Chapter 20

King Anou was waiting to welcome them when they arrived. “Three nights ago we could see many small fires suddenly flare up near the Dark Forest. Two days ago we saw an eruption and did not know if you would make it back alive. We feared for your safety and are glad that you have returned.”

King Belgrave told him all that had happened. King Anou was very surprised when he heard of the conflict between the tweenks and the beetles. When he told of the quest to travel to the three lands to the west, King Anou agreed to provide him with fast ships and supplies. King Belgrave then spent the most of the day resting.

That evening, King Belgrave was talking to Commander Sidrahkir. “What did the tweenks have to say to you?” he asked.

“I was reminded to follow your lead and not rely so much on my own initiative,” the Commander replied. “What happened to you on the temple?”

“The last Lunari told me about the future of this world and then left the outcome of prophecy in my hands. That is when the eruption occurred.”

“His powers must have been keeping the volcano from erupting before that,” Commander Sidrahkir said. “We could see the light at the top, but the voice told us not to go anywhere near the temple.” King Belgrave nodded. “What of the prophecy?” the Commander asked.

“This place did not fulfill prophecies,” King Belgrave said. “It only gave me a glimpse of what needs to be done. I need to go to the three lands to the west to find the three rings.”

“It is doubtful anyone lives there,” Commander Sidrahkir said. “I believe they are smaller than Tanarad, but it could still take years to search even just one of those lands for something as small as a ring that has been laying there for a thousand years.”

“Nevertheless, that is where we must go if I am to fulfill the prophecies,” King Belgrave replied. “The prophecies have been fairly straight forward so far and I believe there will be some sort of aid along the way, or at least something to make them easier to find.”

“There may be help, or there may not be help,” the Commander said. “Even so, all of us who went through the forest will go with you. What did the Lunari tell you about the future of this world?”

“He said that the end of the prophecies will be the start of a new age,” King Belgrave said. “He said it would be an age without prophecy and that a queen would come during the age to warn of the final judgment of this world.” He paused. “I really don’t know if I’m even allowed to tell you that.”

Commander Sidrahkir shrugged. “People talk and a Lunari would have known that. Besides, with the prophecies we’ve already spent our entire lives looking to the future.”

“You have indeed,” King Belgrave agreed, “but the Lunari said that more than prophecy was written at the beginning of the world and someday those things are going to happen.”

“If you were never told how long the age would last, then perhaps it might happen in my lifetime. Perhaps this queen could even be someone that we would know,” Sidrahkir speculated.

King Belgrave smiled at the Commander. “An age can also last thousands of years so there’s a very good chance that it won’t happen in your lifetime. We should get some rest; we’ll be leaving Panei as soon as King Anou readies some ships for us.”