Tradden took up his usual position and marched alongside the convoy for a little while.
The fighter’s attentions kept turning to Beltak, who was walking just behind the cart, constantly
turning through the pages of one of the books they had found. He was making odd mutterings and looked
somewhat distressed, to Tradden anyway.
Genuinely concerned Tradden jogged over to the cleric and matched his step as they walked.
‘Hey, Beltak. What’s up? You seem, ah, troubled?’
The only divine representative of Pelor in the immediate neighbourhood did not answer for few seconds,
but eventually glanced up from the book. ‘Ah, Tradden. Yes, well, it’s this…
this… thing!’ he waved the book in front of him. Tradden recognised it as one of the
journals of Pelor that Kireth had mentioned earlier. ‘Its presence here is
troubling — veeeery troubling!’
Tradden was about to chip in, but the cleric was already speaking again. ‘It just doesn’t
make any sense! These most sacred of annals are penned, with Pelor’s guidance, once. Just once!
Yes, copies are made by apprentices to be distributed across the various churches and temples across
The Islands, I should know, I myself must have copied many tomes when first I came into Pelor’s
service, but only so many are made and to find one here… now… gah!’
The book was slapped shut and Tradden was again about to speak before again being cut off immediately.
‘I mean, look, scribing is more than a task for me. It’s also a hobby — my
passion, Pelor allowing, and I like to think I am somewhat of an authority. Here, look…’
The book was opened again and thrust into the fighter’s face, so close and moving around in
Beltak’s shaking hands that the text was just a blur anyway. The fighter opened his mouth, but
didn’t get any further.
‘Every scribe has a slightly different style — even though the text should be
uniform. I think I recognise this script here, and this, and certainly these pages here are by…
well, I shouldn’t say.’ He suddenly held the book close to his chest, as if it were a
newborn. ‘It wouldn’t be right to accuse anybody of anything at this
stage — such accusations are not Pelor’s way!’
The two took perhaps ten steps in silence.
‘Anyway, this tome could have been stolen, although no scribe worth his salt would allow books to
be taken whilst they still lived…’ There was a slightly nervous laugh at this point at the
ridiculousness of such a notion. ‘…and the collected works are always kept under lock and
watch.’ There was another nervous laugh, followed by an unnecessary re-iteration, ‘LOCK and
There was another ten steps or so in silence. One man walked with his hands clutching a book to his
chest, another walked with this hands behind his back, but both sharing a furrowed brow.
It was, perhaps predictably as Tradden had long since given up, Beltak that broke the silence with a
sign. ‘I wish Tremak was here. His counsel would be welcome right now.’
‘Perhaps this is one of those tests that I understand the gods send down every once in a
while?’ joked Tradden.
Beltak stopped in his tracks. It wasn’t to laugh.
‘Yes, Tradden, you are right! Of course!’ He held the book on high where what was left of the
thin, gold-leaf trim caught the morning sun. ‘Pelor has tested me sorely in the fire of battle in
recent times and in truth, my friend, I have been somewhat discordant on that subject in my evening
prayers. But now, now Pelor tests me as I would wished to be tested — within the glory
of scripture! I must… the… agh… so much to do!’
The cleric started bounding forwards towards the cart, without a bye-as-you leave to his fellow human.
Tradden kept the same pace as they had been walking, hands still behind his back. ‘Good talking
with you Beltak…’ he said, to no one in particular.