A Fateful Choice

The Sorceror smiles at you. “Yes, you have found me,” he admits. “And now I am prepared to fulfill any one request of yours I can.”

You take a deep breath. “Get me off the island,” you demand.

The Sorceror nods. “A wise decision. Islandia cannot survive the weight of the Moonstone much longer.”

“The Moonstone?” You had entirely forgotten the reason for your shipwreck on Islandia.

“Naturally. What did you think was tearing apart the Island? By the end of the week, Islandia will be shattered, and I will move the Moonstone to another location.”

“But all the people … ”

“They are not my concern,” says The Sorceror brusquely. “They all ended up here from greed and deserve their end. And at any rate, there is nothing I can do for them.”

“But you’re The Sorceror!” you exclaim.

He shakes his head ruefully. “Say rather, the slave of the Moonstone. Any power I wield is only what it gives me to preserve itself. I have less power even than you, who are still free and could command the Moonstone to do your bidding.”

Something stirs wildly in your blood. “How can I command the Moonstone?” you ask breathlessly.

“Come with me,” says The Sorceror. He leads you into a cave that should be dark but rather glows with a pale, milky light. At the end of the tunnel, you are staring at a radiant sphere some 10′ in diameter.

“Behold the Moonstone,” announces The Sorceror. “Or at least its aura. At moonrise, the aura will merge with any one person who stands within its glow—and that person will henceforth have mastery over the Moonstone, with nearly limitless power.”

You are about to rush into the aura, but The Sorceror restrains you. “I must warn you, first, that only one person can command the stone. Should the aura discover more than one person inside itself at moonrise, it will kill them all.”

That’s a sobering thought. “But I can push out anyone else who tries to enter,” you think out loud.

The Sorceror shakes his head with a smile. “Not so. The aura can be penetrated only from the outside. Once in, there is no escape until moonrise.”

You peer into the aura, which is completely opaque. “There could already be someone inside, couldn’t there?” you ask.

“There could,” agrees The Sorceror. “I do not know. Nor do I know how many more people might come to me today, people to whom I must offer the same choice.”

He shrugs. “I do know that I am about to be sent off the island to seek a new home for the Moonstone. If you choose not to risk your life to achieve the stone, I can take you with me when I leave. You will not gain the Moonstone, but you will be alive.”

Your mind awhirl, you ponder the dilemma. “How much time do I have to decide?” you ask nervously.

“None,” The Sorceror answers grimly. “I am being sent now. You must decide this moment.”

Well, adventurer: What do you choose?

Infinity Symbol