Fiera hung up the phone in her hotel room, her face glowing with knowledge that her feminine wiles were one of the most potent weapons in her vast arsenal of potent weapons. Men were so easy to seduce that it was almost criminal to exploit them so. The hunters of this place were not permitted to shine bright lights on deer in order to freeze them in their tracks to make the fatal shot childishly easy. And so it should have been with women shining the light of seduction into the eyes of those male creatures who could not avoid stopping and looking even as it spelled their ultimate demise.

But she did not truly feel guilty about it. It was all just part of a bigger, more far reaching plan, and Joel Goldstein was just a cotter pin in a cog in the machine to make the plan a success. He was just a small part, but his importance was not to be overlooked or underestimated.

Fiera, in a thick furry rust-colored robe and furry copper-colored slippers, walked around in her hotel room, alone. With Gale gone, there was no one around who truly understood her, and even though she was in the heart of one of the major metropolitan areas in one of the world’s major nation-states, she was alone. Out of place the way an eagle is out of place among penguins.

She found the room to be cold in spite of her robe and she rubbed her hands over her arms. That instantly returned warmth to them. She did not like the northern climates, especially during this time of year, when, like today, the cold winds blow sleet and freezing rain into the smallest nooks and crannies of a person’s garments. Of course, she didn’t help her personal cause very much with the scantiness of the attire that she worse today, but it had served its purpose and served it well.

She looked down at the red dress haphazardly draped on the edge of the bed and hanging onto the floor. She didn’t know whether or not she would need its services again. There may be additional men to be tamed, and they all seemed to acquiesce to a tall, beautiful woman with a curvaceous figure that she wasn’t afraid to display at the edge of civil acceptability. Just like Joel Goldstein. In truth, she would have preferred to just turn the thing to ash and be done with it. But not just yet. All things in due time.

She moved to her satchel, which was thick rawhide that had been dyed a subtle shade of dark red that made it look like cherry. She chose it because she had a predilection for things that were red, or orange. She found a certain solace in them. Even the red dress, which men found so appealing, she actually liked, except for the fact that wearing it left her exposed and cold in this climate. Perhaps back in Arizona, she would have preferred wearing it, since it would let the warming rays of the sun through to her bare skin.

Laying the satchel on the bed, she sat down beside it and took out several of the objects that it contained. She had to sweep her long red hair from her face several times as she did so, until she finally got tired of it and quickly secured it in a ponytail, using a small length of material removed from the satchel as a tie.

Along with that length of black ash cloth, she removed a box that measured approximately one square foot in size, and about six inches in depth. The outside of the box was a dark wood that was not mahogany, but was an ancient wood that was no longer available becayse the tree from which the wood had been made went extinct a very long time ago. The artifact was rare. In fact, it was most likely unique. She knew much about many things, but she didn’t know if anyone else had anything such as that object.

She ran her hand across it, feeling the engravings and reliefs that covered the object in an ancient script. Every surface has some designs and adornments and script that told anyone who could read it something special about that particular part of the object. The top said something, and each of the four sides forming the depth said something different. The bottom, smothered in the soft comforter on the bed, said something else. And the script, like the object, was known to precious few.

Then, she took a drawstring bad from the satchel, and the bag, about the size of a baseball, was hide material too. It was rough and tough and leathery, but it wasn’t leather at all. It, like the large box she set it upon, was made of something that was no longer known on the world, for the animal from which it was harvested, although they lived in large numbers like domesticated animals once upon a time, were only the stuff of legend in the modern era.

She mused, perhaps the rawhide bag will be like the drawstring bag in the not too distant future.

There were many more items in the satchel, but she only needed the two that she set out on the bed.

Opening the drawstring bag, she reached in with her thumb and forefinger and pulled out a pinch of the material that was within it. Almost instantly, the room was filled with the odor of sulphur, and she breathed in the aroma the way a housewife would inhale the smell of freshly placed bowl of potpourri. The material wasn’t sulphur, however, and she dropped the pinch of material in the palm of her other hand and rubbed it until it covered her palms and they were colored brightly red with it. The coloration didn’t last long and soon her hands were their normal color.

She tied the drawstring bag and replaced it in the satchel.

Placing both palms down on the box, she spoke in a language that was not heard very often upon the world in this modern era, although there were several fringe sects that still used the rudiments of the language for their chicanery and parlor tricks. Those fools thought they knew what the words meant and the power that their use could impart, but they were less adept at it than children were with a book of advanced physical philosophy.

Three seams formed along the side of the box and a bright white light poured out for a second. The room temperature soared, jumping at least fifteen degrees centigrade in a matter of seconds. The surge brought a beatific sigh from her lips and her chest heaved as her breathing rose to match the rising of the temperature.

When the light from the fissures died, the box had been literally sliced into four one square foot sections approximately an inch and a half thick. She took the sections and laid them all side by side, at which time they fused into a single four square foot platform. Each section had a different composition to it, and a different resultant color associated with it. One square foot was granite that was as smooth as sheet of glass. Another square foot was pure gold that would have sent prospectors diving for their picks if they could have seen the purity of it. Another was coal that had been cut, hewed and polished to a startling luster, and was so deep and so dark that it looked like a bottomless pit. The fourth and final square foot was aquamarine that was clear and blue and was so exquisite with sinusoidal waves and ripples on the surface that it looked as if the sea itself had been captured on that board.

She moved the platform to the floor from the bed and sat beside it. Her face was a glowing mask of delight when she looked upon the object once again. It had been a long time since she had had a chance to use it, and she was pleased as always to see that it had remained intact and undamaged in all that time.

It was an Element Box. It contained the purest concentrated elements that could be used to fashion all sorts of objects that would store the true power of those elements within them. Typically, the objects would be small, such as tokens, amulets, bracelets, pendants, rings, badges, symbols—anything that would be small enough and light enough to be carried on someone’s person in a unobtrusive manner, yet still allow them to have significant stores of that elemental energy with them at all times. Each Element Box was different, and would contain those elements that the creator found to be the most necessary to his or her way of thinking, being and acting. Of course, as far as Fiera knew, there were no Element Boxes left, aside from the one that she currently possessed.

She was not the creator of the Element Box she possessed. That did not matter. The only thing that mattered was that she was in possession of it, knew how to use it, and knew how to use it well. It was almost as if it had been created for her, she often thought when she gazed upon the elements that it contained.

She said something in her ancient tongue and then rubbed the palm side of her fingers across the gold several times. When she lifted her hand, it was coated in gold and she rubbed her hands together rapidly until a gold wire formed between her hands. When the wire was formed, she laid it on the wooden edge surrounding the elemental contents. The surface of the gold in the Element Box looked untouched. She did this again with the coal and again with the aquamarine until she had three wires of those elements. She carefully braided all three elements together into a thicker, three-stranded wire, and then she wrapped the wire around the middle finger on her right hand, forming a ring of the wires. The ends of the wire remained free and exposed. Perfect.

She was finished. She felt relieved and joyous and her spirits renewed. She replaced the sections of the Element Box atop each other and the box fused into a solid, unbroken mass once again. After placing it in the rawhide satchel, she undid her hair and shook it out until it was as wild and untamed as a raging forest fire and flopped back on her bed. She had a dreamy expression on her face as she held out her hand with the twisted, braided ring on it and regarded it was supreme satisfaction.

She spoke in her language again, and a rough translation of it, albeit with the accuracy of condensing advanced physical philosophy to baby talk, would have been: "I name you ‘Hi-ton,’ holder of the sun, the pure cleansing water and the concentrated spirits of a billion years of this sacred world."

It would be a powerful charm. So powerful, in fact, that she doubted if Gale Brees could match her if they ever deviated from their allegiance. It was doubtful that that would happen, but she was not about to take any chances. She was ready for any eventuality now.

And tomorrow, when she adds Joel Goldstein to her fold…

She shivered with delight at just the thought!

Things were falling into place better than she could ever have imagined when she first came from her home. She really missed her home and wanted to be there again. In a few days, she’d be there, but the trip away from there was turning out to be well worth it.


Unto the Living Earth © 2007 Walter R. Milton