Summer of Fire – taster extract 1

Look at this,” said Elor and with a theatrical flourish he produced an ancient looking scroll. Mori cleared space on the table and Elor unrolled it. The surface of the cracked parchment was covered almost edge to edge with a tightly-packed florid script that had no visible punctuation. “It’s all in here,” said the wizard gleefully. “I copied this from an archaic text in the vaults of the Knowledge Library. I’m afraid it’s a bit of a hack job when it comes to the translation as I didn’t have my tomes with me, I may have accidentally mis-rotated the participles and I’ve slipped into slang here.” He tapped a section about three lines from the start of the writing and chuckled, then he looked up to find the adventurers looking incredulously back at him. Krieg looked as though Elor had just suggested he go into battle in a lady mage’s silk pyjamas, wearing a bonnet with a ribbon and a bunch of wax cherries on it. Pringle spoke first.

Elor,” he said calmly, “I hope you’re not suggesting I try to read that. I may have had a wash and a shave but I’m still as drunk as a skunk and if I try to focus on that tiny writing I will most likely vomit. If you wouldn’t mind doing the honours.” Elor nodded and cleared his throat.

Peace can not last forever, and disarray will fall on the house of the younger Gods. Quarrels and power play will turn to bitter rivalries and war will descend. The Elder One,” he paused cleared his throat uncomfortably and said, “I assume this is an allusion to the All-Father,” before continuing in a more scholarly and slow tone, “will return to the world to confront his offspring and they will rise up and fight. A mortal champion will stand against the Father, again I assume this to mean the All-Father, and will be armed by the Younger Gods.” He paused significantly and slowly the four adventurers nodded in recognition, Krieg and Daisy unconvincingly. “There have been subsequent scrolls and texts that talk about divine items gifted from above that invoke some kind of deific protection beyond the realms of even the most powerful priests. Some of them are obviously different legends about the same artefact, adding further credence to their existence. The temples are in uproar, well some of them at least. You may have noticed,” he looked over at Mori and Daisy and was surprised when Pringle said a very definite ‘yes’. “Anyway, to this end, I have located this.”

Elor showed them another scroll, with a picture of the helm and dutifully read to them the legend explaining it’s supposed location. He told them of the eastern Kingdom of Al’Raeth, where knowledge was power. A beautiful nation built amongst snow-capped mountains, the Al’Raethan people were protective of their wisdom and wary of strangers. Outlanders were permitted access to only a fraction of this knowledge, and were allowed to leave only with what they could commit to memory. It had taken Elor quite some time to track down enough pieces of the jigsaw to locate the Helm of Enigmas. The secretive Al’Raethan had buried it deep within in a cave system fearing its power might bring an uprising to disturb the millenium of peace they had experienced since the last cataclysm. The adventurers would need to be cautious and subtle, as he said this he looked at Krieg who returned an amused ‘what are you trying to say’ face.

Elor was surprised to see Mori scribbling down the information fastidiously in a leather-bound notebook. When Elor commented on this, she fixed him with another cutting glare and said,

I understand it is illegal to make notes in Al’Raeth, but this being Aberddu I thought I’d take my chances,” and Pringle snorted with laughter. Elor was slowly having to conceded that perhaps he had misjudged these younger adventurers. With that, he handed his cheap copy of the world map and the routes to Krieg who gave them straight to Daisy to put in her bag. Then he put a small pouch of money down on the table and said,

Right, leave as soon as you’re ready, this should get you supplies and passage. Try the market, they may have some horses.” Krieg lifted the pouch and snorted.

Not for that they won’t, but I know a man who will,” then with a toothy grin he turned to Daisy and said, “Do dwarves ride horses?” 

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