Arriving at the Honesty Shrine I joined a large gathering. Small groups talked in hushed voices while others stood silent. I was sure that every one was thinking of the test to come. We didn't wait long befor a tall figure appeared.
"I am Eckar of the Havadri." he said in greeting. "I came as promised."
"We were told you could help us read the Codexis. I asked. "Will you?"
Eckar turned his gazed on me. "A question that shall have an answer...but only after you answer one for me. Would that be a fair trade?"
"Yes," several voiced replied.
Looking at me, Eckar seemed to wait for my answer. "Yes," I said nervously, "It is a fair trade. What is your question?"
"I felt the death of other Havadri. They slipped away like sand in a glass." He paused. "Can you tell me who caused their death. What foul thing was so cruel?"
Avoiding his eyes, no one spoke, remembering the battle at the Deamon Temple. What would Eckar do if we told him the truth.
"Death takes us all with his icy hands...but did an agent guide them to his embrace?" Eckar asked quietly...studying us as if he knew the answer.
Slowly I stepped forward, "We were mislead by Adriad the Cold into attacking them. He told us they worked with Minax."
Eckar looked curiously at me. "But who took them...Minax...the wisp? "
I hesitated, "We didn't know that the Wisp was lying."
Bravely others came to stand by me. "Yes," I replied "To our shame we became Minax's instruments. We didn't know."
"One Honest voice among a silent crowd. A crowd too afraid to speak. " Eckar looked at those beside me. "Be thankful to have one such as this among you."
Nervously, I watch Eckar. He stood silent...thinking. "It matters not who set you on your path." Eckar finally spoke. "You followed the path and were able to accept your actions, I will help you."
Eckar put a stone down. "Come... there is lone shore...deserted and empty." he beckoned us. "The shore is empty like hearts that didn't speak...letting shame linger."
Stepping on the stone, I found myself on a shore I hadn't seen before. On it were signs, that long ago others had been here.
"Here I waited for the answer to the question. A strange task...they didn't give me a question. Eckar looked around. "I give you the same task. Will you take it?"
"Yes!" people shouted without hesitation. "What is the task?"
"That you have to learn." he turned to leave. "All but Tamais, she has completed the task aleady."
Puzzled I watched him leave. I had completed the task...what task? I didn't have long to wonder. The shore was suddenly filled with Lies.
Working together, the Lies were quickly defeated. So that was the task I completed, defeating Adriad the Cold's lie and accepting our actions for killing the Havadri.
"Finished already...defeating lies a simple task." he mused. "Pehaps you are stronger than lies? or is it because you are so many?"
"The lies were weak. This time we saw through them. " Lady Ivy replied. "We saw them for what they were."
"We are wiser than before." I said thoughtfully. "Knowing them for lies made it easier to defeat them."
"No," Lady Thalia "Some lies are great."
"Lies can be tools used to manipulate us." Arca Mydian added thoughtfully.
Eckar the Havadri nodded. "You are learning. Lies are only great if you believe them, or are unwilling to learn from them." Again Eckar put a stone down. "Follow, there is another question for you to answer."
We arrived in a snow and ice covered valley. Eckar was waiting.
"The dangers of winter's cold." He watched his breath. "All things die here. Do you agree?"
I hesitated, knowing the question was not what it seemed. "No, things do survive."
"Good, you are gaining knowledge." Eckar seemed to smile. "All life will perish, but Truth will always remain."
To our surprise, Truth attacked us.
After a deadly battle, Truth was defeated. I looked at it in confusion. How could we defeat truth.
"So you have defeated truth?" Eckar stared at the great dragon. Smiling he looked at us.
"How could we defeat truth even a cold truth?" I asked puzzled.
"You are learning. Like victors, Kings, story tellers and fools...you stabbed it, tried to kill it and bury it." He smiled at me. "But even after truth is forgotten, destroyed covered up it still remains."
I heard a noise behind me. I watched Truth rose again from it's defeated body.
"See truth returns." Eckar said pointing to the new truth. "Why do you think that is?"
Several people spoke up. "Truth will always prevail?" Truth always shows through?" "Truth is there even if no one knows about it?"
"Yes, once a thing is done, it can not be undone..taken back..changed. It remains the truth. Eckar seem pleased with our answers. "A lie never happened...spoken the words remain...but didn't happen."
Eckar sighed. "Adraid never learned the lesson." Seeing our confusion, he paused, "Yes, he was one of us. He thought he could use our teachings to remake the truth."
I thought about what he said, "But how does that help us?"
"If you wish to defeat him, you must understand his power comes from lies." Eckar explained. "I will give you a glimmer of his power. If you can defeat it...you can understand what really happened. Can you accept that?"
I nodded my head. "Yes though I dislike the truth...I can accept it."
Eckar started to channel Havadri magic...grasping at a piece of Adriad.
"Only by accepting the truth of you actions can you stop him from retrieving the Codexis.
The battle turning against it, Adriad's Power summoned his minons...Restless Spirits...Others Whispers and Whispers of the Other side.
We looked at the small book. Could it be that our quest was at an end. Without the book Adriad could not release the Djinn. How would Minax react to his failure.
"Who is worthy of taking and protecting the book." Eckar looked around.
As if one voice, I heard the Royal Spies shout out my name. Eckar looked at me and nodded. "They have made their choice."
Awed by the Royal Spies trust in me, I accept the book...holding it close. Trying not to cry, I bowed to Eckar as he faded away.
The Royal Spies guarding me, the journey home was quiet. Arriving at King Blackthorn's Castle, I went to his chambers. Evidias and Captain Corain were waiting with him. Handing him the Codexis, I sighed in relief knowing that my task was completed.
Dismissed I left to find a well earned ale and rest. Only the fates knew if peace had been returned to the lands.
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Lies And Truth
Lies and truth...I thought about them as I waited for the Havadri to appear. It was getting hard to know who to trust...we had been lied to and...