The Prime Sentenel
Nothing could be hidden from Zahrul, Kah’Zar of the Prime Sentinel. He had methods of discovering the truth from any sentient being. This was why he was chosen for this mission – to discover the truth. And now he was closer than ever, for he had in his possession the prize of the galaxy. But he decided to save him for last. First, he would sequester the prisoners, then dissect the earthling. It was a proven tactic – attack the weakest link, and the entire chain of mystery would shatter.
As the earthling was thrown into the Dark Flame, Zahrul pointed his fiery eyes at the prisoner and peered deep into his soul.
“What is your name?”
“My name is Bruth.”
“From where do you hail, Bruth?”
“What were you doing in dimension earth?”
“I was sent on a scientific mission.”
“By the Ha’ Zar.”
Something was wrong. The man was lying. “Khan sheo mek’ tah! Get him out of my site!” The guards jumped frantically to obey this cammand, dragging the earthling out of the flames. Zahrul moved into them and absorbed them, inhaling them deeply into his gills as he manipulated the wik. But something was wrong. All he saw was darkness. He wanted to kill the earthling, but he could not risk violating the sanction of a Ha’Zar. Og had only recently been absorbed into the Empire; and he was under strict commands not to disturb any realm but earth. If he violated this command, he would surely face death by the Hand of Zarwik.
And death by that hand was far worse than death.
But what disturbed the Kah’ Zar the most was his lack of sight in the flames. He had been warned about the target – not to underestimate him; but, until now, he paid those warnings no heed. Obviously, the old conjurer has placed some veil over the earthling’s wik. No worries, he mused. They will be in the hands of Zarwik soon. His interrogation of the prime target would have to wait. He had accomplished his primary task. He has captured the Wizard of Wik; and soon, he would receive his reward.
“You are very fortunate, my friend,” said the old man. But Bruce felt anything but fortunate. He was cast back into the cell with so much force his head smacked against the rocky wall, causing a severe gash on his forehead. A trace of the strange rock-dust was burning his wound, as though it had been packed with salt. There was no water in the cell; and all he could do was press his palm against his skin, trying to relieve the pain.
“What is this stuff?” He cried. With his free hand, he rubbed his fingers against the strange wall of the cell. It was a dark black, rocky substance; but it sparkled like glitter, with several colors of light mixed throughout, casting a dim shade of purple light into the room. It was unlike anything he had ever seen.
“That, my friend, is the remnants of a story long past. It is a long story,” said the old man. “But, if you are willing to listen, I will gladly tell it.”
Bruce looked at the old man, studying him in detail for the first time. When he had first come to, after they had been taken, he was half-awake and disoriented. He had been barely able to perceive the old man’s advice about what to say during the interrogation. But he was awake now, and his senses were recovered. “First, tell me why I am this ‘Bruth of Og’ person.”
The old man smiled. “I knew you were going to say that. Only fair… but it’s all the same story, so I might as well start from the beginning.”. The old man paused for a moment as he studied his cellmate. He seemed please at what he saw. In fact, the human was handling this ordeal quite well. It was impressive. There must be some plan, some purpose, behind all this, he thought. He had seen the way humans could react when confronted with the reality that this man has. Most of them vomit and shiver in fear. But this fellow seemed to be taking this abduction extremely well, as though he was merely spending the night in the county jail. It was quite impressive, thought the Wizard.
“First, let me introduce myself,” he said, as he rose and offered his hand to Bruce. With his right hand stilled pressed against his forehead, Bruce offered his left to the old man, who gave it a firm shake. Satisfied with the earthlings grip, he settled back down, leaned his back against the glowing wall of the cell, and stretched out his legs. “Men call me the Wizard of Wik, but you can call me Enos. That is not my true name, though. My true name must always remain a secret, for it has great power.”
The Wizard then pointed at something behind Bruce, “They don’t know this,” he said, “but there is a giant, invisible wall heading this way.” Bruce glanced behind him, confused about what was being pointed out, then returned his eyes to his cell-mate with a squint of scepticism. The Wizard noticed this and continued, “They won’t be able to hold us. Don’t worry. I have powerful friends, the friends who sent me to earth.”
“So you’re an alien,” asked Bruce.
“An alien? Oh no. I am human, my friend… As human as you are. I, too, was abducted, only a long time ago. Before man ever recorded history, I had the pleasure of experiencing what you are now. It was more of a leap for me, though. You have flying machines and even space shuttles. When I met the Anuchians, men lived off the land. The wheel was the most advanced invention of my day.”
Bruce squinted and shook his head, trying to fathom what the old man was saying. “So… how are you still alive, if you are that old?”
The Wizard chuckled and blushed. “My friend, welcome to the real world! Death was an invention of man. It was not supposed to be that way. Your body is made to last forever, so is your soul.”
Bruce’s spine tingled as he studied the strange old man who had become his cellmate. With long, silver dreadlocks, he looked as though he could have indeed come from the stone age. But his skin was smooth, not wrinkled like most older men. His arms and legs were mostly covered by his robe, but his calves and forearms were well chiseled. “Who are you,” he asked.
“I told you. I am the Wizard of Wik.”
“What is ‘Wik’?”
The Wizard lifted his chin and relaxed his eyelids, “And that, my friend, is the long story I mentioned. I cannot answer your question the way you would like. I must start from the beginning.”
The Wizard smiled, then told Bruce about the origins of the multiverse. They talked all night until, early in the morning, the door to the cell opened and a guard tossed a sack onto the floor of the cell. Bruce opened the sack, retrieved two bottles of water and a disk of what looked like some form of wafer to Bruce. “What is this?” he asked, holding the object out for the Wizard to inspect.
“Nutrients,” replied the old Wizard. “Eat it. It will keep you healthy.”
“Why do they bother feeding us?”
“They feed you because they think you are an agent of the Ha Zar. Me, because they are under strict orders to treat me well. They have been searching for me for a very long time.
I happen to be the prize of the galaxy.”