Stephan listened, half awake, as Yousef described the tapestry he knew too well. He tried to speak loud enough for the others to hear, but did not lift his head or even open his eyes. “I know of what he speaks. It has hung in the great hall for many years. Good thing we stopped the gobs before they got a look at it.”
“Interesting. Thank you Yousef, you have been most informative. May I?” Miklos took the parchment and studied the writing.
“Similar to the writings in the Library below think you not? About the same age as the statues perhaps? Things are beginning to make a little more sense to me.”
“Golthar is searching for something. No not tapestries…something, or somewhere else. The tapestry is some kind of map, you said? Inert without the key to reveal their secrets, or the Sukiskyn would have investigated it long ago.”
Miklos thought for a moment. “Golthar was asking for only the whereabouts of the tapestry. He must then have or know where to find the key to unlock it.” His eyes strayed to the box with the glowing needle and thread. “Or perhaps he has left it behind in his haste to escape?”
The mage called to Ludo, ” Can you decipher the writings on the parchment? It might prove useful to know what it says.” He handed the parchment to him.
“So, Golthar knew of the Tapestry and its purpose. He…hired?… the goblins to raid and Dymrak homesteads, thinking it might be in their possession. But, notice these other searches. Sevastian’s Castle. Dentiata’s Tower. These all point toward a connection with the Sons of Night. Perhaps that is his ultimate aim? But we have the steal on him for a short while, because we have the key to what he seeks. It will not be long before he returns to claim them. Remember, he did not successfully raid Sukiskyn and if he has access to say—the Iron Ring, it would not take him long to raise another force and raid there again…But that approach has failed him before, so he may try something more subtle. Possibly have us followed as we reveal the path to him?”
“Yet we cannot risk leaving the tapestry within Sukiskyn, because while it is there they are at risk and we are at risk of Golthar getting it. We have little choice but the return Yousef and claim the tapestry and see what the secret is that Golthar so yearns for.”
“Miklos. Did you say that the tapestry, the parchment and the statues are the same age?” Maruc looked at the map. “Look at the sites he has visited. Stephan had that Jackal trinket here, the map was here, the mines here, not to mention Xitaqa itself here. An interesting spread, almost like a long gone ancient Duchy with an usual Jackal-god culture. I doubt one man or even a small group would spread ancient magical statue-guards all over the place and just look at what we destroyed in the gallery – solid jade weren’t they? Not exactly cheap to produce. No this is the work of a power ancient race. But were they good? or evil? What happened to them? Did they discover the secrets of the Book of Night to their eternal damnation? Is that what Golthar seeks?”
“Not a pleasant thought. But a thought for another day. Today we rest. Tomorrow we depart for Sukiskyn.” The priest returned to him meditation and rest.
Feldard missed the entire explanation while he sleeps, not that the dwarf could have made much sense of it all anyways had he been awake and paying attention. Unraveling these mysteries, was best left to the thinkers of the party.
Ludo said to Hasan, “as the healthiest person here, I will take the first and third watch. Hasan, can you do the middle watch so our more injured comrades can get as much sleep as possible?”
* * * * *
Ludo and Miklos jointly studied the ancient parchment. Using their combined knowledge of ancient languages and code breaking, they were at last able to come up with a reasonable translation.
I, Baistqet, high priestess, do command your return to Hutaaka. The stars have changed and out power wanes. Strange creatures harry us from the mountains and our people grow restless. We are stretched too thin. Bring the treasures of the temples and the people of the lowlands to feed the one. The sacred tapestries and your silver needles show the path.
* * * * *
The group rested in the top of Golthar’s tower. They had much time to speculate on the nature of their latest findings while they addressed their wounds incurred during the many battles that had led them to this point. The remaining hobgoblins that lived in the shadows of the tower kept their distance. They were leaderless and were firsthand witnesses to the destruction of the top of the tower and the lightning bolt that ripped through the entrance. As they fought internally over who would be Vlaak’s replacement, the heroes were provided ample time to recover. They were able to identify the potions obtained from Golthar’s stash—a potion of strength, another of control over animals and last one that granted the imbiber the power of clairvoyance
The group embarked on their return trip to Sukiskyn. Along the way, the group had various encounters typical of traveling in the uncivilized portion of the Dymrak Forest, but none that they could not handle. Eventually the group once again returned to the area of the human settlements and Sukiskyn proper.