VALIANT SPOTLIGHT
NEW EYES, NEW EARS:
THE QUEST FOR THE NEXT GEOMANCER
 
    June 24th, 1994. On an airplane bound for the United States, Gilad Abrams, better known to some as the Eternal Warrior, gazes down at the vast desert sands of the Middle East. He ruminates over his greatest failure, and the burden that will forever be his to bear....

    Geoff is gone, and I wasn't there for him. A villain's treachery, and that damnable Chaos Effect took him. I was Geoff's guardian, the Fist and Steel of the Earth; but I was trapped in Europe, overwhelmed by the cataclysm thousands of miles away. I have seen many Geomancers come and go in my time. Dozens! But Geoff McHenry was just a boy - a pain in the butt sometimes - but a noble young man nonetheless. It was my job to protect him; it's what I was born over fifty-two centuries ago to do! I heard his call from across all those miles, and I couldn't answer him. I failed Geoff. Now I am lost.
 
    Lying back in my seat, I think about these men and women who've played such powerful roles in my life. Geomancers have been the Eyes and Ears of the Earth for well over 5,000 years. Although their abilities have been many and varied, they have been first and foremost humanity's guide and link to the living planet. These people can hear the Earth's yearnings, and heed its commands. They hold themselves in tune with the delicate fabric of nature, time and space, and they fight to avert or repair the damage we as a race have wrought. Geomancers can "read" objects and decipher where they've been, who has touched or even owned them. When the need arises, they can reach across distances and touch the minds of others with their own. No lock or portal can block a Geomancer, no earthly energy can elude their senses. And, once in a great while, they can thrust their senses into the far past or distant future. Time, as any Geomancer knows, is not absolute.

    I feel older this moment than I have in a millennium. It seems an eternity since I encountered the wandering Aborigine on the killing fields of Anatole, thirty-two centuries before the birth of Christ. I was young and brash and angry, but he soothed me with his wise and simple words. Then he took me on a journey across the face of the world, an odyssey from which I would emerge to become the Eternal Warrior. He was a Geomancer, the Earth's chosen, and I placed my faith in him as I have in virtually every Geomancer since. Now I sit here in this airplane cabin, hurtling over those very same killing fields, The Book of Geomancers stowed close by my side. Though I'm tired - beaten - I've come to my senses, and know what I must do.
 
    In the best of times, after a long and successful life, a Geomancer is guided to his or her successor by the Earth. There can only be one living Geomancer. In the worst of times, it is me who must take the mantle and find someone worthy enough to accept this rarest of challenges. Then this successor must be tested, placed in tune with the planet's harmonies and rhythms, and finally made to face a crisis of mind, body and soul. The Book of Geomancers will act as a guide, as it holds the history, lore and all-powerful secrets of geomancy. The ax, the staff, the necklace, bandanna and belt - all the accouterments that should have been passed on to the next Geomancer, were lost when Geoff McHenry succumbed to the Chaos Effect. We will have to start from scratch.
 
    And who will this next Geomancer be? There is no way I can know for certain. But this I will swear: Whether man or woman, black, white or Asian, timid or tyrant, I will not fail this person! I'm going to make this new Geomancer look me straight in the eyes - by force, if I must - and hear this vow as if it were the last one the Fist and Steel of the Earth, the Eternal Warrior, will ever make.