The search (Part 2)

They had arrived at Mount Crump after a long, slow journey. Lakfi’s hands were gnarled after riding the horse all night. Poxig was also exhausted. But they had crossed the border to Ulteria shortly after dawn, and now they had reached the end of the Rivula River, where it flows into the sea.

The suzukib birds were chirruping, and there was little fanfare at their arrival. They would now have to scale the mountain as best as they could. They began their ascent to the library on the top of the summit. They walked, crawled, and scaled up the crags that led to the survey tower that was visible next to the library, which was carved into the side of the mountain.

Poxig could not help but propose some philosophical question or another, since there was plenty of time to expend. “Have you ever noticed,” he said, “that the same senses that we use to perceive the world is also what we use in dreams?”

“And so?” Lakfi muttered.

“Then, how can we tell the difference between dreams and reality? Could not our senses be misleading us?”


“Dreams will be our only hope of getting the Eyrrfish document,” said Lakfi.

“Ah yes. We must answer the riddle,” replied Poxig.

They came to the entrance of the library,  which was festooned with columns and draperies. They noticed that not many people were there, but just a few Ulterians around the area.

“Have you been here?” asked Poxig.

“It was a long time ago during my apprenticeship,” replied Lakfi. “I think that it will be difficult to meet the head sage and librarian, Jongleur. Hopefully, our letter has reached him.”

As they approached the library, a clockwork owl flew up to them and began to speak in a robotic voice: “WHAT IS YOUR BUSINESS?”

“We are here to see Jongleur,” said the green-faced elf. “Is he in?”


“What?” said Lakfi.

“MASTER …MASTER… MASTER…” at that point, the clockwork owl fell to the ground and began twitching.

A man in a coxcomb emerged from the library. “Oh, darn it! It seems that my sentry has malfunctioned,” he said.

“Excuse me, but might you be Jongleur? We are looking for him,” asked Poxig.

“Aha! Yes, that is me. You have found me. But I must say, how did you get this far? The Ulterian guards should have stopped you.”

“We evaded them by the pass by the Rivula near the Ulterian border. Lakfi cast a cloak spell that allowed us to pass undetected,” said Poxig.

“Have I received correspondence from you?” asked Jongleur. “As you well know, I don’t entertain guests that I don’t have any missive from.”

“You must have something from us!” said Poxig in an elated tone. “We sent the letter several months beforehand.”

Jongleur began to fuss with his papers in a large leather knapsack. He pulled out a long letter with a red seal on it. “Ah yes, this must be yours,” he said.

“However,” he added, “you must understand that no one may enter the library before they answer a riddle.”

Lakfi thought himself very good at these sort of idealistic mind experiments. “This shouldn’t be too hard,” he whispered to himself.

“Very well, let’s begin.  What ceases to be the very moment it is spoken?” asked Jongleur.

“Hmm.” Poxig mused. “I’m not sure I know the answer to this one.”

“I do,” said Lakfi. “The answer is: silence.”

“Ah yes!” the fool on the hill laughed with delight. He did a back somersault and then shouted, “that’s absolutely right!”

“I have another one…” Jongleur began,  but Lakfi interrupted.

“You said that we should only have to answer one! Our business is pressing. We must gain the translation document for the Eyrrfish language. We sent you the letter in April,” said Lakfi.

“Ah yes, it is April,  the cruelest month. And you, sirs,  are out of luck. One such individual has borrowed that document from me. His name is Brad, and he lives just beyond the Ulterian border.”

“You tricked us!” yelled Poxig.  “You led us to believe…”

“You have come here on your own,” said Jongleur. “I had nothing to do with it. I make sure the documents are in order, but otherwise, it was all of your own devices.”

“Then,  can you at least inform us as to Brad’s whereabouts?” said Lakfi.

“Well, I never give out the patron’s information. I only have about 200 of them. I rarely get visitors on the top of Mount Crump. But since you answered my riddle, please come inside, and I will tell you about some of my most recent research,” said Jongleur.

The trio went inside the great library together as dusk was falling.





The search

Poxig and Lakfi had make their peace with each other, because a new problem posed itself. They had promised the dying Conrad to find his son, and present the locket to him. In fact, Poxig had little to go on except the reformed vampire’s instructions to seek him at the castle on the top of Mount Eyrrf, where there was a chance that they could find him.

Poxig and his friend the dark mage set out from the manse to locate the lost son at the heights of Eyrrf. This place was ancient people that had separated themselves from all other races. Although human, they did not consider themselves to be of the human race. They spoke in a strange dialect called Eyrrfish. In order to speak to these people, they would have to consult Dr. Unne, the master of languages.

They arrived in Melmond that evening as the sun set, and knocked on Dr.  Unne’s door. He lived in a small accommodation by the end of the road, next to the graveyard. A large oak tree was towering over them, and was cutting shapes in the sky with its long black branches. The owls were hooting in the trees.

Dr. Unne appeared at the door, disheveled in his lab coat. Obviously, he had been working on an important scientific discovery.

“Eyrrfish, you say?” said Dr. Unne “Well, you’ve come the right place my boys! It’s my scientific speciality!”

They learned that Eyrrfish could only be translated with a special document which had to be found and brought to Dr. Unne. It just so happened that there was a copy at the library on the top of Mount Crump, but they would have to communicate with the master librarian Jongleur by letter, so as to alert him to their arrival.

“Jongleur is a mysterious librarian,” said Dr. Unne. “He does not like to deal with the general public, so you will have to ask him to meet with you by writing him a letter.”

They agreed that they would do this. The librarian’s vision was not as it used to be, and it was not sure that they would be able to see him right away. They gathered up their courage to set out for Ulteria, when Mount Crump was located. They had to keep the promise that they had made to Carl Conrad while he was still alive.

“Do you think we have a chance of finding the Eyrrfish translation document?” asked Lakfi.

“I think even one missive to Jongleur should do the trick,” replied Unne.

“Even we fail, it will not be all for naught. Perhaps Jongleur can give us some insight as to the location of the sacred amethyst.”

“We can’t afford to fail. As light warriors, the fate of Illyria rests in our hands,” said Poxig.

Of course, Lakfi didn’t really think of himself in this way, and he impugned the light warrior prophecy. But his respect for Poxig remained. Poxig, on the other hand, had other issues to resolve. He wished to be able to find his lost father, and thereby his namesake. If he could do this, it was possible that his father would tell him what the purpose of his being was, or if not, validate his ancestral heraldry.

And so the search went on for a suitable guide to Mount Crump. Dr. Unne would not leave his work at laboratory, and could not accompany them. They would need to hire another mage to guide them through the rough terrain of Ulteria. Who knows what Wyverns flew in those dim skies?

Dr. Unne wished them well, resupplied their knapsacks, and sent them on their way. Having mailed the letter to Jongleur, the two unlikely friends continued to Ulteria, in hopes of at least retrieving the sacred amethyst.the friends


Poxig and Lakfi disagree

Poxig was always a winsome chum, but he knew how to watch his own tongue. It was one night after he and Lakfi were arguing about a certain theological topic, that he let loose his true thoughts, which Poxig hardly ever did.

“There is no light warrior prophecy,” said Lakfi. “Your trust is misplaced in Releven.”

Of course, this insulted Poxig, who believed himself to be the recipient of Releven’s emic language, as opposed to Lakfi’s etic false language.

“Releven was responsible for repelling Darxon at the Nitla pass. A god is just a hero in a non-human form. Our hero Releven remade us in his own image, and made the elvish people into a united country. Before, an elf was considered a kind of orc.”

At that point, Lakfi stammered and retorted. “You lost during the wars of religion, and that is why you are defensive about Releven.”

“Even now, Releven could win the victory against Garland, with his powerful magic!”

“You have no idea about the powers that be, and they are conspiring against you!”

Lakfi cast a muddle spell on his friend, he was so angry. Poxig had bested his most formal logic of darkness. Now, Lakfi wished to show him his power.

When Poxig revived, Lakfi said, “Darkness is power. This is something you can never understand.”

“Nor do I wish to,” said Poxig. “You and I will never agree here.”

Poxig gave him his wages for having finished the quest to reform Conrad the vampire. He had thought that this story would be  an object lesson that would bring his deceived friend to the light. Instead, it had caused him to return to darkness. Poxig wanted no part of it.

A friend’s betrayal is still hard to take. This gainsayer had caused him to question his trust in his friend, and it was many more months before he would trust him again.

Poxig & Lakfi