By D. C. Ward
She snatched it greedily from his bony fingers. A trifurcated key of white gold, encrusted with smooth black letters and a glass window on its bow. Within the window, gently flowing clouds of both white and grey rotated. Jagged cuts ran down each of the three shafts; so many sharp protrusions it may have made a fine weapon. It was a beautiful key.
All of her most joyful memories, and all of her most torturous nightmares, now lay flat in her palm. She felt a power in it, like that of an approaching storm; hairs she didn’t know existed on the back of her hands stiffened and shivered her skin. Ani stared at the key, and then up at the iron door. Should it not be guarded by more than those spiders?
“I do not understand?” she said.
“My lady,” began Ralk, gazing up and down Ani’s body with his usual look of amorous hunger, “the Thaumaturge have been restless, but have finally found a way for you to forget what happened that night. That is what you want, is it not? You will find on the other side the scene as you remember, of your father as you found him after his murder.”
“How do I use it?”
“It is a key, my lady. It works as all keys do.”