Suddenly, Danielle recalled a Plexiglas case, sitting on the lowest shelf of one of several enormous bookcases in the corner of her parents’ home office. She hadn’t looked for it in years, but assumed it was still on that same shelf. As best she could remember, it had been surrounded by piles—mountains—of books, journals, diaries, binders and the various detritus of their many adventures. On the shelves above and below the plastic case surrounding the odd key were other artifacts from the early years of their marriage, when they had traveled all over the world excavating various archeological sites. She knew the key must have been important enough to encase it the way her mother did, but she knew little else about it. However, she vividly recalled that when she was younger, around seven years old, she had picked up the case to study the huge key inside, puzzled by the curious markings upon it. Her mother had come into the office, seen what Danielle was holding, looked very alarmed and yelled, “Not again! Put it back at once!” Her mother had rushed over to her, hoisted her into her arms, squeezed her tight and told her to never pick it up again. And Danielle hadn’t.
With the vision of that case still in her mind’s eye, she focused again on Ercen. “Yes. Yes, I have seen such a key. I mean, yes, we have a key like that in our house. At least, we did. It was in my parents’ office.”
Although she was very distracted by her situation—at first feeling she was in great danger from these gargoyles, then believing that Kimar and Ercen meant her no harm, then understanding that she was in great danger, after all, but from a different gargoyle—Danielle was suddenly struck by a question, like a clap of thunder. Plucking up her courage again, she asked, “So, if you are able to locate this Key of Kahrnahrgx, won’t he also be able to?” Once she’s said it out loud, she shivered at the idea.
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