Tale of Fools
Warmage Priest of Wee Jas
The ancient mage-priest of Wee Jas finished reading the report, glancing over his battered spectacles at the grey haired Chief of Clerks who had delivered it. Enkidu Arjuna watched both of them patiently.
“We are sure of the veracity of this report Chief Recorder Elbarran?” The old man quavered.
The Chief nodded curtly. “Indeed, Lord Hierophant, it came via a number of sendings from one of our most trusted field itinerants. He reports that the seller really has no idea what it is that he has for sale.”
The Hierophant pushed the report away and chuckled.
“I always imagined that when this particular artefact was tracked down we would find it in the library of some necromancer or other, and that our priests would have to prise it from undead hands. I never imagined that it would be located in a junk shop in some backwater in Ulek.”
Chief Recorder Elbarran nodded, “Oakhurst is indeed a town of no significance My Lord, one wonders how it came to be there. However we must not spill a Brewfest gift when Sunsebb is around the corner.”
“Oh, I Agree! This is an opportunity to gain without bloodshed that which we have long sought. It simply makes a change to walk in and buy such an abomination. I will send young Enkidu Arjuna here to collect the item at once.” He turned to the young mage-priest waiting dutifully by his side.
“Young man, you have proven yourself a flexible and resourceful student on many occasions. I shall entrust the purchase and return of this artefact to you.”
The old man handed Enkidu Arjuna a note. “This authorises you to withdraw the required purchase price of the artefact from Treasurer Oban. He won’t like it, but then he never does. You will leave tomorrow. You may select two templars to accompany you. If you run into resistance from the seller you are authorised to use whatever ‘means’ necessary to obtain this foul object and return it to us. Do you understand? The Libram cannot be allowed to fall into the wrong hands under any circumstances.”
Enkidu Arjuna bowed deeply.
“Yes My Master, such a rank offence to our Dark Mistress will not be tolerated. The Book of Flesh shall be returned. Your will shall be made manifest Lord Hierophant.”
The old man waved him away absently, quoting back the expected catechism
“As shall that of our Lady of Death, and the Art.”
It had taken three weeks for Enkidu Arjuna, Kallon and Adrix – his accompanying templars – to travel to the Ulek town of Oakhurst from the Great City of Ptolus. The journey through the settled border areas of the Kingdom ofKeoland and then its neighbour Ulek had proven uneventful. Arriving in Oakhurst the mage-priest and his party quickly found the local antiquarian. The coffer of cash from the reluctant Oban had quickly sealed the deal. Now Enkidu Arjuna held the hated object in his hands.
It was very old and bound in an unusual hide. The vellum pages, though torn in places, appeared to still be intact, though he dared not investigate too thoroughly. Such items had ways of ensnaring their perusers. From what he could see though, the foul thing was in remarkable condition.
As indicated in the itinerant’s report it was clear that the seller had not the first inkling of what it was he had parted with. He fell over himself to impart some measure of the history of the book’s discovery, but all he knew was that some goblins had brought the item into town one year, and sold it, along with an unusual apple that had the power of healing. Apparently they came to town once a year to sell an apple of this kind, and had done so for many years. Enkidu Arjuna made a mental note to be sure to report this unusual commercial relationship, but for now his priority was to return with all haste to the Lord Hierophant.
As they left Enkidu Arjuna could not help himself. When the antiquarian asked what the book represented, the young mage-priest grimaced and replied “The Power to create Life through Death itself, old man. But now it is in the hands of the Priesthood of the Ruby Sorceress, you have naught to fear.”