A lone scribe sat at a desk in an underground room. The room wasn’t just an ordinary room. Instead, it was lined along all four walls with bookshelves, each containing more books than an average person could read in a lifetime.
Behind the bookshelves lay stone blocks, which made the the room soundproof. If the stone didn’t secure the sound enough, the hundred feet of earth would make sure no sound ever got out.
On the desk lay a large scroll. The scribe wrote furiously, stopping only for a few moments to pull a book off the shelf and read a few pages.
He’d been here for days. That’s what it felt like. But that was no excuse to stop now. The entire world hung in the balance of what he would accomplish here. Unless of course he didn’t accomplish it, in which case the world could potentially be doomed.
A tapping sounded at a door located between two levels of bookshelves. “Jared?”
The scribe didn’t need to look up to understand who stood there. “Sir Boresk?”
Boresk bowed. “Sir, I apologize my coming in unannounced. I understand the orders that you were not to be disturbed.”
Jared eyed the man with curiosity.
“There’s been a development. Captain Vitomir has requested your presence.”
Boresk only nodded.
Jared continued writing for a minute. Boresk waited by the door, while the scribe gathered a few belongings. He pulled a few scrolls closed with red twine off the shelf and also set them neatly into his bag.
Then Jared turned and walked up the long dark tunnel illuminated only by the torch he held in his hand.
When they reached the top, Jared pushed on the door. With a groan, it let loose, opening the bookshelf door on the other side. They walked through and Boresk set the bookshelf back into place.
Jared walked to one of the castle’s windows and drew a deep breath. The air was moist. A chill shivered through his spine when he recalled everything he’d studied for the last few days. Things wouldn’t stay the way they were now.
Boresk led him through the large stone chambers until they reached the conference room, where the council and the captain already waited.
They all saluted him, although he’d told them many times only Elohim was worthy of man’s loyalty.
When Jared and Boresk reached the table, Captain Vitomir pulled a scroll off the table behind him and let his voice thunder. “One of our scouts along our eastern border has written a report.” He waited until everyone had seated. “He delivered the report himself.” Nobody breathed for a few moments. “King Rolph has been very active along the far peaks of the Valley of Kings. And our scout reports this: ‘A band of Rancor knights entered a small cave near the peaks of Lindin’s Gap. They returned a few hours later, carrying large white rocks on a large mat.”
Captain Vitomir stood silent for a moment then slammed the scroll onto the table. Jared watched a sliver of the wood split underneath the scroll. “Why would this matter? Why did my scout run nonstop for three leagues just to tell me that? What difference does it make?”
Everyone sat in silence, as if fearing the captain’s response. What should they say?
Vitomir paced across the floor, pointing at Jared. His heart jolted as he listened to the captain’s words. “My scribe has been working for a few days without rest to find a better solution, but it has been written in the Scrolls of Prophecy.”
Sir Frederick stood. He was always the first to pitch in his ideas. “Are you leading us as a man leads a blind cow from behind? We don’t follow where you’re going with this.”
“Frederick?” The captain raised his voice. “Show respect when you talk to your superiors.”
One of the council stood, but Jared’s view was blocked by Frederick. But he immediately recognized Baron von Heston’s raspy voice. “I believe Frederick had a point. What do you mean?”
Vitomir picked up the scroll again. “When they had carried the mat no further than two hundred paces, I saw a talon pierce through one of the rocks.”
A gasp sounded round the room. “What does this mean?”
Vitomir calmed his breathing. “Jared, why don’t you tell them.” He motioned his hand to the place of honor, urging Jared forward.
When Jared reached the podium, he turned, facing the entire group for the first time in many months. As his heart pounded, he remembered he’d made a commitment to himself to never allow for public speaking again. But this was urgent. Beyond urgent.
His hands trembled as he pulled out the scrolls with red twine, knowing that it was better to share this information than to fail due to fear. He knew the kingdom depended on it. His life depended on it.
“For the past few years…” he began with a shaky voice. “I’ve been studying the Scrolls of Prophecy we have in the castle’s library. Many of them we understand. Many of them we don’t.” Jared sipped water from the silver cup on the table before continuing. “But there’s one in particular that we’ve all been waiting for a time where we’d understand it.”
Everyone waited in silence while he pulled the twine off the first scroll, hands shaking. He quickly studied the words again, even though he knew them by memory. Then he spoke the prophecy aloud with more authority than he ever had.
“It shall be on the day when word becomes flesh that the foreign one brings to life the rise of what was forgotten and the destiny of all the kingdoms lays at hand.”
They’d all heard it before. But no one seemed to understand. “You may be wondering what the Ancients meant when they wrote this.” A few nods. “Perhaps you’d like to know exactly what Elohim meant when he commanded them to write these words.” More nods. Jared turned to face Vitomir. “Before I can truthfully judge if King Rolph’s actions confirm this prophecy, I need more information on the objects themselves.”
Vitomir turned to Boresk. “See to it that the scout is brought in immediately.”
Boresk returned with a young man several minutes later.
“Describe to us in more detail the objects you saw on the mat,” Vitomir said.
The scout cleared his throat. “Well… I tried to get a close view…”
“Just tell us what you saw.”
“They appeared to have an irregular shape, like an egg. Only they were covered in a dirty glaze and they appeared much too large to be an egg.”
Jared studied the man, who appeared to be no older than twenty years. “How many were they carrying?” he asked the scout.
“I counted fourteen.”
Vitomir’s nodded and waved. “You’re dismissed.” Then he turned to Jared again. “Could this mean these are the eggs of dragons that lived in the times of legends?”
Jared’s heart raced. Although he’d studied everything they had, he didn’t feel comfortable to make a decision this large. “I don’t know, sir.”
“Did the Scrolls of Prophecy ever mention anything about their return?”
“With all due respect, sir, I haven’t read nearly all the scrolls. You and I both know there’s many more that haven’t been found.”
“Did the ones you have ever mention anything?”
Jared thought hard. “Perhaps the one I recited just a few moments ago. The foreign one represents Rolph. He could be bringing them back. Most of it adds up sir.”
“Except the part about word becoming flesh?”
Captain Vitomir appeared lost in thought. But in a flash, his look of authority returned. He turned to the council. “What next steps can we take?”
“We need to send more scouts to see if we can see if these really are eggs,” one chimed in.
“We can’t risk it. We need to capture whatever it is before Rolph has them in his safekeeping,” Baron von Heston said.
Everyone nodded. Except one man in the back of the room. Jared watched him slip slightly out of the room. He tried to memorize every detail. Black cape flowing from the neck of his tunic. The hat of a high ranking official, only his had a small stripe of blood flowing on the Kingdom of Troth crosses. Nobody else seemed to notice the man’s disappearance.
“Alright then it’s settled. Sir Boresk, gather a team and infiltrate the enemy. Wait for Sir Gerald and Sir Ronan to return from their scouting period. They can join you. You’ll leave at dawn. If these truly are the eggs, take them by whatever means necessary. We can only imagine the damage King Rolph would do if he possessed such power.”
The captain faced Jared again. “Continue your studies. Find anything that confirms this.”