A sage must retrieve a talisman to save his kingdom from an apocalyptic storm.
|The old man sat at his table going through the castle scrolls feverishly. There was only several hours left until the impending doom for the kingdom of Wrethmore. He searched for anything that would stop the prophecy from coming to pass; the appointed time when the wrath of heaven would be revealed. Then he heard footsteps coming down the stone staircase to the kingdom library in the chamber beneath the main hall. A man with a royal robe and a crown of silver came into view as the sage rummaged through the various manuscripts.
“I’m sorry, my lord, but I still have not found anything that would alter the prophesy,” said the sage.
“Keep searching Rhylen. There must be an answer in the myriads of books and scrolls in this vast chamber.”
“True my lord, but it would take me months to read through them all even with the help of the other sages.”
“If there was some way to stop the storm from destroying all of Wrethmore, in what form would you think it to be?”
The head sage Rhylen looked down in thought and rubbed his weary eyes. “A talisman or perhaps an incantation.”
Something in the king Tolus’ eyes piqued his attention. “A talisman you say?” The king tilted his head and folded his hands. “I am going to allow you to do something that no other soul, save the kings of Wrethmore have ever been allowed. You’ve heard of the myths about the secret vault of the kings?”
“Indeed, are you saying that the legend is true?”
“It is. It holds all the treasures collected over the past fifteen-hundred years from wars and expeditions wrought by the knights and nobles of Wrethmore.”
Rhylen was ecstatic with wide eyes. “May I see it now my lord?”
“Yes, follow me. The secret entrance lies in the king’s chamber.”
The head sage was led by the king to the upper confines of the castle. They came into the royal hall that was decorated with murals of the past kings and ones rendering the beautiful country of Wrethmore. Many doors of various sizes lined the hall. At the far end of the hall was a large golden door which was opened by two guards to reveal the kings’ own chamber. When the two men had come inside, the doors were shut.
Rhylen was restless with curiosity but he fought to keep his natural composure.
“There is a stone hatch on the floor of the balcony that leads to a secret staircase. We need only press this white brick and it will open.”
With that King Tolus pushed it with his hand and a square section of the stonework opened with a grinding sound.
“This way,” said the king as he grabbed a torch off the wall. The stairway was crude compared any other staircase in the castle. It was coarse and dusty like an old tomb. At last, when they had reached the bottom, Rylen’s jaw dropped at the sight of the fabled vault of the kings. Endless treasures were before him; intricately designed medallions with precious stones, golden scepters, silver and gold chalices, neck chains, bracelets, pearls and many other objects made of precious metals and stones. Endless pieces of gold and silver were seen in open chests as well. Then something caught the sage’s attention; it was a small stone tablet. Rhylen approached it and saw that it had writings on it. At first he was baffled but then something about it sparked a familiar essence.
“I’ve seen this language before; in the library archives. I believe it was a large scroll sealed with what I surmise to be the crest of a mysterious, lost civilization.” Rhylen pondered for a few moments before clapping his hands together and exclaimed. “Ah, I have it! The crest was a relief of a dragon and a phoenix intertwined and I happened to have looked upon it only a fortnight ago. I remember exactly where I put it.”
“I’ll follow you, ”King Tolus said.
The arch sage rushed out of the vault without taking another glance at the rest of the treasure. He quickly walked out of the king’s secret stair passage and crawled out of the balcony with Tolus behind him as their hard bottomed shoes clicked on the marble floor. After making their way to the library archives down below the main hall, Rhylen proceeded past a few tall book shelves to and old, dusty chest.
“It should be in here,” he said as he opened it and took out the exact scroll with the very crest described by the eager sage. Rhylen took it and the tablet to his which sat many candles.
“Hmm…the tablet appears to be easily translated with the help of the scroll,” he said.
“You can read it? Please, divulge.” Tolus was becoming quite restless yet it was accompanied by the prospect of hope as Rhylen began to speak a few words.
He took a deep breath and began reading the tablet with the scroll beside it.
“And it shall come to pass that destruction will rain from the heavens; great hail and lighting upon the realm of Wrethmore…”
The king interrupted. “This is precisely what is written in the book of prophecy. We know this.”
“Let me continue, there is more: “Yet salvation will be found in the tower of Brayle hidden in the Ice Forest. A noble one will find a talisman there that will deliver the people from destruction of the land. In that day a new kingdom will dawn and will prosper greatly.”
“Who is this noble one it speaks of?” asked the king.
The words awakened something within Rhylen. His heart burned with a sense of a special calling.
“I think it speaks of me my lord.”
“If that is what you believe, so be it. You will depart for the Ice Forest immediately.”
Normally, such a task would arouse doubt and fear into one such as Rhylen, but he was upheld by a strange peace as though it was his destiny.”
“Very well, my lord.”
A horse was made ready for him in the outer stables and the Noble One put on a thick cloak and made out for the Ice Forest. His steed was swift and strong and it did not take him long to reach the border of the forest. It was said to be an enchanted place of perpetual cold and snow during all four seasons. The Ice Forest was also a veritable maze that many had gotten lost in. Rhylen however felt as though something was calling him and guiding him to the destination of his journey.
Time passed quickly as the Arch Sage encountered trees of all sorts covered with ice and grass blanketed with thick layers of dew. Rhylen felt the brisk air sting his face and sensed that he was very close to whatever he was supposed to find. His intuition was confirmed as he went under a white marble archway in a grove that led to the door to a large structure. As he approached it he looked up to see it was an entrance to a tower made of the same white marble. Rhylen had discovered the Tower of Brayle. He dismounted and took a deep breath and then entered it.
He found a set of spiraling staircases leading upwards. Rylen was mystified as he began his ascent.
“I wonder if anyone has ever lived here; if so it must have been a great while ago. This tower is ancient.”
The climb took about thirty minutes and Rhylen had to catch his breath from time to time. His curiosity drove him on and soon he met a beautiful silver door decked with pearl and blue diamonds.
He pulled on a silver handle with intertwining designs and was surprised that it was unlocked. As soon as he looked into the room past the door, he was mesmerized by a very fair, beautiful woman with a diadem of ice who wore an exceedingly white gown. She sat on a throne of pure white diamond and held a scepter that glowed like a shimmering lake. Rylen’s heart was filled with a peace and burning in his heart. It was the same sensation that had felt which led him there from when he had read the tablet.
“Noble one, I have waited for you. Remain at peace for I know why you have come. The salvation of your people lay in this magical scepter. With an incantation it will send all the souls of Wrethmore to another kingdom greater and wealthier than you’re present home.”
She held it out for Rylen to receive.
“Who are you?” the sage asked.
“I am Alaina, keeper of the Tower of Brayle. No more questions, the hour of Wrethmore’s desolation draws nigh. When you return, take the scepter to the highest point in the kingdom and speak the words written on the top of it, and all the people will be transported to another realm.”
There were so many things he was curious about her and the tower but there was no time to converse. But as he turned around to the long stairway, Alaina called out to him.
“Do not burden yourself with returning in the same laborious fashion. My power will send you and your horse to the end of the Ice Forest.” With a wave of her hand, a sparkling cloud wisped him back to the border of the forest and he found himself sitting on his horse. Rhylen saw the castle in the distance and murky, ominous storm clouds formed above. Suddenly a hailstone the size of a medicine ball crashed into a one of the towers that sent brick and stone plummeting to the ground. A second later a bright blue flash erupted from the sky and a myriad of lightning bolts began to rain from the dark rumbling clouds. Houses were catching on fire as townsfolk panicked in the barrage of ice and lightening. He rode at full speed through the town to the citadel gate.
The gatekeepers opened immediately and Rylen rode to the entrance of the keep, dismounted and ran to the entrance then stopped. When he approached it, a hailstone crashed into the wall above him that sent crumbling rubble plummeting to the ground just inches in front of the doorway to the castle. He looked up and despaired as he witnessed the once majestic structure being decimated by lightning and hail. He crawled over the fallen debris and went inside. He sprinted to the central tower, the pinnacle of the castle. Rhylen made his way past the collapsing main hall as the pillars were beginning to crack sending a loud vibrating sound throughout the vast hall. He found the door to the tower that shook violently as he climbed a stairway. After fifteen grueling minutes he reached the top and walked out to the balcony that overlooked the entire kingdom. He held the scepter over the land and read the incantation. Just as the tower began to tip over, a blue light shot from the sky and spread out like a transparent dome and instantly all the inhabitants disappeared.
When the light had abated, Rhylen found himself looking over a breathtaking palace many times more wondrous than Wrethmore. It had golden spires crowned with large precious stones and great silver fountains throughout the new kingdom and its great surrounding city. The homes of the city were made of fine marble and there were streets paved with gold. Doves, sparrows and, eagles, flew majestically overhead.
“Ah, what grand place this is! But what shall it be called?” Rhylen looked at a glowing inscription on the scepter.”
“Khrine,” the sage read. “What a beautiful name.” He then remembered the final words of the prophecy. “In that day a new kingdom will dawn and will prosper greatly.”