Stargate by Pauline Gedge Read Free Book Online

Book: Stargate by Pauline Gedge Read Free Book Online
Authors: Pauline Gedge
“Did she tell you what it was?”
    Ixelion shook his head. “No. I do not know what it was.” And that is the truth, he thought. I lifted it out of the wooden box, and it was a plain iron casket, small and without adornment. I did not open it. I put it into my chest, and there it lies.
    Sholia appealed to Janthis. “What could it be? What treasure is there that can bring destruction to a world such as Fallan?”
    She fears, Ghakazian thought, leaving his place and walking up to where Janthis sat. Always she fears and watches. As he passed behind her his hand rested on her head and then stroked her hair gently.
    â€œThe seeds of corruption may enter a world and yet lie barren forever,” Janthis said. “Nothing is evil of itself. But these seeds can take root and grow in soil too simple and ignorant to recognize them for what they are. The Gates were not made to keep out evil, for in that time evil had not come into the All. It was the unthinkable, the totally unknowable.” He opened the box and took out the Annals of Fallan. “I will study what Falia has written, but if you, Ixelion, have read the records and yet have no answer, then I doubt if I will divine anything either.”
    â€œWhere is this treasure now?” Danarion asked. “Did it remain in Fallan, Ixelion? What did Falia do with it?”
    They swung intent, earnest eyes upon Ixelion, for this was a new threat, a subtle thing not encountered by any of them, a new ploy of the Unmaker’s. Ixelion looked from one to the other, his hands rising to clench his sun-disc. Help me, he begged silently, help me, but he felt as though a strange wall had risen between him and his kin. Now was the time to tell all, to put words against that wall and be whole and at one with them again, but his pale face became even whiter and his eyes clouded. I have done nothing yet, part of him insisted. I will tell them, and Janthis will come with me to Ixel and take the thing away, and I will be saved. But he also felt the greed, coiling inside him like mist off his ocean, the need to know, to feel, to see. Danarion watched him carefully, unable to decide whether Ixelion mourned for Falia or was distressed by something else. The hands with the sheen of pearls trembled on the thin breast. Then Ixelion swallowed and answered.
    â€œI do not know where this treasure is,” he whispered. “I believe it to be still on Fallan.”
    Immediately he changed. He felt it deep inside him, the first true change that had ever occurred to him, and he looked at his fellows and saw them in a way he had never seen them before. The first lie, he thought to himself, sick with self-loathing. Take it back! Take it away! I do not want this change! What have I done?
    Peace, Ixelion, another voice inside him soothed. The treasure is safe on Ixel. You need never look at it, just leave it in your chest. Have you not saved the council from evil? What if Janthis had taken it from your hands this day, and opened it? Then only darkness would lie ahead, forever. You are strong, stronger perhaps than Janthis, who does not have the responsibility of a world laid on his shoulders. Be at peace.
    Yes, he agreed fervently with himself. Yes. Such a little lie, and so necessary. He released his sun-disc and sat straighter.
    â€œShe did not tell you?” Ghakazian exclaimed incredulously. “You, Ixelion?”
    â€œThat is not good,” Janthis said heavily. “I wish that you had pressed her for its whereabouts, Ixelion, for now we must go forward not knowing whether it has been rendered harmless on Fallan or is already at work somewhere else.” His black eyes slid across Ixelion’s face, a musing glance, but he did not see the torment. His thoughts raced over the news Ixelion had brought. Finally he sighed, his fingers stroking his sun-ball. “Perhaps Falia, in her greed for this thing, would have hidden it from you in any case,” he

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