Hunting for the Stars of Gemini

A streetlamp revealed a man walking down the street. In his large trench coat, he was no more than a black silhouette on the dark street, prowling through the nighttime. An owl saw him, but no one else, as he turned onto an alley between two abandoned buildings. His gait was soundless, but speedy, like a hungry snake.

He pursued onward, his head shifting from side to side as he moved. His eye caught on something, and he stopped, looking at the side of the building. The building was made of red bricks, but everything appeared black in the darkness. The man reached into one of his pockets for a small flashlight and a crinkled map. Looking at the old parchment, he sighed in relief. This was the place. If he made the proper decisions and incisions, he would be all-powerful.

He shone the light on the building. There was a small notch in one of the bricks, the size of a finger. He put his pointer finger in the notch, and another notch appeared, just to the left and below this one. He put his finger in the next notch, and another one appeared. He had done this five times when the notches disappeared. A carving resembling the constellation, Gemini, was now in its place.

The man whispered a small incantation:

"Oh Star of Pollux, oh Star of Castor.

I do embrace your splendor.

And ask of thee:

Please do replace

your lovely face,

and fill your space

with a door."

The carving melted into the wall, and a door appeared where it had been. The man opened the door and walked through. The door was replaced with the notched bricks as he walked into a long hallway, the walls of which were painted blood red. The only light came from his flashlight. He picked up his pace to a run. Finally, at the end of the hallway, there was a slide. It went down far, but at the end he was sure he could see some light.

He slid down into a large room, lit by torches on the wall. Ten basins were lined in the middle of the room. Each was covered with a black cloth. A riddle was etched into the far wall. It read:

"One basin holds the power;

the other nine do not.

Choose wisely, and all others shall cower.

Choose wrongly, and your travels will have been for naught."

He knew the value of the power. He knew what he could do with it, who he could control. And he knew what he had to do to get it.

He reached into a pocket and pulled out a small knife. He rolled up the sleeve of his dark trench coat, revealing his pale, white arm. His other hand held the knife rigidly. As if by rote, he pierced his skin with the knife. The Gemini star formation shone red on his arm. Blood trickled down to the ground. It snaked its way across the floor and circled one of the basins.

A wicked smile stretched across the man's face; he ignored his arm, throbbing with pain, and walked up to the blood-circled basin. He removed the black cloth that was covering it. Inside was a glowing ruby ring. A sign was etched into its side, matching his arm. The man put the ring on his bony finger, and took off out the door.

An unfinished duel was about to resume.