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Chapter 1
Interlude 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4


     page 36     

“Consider this....”  

Talon heard a rustle of stiff cloth.  The temptation to peek seized him and he quickly looked over the window’s edge.  Firesmyth held a golden rod and showed it to Endvar.  Talon ducked back down, his heart racing.

“The shadow knights in Cah Bel had it.  It disturbs me enough that it fell into Araknik’s hands, but what is more disturbing is what is written upon it.  The device itself is Arcathian, by the look of the workmanship, but see these runes?”

“Yes, it’s written in Salmi.” 

“Would you like me to read it for you?”

“No,” said Endvar.  “My Salmi’s a little rusty but I believe I can read it. 

“Alas, then came the devourer,

      The gray wolf who stalks his prey.

But hope arrived this late hour,

      The lion who drove him away.

  “The wolf clad in lion’s clothes

      Caught the eagle in his nest

But an arrow from the wise man’s bow

      Pierced the gray wolf’s breast.

 “Do you understand it?” asked Firesmyth. 

“Well, the gray wolf is Araknik and you’re called the Golden Lion but I don’t know about the eagle or the wise man.”

“Yes, that is the mystery of it.  It quotes the Ox Shalay, book 23 and chapter 13, starting at stanza 19.  The only reason Araknik would go to the length of having this engraved on a device of the lost arts is that it vexes him so.  He is as obsessed with this prophecy as he is with his own immortality.”

“An eagle ... hmm,” Endvar mused, “why would I be described as an eagle?”

“I do not believe it is you.”

“But I thought I was the fulfillment of the prophecy.”  Endvar sounded a little miffed, like one who sacrificed much for a promised reward only to be given emptiness in return. 

“Ah, you speak truly.  You are part of the fulfillment, my friend.” 


“Talon, I believe,” explained Firesmyth, “is both the eagle and the wise man.”

“Talon is not a man and I won’t expose him to Araknik.”

“He will not be a child forever.”

“Forever?  That’s worse.”  And now Endvar sounded very old to Talon, “I’ve reached the last years of my life, and I expected to see Araknik come to justice.”

In a deep, low voice of an old friend more humbled than reprimanding, Firesmyth replied, “The prophecy is not for your own satisfaction, Ambassador.  Nevertheless, I believe you will see it fulfilled.”

“Not likely if I have to wait until Talon’s an adult.” 

“Yes,” Firesmyth continued, “but you know the oracle gives no guarantees certain events will take place, only that certain events are likely to take place.  I believe the Ox Shalay speaks the truth, though not with the same veracity as the Scrolls of Yashu.  Think of it as probable future history.”

“History?”  Endvar sighed.  “I was young when I first heard those promises and now look at me.  Justice should be swift and history takes too long.”

“That is because you do not see history like I do and as for justice, there are many facets, angles that we do not see.”

Talon waited for a while.  He heard nothing and started to think they left the room entirely and was about to look over the window ledge when he heard Firesmyth speak again.

“I have not come to speak about your roll, but about Talon’s.  Rarely have I told anyone what they are to do even when I held certainty for a given event.  It is far too dangerous to know one’s future before it happens ... even my own.”

“Why?” asked Endvar.

“If you know, really know beyond a doubt, what you are to do in a future circumstance, you might not react the way you should.  Often the unrehearsed action is the best action.”

“So why even bring it up?”

“In this case, I am afraid you might ruin it.”

“Ruin it?  Ah, there you are wrong, sage.  I wouldn’t ruin anything for my grandson.”

“You love him, do you not?”


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