Stretched out on his desk and held in place by metal weights, was the eldest parchment in the order. He had heard of one even older, kept in the Hall of Heroes’ library, but that was merely a historical document. Most of the writings, the elder monks wrote off as nonsense, open to interpretation. His lingual expertise had provided him with letters and an extensive vocabulary. It put him leagues ahead of any other linguist, but it only provided the most basic tools for learning. Ancient Nusalleans spoke in reverse grammar, and many of the elder words had several meanings. Added to that, the ancients spoke lyrically, rather than specifically, leaving the final analysis to guess work.
His latest piece of translation troubled him, causing him to cross reference with different scrolls and ask opinions from his fellow monks. Clearly, the scrawl on the yellowed parchment spoke of a prophecy. Not knowing much history in detail, he couldn’t tell if the prophecy had already occurred or would yet come. It mentioned something about “two kingdoms at war, north and south; one king evil, the other, good. Fallen king will return to slay his enemy.”
None of this sounded like anyone from a history he recognised. It couldn’t refer to the duel between Tonunda and Natas near the plains of the Dog tribe as both kings died. Another quote perplexed him, “when all is lost, they will flee to where heroes gather.” Obviously, the loss referred to losing a battle, but which faction would flee, and to where?
He could have writen off the prophecy as an incident either in the past or would yet occur in another land. One thing did disturb him as he looked out of the window. Thunder resounded, sending a jagged tendril of lightning from the core of billowing clouds forming over the Cuslava ranges. He read the last phrase with dread, “the hour is nigh when purple clouds erupt and will rain on all those history has beckoned.”
With his quill in hand, he dipped it in the clay pot and scrawled a letter of warning for Olleton, determined that only his fastest young monk would make the delivery.
Moxatol rested a few days aboard the Leviathan. Her vessel’s tentacled oars doted on her every need to the point of annoyance. Estron seemed to continually fume. She had denied him the opportunity to go ashore during her recuperation, depriving him of wanton drinking and the pleasures of the local women. Her wounds had healed to a manageable level within three days, requiring a simple poultice for the closing stages of her wound.
When she made the announcement that they should leave ship, Estron insisted on bargaining on the purchase of their horses for the long ride across the border into Nusalle. Moxatol smiled, impressed with the conman’s masterful bargaining ability with a local horse trader. For no extra money, saddles were also added to the sale. She almost expected the trader to say “thank you” for being cheated.