"Oh my God, Pheebs! Come look!" The excited voice came from the excavation pit on the Anagar plains, just under five kilometers from the receding edge of the Anagar glacier. Drumlins and kettles dotted the landscape and it was cold as the proverbial witch's mammary.

Phoebe Vagganer's parka hooded and pixieish face popped over the edge of the excavation pit and looked into the upturned eyes of her graduate professor. Charles Deen looked like he was about to split himself crossways with excitement pointing with barely contained excitement at a hole they had unearthed. Shepherds had found this site eighteen months ago, and really, it was miraculous any little bit of the castle survived the glaciation at all. By all reason, it should have been swept away and bits of it that weren't ground to dust deposited for miles along the valley floor.

The last ice age had ended around ten thousand years ago and was thought to have been around fifteen thousand years in duration - ridiculously short for a glaciation. Humans had managed to survive and thrive, however. There had been a structure here, before the start of the Great Frost, as the last ice age was called.

The young woman swung her athletic body around and descended the ladder into the pit, pulling her parka closer around her at the bottom. She loved her work, but really, it was time to get some hot cocoa laced with vodka after this. At heart, she was a girl made for summertime and beach parties.

"Well, do you have a lamp, Chaz?" she asked with a grin as she inspected the keystone of the archway before her. There were vague runic impressions in the newly exposed stone and the girl brought out her soft paint brush and carefully tapped the surface, trying to remove debris from the etchings. "Hmm. Some sort of runes? 7Do we know if the pre-Big Freeze people had writing? Do we have any indication?"

Charles answered her, dropping into his "Lecture" mode. "We have some examples that we BELIEVE are pre-glaciation writing on a large slab found in equatorial Cimaraan. But no one has been able to figure out what they say."

"Well, let's take a look what's inside this cave. If we're lucky, there will be at least a room, some sort of chamber." She took a deep breath and shared an excited look with Charles. He was like a child waiting to blow out the candles on his birthday cake.

They took the larger hand-held spotlight and stepped inside the arch, noting stairs right away that led them downward. It was like that stupid movie, "Varsima James and the Pit of Despair", she thought, supressing a giggle. They descended for what seemed like ages, around and around the interior of what had to be a tower, before they spilled into a large room at the bottom. Phoebe held up her lamp and looked around. No one had been in this structure in at LEAST the last twenty-five thousand years, since the advance of the glaciers on the continent. She was amazed at it's structural integrity.

Her eye was drawn by a sparkle at the far end of the chamber and she moved toward it. Pheobe sucked in her breath at the large crystal that was held in intricate metal fretwork that seemed too pristine to have sat undisturbed for so many millenia. She raised her light and touched the beautiful moonlight teardrop that hung suspended from the lattice.

She later would try to remember exactly the sequence of events, but they were never very clear in her mind. She did know it all started as soon as she moved her battery powered lamp close to the crystal and the light seemed to explode in her hand. After that there was a blue, swirling vortex, a roaring sound and then the falling headfirst into the maelstrom that sprang forth before her when the entire structure shifted toward its far side from where she had been standing.