Saturday, December 20, 2014

The White Queen's Resting Place

Several days after the undead attack, Wolfgang returned to Gold Hill one morning, hoping to meet the formidable stranger.  He went to the tavern, sat with his friend Gerilynn the Prophet and ordered breakfast.  Soon they were joined by Lareth.  Lareth had heard about Wolfgang's adventures at the White Queen's palace and asked about the books and maps they'd found.  These Wolfgang was happy to share.

Wolfgang's breakfast was interrupted by a pair of deputies.  The Head Constable had his money.  Wolfgang, despite his lingering concern was eager to become rich and went with them to the Constables office.  Gerilynn and Chickie the Stick came along.  The Seargent on duty waved them by the front counter and into the Constable's shadowy council room.  The Constable himself wasn't there, but several other men were.  Wolfgang lost his nerve and announced that he'd overvalued the necklace.  "I meant to say it was worth more like two hundred gold pieces."  Was he sure?  An older men pressed him, asking why he had said the larger amount.  Without explaining, Wolfgang insisted he'd been joking about the extravagant sum.  Now all he wanted to do was leave.

"Sounds like you learned your lesson," came a voice in Wolfgang's ear-- and along with a punch in the back of the neck that sent him sprawling onto the table.  It was the Constable.  "Be off then, and consider that a warning."

Wolfgang hesitated and Gerilynn began to whisper a chant under her breath.  "What's that?" the Constable demanded, drawing his sword.  Gerilynn fell silent.

The Constable asked Wolfgang, "You sure you don't want your money?"  He was wearing the necklace and held it so Wolfgang could see it,  "Are you saying it's a present?  I've got the money waiting for you down in the treasury."

Wolfgang was torn, but Gerilynn pressed on him and at last he stalked out of the Constable's offices, muttering insults as he went.

Lareth was waiting for them at the inn.  He had a sympathetic ear for Wolfgang's misfortune and a chuckle for the young druid's insults about the Constable.  "Don't worry," Lareth said.  "He'll get his come-uppance when the White Queen returns."

Lareth explained that a powerful Queen had ruled that area long before the Constable, long before the gold vein had been discovered and played out, even before the village of Whitkey had been founded and fallen into ruin.  And she, the White Queen was coming back. The Constable, his deputies, all of Gold Hill would either submit to her or be destroyed.

"Was she good or evil?" Gerilynn wanted to know.

Lareth waved this question away. "She could be your enemy-- or he could be the enemy of your enemy-- what more do you need to know?"

From a practical perspective, they needed to know where to find the White Queen's resting place- so that they might be ready to greet her when she returned.  There was a map and they began to study it together.

Wolfgang recognized the symbol of the rising sun in the right corner of the map, it's rays shining on three distinct places.  The Midsummer ray shone on a cross surrounded by a ring of trees.  The Midwinter ray shone on cave at the top of a mountain.  An intermediate ray shone on a spot at the base of the mountain.  A piece of parchment from the White Queen's Palace referred to a key of binding and loosing and of its hiding place.  Wolfgang told Gerilynn and Lareth  about his exploration of Whitkey with Sir Henry and Sir Henry's discovery of a powerful sword.  This sword, the group decided, was the cross marked on the map by the Midsummer dawn.  The next day, the group travelled to Whitkey and Wolfgang brought the others to the grove and the white stone from which Sir Henry had claimed the sword.  Gerilynn surmised that in the right conditions, the morning sun would illuminate the white rock, especially in the days before the grove had been planted and the church built around it.  It seemed unnecessary to puzzle over the full meaning of the map-- it plainly showed the cave (tomb?) lay directly north of the where the sword had been hidden.

But now, for the first time, Gerrilynn and Wolfgang appreciated the implied scale of the map.  While the immediate area was low-lying with some grassy hills, the ground rose to the north.  Gold  Hill, itself was noticeably colder than Whitkey.  But the real mountains-- like those shown on the map, lay beyond any of the roads or trails on which they'd travelled.  The jagged horizon cut by those mountains might be several days away.

The group returned to the Inn at Gold Hill to sleep.  

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