Venture North Part 2

Kane didn‘t leave immediately.

For once.

His encounter with Sylvanus weighed heavily on his mind. As always, that old wyvern’s cryptic counsel left more questions and Kane felt that he could really use some answers.

In search of those answers, Kane retreated to the Village Library.

Now the Village Library was oft-overlooked by villagers of Terrasylvae. It was a small stone building set behind the Village proper and covered in a constant growth of ground-ivy or fallen leaves. If you weren’t looking for it, a passing glance might convince you there was just a row of stones laid in a mildly organized manner.

Inside, the stone gave way to paper. Piles, stacks, and bundles of paper.

Every time Kane came to the Library, he couldn’t help but think of the paperwork so often strewn across his desk. Or at least what was his desk. Rifling through some of the nearest piles, he could see some of his additions made about the history of the village and its people. Most of the official Order of the Rose business and documentation was stored in the Captain’s Office, ready to be updated and revised at a moments notice. The notes sent to the Library were primarily historical or commentative in nature.

They brought back many memories that Kane had stored away or mostly forgotten…

But that wasn’t why he was here.

No. Kane was in search for why Sylvanus would send him up North.

He began with the maps, which was aways difficult when it came to Terrasylvae.

To Kane’s knowledge, there was only one official and up-to-date map of the Woodland Realm. It was safely stored away in the Oubliette below the Order Garrison, accessible to only a select few. That map was closely guarded in case it were to fall into the wrong hands. As a secondary precaution, all villages were encouraged to make their own personal map of Woodland if they needed. This kept locations and paths vague and specific to the individual to whom the map belonged.

Kane remembered once seeing Ul‘vade’s and Tilly’s maps, Tilly’s map had extensive details on the best hiding places throughout the forest, but not instructions on how to reach them. Ul‘vade’s was written in such away that only he can read and understand the markings.

Every time a map had been lost or fallen into the hands of unsavory characters, they have offered nothing back chagrin, which made Kane smirk at the thought.

As for maps of the world outside of Woodland, much was left undocumented. In his searching, Kane did find some official English maps someone had probably gotten from a passing Royal Soldier. Those maps disappointed Kane in that they were outdated and for some reason, official maps always lacked in context. They focused on what was physically there, geographically, but never gave reasons why someone would want to go there.

For several days, Kane searched through nearly every sheet of paper in that Library, but he couldn’t find what he was looking for. It was incredibly frustrated and he was beginning to think he’d wasted all this time that he could have spent traveling to who knows where. This downward spiral was interrupted by a voice calling out.

“Hello? Is anybody in here?”

For a split second, Kane contemplated the idea of saying nothing and hoping whoever it was would lose interest and leave, but thought better of it. Leaning back in his chair, Kane looked down the narrow aisle towards to door.

“Oh hey, Zarka. I’ve just been doing some research. What are you doing here?”

At Kane’s response, Zarka visibly eased up and responded, “I was passing by and saw the door was open a bit. It’s usually closed, so I thought I’d check it out.”

As she spoked, Zarka came closer to look at what Kane had splayed across the small table in the back of the Library. “What are you researching, if you don’t mind me asking?”

Kane had always found Zarka to be inquisitive, especially behind her stark purple eyes. He was aware of her own connection with Sylvanus and thought that if anyone were to understand what he was doing, it would be her.

“Well… to be completely honest, I’m searching for something. I just don’t know what.”

Kane then recounted the experience he had had days earlier with Sylvanus and the visions he’d received. He covered the little that he had discovered, so far, in the sea of papers. All the while, Zarka listened attentively, absorbing what Kane explained, even though he did ramble more than he needed to.

When Kane was done, Zarka remained silent, letting the story hang in the dusty air. When Zarka did finally respond, she responded slowly and thoughtfully.

“I think… you might be looking in the wrong place.”

“What do you mean? What other place is there to look?”

At Kane’s question, a small smile appeared at the corner of Zarka’s mouth. It was obviously a smile that said, “I know something you don’t know.”

“Let me show you.” Zarka said with a small giggle.

Stepping past Kane, Zarka faced the stone wall, farthest from the door, scanning the stones from side to side. Zarka’s eyes eventually stopped at a particular stone about midway up the wall. With both of her hands, Zarka pressed against it, which suddenly clicked. All to Kane’s surprise.

As the stone receded into the wall about an inch, the sound of stone grating on stone was heard beneath the floor and Kane could feel movement beneath his feet.

Jumping back, Kane watched as a series of stone shifted and settled to reveal a small stone stairway, leading down.

Astonished, Kane looked to Zarka who was only smirking.

“Do you want to go first or should I?” she asked.