In ancient times there lived a poor boy fascinated by the earth and sea. He was enthralled by how the ocean always ate away the land. The boy resolved to become like the sea; to overpower the common earthen folk with is will; to not be poor anymore; even to dominate the world like his model. His name was Galivan.

The Snake Chapter 1 The Snake

JhaJha willed the clay to become a pot. Her hands enforced the will, shaping the earth into a rounded brown vessel. Outside, a shadowy snake slithered towards the door of the shanty. JhaJha allowed the potter's wheel to slow to a stop and removed the new clay jug. The snake wriggled closer and closer. JhaJha got up, took her new creation to the large kiln by the door, and put it in. The snake reached the door and hesitated before entering the brightly illuminated room. JhaJha glanced down and screamed as the snake began to transform. She suddenly saw before her eyes a dark man, cloaked in mystery. JhaJha backed up, terrified of the intimidating figure stepping out of the night. She opened her mouth to scream again as the man reached out his hand.

"Give me the orb." JhaJha heard a deep voice demand.

"The… the orb? I can't give that to you! No! I… I will you to go away!" JhaJha stammered and was amazed when the figure slowly turned and disappeared.

Once she was sure the strange man was gone, JhaJha grabbed a lantern and hurtled down the path to the Village Square. The night seemed to leer at her as she ran. When JhaJha reached the clearing, she slowed and reverently regarded 'The Bell'. The wet air had tarnished its once ornate silver. Though beautiful, it was now merely a symbol of years gone by. JhaJha stood for a second transfixed. Yet soon the special moment passed and she tugged the rotting bell pull. The bell responded by sending a series of deep metallic notes into the night, heralding the coming of danger.

'The Bell' also called the town people to the cellar of Mr. Abius Scrunge for a meeting to discuss their impending doom. A meeting such as this had not been held in the little town of Nevenhagen for years and 'The Bell' had fallen into disuse. The sound of opening doors filled the night as lamps were lit and boots donned. The occasional scream of terror raised above the din as the small population scrambled to the relative safety of the underground.

JhaJha reached the cellar before the rest, having the advantage of being awake, dressed, and not caught on unawares. Patiently she waited for Mr. Scrunge to wake up and open the cellar. Finally his wrinkled little body appeared in the doorway, gnarled hands clutching an old fashioned key.

"Make way, good sirs and ladies! Make way for the key!" Abius's thin voice scattered the frightened people left and right, leaving a clear path. He reached the door and thrust the key into the lock with surprising agility. The door opened and JhaJha was overwhelmed by a stampede of villagers. Only a quick jump to the side saved her from being trampled to death. As she leapt, JhaJha pulled Abius out of harms way.

"You've got to be careful! We wouldn't want Nevenhagen's oldest and wisest citizen lost under dirty peasant feet." She whispered, coaxing a smile from the old man.

"There's still a few good years left in these old bones. T'would be cruel to deprive them of their usefulness." Replied Scrunge wryly. Without another word the careworn face disappeared into the frantic crowd. JhaJha sighed and walked in, closing the door behind her.