Vexaniali has spent her life in solitude, finding ways to entertain herself on an empty world that has become her prison. She was ordered to keep anyone from landing, but it was just a make-work job to keep her out of the way.
Burn arrives and offers her a chance to use her skills on a variety of worlds under the aegis of the Citadel Arcani.
Moving a cure around a world using her mastery of air is time consuming and tiring but not difficult. It is a good start, and when Burn offers himself to top up her flagging energies, how could she refuse?
“Damn.” Something was awake on Ki, and it was starting a row of dust devils on the sand dune half a kilometre away.
He inhaled and concentrated, looking for body heat. Heat was his thing, and body heat was impossible to hide unless you had a talent to do it. There.
He fixated on the point where he felt the body heat and sent the skimmer toward it. He was racing the cyclones of sand that were coming down on him, and time was a factor.
A small piece of stone was projecting out of the sand and he leapt from the skimmer, sealed it against the sand and started digging the doorway out of its sliding protection. When he saw the glyphs on the door, he remembered what he had been told and simply knocked on the door. A moment later, he was inside the tunnel with the wind whirling outside screaming to get in.
The muffled sound made him glad that he was within the tunnels. He could feel the heat of the storm coming off the walls, and without another moment’s hesitation, he walked further into the darkness.
He lit a ball of fire in his palm and held it in front of him to light his way. The tunnels twisted and turned underground, but he eventually found his way to a strange chamber.
To his surprise, a woman was sitting on the edge of a fountain, idly trailing her fingers in the water. She looked up in surprise as he entered. Her brow furrowed in confusion.
“Greetings, visitor.” She continued trailing one hand in the water. Her blonde hair gleamed in the light, it cascading down over the shoulders of her bodysuit, giving an air of innocence to her features.
When Burn met her gaze, it was obvious that she was far older than she looked. Her eyes showed every one of her seventeen hundred years.
“Elemental, I have come to you with an offer to leave this place if you wish it.”
She rose to her feet and glided toward him with an unsettling grace. “What? You wish me to make another planet uninhabitable?”
He shook his head, catching hints of her scent as she walked around him with that peculiar stride. “I wish you to leave this place and find another use for your talents.”
“What of those who hired me?”
“They have released you from your contract. They released you nine hundred years ago, but the communications systems on Ki were dead by then.”
He slowly removed a document and extended it to her. “Here is the release.”
She took it from him and lifted it to the light, examining it closely. She ran her fingers along the document. “It has the feel of age.”
“It is nine centuries old. There was no way to deliver the news that you were free of obligation without landing here, and your orders were to keep Ki free of living creatures, so no message could reach you. It was quite the tangle.”
She smiled absently as she read the document. “Well, this is in order. Where do they want to send me?”
He slowly withdrew another document. “They are giving you your freedom. It is now up to you to decide what to do with it.”
Her hand trembled as she discarded the first document and took the one he offered. “Freedom?”