Chapter 18: A New Path Revealed

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"The voice of God in the wind and in the rain

Tells us of the many paths to take to Enlightenment;

Study of His words, prayer for guidance, and

Dedication to a life of good deeds and service.

His only admonition? Choose a path and walk it."

-from druidic writings, circa the Cadremoor 


At first only the dance of light that Patrik first saw with his sigh, lit the stone slab with ethereal light, blue, green and red intermingling as they raced in every direction away from where his breath touched stone. Then, as more of the dust and sand was pushed aside by Patrik's determined breath, the symbols began to appear, one at a time, sensuous curves, lines and breaks in impossible shapes that, nevertheless, held their form once revealed.

"Maker preserve us," Inureah breathed in disbelief, eyes wide even as Jaeda stared in shocked silence.

The symbols weren't massive, only two fingers' width in height and half as wide. Yet, as they formed distinctive words and sentences, stretching in first one line from left to right across the stone's upper edge, they seemed to become clearer and clearer until, after several turns of the small glass later, Patrik had filled the blank surface with glowing symbols in recognizable text.

"Can, . . can you read it?" the Var Ethisdil husked in a quiet voice, eliciting a look over his shoulder at her from Patrik.

"You can't?" he retorted, an eyebrow slightly raised as he frowned at the elven cleric.

"The language of the Sa'an has been long lost to us, the runes that make up their writing even more so," she admitted with a frown, favoring him with a quick look before returning her rapt attention to the glowing symbols. "While Vanje, the elven language was derived from it, and the tlyphs of its alphabet evolved from the runes of the sa'anish alphabet, the thousands of cycles that separate our two people have made two different languages. Only scholars and the seer in his tower at Caeba na'Sunce now know and speak the tongue."

"I see." Patrik stifled the grimace of annoyance that uncharacteristically nearly found itself onto his face as he turned back to the slab. The cleric's explanation was nearly worthless. However, thanks to the implanted memories and visions, the words now formed on the stone in front of him were as clear to him as if written in Taren. He snorted after a quick look over the text.

"The Great Sea douse me," he growled. This stone wasn't the primary, or beginning capstone as he had hoped, giving him reference to the rest of the description. He'd have to find the other four stones and locate the primary before he could get the gist of what the sa'anish lord had written.

Moving sideways as he brought up the vision where the soldiers laid the stones in a circular pattern, Patrik let his fingers trail through the sand, pressing just hard enough to find the edge of the next stone should he stumble across it. And, after about a foot length away from the first stone's edge, he found the second stone, the same size and dimension as the first.

Using the first two stones then as a reference, the young human swiftly uncovered the other three, all five still in the same pattern as they were originally laid.

"Help me clear the sand off these," he directed and Inureah and Jaeda both joined him on their knees to use their hands to sweep aside the sand covering the stones Patrik had just discovered. Working together, it didn't take them long.

After the last stone was cleared off, Patrik, after a slight hesitation, slowly moved over the closest, channeling a steady stream of breath over top of it. And, as his breath had done with the first stone, the glowing lines of text in the sa'anish language quickly appeared when it brushed over them. Line after line of runic letters and words glowed into existence until the stone was covered from top edge to bottom in the same fashion as the first.

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