The light continued to fade and the flickering of the electric bulb illuminated the treasure that sat in the crown room. Suddenly a noise came from the door.
The light echoing through the key hole was suddenly blocked out as someone stepped in front of it.
The antique hinges creaked open and in stepped a man wearing a large hood, which he flicked back to reveal a theatre mask.
“Give me the key.” Cried the masked figure, his voice tinted with anger.
“What?” Replied the King, his face having gone white.
“I want the key for the crown room.”
“Give me the key.”
In the hand of the masked figure materialised the hilt of a sword followed by its blade which was pointed at the king, “give me the key.”
“Give,” he shouted, “me the key!”
The king reached into his pocket and pulled out a steel ring with golden keys and one rusty key hanging on it. “Take them.”
“I want just one.”
“Give me the key of the crown room.”
“Alright.” He unfastened the rusty key and placed it in the opened palm of the masked figure.
“Get out.” The king hurriedly backed out down the staircase and raced to the courtyard.
“There is a spectre in the crown room!” He cried.
Before a single guard could un-scabbard their sword, the window at the top of the tower exploded. From the window fell the masked spectre, dropping through the air in a rolling inferno of shadows. When he hit the cobbled courtyard, he transformed back into his humanoid form and rode away on a body of shadows!
Marcus was on duty tidying the broken shards of glass away. He was about five foot nine, and it hurt his back as he bent over to retrieve each individual shard. The usual papers were reporting that someone had broken into the tower and, after a long battle with the king, had bolted the door from the inside and then jumped out of the window. Marcus wasn't entirely sure of the accuracy of these reports, because he could see no sign of a dead body from the jump from the tower. It was the tallest tower in the entire city, one of the only two towers that could see over the perimeter wall, which was 9 metres high. The other tower was the observatory of Thaddeus Mist, who happened to be Marcus' uncle, but even the tower was flawed. It was so tall that it was completely surrounded by clouds, and only on a clear day could you see the endless horizons. And how he loved those days. It was one of those days today.
In the centre of the constellation of equal timings are the Five Eden's. Patrolled by the giant glass acorn, the Ithmeus, the Five Eden's are five different planets, each the home of many eco-warriors who regressed back to their natural state after the centre of the Earth was fused with technology and an evil cyborg overlord took over. 1896 years later, each of the five Eden's were doing well. The first planet, called Kirkwood, was doing very well, and had managed to manufacture an industrial revolution with no pollution whatsoever. The second of the planets, called Isherwood, was doing quite well indeed, even if one of their islands had been whipped into the clouds, a respected scientist had gone insane and then three children and a robot had gone in search of adventure and time travel. The third planet, which was called Maycare, had no problems with it at all. The forth planet, which hadn't been named, was alright, even if everyone on it was a poet or a ballad writer. And then, of course, there was Verdisc. It was a funny planet, with a lot of islands, and few connected countries. There were also many new creatures, like giants and monstrous bats and spectres and necromancers and wizards, and even more danger. But the people were happy, and had developed a new type of fuel that meant they could have their own eco-friendly industrial revolution. I should probably add that this was the world where Marcus, his sister Emilia and his uncle Thaddeus lived.
They lived in Port Vincent, an island in the middle of a sea, which had a large mountain to the west, which led across hills and pebbly walkways to a large gate, at the east. The gate was attached to a 9 metre high wall, inside which was the town of Vincent. There were only two buildings that could see over the wall, the crown room of the tower and the Mist Observatory. Once Marcus had finished cleaning up the glass, he ran out of the castle courtyard and made his way towards the north wall. It was always lined with entertainers, and for once his sister, Emilia, had managed to get a central spot. She was packing up her equipment into an old wooden chest with wheels on the end, as Marcus came across to her. Halfway through the day, a bicycle riding deliverer of messages had come to Marcus and told him his uncle needed to see them immediately after work. They ran through the town of towering buildings, all of which smaller than the nine metre wall, and then finished in a small square. There was a fountain in the centre of the square and it was surrounded by flower sellers as Marcus and Emilia raced to the steps that led to the grand oak doors at the bottom of the observatory. They got to the doors, putting all their effort into opening them, and then jumped onto one of the crates rising up to the top floor. They jump off it and then ran up two flights of spiral stairs and onto the observation deck. There was a gigantic telescope beneath the dome roof and a tall man in a cardigan was waiting at the bottom of it making notes on a black board. Thaddeus Mist was his name, and he smiled as he saw the two children walking over. "Ah!" He cried. "Hello my friends. Come, come over. I've got something quite interesting to show you." He led them over to the window in front of the telescope and showed them the sight. "As you know, this is the only building besides the crown room which can see the sea. And that means we're the only ones who can see this. The question is, do we tell the king?"
For through the window, they could see an endless armada of spectres surging towards Port Vincent, ready to invade.