“Look,” Scholar Roget said, pointing at the topmost tower of Black Rock. “That is where Lord Erriyn Smith was crowned by…”
“Lord Hurri,” Jacor replied.
“Good. And why was he crowned?”
“Because Lord Hurri became the new Head of the Sun after he claimed the Sword of the Sun to be his own; and Lord Smith needed his support in order to overthrow King Darerion IV.”
“That’s right. And why did Lord Smith want to overthrow King Darerion?” Scholar Roget asked, studying Jacor’s face.
“Because King Darerion wanted to open the Doors and escape the Tower, which goes against Sunists’ beliefs.” Jacor said, feeling like he was reciting a well-known script.
“And why did King Darerion want to open the Doors?”
“Scholar Roget, I’ve already answered these ques—“
Scholar Roget interrupted in a calm voice. “Just answer the question, please.”
“Because he was an Explorer, and he thought that everyone would reach God if they went through the Doors.” Jacor said obediently.
“Correct. But why did so many Explorers not support King Darerion’s decision?”
“Many Explorers did not support King Darerion because his plan would’ve gone against the Ritual of Exploration, which is very sacred to Explorers.”
“So which side prevailed in the Exploration Rebellion?”
Jacor gritted his teeth. “Lord Smith and the Sunists. But only after they assassinated their rightful king.”
Scholar Roget shook his head slowly. “I did not ask you that question, my boy. You must learn to control your anger.”
Jacor felt ashamed of himself. How many times did Scholar Roget have to remind him? “I’m sorry, my lord.”
“It’s quite all right. Just try to remember yourself in the future,” Scholar Roget said, leaning on his staff.
“Are you all right, my lord?” Jacor asked, seeing the weariness etched into Scholar Roget’s face. “We can go back to the Library if you want; I can gather the supplies from the Market myself.”
“I think that would be best; I’m afraid an old man like me can’t be out of the Tower for too long.” Scholar Roget started shuffling away from the castle Black Rock and towards the Tower.
Jacor looked up at the Tower while he and Scholar Roget walked slowly towards it. The Tower was the most definite landmark in Jacor’s—and everyone else’s—lives. Tall, at least three hundred feet tall; and spacious, but not in the normal sense. Made of the sheer white stone, the Sun reflected beautifully off it and spread its’ gracious light across all of the Sections like a lighthouse. The Tower was marked by the seven doors that were built all around it: iron, wood, sandstone, ice, stone, grass, and a dark glassy rock that Scholar Roget called obsidian.
Each door lead to the separate hallways, and each hallway lead to a different Section, but all hallways led to the Main Hall.
Jacor and Scholar Roget were in the Fourth Section, visiting the castle of Black Rock. The Fourth Section was full of low hills and grass, lots and lots of grass. It was also home to several steams and, most importantly, the main source of meat from the abundance of livestock that grazed the grass.
One of the Solar Knights was acting as the Gatekeeper that day. You could never tell them apart; they all wore the same golden armor that obscured their face and the same painting of the Sun grafted upon their shields. Though you couldn’t see his face, the Gatekeeper looked bored. And he must be, it was a dull task watching people just stroll through the Gate.
As Jacor and Scholar Roget approached the Grass Gate, the Gatekeeper respectfully bowed his head at the Scholar, as was custom. “May you be blessed with His light,” came a muffled voice from the helm of the Gatekeeper.
“You as well,” Scholar Roget said.
Scholar Roget and Jacor entered the Grass Hallway. Out of all of the Hallways, it was probably the least impressive. Just a long strip of grass that led to the Grass Door. The Hallway was blessedly empty, and Scholar Roget stopped and leaned against his staff.
“I am an elderly man, and it seems that soon I will be trapped inside of the Library.” Scholar Roget straightened up and gestured at Jacor.
“Here, help me back inside.”
Jacor put his arm around Scholar Roget and helped him walk to the Grass Door. “My lord,” Jacor began hesitantly. “When will you speak to Lord Sybyll about—“
“I am going to speak to him tonight.” Scholar Roget said, pointedly cutting Jacor off before he could continue. “He is the last Lord left who respects the wisdom us Scholars can give. Hopefully he will be willing to help us in our…endeavor.”
“But are you sure he is an…” Jacor looked around to make sure that no one was in earshot. “Explorer?”
“Lord Sybyll’s brothers all left the Tower. As did his uncle. He only took the Solar Oath to protect his family; if he didn’t, his daughters and wife would’ve been imprisoned, and he would’ve lost his lordship. He has said as much to me in our talks. If anyone in this place besides us wants to open those Doors it’s him.” Scholar Roget and Jacor reached the Grass Door.
“Open,” said Scholar Roget, and it did.
The Grass Door opened slowly, a loud groan accompanying the rusted hinges. As the Door opened, Jacor saw the Ice Door directly across him. Even though it was a quite a distance away, Jacor could still see the beautiful Doors made of blue, sculpted ice, and the brilliant hint of white beyond, where snow and ice covered the land.
Scholar Roget and Jacor walked into the Main Hall. The Main Hall was impressive, to say the least. It was built—or created—in a large circle, with all of the Doors arranged in a way that each door was directly in front of another. In the corner between the Iron Door and the Wooden Door was a large arch that led to the Library. And in the opposite corner was a staircase that led to the Throne Room…and the White and Black Doors.
The Market, a place where all of the Sections came together to sell their goods, was constructed in the center of the Main Hall, brimming with people selling and buying a wide variety of items.
Jacor led Scholar Roget to the Library. As they went. They passed Musk, a large man from Section 4 that was known to sell some…non-legal supplies.
“Jackie,” Musk said in his thick, heavy voice, “How is your history lesson goin’?
“It’s going quite fine,” Scholar Roget replied as he and Jacor stopped. “Jacor may soon be able to pass the Scholar exam.”
“Well that’s fine ‘innit? I always knew that Jackie was going to do somethin’ with that big noggin’ o’ his.” Musk started rustling in his rucksack. “Hold on a moment. I got you a bit o’ a present.”
“Musk, you really don’t have t—“
“Shut yer mouth, Jackie. I said I’m goin’ to give you a present, and I am.” Musk pulled something out of his rucksack. “’Ere,” he said, handing it to Jacor.
Jacor took it gingerly. It was a dagger, but not just a plain dagger. The dagger had a hilt made of bone, and the metal the blade was made of was as white as the Tower, and cool to the touch.
“What is it?” Jacor asked.
“Well, it’s a dagger, ‘innit?” Musk answered, scratching his head.
“But not any dagger,” Scholar Roget said, taking the dagger from Jacor and rubbing his thumb across the dull side. “It’s a dagger from one the Ice Giants.”
“Ice Giants?” Musk said, amazed. “But there all dead.”
“Yes, they are. But some of their antiques survived the Dawn.” Scholar Roget was in awe. “The Library has one of the swords but I never thought I would ever be able to touch one of the relics…”
“Musk, do you realize the value of this dagger?” Jacor asked.
“I imagine it’s expensive.” Musk said. “But you two can keep it.”
“A-a-are you sure?” Scholar Roget asked, still staring at the dagger in amazement.
“O’ course. After all the times you both saved me from them Solar Knights; I owe you at least this.” Musk shook his head. “An Ice Giant…they’ve been dead for a thousand years!”
“Where did you get this? If you don’t mind me asking” Scholar Roget asked, handing the dagger back to Jacor.
“Well…” Musk started to shuffle his feet, his sign of embarrassment. “Two weeks ago, back when them Solar Knights threw my arse in jail for selling alcohol, well, you know how the jail in Section 7 has the frozen floors? Well, I got bored so I started to dig in the ground for fun when I found this. The guards found the hole and they beat me bloody, but they never found this.” He said, gesturing towards the knife.
“Thank you.” Jacor said.
“Not a problem. Just remember this act o’ kindness when the Solar Knights come knockin’ on the door lookin’ for me.” Musk laughed. “See you later, Jackie, and you too, m’lord.”
“Have a fair day, my boy. And thank you for this wonderful relic.” Scholar Roget said, a twinkle in his eyes.
As Musk walked to the Market, Jacor and Scholar Roget made their way to the Library. The arch above the Library was made of old stone, and had an inscription at the keystone that was written in the language that the Ice Giants spoke. Scholar Roget said that there is no clear translation for the inscription, but he assumed that it was the name of the butchery, as the Library stood on the spot where a slaughterhouse once was.
Scholar Binder stood underneath the arch, his head buried in a pile of scrolls as usual.
“Good morrow to you!” Scholar Roget cried when he approached Scholar Binder. “What are you studying?”
“The Deathe of Olde King Maercirius.” Scholar Binder said, turning his pinched face to them. “Full of inaccuracies; I don’t see how this is in the Important Section. See listen: “While the poison ate away inside of the King, Caharis tried again to open the White Door.” And as we both know, back in the Age of the Old Kings, it was not called the White Door, it was called the Blanke Door.” Scholar Binder shook his head. “And Scholar Abernathy based his lecture about the Revolution of Caharis on this book! I don’t see why the Council chose him as the History Keeper; you or I would be much better suited for the job—“