so their library is enormous…"

The cat pointed out, "True, but that could prove a problem when we try to escape. There are armed guards all over the place."

The man, confident, said, "This spell will not fail us. Not with the power of the coin behind it."

Reaching up to his neck, where it was held into place by a metal brace and hung on a golden chain, the man felt his coin. The moonlight shone off it its surface, its reflection so powerful there was a silver spot on the opposite wall. The coin had lettering on it, lettering in an alphabet the man did not know how to read. He didn't need to know what the letters said to know what the coin was, and what it meant. But even the meaning of it was not completely known to the man. He only knew the most basic things the coin could do, and that was merely a scratch on the surface of deeper meaning.

However, the man did not need to know more to accomplish his goal. The time to act was drawing closer, and with this spell, it would be almost imminent. Just this one spell, and he would be ready…he would be free, and his plan would be done.