Light filtered down from above in thin streams where cracked roofs and uneven joints gave egress through the first two floors. Deeper, only darkness ruled. Shan used a glow globe to follow Viker down the uneven stairs to the ground floor, where dust puffed up mirroring their movements.
“Nothing,” coughed Viker, “there is absolutely nothing.”
Shan could have told him that, if only Viker had bothered to ask. Even with his own short-term stay on this planet, the Tower had been an obvious point to search. Granted, and for some strange reason, association with the similar structure on Diadem never entered his mind, so that his search had been desultory with zero expectation of reward. Now that he recognised the similarities there was a residual disappointment.
“What now, my Lord?” queried Shan, more than slightly refreshed with his visit to the village and sacrificial rites.
“We wait for the dwarf’s arrival, teach him a lesson and then be on our way,” said Viker.
“Do we have an urgent appointment anywhere in particular?” asked Shan, truly believing that his affected air came across as nonchalance.
“I certainly do,” confirmed Viker, “I still remain to be convinced that you do too…”
The comment startled Shan. What did Viker know? The rites were specifically designed to please his old Master, not this new one, and his followers were loyal to the last. He had after all created them himself.
Viker grinned, “Your show in the village was entertaining, although a little overdone even for my liberal tastes. I decided to allow you a little rope with which to hang yourself and am interested to see what you will do next.”
“But the power…” protested Shan, giving up any pretence of innocence.
“I gave you a little of my own,” said Viker, peering at the shabby murals decorating one of the walls, “it seemed a good thing to do at the time. Enough!”
Shan stumbled backwards as a bolt of pure energy lanced out from Viker’s open hand and struck the wall, punching a hole clear through the brick. Light streamed in showing the mural in more detail.
“That’s better,” mumbled Viker, bending to look closely at the various pictures.
“Similar,” he said, “but not the same.”
The drawing he indicated showed a winged figure kneeling before something or someone. It was hard to make out what, as the picture had been disfigured deliberately, but to one side had been scratched a half-moon shape with three separate and unknown runes.
“Kneeling to, or bending down?” queried Shan.
“What?” Viker’s voice was raised in anger and Shan gulped in expectation of a blow, “Explain…”
“I was thinking aloud,” shrugged Shan, realising he really had nothing to lose, “it could be either. The presence of our dwarf friend must have put the thought in my mind.”
Viker stared hard at the picture again, his lips moving as he appeared to read the runes.
“Out!” he screamed, racing for the stairs.
Shan followed, terrified by his Master’s reaction. What had he seen?