back to Gladius and the Bartlett Trial »
previous chapter
next chapter

Chapter 12

The Secret

Back in the cave, Mulhurt sat thinking about the latest happenings of this wanderlust eagle. Was something astir? He knew from the onset that when he gained control of Lake Gygax he would gain more enemies then allies, but there was only one man he gave any serious consideration. One person who could possibly take away everything he fought for; the only other person who shared his long-held secret.

His brother, Purl Kilmor.

Could he be behind this renegade eagle somehow, Mulhurt wondered?

Just before their father's death, Mulhurt and his brother were brought to his bedside and entrusted with a longstanding family secret.

“Sons. My great-blessed sons,” he remembered him saying. “Come, sit on the edge of my bed. Come, one on each side. I have something to tell that no mortal soul should ever know, but as it is, I do, and as you can see I am far from immortality.”

Mulhurt remembered the ashen face of his dying father, his jaundiced eyes, his wispy white hair.

His father's voice continued. “You, too, will know this secret, but you will not know it as I know it. Between the two of you, I will tell everything. It will be up to you both to learn to be kin.” Mulhurt flinched, remembering these words. He and his brother had been bitter enemies since their youth.

“I ask you to share the secret I bestow upon you and work together to earn the true powers of the secret that has eluded me for most my life.

“With the knowledge of this secret I bestow upon you – you will gain absolute power and total control of all lands. However, I am not ignorant enough to misunderstand the ruin a secret like this can bring to one family. That is why I will tell one of you the first half of the secret and the other the second half. The true power will come when the two of you find a compromise to succeed at discovering the secret together. For me, my reward will be the true bond of my family. I can go to my grave in peace. I must give each of you one half of the puzzle so you may begin your quest.”

For Mulhurt, the words his father spoke would outline his life for him. The very words that brought him to where he was today and would take him to his place in the world of tomorrow. Mulhurt again reflected on the sacred words his father meant for his ears only.

“My son Mulhurt, listen closely. I have told your brother Purl his mix of the secret already and now you shall get yours. You will be looking for a bust of a head and shoulders, cast of pure gold. It is in the likeness of the greatest wizard to have ever lived. His name was Alaric. Brilliant Alaric soon grew bored with this world and wanted to leave so he left a secret riddle behind, that if found could be used to control all the lands. This bust I have told you of is your half of the secret. You must place the bust atop a stone statue of Alaric in the Hills of the Moon. Your brother Purl has the other half of the secret and now you two sons of mine must work together if you are to gain this absolute power.”

“But, father, how is this secret known and what does this bust look like? Where are the Hills of the Moon?” Mulhurt asked.

“Sound questions, my son. I have concluded that only he who can physically put the two secrets together will have the power. I am too old for that kind of power, so I will it on to you and your brother. As I told Purl, you two will have to figure out the true meaning of the secret. The Hills of the Moon you will find on your own and as for what does the bust look like. . . son, you will know it when you see it. It looks just like a golden bust of the greatest wizard you have ever seen.”

Those were the last words Mulhurt's father spoke to him. Death came with a smile, as he repeated, ‘“It looks just like the greatest wizard you have ever seen.” The words took anchor in Mulhurt's mind.