Translator, Editor and Proofread: theunfetteredsalmon
Rod Drick nodded and asked, “What about that messenger, Raphael?”
Aristotle laughed. “The letter also mentions the city of Uruk. Golier must have sent a messenger to Gilgamesh as well. You should send a spy to inquire about how Gilgamesh treated his messenger.”
Raphael did not see a response for a while. In the meantime, he had been eating and living lavishly. His residence was heavily guarded, and on paper, it was for his protection, but he was in fact under house arrest.
When Warret arrived in Uruk, Gilgamesh and Enkidu had not returned from their trip. He waited for them several days in the guesthouse. Usually, he would be received by a pair of brothers named Hevel and Qayin. The two were desolate aristocrats, who, through the waking ceremony of their magic power when they were teenagers, were said to have devoted themselves to practising magic in the farm. Not long ago, they became advanced mages. They were highly praised by lord Gilgamesh and were promoted to high priests of the Temple of Uruk.
The city’s lords praised their perseverance and will. Although their ancestral career declined into the unknown, they never gave up hope. Without guidance and help, they practised magic on their own and progressed to advanced mages, more than enough to stun people. The two brothers were also examples set to the population to encourage more talents to emerge in the city.
The high priests of the Uruk Temple were also high-level noblemen in the city’s legion. Lord Gilgamesh had recently been recruiting talents and strengthening the city’s armaments, seemingly preparing for war. It’s always good to prepare for danger during peacetime, but the people of Uruk were puzzled. With lord Gilgamesh and Enkidu as the leaders of Uruk, who would dare invade the city?
Hevel and Qayin repeatedly probed Warret for the purpose of his visit, but his answer was always the same; that due to the floods cutting off the roads between Uruk and Syah and he was sent by Lord Golier to convey greetings after having lost contact for two years. He never said much more than that.
After Gilgamesh returned to the city, he summoned for Warret. On reading the secret letter, Gilgamesh remained quiet. He summoned Enkidu and had him look at the letter as well. Enkidu scanned the letter and frowned. “Golier must be very brave to put forward such a suggestion! To be frank, I admire him.”
Gilgamesh laughed and said, “There are not many people you admire in the world, Enkidu. Golier is not a simple man and I do not have an answer to his letter. My brother, what do you say?”
Enkidu responded, “I heard that Warret, the messenger, is a disciple of Golier and a high priest of Syah. He probably doesn’t know the contents of the letter. We should summon him and let him look at the letter. Perhaps we can learn the attitude of the teacher from the disciple.”
Gilgamesh agreed and summoned Warret. He greeted the young envoy politely and then ordered everyone to retire from the room except for the three of them. Gilgamesh smiled and asked, “Lord Warret, do you know the contents of this letter that you delivered?”
Warret simply shook his head. “My master, Lord Golier, gave strict instructions to merely deliver the letter to only the lord of the city. He did not inform me of the contents of the letter.”
Enkidu passed the letter over to Warret. “A thousand miles through the dangers of the swamp and desert just to deliver such a letter. It’s a pity, what this letter says. Take a good look at it.”
Warret shook his head again and said, “Lord Golier gave me instructions not to open this letter. There is no need for me to be curious.”
Gilgamesh retorted, “The letter wasn’t opened by you. Besides, don’t you want my response? I will discuss the matter with you. Did Golier tell you not to discuss this matter with me as well?”
“No, he didn’t.”
“Then you can see it.” Enkidu reached out with the letter once again.
And so, Warret took the letter and read it. The longer he looked at it, the more dignified his face looked. Gilgamesh’s slender eyes narrowed at Warret. “Dear messenger, you delivered this letter, what should I do with it? In order to express my loyalty to the kingdom, should I not hand you and the letter over to the King of Bablon?”
Warret looked up and said, “I am but a messenger. When I delivered the letter I did not know the contents of it, but now that I’ve read it, I will not shy away from what it says. My teacher did not mean to make an enemy of you. He saw not only the presence of the gods, but he also foresaw a war. Whether it is the will of the gods or the greed of the people, he merely wants to prevent the tragedy. I understand his perspective and await your reply, my Lord.”
Gilgamesh looked approvingly at Warret. He nodded and said, “Do you not feel afraid?”
Warret grinned bitterly. “I was surprised and worried but fear was useless since I had already delivered the letter. Dear lords, you are considered heroes by many people on the continent. You even killed Humbaba, but what was the point of it? This letter is but a suggestion, you can agree or decline to it, but why be scared of such a suggestion? Since I was brave enough to deliver it, my dear lords must be brave enough to look at it.”
Enkidu suddenly slammed the table and sent it several inches deep in the paving stone bricks. He laughed loudly and said, “Warret, you are gutsy for saying such things in front of us! Whether or not we accept Golier’s suggestion, we will not make things hard for you. I will personally escort you back to the border of Bablon.” Enkidu turned to Gilgamesh. “My lord, what reply do you intend to send? Let’s not make things difficult for the dear messenger.”
Gilgamesh replied, “Just one word… I know! Just tell Golier the truth.” Gilgamesh thought for a little while and moved on to ask, “Warret, I hear that you are a sixth-level advanced mage, correct?”
Warret nodded. “Yes, I am.”
Gilgamesh sighed inexplicably. “The era of disputes will also be the era of heroes. There have been many talented people lately. I heard that the Adoratrice of the Temple of Isis is presently the youngest supreme mage. We also have a young mage in the Kingdom of Hittite who just became a supreme mage as well. I didn’t expect Hittite to also have a new supreme mage.”
Listening to his tone, Warret knew that he was on track to becoming yet another supreme mage. He stopped himself from saying anything further, but he did not shy away from what he felt he wanted.
As Aristotle recommended, Rod Drick sent a spy into the city of Uruk. The spy heard the news of another messenger named Warret and then returned to Cape City to report. It had been more than a month since the spy’s return. Just as Gilgamesh had promised, he did not make things difficult for his messenger. In fact, Enkidu had even personally escorted Warret to the border. On hearing this, Rod Drick prepared to do the same.
Judah Fayol, Rod Drick’s clerk, heard of Syah’s messengers and summoned Raphael and asked him many questions about the state of the land after the flood. Raphael answered his questions as politely as possible. He spoke the truth about everything except for the confidential letter, which he had not read.
Judah Fayol had just returned from the kingdom of Ejypt. He met with Rod Drick in a private room and told him, “The Pharoah has orders to rectify his armaments and prepare to attack Hittite, using Cape city as the outpost. Over the next six months, war materials will be smoothly transported to Cape by various means. We will need to be ready, but we cannot alarm Hittite.”
Rod Drick sighed. What he had been worrying about was finally happening. There was no way he could hide from it. The seemingly incomprehensible expression on his face finally asked, “Why is the attack coming from Cape? It seems far more convenient to attack directly from the Nile river.”
Judah Fayol explained, “In a year’s time, land traffic between Cape and Syah will resume. The Pharoah would naturally choose that route to attack. Two years afterwards, in the area where the town of Duc once stood, thousands of miles of fertile land will be formed, which will be new prosperous territory in the central part of the continent. The Pharoah’s objective is to ensure a lasting capitulation from the kingdom of Hittite. Only by occupying that new, fertile territory can Ejypt finally deter the rest of the nations on the continent, finally establishing the achievements of the empire that will be recited for the thousands of years to come.”
Although Golier had provided this explanation in the confidential letter, Rod Drick was still shocked when he heard those words from Judah Fayol’s mouth. He frowned and asked, “Is this really true?”
Judah Fayol affirmed his answer, “Of course it is true. The elders of the magic academy of Ejypt collectively made this prediction as well, quashing all doubts about it. There are also oracles in the temples. Although the Kingdom of Hittite built shrines to Horus everywhere, they did not enforce the necessary sincere sacrifices to the Horus. This act of indifference to King Horus is unforgivable, so the upcoming war is not only to expand the empire but also to protect the dignity of King Horus.”
Rod Drick’s brows locked deeper. “When will it start?”
Judah murmured, “It is still a secret at the moment. Only the two of us are qualified to know it in Cape. There are many preparations being made for war between all countries. The mobilisation of resources and armies will eventually ring alarm bells, but the later their opponents realise, the better. I have met with the messenger from Syah. At this time, I am afraid that there will be temptations that could ruin us… It is indeed a wise move for you, my Lord, to keep the messenger under house arrest.”
Rod Drick smiled bitterly. “But I couldn’t keep the messenger in the guesthouse. I just wanted to wait for you to return so that I could discuss it with you.”
Judah Fayol laughed. “This is an easy one. Provide the messenger with the best hospitality, the most precious gifts and the most beautiful women, give him a lavish tour around the city to show him the peace and tranquillity of this place. Then, we shall send someone to escort him back through the desert, which will certainly stun him due to the difference in terrain… I think we should send a messenger to return with him to see what the situation is over on the other side.”
In total, Raphael spent two months in Cape City. Rod Drick’s initial reception to him was very good but on Judah Fayol’s return, the city began treating him even better. He became a guest of honour. Raphael was a great aristocrat of the Kingdom of Hittite and was born with a silver spoon, honoured from a young age. He could survive the harshness of the wilderness as well as he was familiar with the wealth and wine of the world. Anything they gave him, he had seen before.
In the two months Raphael spent in Cape, he almost never left the guesthouse. It coincided with his fatigue from walking through the Syah Desert. This kind of fatigue was different from general fatigue. As a mage, his magic power was almost entirely exhausted and his recovery was very slow. He was not sure if he would make it back through the Syah Desert, hence he took this opportunity to rest well.
At the end of the two months, Rod Drick saw Raphael and apologised to him. He explained that his clerk, Judah Fayol, had been absent from the city for some time, hence he was very busy and neglected his messenger guest. During this time, he invited Raphael to tour around the city and look at sights, see the exotic customs and to enjoy and do whatever he wanted to. All he had to do was request.
Raphael enjoyed himself in the city for many days and saw shows and dances before his power had finally restored itself. However, the growth of his strength was still climbing slowly. He was both surprised and happy. He decided that since his hosts were so enthusiastic, he would enjoy it. He asked to view the exotic scenery of the wilderness and around the city, and at the end of it all, another month had passed.
When Raphael finally left to return back to Syah City, Rod Drick sent an emissary to guard and follow him. The trip required the travellers to go through sinister deserts and swamps. For the sake of safety, he felt that he could not let the distinguished guest travel alone. As for Rod Drick’s response to the letter – there was none!
While the city-states and nations dealt with their own matters, Amon had had his fair share of busy. He led the tribe of cave-dwellers out of the mountains in the effort to move to a new home. There were more than six hundred men, women and children in total in Lynk’s tribe. They also had other living creatures to bring with them, such as large livestock to slaughter for dry, preserved food and young animals to continue raising. With such an entourage navigating the mountains, it truly felt like they were dragging their homes behind.
When Amon and Metatro took this road up the mountains, they had only taken five days. On their way back down to Duc, the group walked for a full month and Lynk was extremely exhausted. The mountain roads were difficult to walk, but they were nothing to the mountain tribes. The issue was that many roads had been cut off and they were met with many barrier lakes along the way. Once they had surpassed the obstacles in the mountains, they would have to pass through several swamps that were typically impossible to traverse.
It was during their struggle that the advantages of having El Mar and the four Ironbacks. They could swim effortlessly over water and swamps whilst carrying large loads. Their advantages shone the most in muddy swamps. Amon handed Osiris’ rib to Lynk, letting him steer the invisible boat to transport his people.
There was a lot of space on the invisible boat, but manoeuvering the boat with too much weight was very difficult. Multiple trips were required to bring everyone across the swamps. Perhaps if the boat was on a lake would it be easier but it was a different story steering the boat in such a swamp.
Amon refused to help while Metatro sat idly by watching excitedly. Lynk almost exhausted all of his magic power. When they finally arrived in Duc, Lynk passed out and rested for a few days without moving. Amon asked Metatro to command the tribe to establish camp and arrange the items required for the future.
The tribe had brought enough dry food to last a year. They could also hunt in the nearby jungle wilderness. In Amon’s Ventussalte were prepared seeds of various types of grain. They were given to Lynk to arrange the seeds to be planted in the spring of next year. Amon drew various landmarks in the soil, telling Lynk which land and mines belonged to the descendants of the town of Duc. The tribe could then choose other places to begin farming.
At the foot of the Syah Plateau in the north were parangon mines. Though parangons at the time were not the most important commodity, they anxiously required iron ore to build tools and weapons as time was of the essence. There was a swamp between their new home and the mine, but the five Ironbacks were the best escorts.
After the great migration, Lynk had finally brought his tribe out of the mountains to build their new homes on fertile soil. The tired tribe leader had also quietly advanced to the sixth level in both magic and body arts.
Once their simple camps were established, it was necessary for them to plan a walled city for the future. The mine was also a quarry and the men in the tribe were already exquisite craftsmen. These were things Amon did not need to worry about as they only required time. The tribe also had the Ironbacks with El Mar, Lynk and Metatro, meaning that the village’s security in the wilderness was temporarily guaranteed. Large-scale conflicts in the area were still one to two years away from beginning.
When everything had settled down, Amon told Metatro, “You should stay and provide assistance to Lynk in training warriors and teaching tactics so that they can guard their homeland in future conflicts. Once the tribe has built a simple wall and the warriors are definite soldiers, come and find me in Memfis. I need to go to Syah first, so stay here and help.”
Lynk and Metatro said reluctantly, “God Amon, you have taken us through a successful trial journey. We are both now sixth-level sorcerers and warriors. What will you do now?”
Amon answered, “The deed for the town of Duc was left by Moses in a secret place in Syah. I shall retrieve it first, just in case. I will also be accomplishing the task that was given to me by the Temple of Isis by recording the terrain of the ruined Charcoal Forest. I know you want to follow, but the people here need you more and it will be far more convenient for me to be alone.”
El Mar carried Amon through a large swamp until he reached the edge of the Charcoal Forest. Amon then turned to El Mar and said, “You should go back now. The marsh cannot stop me but the other people live on an island surrounded by mud. You will need to help them get in and out. Don’t forget to train your strength and avoid causing trouble with the monsters around. Make sure to protect your homeland.”
With that, El Mar lingered back while Amon and Schrodinger continued westward. The Charcoal Forest had completely changed in appearance. There were now odd-looking black shrubs growing on the rocky heights, but lower spots were submerged in mud and water. This terrain was impossible to pass even in a boat, let alone on foot.
However, the Charcoal Forest could not stop the supreme sorcerer and warrior Amon. Some passages within the grotesque rocks were very narrow, so Amon would walk on foot. The muddy swamp and water were like solid land under his feet, making his walk look like a nature stroll.
Shortly after walking into the forest, Amon suddenly stopped, put his iron stick down and knelt in the mud. Not far ahead between two boulders that protruded from the water was a girl standing, smiling at him.