Camrin slammed down the pen. "Another attack on the villages? I can't keep traveling all over the world to deal with these skirmishes!" He turned to look at the three women standing in front of the doorway. Adena was closest to him, and the only one he could see clearly in the dim light of his chambers. He knew the other two were Saccria and Selenia, though. Adena looked tired, and rightly so. She had been up the previous night trying to organize supplies for the keep. He continued on. "I'd rather fight Tarone on the field than watch as he destroys the world bit by bit. There'd no reason he should be involving all of those innocent villages in our fight."
"There's no good reason why he should be doing any of this, Camrin. Long ago he made up his mind that this world was to be destroyed. He had wanted to do it quietly, but you've nearly put a stop to that ancient plan. Now, he's growing desperate, trying to distract you from completing that. He isn't nearly as powerful as he was, though; you have his staff, and you have us. All he has now is his latent abilities."
"Small good that's done me. His latent abilities are nearly on par with the capabilities of the staff. I need to corner him, keep him from moving around and causing more trouble."
Adena moved over to another small table where a map of the continent lay open, the corners weighted by small bronze statuettes. "The most recent problems are in the Nirivian Fields, far to the South. There are Kraon all over the place, and their dogs are rampaging the villages."
"The Kraon died out three centuries ago. Their city is buried under tons of rubble."
"You're wrong. They were run from their city, yes. Defeated in the war, yes. They did not die out, though. They became nomads, living in the plains, always running from civilization. Tarone seems to have given them backbone, though. I fear they may be trying to reclaim their lands." Adena went silent, running her hand along the map as though outlining something. Camrin stood and walked over to the table.
"Their lands were large, weren't they?" he asked quietly.
"They encompassed most of the southern half of the continent, in their prime. Their cities stood as a tribute to the accomplishments of their civilization. And accomplishments they were. It was a shame to see them destroyed."
Saccria walked farther into the room, speaking up. "Bargaining with them may still be an option, m'lord. If you can give them back their lands, they should stop...."
"I can't give them what I don't possess, Saccria," he said, cutting her short. Her habit of labeling him a lord when he clearly wasn't still bothered him, though he tried not to let it show. "I own this castle only because you gave it to me. I may be able to save this world one day, but the King still rules it."
"Then talk to the King. Make him see reason," she pleaded.
"I have. He won't listen. He wants nothing to do with this war, and unless Tarone attacks Choel itself, he's likely not going to get involved. He's remaining neutral. At least some of his liege lords have pledged support for me. They will aide me indirectly at least, with food and supplies. But nothing more. This is why Tarone attacks these remote villages. He knows I'll spend time helping them, instead of searching for what I need to fix the mess he made so long ago. I can't turn back the spell again. I'll either abolish it, or it will abolish this world." Selenia turned and left suddenly, her footsteps echoing down the hallway as she ran back down to the castle proper. Camrin sighed. She had grown so distant since she had learned of her fate. There was nothing he could do, though. Either she died, or the world did. He had spent hours trying to think of some way to change that, but had only come up empty-handed.
Saccria noticed her leave hurriedly, as well. "I'll go speak with her, m'lord." He only nodded, and she disappeared through the doorway as well.
Camrin walked back over to the book he'd been studying. "Adena, look at this. I found it in one of the half-burned books in the old library. I think it pertains to me. What do you make of it?" She walked over, gazing down on the pages. He read it again, as well, the words already ingrained in his mind.
When dead languages walk anew,
The cats shall be the messengers.
A person of many faces, many times,
Shall be known to this earth again.
She'll bear a gift both light and heavy,
Two parts shall finally be one.
The end shall be nigh at hand,
When she finished she looked up at him. "I have no clue. There are several dead languages that I know of, but none that I've ever heard spoken again. If this is true prophecy, it likely hasn't happened yet. Besides, the end isn't quite here, yet. This prophecy might not even be about the present, but another end."
Camrin sighed. "You're right. I'm just trying to find a clue that will give me a direction to take, or something to look out for. I don't want to miss something crucial to my goals."
Adena closed the book carefully before looking back at Camrin. "That's why you shouldn't read these. If it's a prophecy, it will come true, regardless of whether or not you do anything. Trying to associate events in the real world to the vague and cryptic language of prophecy will only distract you from the things you should be doing. Like recreating the orb, or stopping Tarone. The only people who really know what happens in these are the people who wrote them, and they've long since turned to dust."
Camrin nodded slowly before walking back over to the map, placing a small marker on the Nirivian Fields, a symbol of another attack. Several markers like it dotted the map. He sighed again. He had yet to remove a single one, though he had at least stalled the attacks at three of the locations. He turned his head to look back at Adena. " So, tell me about the Nirivian Fields...."
The meeting lasted for several hours; there was much to tell about that location and its bloody history. They talked about the Kraon themselves, as well. Camrin left feeling even more discouraged. The Kraon would be very formidable if they were actually trying to retake their lands. He needed some time to think, to plan, but he had none.
He found Selenia leaning against the balustrade of the upper balcony just off from the dining hall, staring out across the countryside toward the small waterfall that spouted from a large hole in the side of the mountain and plummeted down to continue its path around the castle. He walked up next to her, resting his elbows on the railing and gazing off in the same direction she was. He spoke slowly, choosing his words carefully. "I won't let you die."
Selenia stood straight, turning toward him. Her voice was slightly hoarse when she spoke. "How, Camrin? How can you save me? Prophecy itself says I'll die, if I help you!" Camrin winced at that, his conversation with Adena fresh in his mind.
"I'll find a way," he said simply, taking her hand in his. "Try not to worry about it." He tried to sound confident. In truth, he had no idea how he would save her. He didn't know how she could die if he could heal her. He supposed there were ways; she could be taken and killed where he couldn't find her, for instance. He kept a close eye on her, though, and tried not to go far without her. He'd known that he cared for her almost since they met; the bond that had formed between them as they'd traveled to where they were now had brought them close. Still, he knew that she had reservations, and he would rather just let things lie as they were, for now.