Jalar again read the words in the tome. Repeating each carefully as he tried to determine their meaning. Somehow, as he read each word, his skin tingled. He could feel the energy and power of the words coursing through his body. He did not know for sure how or why this was happening to him. He had to learn more.
It had been several months now since he found this book lying in the ruins of a long forgotten tower. For a while it sat in his study unread, then one day, as he was returning from a visit to his friend Arques Montforts home near Roe, he came upon a stranger sitting on the side of the road.
“Hail Friend”, said the stranger as Jalar rode near. “Pray stop and give a traveler some news of this land?” he asked in a voice that seemed to put Jalar at ease. “The sun is not long off from setting and perhaps you have not had chance to eat”, the man continued. Jalar had been thinking, just moments before, of where he might stop for the night. It was still another good day’s ride before he reached his home. “Odd”, Jalar thought, “That this stranger should be here, now.”
“As good a place as any I guess” Jalar replied to the stranger. “Pray, what is thy name and what brings you along this road? Are you on your way to Roe?”
“My name is Syreolus”, answered the man, “From the lands of Ilshinar I hail. A minor village there, of no mention, is my home. I am on my way to nowhere in particular. Just a traveler”.
Jalar could now make out more of the strangers’ features as he tethered his horse to the branch of an oak tree. He was an old man, his face had deep furrows and wrinkles, and his eyes had a distant look of one who had lived long and seen much. With an ease that belied his age the old man got up to put some small tinder on the fire.
“I was about to make some stag stew? Would you care for some? Perhaps you have some ale or wine to share as it would go well with the meal.”
Again, he was surprised. Did the man guess that he carried wine with him from Roe? It was well known that the wine from Roe’s vineyards were some of the best to be found in Tamaland Isle. “Aye, I have some wine I will share with thee” Jalar stated as he pulled his bedroll of his saddle, then slid the saddle from his horse and placed it in the crook of the oak tree.
“First take care of your horse” his father had always told him, “whenever you stop while you travel.” Jalar well knew the sense behind these words. Ones very life often depended on his steed. Slowly he brushed the road dust of his horse after putting down some oats and apples for feed.
“There is a brook nearby if you wish to get water for your steed”, Syreolus stated. It was then that Jalar heard the snort of another horse not far off. “It is mine. He is down by the brook. I will show you where”, and with that Jalar lead his horse and followed the man down to the stream. There he left his horse to drink and he and the stranger returned to the campfire.
As Jalar neared the fire he saw a small steel cradle placed over the fire with a small pot hanging above the flames. How had it gotten there? It was not there when they walked his horse to the brook and the stranger had not left his sight since? Jalar began to feel uneasy as they approached the fire.
Seeming to sense this Syreolus began to chuckle. “Surely a mage such as yourself knows another of his kind.” laughed Syreolus. The power to move objects, from any distance, was a power beyond that of Jalar. “I can show you if you’d care to learn.” Syreolus commented.
“That I surely would” replied Jalar, as they settled into eating the now warmed stew. Long they talked into the night and Syreolus told Jalar of many new spells and incantation. Some yet beyond Jalars skills, others not. As the new moon began to pass below the treetops they decided to take to their bedrolls. Sleep quickly overcame Jalar and all too soon morning arrived.
That night dreams troubled Jalar, none of which he could recall in the morning light, but still they troubled him. As he cleared the sleep from his eyes he jumped with a start. He was alone along the side of the road. There was no remains of the previous night’s campfire and no sign of the stranger Syreolus. Quickly Jalar ran to the brook and found his steed drinking from the stream. Leading the horse back to where the campfire should have been Jalar began to wonder if it had all been a dream.
No, he decided, it could not have been. He still remembered the spells and words of power Syreolus had taught him. Some of the words were strange to him, new words that he had not heard before. Something about those words reminded Jalar of the tome he had found in the tower ruins. There he might find answers.
Jalar did not understand the reason he could feel the power running through every fiber in his body. He no longer cared about understanding. That power in itself was all the understanding that he needed. And he needed more. Much more.
For weeks he kept himself locked up inside his small cottage as he read through that tome. So long was he a way that his friends began to worry and they decided one among them must make the journey to see what had become of their friend. So one evening Sir Wilivad, one of Jalars friends from the Knights Of Andal, decided he would make the trip to look in on Jalar. After three days travel he made his way up the glade leading to Jalars cottage when he saw an odd green glow coming from the cracks in the wooden clapboards that served to close the house from the outside. And as he got closer he could make out Jalars voice, but he could not understand the words being said.
Wilivad tied his horse to the rail and made for the door. He knocked, but no one answered. The latch was set firm, held in place from the inside. “Jalar! It is I Wilivad. I’ve come far to see thee. Will you not let an old friend in?” Wilivad shouted through the door.
Inside he could hear the shuffle of a chair being pushed aside and the sound of footsteps approaching the door. Soon the door opened, but the bright light of many candles and the fireplace blinded Wilivad so that all he could see was the looming shadow of Jalar in the door.
“Come in Wilivad” stated Jalar, somewhat coldly. “Sorry to have kept you waiting, but I have been learning some new spells lately and they have taken much of my time. Please come in” Jalar said as he waved his hand in a motion to indicate Wilivad was to enter.
As Wilivad stepped into the cottage his eyes began to adjust to the light. But no green light could be seen. For a moment he considered asking Jalar about the green lights, but when he caught sight of Jalar face he stood speechless and stunned. Jalars eyes looked dark and sunken, his face pale and drawn. This did not look like his friend at all and Wilivad began to grow more worried. The clothes looked overly worn as if slept in for many nights and the smell from the room was not at all pleasant.
“When was the last time you have slept my friend?” Wilivad asked. “You do not look well and from the way your skin hangs on your bones I would guess you have not eaten well also.” “It is of no concern!” answered Jalar sternly as he moved between Wilivad and an old book lying on the table.
“So then Jalar, what new spells have you been learning?” queried Wilivad trying to sound uninterested. “I see you have not had a chance to tend your garden lately. Have you given up on herbs and spices?” Wilivad continued as he made his way around the small main room of the cottage.
As Jalar answered each of Wilivads questions Wilivad made mental notes of all that he saw in the cottage. The odd plants, the placements of the candles on the table and the floor, and of the old book lying on the table. The book looked ancient, with a thick hide cover and rough leather bindings. As Jalar went to get Wilivad a mug of Roe wine he looked closely at that book. His eyes widened as he began to recognize the tome.
“Step away from there” shouted Jalar as he reentered the room. “That book is of no interest to you Wilivad. Now I must ask you to leave. I have much work to do and as you said. I look overly tired. Perhaps I will rest now. So good day to you.” mumbled Jalar as he led Wilivad to the door. Without so much as a goodbye or goodnight Jalar closed the door on Wilivad leaving him standing by the rail speechless again.
What Jalar did not know was that Wilivad knew of that book, that ancient book, which lay on Jalars table. He did not know everything about it, but he knew enough to know it was dangerous and that his friend was in grave trouble. “I must get help.” Wilivad thought to himself. “I will get IronRose, perhaps she can talk some sense back into Jalar and stop him from this path.” With that Wilivad mounted his horse and with a spur of his heals sped back down the glade.
Dark thoughts crowded Jalars mind now. Thoughts that his friend Wilivad might try to stop him from learning the power that lay in the book. “If he tells the others they will surely try to stop me” muttered Jalar to himself. “I must stop him before he gets far” he muttered again as he grabbed his cloak and satchel. Outside he began to utter the words needed to open a portal and as the pale blue of the portal shone out into the night Jalar stepped through to stop his friend.
In mists of time I call to thee
Of powers ancient I offer thee
Three horseman wraiths I give to thee
Dragons tome I bind to thee
Thou soul art given by thee
Life eternal promised thee
These words kept repeating themselves in Wilivads minds as he rode from Jalars cottage. He had heard these words once before, though he was not sure where. IronRose would surely know and if not there were others in the guild that would know.
So intent was Wilivad in making for the Elysium that he did not notice the shadow standing in the road before him. When he did notice it was too late. A blinding flash of light lit up the inside of his head, along with a ringing in his ears. As his world slowly spun into darkness he thought he heard Jalars voice. “Sleep the sleep of forgetfulness. Sleep long and well and forget thy life and name. Awake anew, not of here and now, no when, nowhere, no how. Sleep and forget forever”. The voice slowly faded away and Wilivad thought no more.
When he awoke he was lying on a hillside as a gentle sun warmed his face. He did not know his name or where this place was. He was alone. Yet he did not feel alone. With the sun to his face he began to walk. A walk to find out who he was and where he was from. Yet where he was going?
Thus began the Tale of the Search for Wilivad. Part of the lore and history of the Knights Of Andal.
The book that Jalar possessed was called “Ce’lemar Tores”. In the language of its ancient authors this means the “Book of Dark Powers”. It was written long before this time and had once been used by Mondain to hold control over the original world of Andal. Even he did not know of its origins, but he soon learned of its power and how to us it. Or did the book use him?
When the world of Andal shattered the book was shattered also and cast into all the new worlds of Andal. In one it was found by a great wizard named Grenville the Wise. Over him the book took control and soon Grenville the Wise became Sorrad the Dark. Long Sorrad did evil upon the land until the united forces of elves, dwarves and men defeated him at the battle of Offers Keep. But that is a tale for another telling. Again the book was lost and was unheard of for many years.
Thus the book had lain silent and unnoticed until a cleric working in the oldest vaults of the Library of Menoth came across it. Little did he know of its origins and of its power for the book only reveals itself to those that can aid it in search for its master? Bit by bit the book had gained control over the poor clerics mind and one day he stole the book from the library. The Masters of the Library soon heard rumors of strange behavior by the cleric, of midnight forays into the woods, of villagers gone missing, and evil noises coming from the cleric’s room. They soon took action and banned the cleric from their library and from their lands.
Lost in a world of madness the cleric walked the dark reaches of Tamaland Isle. Not knowing why or where he was going for the madness clouded his mind refusing him any rest. One night, weak and hungry, the cleric could go no more. Deep in the forests he found the ruins of a long lost tower and there he lay down to die. As much as the book urged him to move on he could not. What life he had was gone and before the sun rose he was dead.
Like all things evil the book would not stay lost for long. One day it sensed the mind of a mage. A young mage, but one with a strong mind. It taunted the young mage, whispering to him of power and greatness. For it knew all men seek these two things, power and greatness. And slowly it guided the mage to the location of the old tower and there he found the book in the skeletal grasp of a long dead soul. That mage was Jalar. Now the book would make him a warlock, the most powerful of mages. And Jalar would help the book find its master.
Awake, yet dreaming. Alive, yet dead. Many were the days and nights that Jalar was so. The lush green lands of Elandalor split asunder beneath his feet as flames leapt greedily from the ground. The earth shook and heaved like some huge dragon shaking off a long, deep slumber. Mountains crumbled and fell at his feet. The very air screamed a howl of agony whipping great oaks about as if they were dusty leaves in a dying land. From the graves rose ghastly spirits with empty eyes and wordless mouths. Up they spiraled up, up into larger and larger masses blocking out a pale red moon in a rush to leave some greater torment.
All this Jalar watched in awe of the power. There, yet not there. Here, yet not here. He slept.
“Thirst” said the voice. Slowly, as if all the power in the world was not enough, “Thirst” said Jalar. He slept.
Now the sky was dark, no moon, no stars, and no light. He stood not moving. The air was dry like the breath of a dusty vault long left unopened. Everything was still and quiet. His bare feet felt the earth between his toes like ashes in a cool dead fire pit. Jalar could hear his breath and feel his heart, but nothing else. Soon, or what would pass as soon for time has no measure there, a small blue light appeared far off into the distance. It did not waiver nor blink or move right nor left. But grew larger as it approached him. Jalar waited, and as the light drew closer he could make out the figure of a man. Pale as a fine blue mist, a shadow within a shadow. He rode a horse, yet was part of the horse it seemed. And in one hand a shield that once may have been silver, and in the other a long broadsword that gave off a meager light. A light all its own and from within, for the pale blue mist was not enough for it to reflect.
“Jalar” said another voice. “Tal” said Jalar. But the pale blue rider gave no sign of hearing his reply. In a gallop slowed as if riding through quicksand the rider went on. Hurt and sorrow welled up inside Jalar for he knew this pale rider. It was his brother he was sure. Then sorrow turned to anger and the ground began to shake ever so slightly. “Revenge” said the voice. He slept.
“Patience” said the voice.Jalar awoke and rose slightly from his bed, the sheets soaked and musty. “Yes” thought Jalar, “Patience”.
Jalar eased his way off the straw cot he had slept on and reached for a ladle to dip some water from the bucket at the foot of the cot. His muscles at first refused to move, but slowly they began to come back to life. Easing over onto his right Jalar leaned down onto the cot and dipped the ladle into what water was left in the bucket. It tasted rancid and warm, and at first he gagged at the taste. But it was water so he drank.
He could feel the life coming back into his bones, his joints complained less and he slowly stood up. For a brief second the room spun around him as he grabbed hold of a battered wooden chair to lean upon. “How long was I away” he thought. “Hours, days, longer? No, no longer. A day perhaps, maybe a few hours” he muttered to himself. The room was stuffy and smelled of sweat and vomit and did not appeal to Jalar’s insides. His stomach now began to make itself known as it growled and gurgled and cried out for food. Moving to the shuttered windows Jalar released the latch and push open the old wooden panes. It was night outside with a full moon shining brightly into the dim cottage and a cool breeze blew across his face. It felt good to be alive he thought, then paused. “What a strange thought”, he said to himself.
Shaking his head he reached for the pouch strapped to his side. Yes, there were enough reagents there to conjure up a bit of food. Jalar recited the spell without thinking as two small loafs of bread appeared on the shabby table in the middle of the room. It would have to do and he would have to eat quickly. How he knew he did not know. Yet he was as sure of it as of the night outside. Tal was on his way for him and this was to be avoided at all costs. “I will not hurt you brother” Jalar whispered while picking up what belonging he had and made ready to leave, not knowing the words that had just crossed his lips.
Out into the night Jalar fled as silent and quick as a shadow. He whispered spells of guarding to hide him from any that may come his way. In a low quiet voice he chanted the spells he had learned from Syreolus that lightened his burden and eased his tired body. Thus like the flow of the wind that blows through the forest Jalar made his way quickly east. To where he was not sure, but he must move before his brother caught his scent and made haste to stop him.
The Book of Powers now held tightly onto Jalar’s mind and little did it let it wander upon other thoughts and other memories. It had a task for Jalar to perform and in return? “In return” the voice said, “I will give you power beyond all other powers. The power to never fear death or any living soul”. So Jalar listened as spells carried him eastward.
The stars moved slowly westward across the sky and none noticed the mages passing.
Jalar suddenly stopped next to an ancient Roe tree as he felt an odd sensation pass through his body as though his blood was being drained. The hold the Book of Powers had over him dropped away and for the first time Jalar felt naked and alone. “What is this?” Jalar thought as he looked around into the woods impenetrable in the dark of the night.
Knights of Andal