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The Emperor’s Library:

Book Four

The Clavis

Frederick Kirchhoff

Second Edition

Dron Press

Copyright Frederick Kirchhoff, 2012, 2016

Cover Art and Maps Copyright Frederick Kirchhoff, 2012

All Rights Reserved

Author’s Note

The Clavis is the fourth book in The Emperor’s Library. It takes place a century after the third book, The Game. The fifth and sixth books in the series, The Chronophage and The Guardians, occur fifty years later. Together, these three volumes compose a second trilogy.

Chapter 1

“They claim he’s alive, but nobody’s set eyes on him for seven years, and even then you couldn’t be sure it was the man himself. I was there at the time. Did I tell you that? A crowd had formed—here, in this very park that he’d given to the city I can’t tell you how many years before. It was Spring Festival and two bands were playing across from one another—making an awful racket, but they like that kind of thing in Tarnak. The more noise the better. Anyway, someone looked up and saw a figure on that balcony. See—jutting from the top floor like the prow of a ship. It was night, but they had lights all over the place, and both moons were out, so it wasn’t as if you couldn’t see anything. Still, a man standing that far away can be hard to identify even in daylight. Of course someone thought he recognized him. ‘Jon,’ the man began shouting, and soon everyone was pointing at the balcony, and shouting ‘Jon’ as well. Even the bands stopped playing and joined in the shouting—except for one guy with a trumpet. He started playing fanfares—“Ta-te-taaa. Ta-te-ta-te-taaa’—over and over again, like the Emperor himself was marching down the street. You wouldn’t believe the commotion. The man who started it was standing next to that date palm. You could see he was proud of himself. But whoever it was on the balcony simply gazed down at us, without a sign of acknowledgement, then turned and walked inside, closing the door behind him.

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