We climb back down the staircase and return to the library, where the man once again shuts the door behind him.
“Although I am familiar with the two of you, I don’t believe we have ever been formally introduced. My name is Geoffrey. At one time I served as this city’s oracle. From my location here, I would review the ancient texts and prophecies to determine the future of our fair land. Yet, not even I could predict the fate which has befallen us.”
“What fate is that?” Griff returns to his seat and puts his feet up on the chair that had previously been occupied by Geoffrey. I perch on the corner of the desk.
“Why, The Wizard, of course. Over a year ago, this man, claiming to be an all-powerful wizard, entered our city stating knowledge of an impending attack. At first, no one paid him any heed. He appeared to be nothing more than a simple beggar. After a time, he produced such deeds of prediction which caused even our great king, Uthyr, to listen.”
“The Wizard,” Griff interrupted. “That’s the guy doing all those magic tricks over there at the church?”
“The Wizard has indeed taken up residence within the minster. He claims it provides him with a direct connection to the ethereal realm, therefore increasing his ability to circumvent our impending doom.”
“Sounds about right,” Griff laughed. “Here I thought we were being conned, kid, but it looks like this town’s the one who’s got the scam being held over them.”
I nod agreement to Griff.
“What do you mean?” Geoffrey asks.
“I mean, this wizard whatshisname—“
“Myrddin of Ambrosia is what he called himself.”
“Sure, Marty the Great or whatever, he’s got himself a straight-forward Fortune Telling scam going on. He tells you something big will happen unless you have him around to keep you safe. Uses some little coincidence-type crap to get you to believe him, and then he basically owns you, right?”
“Although it could be considered an approximate summation of the events, I hardly believe it captures the true essence of how our city was taken under siege.”
“Excuse Griff. He really likes being about to figure out a swindle before it’s explained to him. Please continue.”
“The Wizard tried time and again to gain court with the king. He would continue to make grand predictions regarding the coming days, predications which, had they not come true, would have been nothing more than the ravings of a lunatic.”
“He still looks like that, if you ask me,” Griff scowls.
“Each of his predictions was more outrageous than the last, so much so that finally King Uthyr had him imprisoned in order to keep him from inciting any riots. When his most crazed prophecy came true things began to get interesting.”
“The king, certain Myrddin was attempting to make him look the fool, sent The Wizard to his death. At the very moment of execution, we were attacked from both the north and the south. Great numbers of men came flanking in to siege our city. Although we ultimately won, we suffered great casualties. But that was not even the most amazing event of the day.”
“No?” I ask.
“No, for although the fire had been set to the stake and, indeed, the others who had been put to death with him were disposed of, The Wizard himself lived. The king instantly assigned him to be his primary advisor.”
“Damn, that’s a great scam,” Griff whistles. “He must’ve flimflammed both those other towns, too. He probably didn’t even know who would win, just knew that whoever it was would end up seeing him to be a good omen.”
“If only we had your counsel at the time all of this had occurred. The king, based on The Wizard’s advice, immediately moved to return the attack. He sent half of our army north and accompanied the other half south. He not only left our city defenseless, but without leadership. The Wizard filled the void.”
“Man, I wish I could have pulled something like that off. You said he’s been in charge for over a year now?”
“Yes, thirteen painful months of torture and fear-based taxation.”
“So, yeah, probably a safe bet your Uthyr is dead and he’s got the pull of this berg for the rest of his life. Hell, those taxes he’s taking, the women and the money, I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s being used to pay off whoever attacked you guys to begin with. And he’s left here to sit like a king, able to do whatever he wants, probably because he says something like there’s always a threat of even more danger. Man, that guy’s got this town wired.”
“You are indeed a much stronger oracle than I, sir.”
“Not an oracle. Just a man who knows how to play the game.”
“But that still doesn’t explain the prophecy from the book,” I join in. “Couldn’t you have used it to show King Uthyr the danger this wizard guy posed?”
“Ah, well now this is when the story begins to become interesting.”
“I don’t know,” Griff disagrees. “I already thought it was interesting.”
“Shut up, Griff,” I shush. “What do you mean, Geoffrey?”
“Well, you see, this text has been within my library for a number of years. However, it was believed to be a spent prophecy.”
“A spent prophecy?”
“Yes, as in, one which had already come to fruition. You see, this is the tale of Saint Christopher himself, the tale of how the Reprobian Sphere came into existence. However, I am starting to believe that this may, in fact, be a repeating prophecy.”
“I’m not sure I’m following you there, bub.” Griff sits up in his chair, finally truly interested in the tale.
“I can’t state I am any more certain of what it means than you are. The only thing I can say with certainty is that the events pictured in this book are historical events, not prophetic visions.”
“What?” Griff asks.
“He’s saying this is a history book, not a book about the future.”
“To the contrary. I am saying it is both. This book is a prophetic book complete with the historic events which fulfilled it. I’ve placed several pages within it myself.”
Griff grumbles as he stands and walks to the desk. “What I don’t get is how this could be something that’s happened before. I mean, look.” He points at the image in the book of the two people standing in front of a felled wizard at the steps of the cathedral, “those two people are definitely us. They’re wearing goofy clothes, but they’re us. That chick’s got that probe sphere or whatever. Hell, they’ve even got the same haircuts as us.”
“I thought you weren’t buying into all of this,” I ask Griff.
“I’m not.” he replies. “That whole thing on the roof could have just been one of those virtual reality rooms or whatever. I’m just saying that if we’re going to go along with this stupid story they’re telling us, that picture is obviously not something that happened in the past.”
“Ah, but that is one of the problems,” Geoffrey frowns. “You see, I drew that picture myself. I was there the day this occurred. The day The Wizard took power. I placed it within because of the involvement of the sphere.”
“This all seems pretty poorly contrived.” Griff crosses his arms in frustration.
“That is why I decided to take a second look. You see, I am well familiar with the stories of Saint Christopher, my mother was a world traveler and I, myself, have often called upon the sainted father with thanksgiving for blessed travels.”
“Okay,” I begin, “so maybe the next best question is, what’s the story of Saint Christopher?”
“Saint Christopher was a man who got it in his head that he would go off to serve the greatest king there was. To abridge the story slightly, he went from king to king until he came to the conclusion that Christ was the greatest king.”
“Is that it?” I ask after a short pause.
“Well, the next bit gets somewhat contentious within scientific circles.”
“Please,” I urge.
“As you wish. Because of his newfound servitude to Christ, he was convinced the best manner in which he could show his service was to aid people in crossing a rather dangerous river. After doing so for a while, a child came to him and asked to be assisted in the crossing. Christopher obliged and the child rode on his back across the river. As they continued, the child got heavier and heavier. When they finally reached the opposite shore, Christopher asked the child about it, to which the child replied that he was carrying not only the weight of the entire world, but also of that which made it. And then promptly disappeared.”
“And then what?” Griff asked.
“The story ends there. Christopher did go on with increased vigor to spread the news, but was decapitated shortly after.”
“I don’t see what that has to do with us.”
“Neither do I,” Geoffrey agreed. “Which is why the prophecy this image fulfills makes no sense. I had originally placed it within, like I said, because of the sphere, but I’ve long wondered whether it should be there, considering the Reprobian Sphere is the only reason for its inclusion. That is, until I realized there is actually a prophecy included in this book regarding this image, regarding the fall of Avalon.”
“Alright, whatever. That still doesn’t answer the question we need answering,” Griff said as he returned to standing. “How in the world do we get back home? Does this book tell us how to use the sphere for that?”
“There is a great deal of information available within the text on the construction of the device, although the origin of the sphere itself is shrouded in mystery, as is its intended use. I would be unable to tell you whether or not it contains the information you seek.”
“Would it be alright if I borrow this for a while?” I ask. “You know, to see if it has anything we could use?”
“Of course,” Geoffrey smiles. “What’s mine is yours.” I gently place the book within my backpack.
“Is there anyone else around here that might have any information we could use?” Griff asks.
“Unfortunately, I do not believe many others within the village would be of any use to you. Since The Wizard has taken over, he has placed a moratorium on intellectual conversation. All books and sacred texts were to be burned. All mention of the word York is forbidden upon threat of death. Even discussing anything outside of the city walls is considered dangerous. This is why I have brought you here, within my hidden sanctum. There are no eyes or ears who can see within here.”
“I guess that’s why you’ve still got the books then, huh?” Griff asks.
“Yes,” Geoffrey says, turning his gaze to the floor. “When The Wizard declared all knowledge be destroyed, I had to move with haste to ensure that as few irreplaceable texts would be destroyed as possible. Were it not for this hidden location, I fear all our most treasured of books would have been burned.”
“Great,” Griff scowls. “So, there’s no one else who can help us figure out how to get home?”
“I fear there is but one who would even be willing to discuss such matters. Of course, I use the term willing quite loosely.”
“The Wizard?” I ask.
“Yes,” Geoffrey nods with wide eyes. “There is something odd about that man. I fear he may have arrived here under similar manners as you yourselves. Perhaps he might have the knowledge you seek regarding a return path.”
“Well then,” Griff claps his hands and moves toward the door. “I guess we’re off to see The Wizard.”
“Wait,” Geoffrey states. He moves between Griff and the door. “I must warn you that The Wizard meets with no one. All those who have dared enter the sacred cathedral have never been seen again.”
“And let me guess, he’s really got an issue with some witch who lives out in the west?”
Go to Phase Two