Pleased, Manticore left the King's council. For once the good news out weighed the bad. Time Without Dreams was helping find the strange beetles a new home. Evidias and Govenor Vyxen had been rescued and their kidnappers dealt with. Still there was the problem of the Adriad the Wisp and the location of the Codexis.
Evidias began the weekly meeting explaining how the Beetles were being helped.
" Are we sure that they are not working with Minax." Manticore asked. "They did kidnap you."
Evidias nodded at him. "True, but my people behaved much the same when arrivaled in these lands. A people fighting for a new home don't always know friend from foe."
Thoughtfully Manticore agreed. "In spite of that your people are now valued allies. Perhaps the strange beetles will be also."
Evidias smiled. "We can only hope. Then her smile turned to a frown. "But we have another problem...the Wisp."
"Has he been seen, my lady?" questioned Manticore.
"Reports say that he has been searching for the Adaris Codeixs. It is either in either Ilshenar or the Lost Lands." Evidias informed the Spies.
The room was quiet as people thought about how large those lands are.
"How can we search everywhere?" Tamais asked. "We don't have enough people."
"Or time," Evidias acknowledged. "However I received a clue that might help."
"Can it be trusted?" Manticore asked.
"That is a good question. The sender is unknown." Evidias frowned. "But it is our only lead." Evidias opened a gate. "Perhaps you can solve it."
Arriving in Delucia, Evidias read the clue.
"There is a place in between the old worlds and new. Where once a Golden City existed, with pillars of golden awe."
"Terra keep?" Manicore suggested.
"Terra Keep? I don't know these lands well." Evidias replied. "What is the Keep?
Lady Thalia spoke up. "The Terathan Keep. It has tunnels."
Evidias pondered Thalia's answer. "Terathans...that matches part of the next clue."
"North of Delucia, between the city of the Western Serpeant, behind the many legged ones, near the place where the old world and the new one meet?
"Isn't there desert farther north?" Evidiais pondered, "Could that be the Oasis of Sand?"
"Yes" Demoss told her. "I can lead you there."
Looking around Evidias nodded, "This looks right. There are the pillars."
"You are too late." a voice said. "I have already sent others after the Codeix."
Turning, the Royal Spies found Adriad's False Form.
"Be on your guard." Evidias warned. "I sense something coming."
The False Form laughed. "Come my Whispers, take care of these."
"No matter," the False Form bragged. "Minax will win and give me what I need.
Manticore confronted the form. "What is it she will give you?"
"That is not your concern." the Form tauted.
"She will not win." Evidias asserted. "We have always stopped her."
The False Form laughed. "But this time the bargin is with one older than time itself."
"Older than time?" Evidias questioned.
"Yes." the False Form replied. "It's magic pure...of magic made... bound by a deal that only time can fade."
"And just who is this person." Manicore demanded.
"Person...silly human...not a person." The False Form explained. "A Djinn...its magic stronge enought to crumble the great tree...covering them in the dark earth." he paused. "For stopping you, Minax will give me the gift of time."
The Royal spies looked at each other in shock. This could only be the Djinn Merrick had bargined with. Now it was trying to escape. As they watched the False Form faded away.
Evidas sighed. "Foolish creature...it really thinks Minax will honor her bargin."
"My Lady, he told us that the Djinn needs time to escape its deal." Tamias told her. "Then it can unwind time back to escape the words it spoke."
"We must find the codaix first." Evidias said with determination. "It can open paths between worlds...and close them.
"But why are the tunnels important?" Manticore asked puzzled. "What do they have to do with this.
"They are the paths. Adriad knows if we close those paths off, the Djinn can't travel." she replied. "There must be more clues around here.
Just then, someone called out . "There are words on some of the pillars."
Quickly everyone began to examine them.
"More riddles." Manticore commented. "Who is Esmereth and the old ones?"
Evidias shook her head. "I don't know, but we need to find where they lie. Didn't one of the pillars say in the west...more north than south?"
"Yes, this one. " Tamais replied, "But what lands?"
People began discussing the clues. "Reptilian glory...Ophidians?"
Evidias began to rub her head. "The clues lead to Ilshenar. My home, the Blue Tower is there."
Evidias opened a gate and the Royal Spies stepped through.
"More north than south...to the west. I think I know where that is. Wait while I look."
Evidias's fingers turned to sharp claws as she climbed down the mountain side. She wasn't gone long. "I've mark the place with a magic rune...come." She placed a rune stone on the ground.
Stepping on it the Royal spies found themselves in the Ilshenar forest.
Looking around Manitcore saw they were north of the Valor shrine.
Suddenly Evidias stopped... wincing as her body was filled with pain. She began running again only to stop again rubbing her head. "Can you feel the presence...it is strong." she rubbed her head once more. "Don't stop we must go on."
Manitcore stayed close to Evidias in case she needed help. She looked over at him. "Is the ground getting hotter?
He shook his head no.
"It's...it's not real...come." She stopping at last at a pillar and disappeared.
Surprised everyone froze, as they watched she reappeared.
"Help me...the dark sea...I'm drowning...No! my wings won't work." she looked at them in confusion. Then blinking several times the confusion left her eyes. "Where...are we?
"My Lady, we are still in the forest where you lead us." Manticore replied concerned. "You asked what the name was of the old one then disappeared."
"Name? It is Esmereth the Holy word. "The ground shifted as she said the name. "The name ...triggered something?"
The Royal spies prepared for battle when golden skulls appeared.
"Look at this skull."Tamais called. It says "Here lies Esmereth."
Evidias looked at the skull then carefully touched it. "Strange it says we see the world wrong...upside down?" looking at the Royal Spies "Could that be the name?"
She turned it upside down. "Perhaps writing it backwards...lets see..Hteremse." Esmereth wasn't his name it was Hteremse."
Called by the name, Adriad's Shadow attacked. Surprised, the Royal spies', world turned grey.
Finally the deadly shadow was defeated. As healers resurrected the dead and healed them, a book appeared where the skull had been... the Codexis.
Evidias reached to pick it up...only to be stopped by Elliam's Spirit. "You are worthy of the knowledge...why do you seek it?"
"We need the book to stop a Djinn and the extinction of another race." Manticore replied.
The spirit looked at him. "To help another race? That is a worthy cause.
"A worthy cause, but the knowledge is not for your hands or any others." Elliam's Spirit looked sadly at them. "Only the living can touch the book and only those trained can read it."
"But we are living." pointed out Evidias.
"You live but you cannot read it.
The Royal Spies grew quiet remembering their battle...killing the Havadri. Why would they help now.
Elliam's Spirit watched as if reading their minds. "They who guard the knowledge were at the temple on Fire Island....if they still live."
"If we find them would they help?" Evidias asked.
"If they live ,they will help." Elliam's Spirit replied. "Look for the floating island made of ice...frozen on the seas."
Manitcore spoke up. "I know of the place."
"Good, I will try to convince the others to meet you at the small shrine there. Elliam's Spirit began to fade. "There you will be tested."
Manticore thought about what Elliam's shade said...tested? The shrine was the one of honesty. Would they be able to pass the test?
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The Codexis And The Djinn
Evidias looked at the Codexis, their only hope to stop the Djinn. But first could she past the test of honesty. Who is completely honest.