Will the Standing Stones Fall?
(Crossing, Zoluren: 151 Lirisa 362)
Baresh looks up to see a cloaked figure sitting at the end of his bar, seeming to appear from the shadows. A bit startled he smiles and asks "What’ll it be?"
The human female pushes back the hood, her azure blue eyes glowing in the firelight. "I have not come to quench my thirst, but to pass on a message." She looks around a bit nervously.
Baresh nods and waits patiently, thinking why does this always happen at closing time?
She flips her long black hair over her shoulder and clears her throat. Her voice but a whisper. "A few nights ago I was the only one in the Bard guild. Just sitting there playing and a stranger rang the guild chimes seeking entry." She leans forward. "I went to see who it was and ask them what they wanted. We try to be careful who we let in these days."
"Well," she continues, "I won’t mention his name for his life has already been threated, but he wore a commoners dress. He said he had a message for the Bard guild." The bardess clasps her hands together. "He seemed to be earnest in his quest so I brought him. He began to tell me of the Standing Stones and the tale behind them."
Baresh nods again. "Yes," he says, "I know the tale."
"He said that Sorrows recent attack on Leth was to find and capture Sithsia. That Sorrow believes that Sithsia is the key to making the Standing Stones fall and release the Zaulfang."
Shuddering at the thought Baresh notices a dark figure just outside. The figure strikes a flint and light a pipe.
The woman jumps slightly at the sound of the flint and looks around. Her speech becomes more urgent. "He told me many things. I don’t have time to relay them all to you, but he said that bardic lore may hold a clue. A clue to the connection between Sithsia and releasing the Zaulfang." Her hands tighten. "I’ve looked in the Asemath Library where he said I would find a book called ‘Tale of the Standing Stones’ or something like that, but I can find no such volume." She sighs and looks back at Baresh. "I’ll continue my search as best I can. And I encourage others to do the same. The answer is in our lore he said. But I would warn them as well…."
Raising his eyebrows, Baresh leans forward.
She raises her hood, covering her face. Her voice quiet again. "The messenger was threatened as I told you before. Just before he left me he showed me a slip of parchment he’d found in his cloak. It read ‘Life is always most precious when you’re about it lose it.’ He said he never removes his cloak." She shudders slightly. "I’ll tell you true, Baresh….I’ve been afraid to look in my own cloak since." She places a gold kronar on the bar. "For your time."
Baresh watches as she moves quietly out the door and into the dark night.
[Ed. Note: A Study of the Zaulfung Stones used to be housed in the Riverhaven Library, not the Crossing Library. I believe a copy of it to also have been spotted at another library, somewhere in my journeys.]