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Chapter 1

Nightfall was approaching quickly, the last streaks of orange fading across the horizon. Standing on the terrace, Brojorn closed his eyes as the cool evening breeze washed over him. Up on this level, one could see most of the surrounding area, the rolling hills covered in trees, the main path that led into the village, and in the distance, the chappa’ai. It was times like these that he enjoyed the solitude. While he had control over his gift and could tune in and out selectively at will, he was able to relax those buffers he kept in place without being annoyed by the constant chatter usually present. Very few among his people were telepathic empaths. Those that were, they were the ones who held the power, were the wise ones, the seers, the rulers who took care of the others. There is a saying that absolute power corrupts absolutely; fortunately it is a rare occurrence amongst the empaths. Their unique abilities sometimes led to more sophisticated appetites both spiritually and physically, but as a general rule they were good and caring people at heart.

Brojorn moved back into the room, leaving the doors to the terrace open. A tray of fruit and a decanter of wine had been left by one of the servants earlier, and he filled a small goblet, intending to sit down and relax for a while. He soon began to sense a presence in the room with him. Turning towards the sensation, he waited patiently until the person appeared. A smile softened his features as he recognized his visitor.

"Greetings, Brojorn," the woman said, her melodic voice breaking the silence.

"Greetings, Natya," he replied. "To what do I owe this unexpected visit?"

"The time has come for the favor to be repaid," she replied, a small smile playing across her features.

Setting his goblet down, he asked, "What is it you wish of me?"

"In a few days time, some visitors will come through the chappa’ai. They will seek mining rights here. There are two individuals in particular, Colonel Cameron Mitchell and Doctor Jessica Watson. They are to whom the favor relates."

Brojorn listened as the woman continued. Considered what she asked. Nodded in agreement. "I believe I’ll be able to ensure what you request comes to pass, milady," he replied.

"See to it that it does. We would not ask of you what you are incapable of providing." With a slight bow, the woman disappeared from the room.

With a grin, Brojorn sat down in his chair, picking up his wine. This was a pleasing development in contrast to the mundane goings-on of everyday life. Taking a sip of the ruby red liquid, he set the goblet down on the table and closed his eyes. Reaching out, he began to search until he had located the two individuals who currently held his interest. Going into a deep trance, he methodically explored each one, their experiences, likes, dislikes, until he had memorized the very nature of their beings. Satisfied that he had all the information he needed, he brought himself back to the present. Finishing his drink, he retreated to his bedroom where he slipped into a deep and peaceful slumber.

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