“Nauta puellam amat.”
Poxig read from the stone obelisk that was at the entrance to the town of Melmond. It must have been some kind of a gravestone. Melmond was known for its lugubrious atmosphere. Broken gravestones littered the town, which was almost deserted.
“Go to the lowlands,” shouted a shadowy figure. “Necessary items will have to be jettisoned.”
“What?” Poxig retorted. “Who’s there?”
But the figure disappeared into the woods.
There was no telling what Poxig would have to do in order to make the situation bearable. The wizard who dwelt in the land would help him through the next item on his journey. Perhaps like this lonely voice from the wood, he would find the purpose of his lowly journey. Perhaps he would be like the forgotten sailor who made this stone to his lost love.
Poxig wondered what the shadowy figure could have meant. It was not altogether obvious. He had heard from a villager in these parts that a vampire had been terrorizing the town. As the prophecy had read, “the earth begins to rot,” he realized that their town was in grave danger.
Perhaps Poxig, with the help of a hero of old, would be able to vanquish this host of night. But he knew that his guitar would not be of much use in destroying the vampire. In order to do this, he would have to find a stake to drive through the heart of this unholy beast. But he knew he could not do it alone…
He came upon a house with a thatched roof with the letters ‘DR UNNE’ on them.
“This must be the residence of Dr. Unne, the linguist!” exclaimed Poxig. “Maybe he can help me end this misery of Melmond for good!”
He knocked on the door, which opened. A man of studious appearance and thick glasses appeared. He wore a white lab coat and had bits of papers shoved in his coat.
“Dr. Unne, I presume…” said Poxig.
“Yes,” he replied. “And you are…”
“I am Poxig, the elf, from Marginalia.”
“No elves live in Marginalia.” he said. “Good day.”
“No wait!” he stopped the door from closing shut. “Can you help me translate something?”
“What is it? That is my scientific speciality.”
“It is a phrase on an obelisk near the entrance to Melmond.”
“What does it say?” Unne asked.
“Nauta puellam amat.”
“This is a Latin phrase from our ancestors,” the doctor replied. “Our alphabet is closely related to theirs. The phrase means ‘The sailor loves the girl.’ It is the sailor from Melmond by the name of Carl Conrad, who fought in the wars of religion and died to defend our religion from the apostasy of the elves.”
“Thank you, sir,” replied Poxig. “But may I ask just one more thing?”
“Does the girl still live in Melmond?” Poxig asked.
“She does. She’s an old woman that lives down the road by the name of Milly.”
“Thank you sir.”
“Let me ask you one question, Mr. Poxig,” replied Dr. Unne. “What brings you to this desolate town?”
“I am on a quest to become one of the light warriors. One of the stages of my quest is to find the cause behind the earth’s rot.”
“A noble cause!” he said. ” You know that it is connected to the vampire that terrorizes the town, looking for fresh human blood when the sun goes down.”
“I had hoped that Milly might be able to give me some information about how the town used to be before the vampire’s curse settled here. Then, I might be able to find a weakness.”
Dr. Unne grabbed his overcoat. “Let me go with you. Perhaps together, we can end this evil, and restore the earth.”
The two new friends walked down the road to Milly Conrad’s place.