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The Nord Wind silently glided above the landscape and Eric, Lord of Sommonee stood alone on the weapons deck. He felt energized as the cool night air rushed around and then over his body. Below and to his left he could hear a bird calling while off in the distance he could just discern the lights of a farmhouse as they twinkled against an otherwise dark landscape. Further along the sea of blackness was only disrupted by an occasional campfire.
Looking into the night sky he spied the constellation Cassiopeia with its extra leg. This he knew was his home star of Sol and he wondered about the people of Earth. Had they avoided the final collapse of their society or had they reverted to some level of barbarism. He felt sure that he would never know the answer with certainty nor was that world any longer his concern. Carna was his home and it was world enough for him.
Eric considered the space between Carna and Earth. Somewhere in the vast darkness was an ark with two hundred thousand souls, their animals, and seed crops. The hopes and dreams of that seed of humanity were tied to this world and the promise of a new life free of Earth's cavernous enclosures.
They would discover a world that would be slightly different from the one they had expected to find. They expected a world marked by the work of the two previous missions. They would arrive at a world untouched by the presence of humanity.
Their vessel would soon encounter an evaporating black hole and be thrown back in time, three thousand celeas. They would come and establish a civilization that would flourish and grow. They would be remembered as the "First Ones" just as he was now the"First". He knew many of them and now he was the protector of their descendants. One hundred and fifty generations separated him from them and yet this day they were just a distance from him. Soon they would be separated by the impassable gulf of time.
While they would not find those that came before them they would fulfill their purpose and build a civilization. Unlike them he came to this world for one purpose and served another. That person who crashed near the western sea was no more. He had been reborn into a son and noble of Woblem and now he was the "Primec," the constrainer of monarch's. The rulers of western Sommonee had placed the power to make war in his hands because they could not trust themselves or each other.
As he contemplated all that had happened, Eric became aware of someone standing some distance from him, he reasoned that it was the guard of the watch and turned his attention back to the night sky. His concentration was only broken when the person spoke. "The night sky is magnificent, Primec."
"It most certainly is." Eric turned to face the person and was shocked to discover that it was Sexton, First Prime of the Guardians. "How did you get on this vessel?"
Sexton gave a rare smile. "I'm not on board in any physical sense."
"Are you trying to tell me that you are a creation of my mind?"
"That's not far from the truth. As you are aware we have not been stagnate in the development of new technologies these last three thousand celeas. Even though one of our primary tasks was to protect this society from the dangers of technologies, that is until it was ready to receive it. We have not been dormant in the development of new knowledge. This technique is similar to the one used to transport you or more correct your consciousness to our location." Eric remembered how hehad been taken from his quarters at Castle Nord and transported to a place where he perceived that he was constrained and told certain things.
"So where are you?"
"I am at my base in the Mountains of Demons. What I have done is transmitted a mental image of me to your conscious mind. We have mapped the unique patterns of your brain and using those patterns we can transmit a signal to you and you will, well, collect them like a radio receiver.
"I am before the transmitter and you see me as your mind perceives me to be in your presence, however if I turn the signal off." Sexton reached forward to some unseen device and he faded from Eric's view. Just as quick he reappeared.
"So now you're playing around with my mind. What other thoughts have you planted in my head?"
"We're not able to plant thoughts only images."
Eric found this to be disconcerting. He didn't like the possibility of the guardians invading his mind whenever they desired and he wasn't sure if he believed Sexton when he said that they could not transmit thoughts. "What if I don't want to be contacted in this manner?"
"Using this method the choice is yours, think."
Eric realized that he had a sensation that could be best described as an itch in his brain. He thought, Go away! The itch ended and so did the image of Sexton. After a moment it returned and soon did Sexton.
"That's how easy it is. Now that you know you can block communication by thinking it. That sensation you experienced will always come before you perceive us. It's like a ring and if you decide, you can cut the connection for a day, week, or forever if you wish."
Eric considered making a mental note to make this a dead line but decided to wait first. "So if I cut you off you'll not be able to intrude upon my privacy?"
Sexton dipped his head. "We can also transmit a solid projection that creates an image out of the molecules around the target. It is as solid as the source and feels and looks as the original."
Eric shook his head. "That is a scary thought. You guardians are really that unknown thing in the closet." Eric shifted his position as if shifting his thoughts. "Why are you here?"
Sexton smiled once more. "You have something that you need to tell me."
Eric looked at him in silence trying to figure out what he was talking about and then he remembered. "Yes there is something. In the Vorgus of Argis near the seventh day, last celea, I was trapped by a fallen rock and you appeared to me I guess in the manner I now see you." Eric told Sexton of the ghosts of Covay and of Robert. "You talked to me about my inability to accept the destruction of the village of Covay. You said that I told you of the event at some time in the future and you sent a message to the ark to direct you to find me on that day."
"Very good, now I can send the message and causality will be intact."
"Sending a message now will not do much good. The vessel will encounter the black hole long before a message could reach it."
"That's using conventional means as you understand it. We can send a message through a hyper-dimension and reach the ark in moments. Remember we've had three thousand celeas to develop technologies that are far beyond any that you understand."
"You've made that quite obvious." Eric stood in silence for a few moments and then added, "OK, what other reasons have brought you here?"
Sexton perceived Eric as through a dim lamp light. His face wasn't clear but he could tell that the man's appearance was one of anxiety. "I wish to talk with you face to face and this time I will come to you. In our previous two meetings you have asked me many questions that I could not answer; now I can and our full purpose can be revealed to you. By the time we meet, the ark will encounter the event and it with the colonists will be three thousand celeas in the past.
"The knowledge that I have can no longer affect the outcome of things to come. It is time that you know everything and there is much to be discussed regarding the future."
The response was a relief to Eric but at the same time created new concerns. The guardians knew in advance the events that had taken place since his arrival on Carna and though Sexton and other guardians had been helpful in his quests, Eric disliked the thought that they could control his directions, even if that control was benign in its nature. Now Sexton was speaking of the future. Eric guessed that the Guardians were not through with him yet. "When and where would you like for me to send a ship?"
"In three weeks have an airship at the Gate of the Wolf and I'll be there."
"In three weeks this vessel will wait for you at the pass." Sexton bowed his head slightly and faded away. The itch in Eric's head stopped.