The Air Runes - Chapter 3

The Last Descendant: The Air Runes

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Chapter 3: The Robber

After the conclusion of the ceremony, there was a feast in a nearby banquet hall. The circular tables were made of strong, mahogany wood and had matching wooden chairs. Blooming roses were placed in vases on each of the tables as centerpieces. The dining room had a soothing scent of a fire roasted hog and steamed vegetables along with fresh fruit. Everyone who had attended the ceremony was able to fit inside of the banquet hall for this jubilant gathering. Many of the families blended throughout the tables. The men discussed the latest home improvement projects they were working on, or the status of the crops they were growing. The women would talk about the latest rumors being passed around the village, no matter how far-fetched they might seem.

Cail sat next to Laney and Kadir, and the remainder of the seats were vacant while everyone was still fetching their dinner. Even though Cail had served himself first, Kadir was consuming the food on his plate much more quickly due to his starvation. With his mouth half full, Kadir said to Cail, “For a while, I wasn’t sure if you were actually going to go through with the ceremony.”

“I kind of had to. But now that it’s all over, I’m glad that the initial pressure is off my conscience. Do either of you know who the speaker was?”

After completely chewing and swallowing the food she had in her mouth, Laney chimed in, “Yes. His name is Alden Jorith. His family has logged the history of Elona for centuries. It’s very fitting that he would tell us the history of Kordon at the ceremony.”

“Yesterday I found an old poem that appears to be written by one of my ancestors, but my dad said he’d never heard of him before, so I want to take it to him.”

“I’d be careful around him, Cail,” Kadir said, who was already finished with his once-full plate of food. “I’ve heard he can be parsimonious with the information he hands out, he doesn’t want people to know too much.”

“Don’t listen to him!” Laney butted in, “He just told the entire village about the history and upbringing of Elona and how your family came to power. I’m sure he’d be happy to help you.”

Cail thought silently for a couple moments while he finished his dinner. Once he had, Cail’s father sat down at their table. “Did you all enjoy your dinner?” The three friends nodded in unison. Then Cecil began to dig into his own plate.

After a brief moment, Cail broke the silence, “Have you ever talked to Alden?”

"Alden, the bookkeeper?” Cecil asked. Cail nodded in response. “I was the Lord of Elona, of course I’ve talked to him. He’s the one who swore me in as Lord. Why do you ask?”

“I was thinking about taking that poem to him, the one I found yesterday morning.”

“Ah, yes. I’ve talked to Alden quite a few times, but we’ve always had more of a liaison rather than an intimate friendship. He always seemed to be a bit of an odd fellow, always caught up in his books. His family has been in charge of the record keeping for as long as our family has ruled Elona, perhaps even before then.”

“So he would know of Tarvaris, then?” Cail asked, hopeful to gather any information he could about his mysterious ancestor. Laney and Kadir shot puzzled looks at Cail because he had not told them about the poem, but he paid no attention to them.

“If anyone on the island would know about him, it would be Alden. However, I will give you a word of caution: Be careful what you reveal to him, he has a reputation for being reticent and only taking information instead of giving it.”

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Over the course of that night and into the following morning, Cail heeded his father’s warning, rereading the poem over and over again, almost to the point of memorization. The paper felt very rigid and fragile in his hands. It had a few tears around the edges.

Cail ate a petite breakfast in the morning, consisting of a single slice of bread topped with butter and a glass of milk, and then he left to stroll down to the library. It was a pleasant morning for a walk. The sun was just starting to creep over the horizon and a slight breeze swayed the leaves so that they let out a soft whisper. Once Cail reached the library, he paused outside the front door, using his mind to simulate the conversation he was about to have with Alden. The library was an old, wooden building, more massive than any of the houses in the village. The siding was originally painted white, but a lot of the paint had chipped away. The front door, on the other hand, was black and freshly painted, making it look out of place compared to the tattered building.

Cail reached out to open the door and just as he put his hand on the cold, brass door knob, he heard someone in the distance yelling his name. He turned around and saw Laney and Kadir sprinting toward him. After catching her breath, Laney said, “I wanted to find you before you talked to Alden today. We took care of Emey this morning.”

“You couldn’t wait to tell me until after I was done?” Cail responded, annoyed by their interruption.

“We just thought you would want to know so you wouldn’t be worried about her,” Kadir said.

“I do, sorry. I’m just really focused on this right now.”

“Do you want us to come in with you?” Laney asked.

Cail thought for a second and then said, “No. I need to do this on my own. If Alden is really as tricky to deal with as what my dad says, I can’t have any distractions.” Laney and Kadir agreed, although they weren’t happy about the fact that they couldn’t help their friend. Then Cail walked into the library.

The heavy, wooden door opened and shut with an eerie creak. A gentle breeze crept in through round, glassless windows, the wind brushing against his skin. The library consisted of one giant room. In the middle of the room were a dozen rectangular, thick, wooden tables, all completely bare and clean. Toward the back of the room were giant bookcases, reaching all the way up to the ceiling, which looked to be made of the same wood as the tables. All of the shelves were wholly filled with books that were in impeccable condition, not a scratch or cut on a single page. Along the back wall, in between two of the bookcases in the middle, stood a door, matching the color of the plain, white walls. Cail began to walk toward the bookcases and to the door.

“Good morning to you, Lord Cailean.” Cail turned to his right and saw Alden standing behind a tall, wooden desk. Alden had a massive book, wide open, on his desk and he was wearing a pair of glasses, with lenses that appeared to be perfectly circular. Cail almost didn’t recognize him because of the disparate style of clothing from the ceremony. “What brings the Lord of Elona to my library? No bad news, I hope?”

Cail paused for a moment to think over his next words and then said, “No. I’m just doing a little bit of research.” Alden expressed an intrigued look on his face. “My father told me that your family has kept the records of Elona for a very long time and I wanted to see if you could enlighten me?”

“I would feel honored to be of service to you,” Alden said with a sly smile as he walked from behind his desk and over to where Cail was standing. “What is it that you are trying to learn?”

“I found a poem yesterday that referenced a man named Tarvaris Ozean and I was wondering if you had any information about him?”

“Do you not know your own family?” Cail could tell Alden was ridiculing him.

“I do, but neither my father nor I have ever heard of the name.”

Alden scoffed at Cail in disapproval, “Well, I suppose I can help you this one time.” Then Cail followed Alden as he walked over to a heap of old boxes that were stacked along the wall. Alden grabbed one of the boxes from the middle of the pile, struggling to lift the hulking container, and dropped it on the closest table with a loud thud. “Everything that your family has ever allowed to be recorded is right here in this box,” Alden said as he removed the lid. The inside of the box was filled with old folders and thick arrays of documents that looked like they had not been touched in decades.

“I must say, your father was not quite as curious as you are. He never bothered to come here and learn about his ancestry. He only knows what his father taught him. Now, you’re looking for Tarvaris Ozean, correct?” Cail nodded in confirmation. Alden’s bony fingers began to sort through the alphabetically arranged files. At last, he arrived to the “O’s”, but there was no tab on any of the folders that read “Ozean, Tarvaris.” However, toward the back of the box, he did see a tab that read “Terrarian Age.”

“What about the Terrarian Age?” Cail blurted out before remembering his father’s warning.

“What about it?” Alden inquired, looking toward Cail.

Cail thought quickly, trying to recover from his slipping tongue. He said, “I’ve never heard of any other ages before. It just caught my eye.”

“I believe it’s better that you don’t be too curious, young Cailean,” Alden said as he quickly shut the box and placed it back in its original position.

“Fine,” Cail would normally argue more, but he wanted to be careful with someone as cunning as Alden. After a moment of silence, Cail asked, “What’s in the door along the back wall?”

“Nothing that would interest you. I ran out of room for a lot of the really old books, so I decided to store some of them back there.”

“Would there be anything about Tarvaris in that room?” Cail asked.

“I think the time for you to leave has come. You are far too intrusive!” Alden said, angered by Cail’s prying.

“You can’t do that! I’m the Lord of Elona! Now show me what’s in that room.”

“Lordship does not grant you the power of a tyrant,” Alden said. “If you wish to be able to control your villagers, then I suggest you go to the elders of the island. They’re the ones who control you.” The slyness of Alden caused Cail to fume. He stormed out of the library and met with Laney and Kadir, who were petting Emey.

After Cail recited the conversation to them, Kadir said, “I told you that man is a snake. What are you going to do?”

“I don’t know,” Cail responded. “I need to get that folder, but I don’t want to go to the elders on my first day as the Lord. It would give off a bad impression.” Cail thought silently for a moment, weighing his options. Doing nothing was not an option for Cail, he simply needed to see what was in that folder. He looked over to Emey, who was perched in the grass that matched her emerald feathers. She was paying no attention to Cail’s dilemma, she simply enjoyed soaking in the sun. Then Cail switched his view back over to the library, noticing the open windows, creating thin tunnels into the building. Then Cail smiled, for an illumination had sparked inside his mind. He turned to Laney and Kadir and said, “Come with me. I have an idea.”

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About an hour later, they all met in front of the library again, prepared to initiate the plan that Cail had set forth. Cail and Kadir hid along the front wall of the library, on either side of the door. Laney, with Emey standing right beside her, was hiding outside the windows. Cail gave a slight nod to Kadir, signaling the inception of their operation. Then Kadir crept to the corner of the building, passed the signal to Laney, and then moved back to his original position. Laney whispered into Emey’s ear and then sprinted to a safe distance. Once Laney had cleared, Emey began to flap her wings so that she would float right outside of the windows. Each flap of her wings sent a powerful gust of wind into the library. The squalls thrashed papers and books all around the room, whipping and lashing through the air.

Cail could hear Alden scream in horror from the disarray of his library. His family’s work was being thrown around in mayhem. Then Kadir ran through the door and erratically grabbed books and papers around the room, making sure that he ran in direct sight of Alden. Then Alden started chasing after Kadir, who ran around the room for just a moment, then out the front door and down the dirt path. Cail seized the opportunity presented to him by the distraction and ran into the library, retrieving the folder he desired. After Alden left, Emey’s barrage on the library ceased and Cail began to walk out of the library.

Just before he left, Cail saw the door to the private room along the back wall. He froze, contemplating his options, and then sprinted toward the door and into the room, quietly shutting the door behind him. The room was more of a closet, illuminated only by a small candle on a shelf. All of the rest of the shelves were filled with massive books as thick as the width of Cail’s palm. Every book in the room was some sort of historical textbook, many of which appeared to be hundreds, if not thousands of years old. Cail quickly scanned through the shelves, ignoring all of the cobwebs and scattering spiders. He found nothing of interest until he reached the last shelf, where he found a book that read, A Tale of Lords: The Logs of Elona’s History. Cail almost yelped in excitement, it was exactly what he was looking for! He swiftly snatched the book, dumping the blanket of dust that covered it onto the floor, and then turned around to leave the room.

As he reached to open the door, he heard two voices just outside; voices he recognized as Alden and his father. Cecil was in shock by the cluttered library, “Gods alive! What happened in here?” Cecil asked.

“I told you, it was that Kadir boy! He came in here, turned this entire place into shambles, and even ran off with some of my books!” Alden shouted, irate by the current state of his library.

“Even when dealing with someone of physical superiority such as Kadir, it’s hard for me to believe that one person could create this much of a mess,” Cecil said with skepticism.

“Well, he somehow used magic to summon a forceful gust of wind to come through my windows, creating the chaos you see now!” Cail held back a snicker from the ridiculous theory.

Cecil paused for a moment and then said, “Now Alden, you know that magic hasn’t been used on this island for millennia. The gods hid the magic in the forest. Tarvaris was the only one who knew where it was, and I highly doubt he told anyone. It really wouldn’t matter if Kadir found it anyways. The gift from the gods was intended for the family who discovered it, and in case you’ve forgotten, that is my family. Cail is the only one we have to worry about, but I think we’ve done enough to keep him in the dark.”

“I suppose you’re right,” Alden said, unsatisfied. “There is still the matter of Kadir causing this massive mess! He must be held accountable!”

“Very well. Let’s go find him and we can come to some kind of agreement as to what an appropriate punishment would be,” Cecil said. Cail couldn’t hear any more of their conversation as they left the library. After Cail was certain that no one else remained in the building, he ran out of the library and to a safe distance where he stood, frozen in shock from what he had just heard. My father knew about Tarvaris this entire time and never told me? Cail thought to himself, his father’s lies and deceit caused Cail to become vexed. His frustration began to ignite into a fiery rage, causing his body to shake. I must find what everyone has been hiding from me. I’m the Lord of Elona and I deserve to know the truth.

Cail marched home with a new focus, determined to fulfill his desire for discovery. His ignorance caused him to feel diminished of a physical necessity, a sort of starvation of the mind. He felt bitter toward his father and the rest of the village for withholding the truth from him, but he also felt alive now that he had a mission, a purpose to fulfill.

As Cail walked home, the light from the sun began to wane and Cail grew cold as the day concluded. He felt exhausted from the day’s events and went straight to his bedroom when he arrived at home. Cail wanted to read the entire book and file that he had acquired, but he had no energy remaining to do so. He hid the stolen items in the bottom of one of his desk drawers. Then he collapsed on his bed and shut his heavy eyes, drifting into slumber.

This is only a small portion of Cail's adventure! If you would like to read about the entire tale, click on the image below to purchase the book!

The Last Descendant: The Air Runes
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