The two of them were lying side by side on the lounger, looking up out of the natural hole that had been turned into a skylight. The light had long faded out of the sky and the stars were twinkling up above, a sight you would never see in the cities and towns.

“And if you follow the snout down, you can see that little clump of stars, the cloudy ones. That’s the elemental fire, the first fire that was brought to man more than five millennium ago. Around that, you can make out the shoulders, the head, and the crossed legs that make up Ignirius, the fire bearer.” Kaeleigh’s hand traced the pattern through the night sky. Beside her, Rheged squinted up and followed her finger.

“Yeah, I can see him. Although his head’s a bit wonky.”

“He brought up fire to humanity from hell. I think we can forgive him for having a bit of a wonky head.”

Rheged reached out and gently brushed the back of her hand with his own, his child’s hand smaller than hers by a fair bit as he compared them. “How does it work?”


“Unlocking doors and stuff. Do you just put your hand there and stuff opens.”

Kaeleigh lined up their hands, the outlines back by hundred of twinkling stars. “No, it’s more complicated than that. I have to know what I need to shift it into. I can change my DNA to resemble any other, but I do have to know what that is. Male or female, race, hereditary diseases, things that the readers pick up on. Once I know, I can then change.”

“How do you know?”

“Educated guesswork most of the time. For instance, most locks are looking for a race over anything else. More secure ones require me to emulate a specific person.”

“Do you know the DNA of everyone?”

“Oh no. Off the top of my head I’d say I can emulate around sixty seven percentage of the population of the world. The rest I’d have to look up.”

“Wow, that’s a lot. How’d you remember all that?”

“Lots and lots of studying.” She turned and faced the young boy. “Want to learn more about the stars?”

“Uh huh.”

Kaeleigh smiled at the sudden change back of direction that was so characteristic of children, and resumed pointing at the sky.