I. Initiation

December morning at the Sydney depot. A young woman paces the platform, waiting for the train. She is driven by passion; her dark green eyes burn with it. A jeweled amulet hangs around her neck. Those who recognize the symbol stop and bow to her. Others merely feel its power and fear it. One old woman makes the sign of the Star against it.

But such signs are useless against the gods who made them.

The girl pulls a crystal from her pocket and checks the time. They should be arriving soon.

Suddenly the air ripples, from more than heat. A rift opens, and a man and woman step out. They too are young, dark, and passionate; their amulets glow, but not as brightly. They bow to their leader, then embrace her, their oldest friend. Then all three turn and face the tracks.

One more. The new acolyte.

The train arrives silently, and discharges its single passenger onto the platform. Austen Jenn is tall and pale. His clothes are cut in the latest summer style. He carries no baggage.

He advances, murmurs a respectful welcome, and kneels. As the train pulls away, quiet as light on its magnets, the leader steps forward. She places one hand on Austen's head and the other on his knee. Sings a blessing, in a strange melodic tongue, and makes the sign of the Star above him. Places an amulet over his head, and bids him rise.

The amulet awakens, filling him with light.

The four leave the depot and get into a car at the door. Austen is instructed to drive. He starts the old electric motor, and the car carries the Children of the Star away into the bright southern noon.