Worlds of wonder and magic lie just next door. They beckon to you from beyond the sky, through the wardrobe and under the vine draped arbor. Sometimes inhabitants of those magical worlds stray into our mundane existence and give birth to legends…a yeti or chupacabra or a roc. Or sometimes it’s only an elf, seeking to escape the frozen wastes of Caksas Mahr and spend the winter in his condominium on the Gulf Coast of Florida. So the next time you see one of the beautiful people shopping at Saks, you might want to take a closer look at his ears.
     But then again, that interloper just might be a dragon…..

     Robby cocked his head at me, his pale eyes narrowed, and then he nodded, the decision he’d been pondering apparently reached. He held up his hands, one above the other, his palms bracketing a space of about a foot and a half. Air began to flow into it, pulling all the sunlit motes out of the room and into a spiral that wheeled between his fingers like a newborn galaxy. It condensed into a ball of golden fire, nestled within shell after shell of lights from a deep orange to a blue so dark it was lost against the blackness that surrounded the illusion.
     It resembled a computer generated wire frame model, a 3-D display rotating in an immense cosmic mainframe. The shells closest to the orb were ginger hued, fading almost imperceptibly to yellow until, half way to the outer darkness, one world flickered and sputtered like a dying neon tube. I was surprised how quickly I’d come to think of those, not as lines drawn on a magical canvas, but as worlds populated with living, thinking beings. Beyond the flickering world, the lines faded to first a cerulean, then cobalt and finally to a blue so dark, I could no longer see it, although I had a subliminal impression that the worlds did continue onward into blackness.
     “This is the Continuum of R’hipayon Quar.” Robby pointed to the star-like object at the center of the miniscule solar system. “And at its heart is the Source of All Magic. From here power flows out to all the worlds along the Wizard’s Road.” At his words, lines blossomed from the orb, arcing and spiraling and gyring outward, growing fainter until they too, took on the color of the outer darkness.
     The glow of the magical construct threw colored shadows on Robby’s face as he withdrew his hands, and left it hanging in the air between the two of us. As I somehow knew he would, he pointed at the guttering ring of light. “This is Vayron, your world. Here, magic is dying.”
     “But why?” The thought of that loss left a wound in my heart.
     “Technology. We call it the Blight.” He shook his head sadly. “Magic and technology canna long exist together in a world, and technology always wins.
     The laptop resting on the desk in the corner of my living room seemed to take on a sinister mien. “You talk about technology as if it were aware—some kind of sentient entity.”
     “It is—every bit as much as magic. It is the darkness beyond the worlds, which we simply call the Void, because to name it would give it more power than it already has. It is not evil, it is just beyond any concept of human morality. Cold, soulless, and empty, but conscious. What you might think of as the ultimate machine mind.”