The Belzandramanian
By
Daniel Thomas Andrew Daly
http://noahidebooks.angelfire.com

Dedicated to
David Eddings – The Master


Prologue
Torak Brooded.  Ul had chided him again and again, yet the god of
destruction paid no heed.  He cared not.  His slaying had been the
ultimate act of humiliation, unable to escape the prophecy of destiny
that Ul had been mastermind behind.  And now he brooded, caught up in
a deathly afterlife, tormented by his father, unable to see any of his
brethren.

And then, the gods took council, and forgave Torak, deeming he had
learned his lesson.  But Ul new more wisely.

Sitting in the abode of darkness, beyond all light, Torak looked at
the helpless figure, caught up in her wickedness.  And an idea
permeated his mind, and idea of revenge, wrath and delusion.  And the
Mad God Torak looked upon this figure and the name ‘Belzandramas’
entered his head.  And then he chuckled with a most evil chuckle, and
a new prophecy began forming in the mind of Ul, the eternal God.


Chapter One
Belgarion studied the Mrin Codex.  Ce Nedra, in the background, was busily at work, as had become her manner, preparing the nightly meal.
It was simple now, Belgarian thought to himself.  Very simple.  Here
he was, living on Faldor’s farm, away from the limelight of Riva and
Kingship, which had been turned over to Belgeran.  For he had, in a
way, abdicated to choose the simple life.  The life he had been
brought up with, when things were innocent and new.  When, perhaps, he
had been a more naïve lad, unaware of prophecies and orbs and Mad
god’s called Torak.

He had craved this for so long, living in Riva, with all his
responsibilities.  And, while for so long it had seemed as if the
glory of Kingship would be a glory to last forever, something had
seemed lacking.  And so, Ce Nedra in tow, he had returned to Sendaria,
purchased the land and farm, and reclaimed his lost youth.  And he had
never, really, been happier.

In fact, he was Garion again.  He had made a decision, a simple
decision, that Garion was who he was, and that the power of Bel did
not need to claim his heart.  Garion was his name, and that would
suffice.

He looked over at the orb, sitting on the mantelpiece, glowing calmly
and happily.  It was like that these days, radiating warmth and
friendliness.  Teaching him, in his dreams and waking hours simpler
things of life.  Simpler things which took over from the grand epics
of glory.  And he was content in these simpler things, happily
residing with Ce Nedra, occasionally partaking of visitors of his old
friends.

Mr Wolf came every now and again, and Aunt Polgara.  They came,
chatting about this and that, often in heated disputation.  But that
was the charming life he knew in those two and, seemingly, things
would never change.

He left off his studies and walked to the window, looking out at the
farm.  He remembered those days long ago, of clucking chickens and
mooing cows.  And how simple and easy life had been, under Faldor’s
guidance and Durnik’s steady walk.  And thinking how good those
simpler things were, a knock came to the door, and destiny intruded
once more on the life of Garion, son of Geran.

Taking the message from the deliverer, Garion re-entered the house,
and sat down to read it.

Things of life are never seen, to eyes in shadowy realm
By this it seems I truly mean, the dark is where I dwell
Your life is forfeit, deathly foe, my vengeance will be sure
When death’s dark blade of purest might comes knocking on your door’

An excerpt from the ‘Chronicle of Torak’


And that was all the message read.
‘Who was at the door, Garion.’
‘Uh, just a message Ce Nedra.’
‘For me ?’
‘I don’t think so.’
He looked at the message again and considered its origin.  It was a
prank, surely.  Surely a prank.  He had never heard of the Chronicle
of Torak and believed it some fraud, the product of a grudge from an
old enemy of the king.  Surely that was all it was.  But he would show
it to Belgarath when he next visited and ask his grandfathers
opinion.  He would not be too hasty to throw out this message – life
had taught him caution, and ignoring threats was not always the best
and wisest course of action.





He put it away, in a drawer, and went off to dinner.  But it was on
his mind all that night – most definitely on his mind.
 
*   *   *   *   *
 
Unreal.  Unalive.  Unbeing.  Unkown.  Undead.  But now, suddenly,
aware.  Aware of herself and a name – a name which, somehow, was not
quite what it had been, but was now something new.  Born again, as it
where, from a spirit of unbeing to a spirit of power, madness and
wrath.  Most definitely a spirit of wrath.
 
Belzandramas surveyed her surroundings.  They looked familiar yet
not.  A mountain, a large mountain, covered with grass and trees. 
Yet, looking down to the base, ice everywhere.  Nothing but ice as far
as she could see.  And then, turning her head, she surveyed the entire
circumference of the mountain – a neverending parade of ice, in all
directions.  She was stranded.  Yet, quickly, the instincts came to
the fore.  Finely tuned survival instincts, from a spirit of life
carefully guided to the fulfilment of darkness, as she knew so truly. 
And then, a thought.  A boy.  A Man.  A King.  Belgarion, yes, that
was his name.  And another, a seeress.  A seeress who had made a
dreadful choice and vanquished her as a result.  And then, peering
into her own heart, she found the secret.  The dreadful, wicked
secret, some being had placed there.  ‘Don’t be so obvious’, it had
said.  ‘Don’t be so obvious.’  And then she delighted in the dark,
amazing evil in her soul.  And vengeance seemed so pleasant.  So
deliciously pleasant.
 
*   *   *   *   *
 
‘How far you have fallen, Kheldar.  How far you have fallen.’
‘Don’t call me that.  It’s Silk, okay.  Like the old days.’
Barak nodded.  ‘So, what’s next for the prince of thieves?  What
next?’
‘I have business in Mallorea.  Up north.  There is a merchantman who
has an item, a particular item, which is of interest to myself.’
‘What item.’
‘A Scroll.  A scroll, just emerged.  Beldin mentioned it.  Said it is
a new one, but an old one.  Gave me some confusing explanation.  Wants
me to obtain it – said he’d make it worth my while.’
‘Then to Mallorea it is.  Oh, and can we avoid going through Thull
like the last time.  I don’t want to run into Jandok.  His threats
were not nice, Silk.  Not nice.’
‘The prettiness of Thullian maidens if often hard to resist, dear
Barak, especially for one as smooth as myself.  And now that I am
alone again, well, she was willing and wanting and I could not say
know.’
‘As befits a prince of your kind,’ said Barak, a grin on his face.
‘Oh, shut up.’
‘Where in Mallorea?’
‘Just across from the land bridge, up near the coast.  A small
village, Lameth.  This merchantmen trades in pearls and gold and
silver, but has interest in things religious and prophetical. 
Apparently he acquired the scroll from a mad priest, dressed in brown
robes, muttering something about the end of the world.  A ‘Doomsayer’
he called him.’
‘Doomsayer?  What is all that about?’
‘No idea Barak,’ responded Silk.  ‘But I surmise we will find out soon
enough.’
‘Then to Mallorea it is.  Are you paying for the ale?’
Silk gave him a look, was about to suggest something rather rude as to
Barak’s current lack of funds, but went and paid for the ale.  Exiting
the inn from somewhere in southern Arendia they returned to their
horses, and got under way.  Looking at the sun, which was late in sky,
Silk thought over his life.  He was ageing, now.  Much older.  But
adventure was still in the heart of Kheldar and he sensed with this
scroll something new in the air.  Something that was fundamental to
all Alorns and Angaraks as well.  Something quite fundamental.
 
*   *   *   *   *
 
Polgara sat on the donkey as her father lead it carefully through the
dark, enchanted forest.  ‘I don’t think I have been to this part of
Karanda before.  Are you sure this is the right place?’
‘You keep asking, Pol.  Have a little faith.  Beldin insisted that the
monastery, as they call it, was around here somewhere.  Deep into the
forest.’
‘Alright, I’ll trust you.  I don’t like it, but for once old fool I
will give you a break.’
‘Very funny.’
They travelled on through the dark twilight.  Somehow, despite it
being bright and sunny outside the forest, they seemed to have entered
a twilight realm.  A realm beyond Mallorea, almost otherlike.  Yet,
presumably, always have been here.  He remembered what Beldin said. 
‘When you cross beyond the edge of nothing, remember you will find
darkness there.  A darkness which Torak himself feared.  So beware.’ 
Belgerath laughed to himself.  High drama was not always the way of
Beldin, but something had happened to him just recently.  An encounter
with Ul which had changed him.  A dark, dramatic encounter, in which
the Father God had given him portents of destruction to chill the
bones.
 
As they walked along, the leaves rustling in the wind, both of them
feeling as if dark eyes were watching them, eyes set on malevolence,
eyes foreboding trouble, eyes with no good will.  But perhaps they
were just whispers of darkness, and perhaps that is all they were. 
Belgerath was old, now, ancient in many ways.  But here, beyond the
edge of nothing, he sensed something he had never quite encountered. 
A spirit, an aura, which could perhaps be only called evil.  Or
haunting at the very least.
 
He thought back to younger years, years encountering dark wizards and
evil sorcerers.  Years in which his knowledge, skill and talents had
been put to the test.  Yet somehow, in this dark place, his faith in
his abilities had vanished, and it was with tender treading of foot
that this warrior wizard walked onwards, carefully guiding the donkey,
hoping not to disturb those dark whispers who wanted no disturbance.
 
And then, a clearing, and safety.  For there, rising up in front of
them, apparently what could only be the monastery and a lake beside
it, with the most beautiful garden of trees.
‘Thank the orb,’ said Polgara, as they came out of the dark into the
light.
‘This, then, looks like the place,’ said Belgerath.’
‘I would surmise as much myself, father.’
They continued to walk on, coming to the monastery itself, with large
wooden doors.  Belgerath looked around.  ‘We knock I suppose.’
‘I would consider that a good idea,’ said Polgara sarcastically.
Belgerath knocked and they waited.  After 5 minutes of patience, no
response forthcoming, he knocked again, but still no answer. 
Frustrated he came to sit down next to Polgara who had just returned
with 2 pieces of fruit from the garden, and handing one to her father,
began eating.
‘Perhaps they are busy, or absent at the moment.’
‘Should we enter?’ inquired Polgara.
‘I’m not sure.  They might consider that rude.  Karandan’s are always
difficult to understand.’
‘If they are Karandan’s.  We don’t know were these doomsayers come
from – they are so different, so other, to anything I have ever
encountered.’
‘They come from Karadarak, and speak of ‘Auarii’,’ responded
Belgerath.  I have conversed with one in some detail.  This is the
next chosen ‘Realm’ as they call it to suffer the ‘Testing’.
‘What are speaking of old man?’
‘They are now Karandan’s by choice, so they claim.  But they are other
origin.  Origin not of our world.  The place, ‘Karadarak’ is on
another world, another planet, were a testing took place.  A testing
in which the inhabitants came through on their faith.  They passed the
testing and the ‘Doomsayers’ have now come here.  For we are the next
world on their agenda.’
‘Why have you not shared this with me before?’
‘The time is right now, daughter.  You did not need to know
previously.’
She looked at him, thought of arguing, but then thought better of it. 
‘So, what was it that Beldin asked of Silk?’
‘He is acquiring a scroll for us.  Part of a new Chronicle.  A new
Chronicle which is part of an ancient Chronicle.  Something beyond
time and space.’
‘You speak in riddles.  Become clear to me father.’
‘Beldin speaks of words Ul shared with him, but will say nothing more
than that which I have said.  Nothing much more, that is.’
She looked at him, just shook her head, and took another bite of her
fruit.
‘Besides, you are still young daughter.  Not ready, I think, for such
things as I would speak of.  For I fear you impetuosity in confronting
that which you are not ready for.’
‘I am near as old as you, old man.  Do not speak to me like a child.’
He came over, held her by the shoulders, and spoke softly.  ‘But you
are my child, Polgara.  You have always been as such, and I love you
dearly.  And I would not lose you for your headstrong attitudes.  I
would not lose you.’
Polgara softened, and looked at him.  ‘Yes, I understand.’
 
They sat there, after a while taking a drink from the well, and having
a look around.  The building was quite large, like Belgerath’s own
tower, and similar in spirit in some ways.  But after they gently
tried opening the front doors, which appeared to be the only way in,
and finding them locked, they were becoming quite frustrated.  And
then Belgerath noticed a button of sorts, a metallic button near the
door.  Coming over to it he pushed it, and with some effort it went in
and immediately a bell inside the door began ringing.
‘We should have known that,’ said Polgara.
‘Perhaps we are just getting old,’ responded Belgerath.
 
Within a few moments they heard footfalls on the other side of the
door, and a window opened with a man looking at them.  He gazed at
them, said nothing though, and then closed the window.  Shortly though
the door opened and he came out to greet them, dressed in long brown
robes.
‘I am Napier.  Are you the wizard?  Are you Beldin?’
‘Close,’ responded Belgerath.  ‘I am Belgerath, his associate.’
Napier nodded.  ‘Good, good.  Then please come in.  We would have
words with you, Belgerath.  We would have words with you.’  With those
words said Napier turned and entered the monastery, and Belgerath,
giving Polgara a cautious look, followed, Polgara on his heels.
 
*   *   *   *   *



*   *   *   *   *



Silk looked at the ship.  ‘Are you sure it’s safe?’
‘It might be old, but I am sure it will get us there.  Don’t worry
Silk.  Don’t worry.’
‘Yes, don’t worry.’  They boarded the old warrior, and Juntarr the
captain gave them a nod, happy to have paying customers.  The ship set
sail a few hours later, and as they made their way towards Mallorea,
the sea air in his lungs, Silk considered the future.  Dark times lay
ahead, it seemed, for the world.  Dark times in which many would fear
and worry.  Common souls, not given over to concerns of prophecies and
mad gods.  Common souls, caught up in a frenzy of fear.  This is what
Beldin spoke of, what the doomsayers spoke of.  A time of testing, a
time of worry.  As they sailed along, Barak handing him a leg of
chicken and a mug of apple cider, Silk gave quiet thought to his own
view on what Beldin had raised.  Ul was approaching a new time in the
realm of the gods, and choices were being made.   Choices of life and
death.  There was a place prepared for the Alorns and the Angaraks and
the Malloreans.  And a place prepared for those of the other
continents, Yulenthea and Junissa.  But a testing was to come – a
testing from these dread doomsayers.  And to gain that place in the
life hereafter, only those whose faith was sure would see the testing
through.  And this testing of faith, which Beldin spoke of, coming
from the eldest god, was to sort them out.  To make men of them.  To
bring forth a new world, unlike the old one, the one passing away, the
one to be gone forever.  Silk trusted Ul, though he knew him not, but
the new world dawning.  What that spoke of?  Well, time would tell.

He sat down, drinking his mug of ale, smiling to himself.  Life was
good again, now.  He was old, but felt young.  Felt young in his
spirit, alive to life.  A quiet joy was in his heart, and things were
good again.  The vigour of youth was still in his bones, and Barak, as
always, a brave companion through which he saw the struggles of life.
Yes life was good, but the testing was at hand.  And a quiet prayer to
Ul was upon him later that night as he prepared for the trials of the
heart.

*   *   *   *   *

Belzandramas found the cave after a week of eating berries and
drinking snow.  It lead for a lengthy mile, illuminated by glowing
rock.  In the heart of the mountain she found the well.  A pool,
crystal clear, with liquid bluey green in colour.  It wasn’t water.
It wasn’t something she was at all familiar with.  But it seemed to be
all that this mountain had to offer and so, not thinking any thing
could possibly go wrong, put her hand in the pool and stirred the
water, almost instinct-like.  And then something happened.  Voices
began speaking, quickly, many of them, mostly female, but the
occasional male.  And then, suddenly, springing up out of the pool
little boxes of light, boxes in which faces were seen.  And then,
after a while, these faces were the voices speaking.  They danced
through the cave, some chasing each other, some having fun and
laughing, some buzzing around over Belzandramas’ head.  And then,
seemingly satisfied, they came and hovered over Belzandramas, and
looked at her.  A male spoke.  ‘Bellie, bellie, bellie.  You do look
pretty, don’t you.’  Belzandramas remained silent.  ‘Well, no matter.
No matter.’  A female spoke.  ‘So, what next Belzandramas?  Do you
know?’
Belzandramas spoke.  ‘Vengeance.’
‘And why?’ asked the male.
Belzandramas was about to answer, but softened, and sat on the floor
to think about that.  After a few moments of contemplation she began
sense something changing in her mind, something from a new choice she
had made.  A wiser choice.  ‘Power, then.  Ruling all, being goddess
of glory?’
‘Why?’ asked a female.
Again, she thought on the answer, the most obvious one, but then
considered it.
‘Well, it would be mine to decide the fate of all who are.  They could
be crushed by my merest whim.’
‘Sounds good,’ said a voice, and flew away to look over the cave.
‘So that is what you want then?’ asked the woman again.
Belzandramas looked at her, softened again, and thought of something
new.
‘Then what do you suggest I seek, spirits of wisdom?’
‘That really is up to you.  But some things are better than others.
Some things are wiser than others.  Some things last longer than
others.  And a matter of the heart always rules over a matter of the
head, dear Zandramas.  Always.’
Zandramas looked through cold eyes, but softened again.  ‘My name is
Belzandramas.  That is my new name.  The old one is gone now, gone
forever.’
‘As you see fit,’ said the woman.  ‘As you see fit.  Well, we do have
a task for you.  Complete this task and you will gain a reward.  A
reward we are sure you will enjoy.’
‘And the task?’
‘What you wanted anyway.  Torak needs a consort, and we have chosen
yourself.  There is a destiny now, and 3 nations are part of that
destiny.  Torak desires to rule each, but your task is this.  Betrothe
him, wed him, marry him, and help him to accomplish all he desires.
Yet prevent him, if you can, from his goals.  Prevent him from ruling
these 3 nations, and let not your heart betray yourself, or be given
away.  For if you can lead him down the destiny we have chosen, those
3 nations will belong to you.  But if you fail, and he gains one, you
will not have your reward.  But there are certain terms.  You must
tell him to conquer these nations, encourage him to rule, to raise up
Mallorea and conquer the west.  To be king and god and ruler of all.
For war is in his heart, in his blood, and you must aid him to conquer
each Kingdom.  But if he does, if you can not through your charms and
cunning ways prevent him from doing so, by whatever means you so
choose, then he will reign, and you shall not have your reward.  But
if you succeed, if he fails, then the reward will be great.  Indeed
eternal, Belzandramas.  Indeed eternal.’

And then they all smiled at her, played around one last time, and
disappeared back into the pool.  And Belzandramas knew then her
mission, and was away, headed out of the cave, headed for Mallorea,
and her meeting with destiny.

*   *   *   *   *

Garion sat in front of the fire.  Ce Nedra was lying against him,
drifting off to sleep, seemingly not concerned about things.  And then
he heard the crowd.  Rising to his feet he went to the window to see
many people gathered outside, holding torches.  He went to the door,
opened it, and a group of fifty or so local villagers stood there,
looking at him menacingly.  And then a figure dressed in brown robes
came forth from them, looked at him and yelled ‘Heretic.  The wrath of
Ul is on you.  You are an abomination in his eyes.’  And the
villagers, all fearing the man, just glared at Garion.
He looked a little nervous, thought of fetching the orb, but told
himself to remain calm.  Words of Belgerath echoed through his mind.
‘Under pressure, stay calm.  Think carefully.’  He surveyed the man
who continued to glare at him, dressed in the brown robes with a rope
around the waist.  His head was shaved in a circular fashion at the
top, a deliberate bald spot, and he held a black, leather-bound book.
Garion spoke slowly ‘Friend.  I am no heretic, I assure you.  I am
King of the west, King Belgarion.  I simply dwell here now and my son
rules in my stead at Riva.  What concerns you?’
The man glared at him, turned to the crowd, and opened his book.  And
then he began speaking.  ‘Thus saith Ul, the god of god’s.  Beware the
power of the king, for in his pride he shall exalt his heart above
menfolk, believing himself superior, believing himself the one.  He
lives only to rule you, not to care for you, not to heal you, not to
bring you wealth or goodness.  He lives for himself and his own
glory.  So tear down these pillars, and be as one.  The word of Ul has
spoken.’
The crowd nodded.  ‘Yes brother,’ one of the villagers spoke.  ‘We
believe that Ul has spoken, and we will follow Ul our God.’
‘Aye, we will,’ responded the crowd.  The brother turned to Garion, a
mad look of zeal on his face, seemingly satisfied with the victory of
faith he had achieved.  ‘You will come with us, now.  And we will take
you to judgement.  You will taste fear, oh king.  You will taste
fear.’
Garion, looking at the villagers, knew they were serious.  But he
would have faith.  ‘Let me kiss my wife, and I will come.’  The
brother nodded, and Garion hastened inside.  He grabbed the Mrin
Codex, the orb, kissed Ce Nedra without waking her, and hastened
outside.  They took him then, brought him to a cart and placed him
there, in chains, to lead him off.  As they drove along Garion stayed
calm.  They would see reason, he knew as much in the end.  The orb
softly whispered as such to him.  But for now he was concerned.
Something was wrong in Sendaria, something was wrong.  And he sensed,
in the air, a new spirit had come forth.  A new spirit which might,
just might, not be for the good of everyone.

*   *   *   *   *

Errand was dead, gone.  Gone to were he could not return.  But another
child had been born, born not far from Faldor’s farm, to an innocent
Sendarian family, full of simple things and quiet joys.  She was
Gemma, a pleasant girl, now 12, full of life and love, friendly to
all, with no enemies.  And when she saw Garion being lead away, she
followed at a distance, hopeful to try and free him somehow, for she
believed in her king, and new him to be a good man.  They were wrong,
the villagers, and the ‘Brother’ should not be listened to.  There was
something, not right about him.  Something in his eyes, in his manner,
in the way he spoke to people.  A sneering attitude.  A pride which
felt itself better than others, as if he was the special chosen one of
Ul, which so he claimed.  She didn’t believe him – she didn’t believe
him at all.  And if she had not known that her King had slain Torak,
she would have believed the mad god risen from death.

As she followed along, the villagers began singing and praising Ul,
and the brother seemed to grow in mad delight.  Things were not good,
now.  Darkness was here, and it was not going away.  But she had hope
– she had hope.  And with that hope she would persevere until the
truth came forth, and the darkness left, left her land and left the
west forever.

*   *   *   *   *

And then an hour of darkness befell the west, and the sun was dim for
a while, and people fell to fear, and the doomsayers spread even more
so, speaking of the final end of time, and the end of what was to be,
and the final day of judgement.





Chapter Two

The three provinces long had a custom of infighting.  But, hey,
Yulenthean’s had never really given a damn about keeping peaceful
ways, stuck down on the southern part of the world, away from the
larger continents.  Kmran, which never ceased to claim the founding of
‘Yulen’, always bragged of being the oldest of the three provinces,
and suggested to the other two, quite often, they should show them the
respect they deserved.  Millennia of warfare, and occasional tribute,
still had not brought such respect, but nobody cared that much in the
end anyway.  That was a Yulenthean spirit – not caring that much.  The
southern province, ‘Shrar’, liked to think itself superior due to its
greater wealth.  They had much gold and precious gems, and felt itself
the true province of desire.  Yet Braed, the eastern province, was the
largest, and made its own boast based usually on this and other such
arguments.  They fought, it was Yulenthean civil war every century or
so, but somehow, someway, in Yulen peace treaties eventually came
forth and disputes were inevitably settled.

The city of Yulen lay at the crossroads, as it were, of the three
provinces.  Right in the heart of Yulenthea, on the coast of the main
inlet of the continent, the provincial borders went northwards and
eastwards, dividing the continent into three neat and even chunks.
Yulen, for most Yulentheans, was usually were the action was, and home
to over 20 million souls, divided evenly amongst each province as the
provincial borders ran through the heart of the city.  Right on the
coast itself, right were the borders all lined up, sat the Palace of
Yulenthea, the place of the Yulenthean Monarchy.  As you may expect,
it was a fractured monarchy much of the time, an endless parade of
royal houses all usurping one another for a time period in traditional
rules of combat and glory, claiming the throne, and ruling their
world.  Many a house had ruled more than once, some even three or four
times.  But that was the game, as it was called.  The game of
rulership, the monarchy of power, and no house really was given to
quitting on that particular agenda.

The current house of glory were the Dalkindo’s, an traditional Braedan
house.  They had not ruled before, and had been in the seat of power
for quite some time now.  In fact, four centuries, and they still saw
no sign of being taken.  The current monarch, Jezabel Dalkindo, spoke
of a more sensible spirit having pervaded Yulenthea, one of an apathy
in which peace seemed suitable for a time, for a while.  And most
Yulentheans did not object that much, going about the regular humdrum
of everyday life, pursuing their own private agendas, goals and dreams
of glory.  But there was one Yulenthean, one in particular, which had
ambition.  Definite ambition.  Jek Barder saw himself fit to be king
of the Yulentheans, and while he was gifted with intelligence and good
looks, his lack of fighting ability spoke of a dream of kingship
which, while hoped for dearly, remained just that – a dream.  You see,
the challenge was about the only way, in the end, to take the throne
for any length of time.  It was an unwritten custom, or perhaps
expectation, in Yulenthea, that to take the throne a duel must
ultimately take place.  And Jek Barder could not fight.  But he was
smart, cunning and wise, successful in business, and with an aptitude
to increase in knowledge.  What he lacked in physical prowess he made
up for with his wit, and with that particular wit he planned, every
few weeks, about how he might just achieve the glory he sought.  It
would happen one day, of that he was certain.  But for now, while he
planned valiantly, it was business as usual, and their were customers
to see to.

The bell rang and coming to the front of the shop, a figure stood
before him, dressed in long brown robes, a rope tied around his waist,
and his hair cut in a fashion which made a bald spot in the centre.
And he was carrying a black leather book.
‘Yes,’ said Jek.  ‘Would you like some fish?  We have a fine catch
today.’
‘I have not come for fish, brother.  Not to catch fish at all.  For I
am a fisher of men, and he who is has called you into his kingdom.’
Jek looked at the man, and laughed to himself.  ‘Well, if you don’t
want any fish, how about an umbrella.  We have a good stock in, all
the way from Junissa.  Sturdy, reliable ones.  They work well.’
‘I fear not the rain, brother.  For the latter rain is a blessing and
it is now raining from heaven upon the kingdom of men.  And you are
chosen from this latter rain, brother.  You are chosen for glory.’
Jek looked at him, now a little curious.  ‘And what is this glory you
speak of?’
‘You crave the rulership of Yulenthea, do you not?  He who is knows
all the desires of the heart.’
Now Jek took him a little more seriously.  ‘I don’t know how you knew
that, but yes.  Yes I crave the fair kingship.  But how can a man
dressed as you are possibly offer me such a prize?’
‘He who is can offer you such a prize, Mr Barder.  He has never
failed.’
Jek nodded to himself.  He was not a religious man, but knew of Ul.
Perhaps there would be something in this madman’s hazy eyes which
could grant him the glory he sought.  Perhaps, for now he would
listen.  Perhaps, for now, he would consider this most tempting offer.
‘I am listening.  Speak on.’
‘As I knew you would, child of he who is.  As I knew you would.’

*   *   *   *   *





What is the charge?’ asked Garion, sitting in the local village hall,
the villagers all looking in intently, the chief of the village
looking reluctant about Garion being arrested, but fearing the man of
God more.  The ‘Doomsayer’, as the villagers had called him,
responded.  ‘Has not he who is granted you power, authority and
wealth?’

Garion considered the question and assented.  ‘Yes, I guess he has.
What is your point?’

And what has thou done with this esteemed position?’

Ruled for a time being.  My son is now responsible in my stead.’

The Doomsayer looked at the villagers.  ‘You have heard his
confession.’  He turned back to look at Garion, his eyes blazing
furious flames.  ‘You admit it then.  You have ‘ruled’ he said,
sneeringly.

And what is your objection to that?’ asked Garion.  Yet the Doomsayer
ignored him.  He spoke again.

And, have you become wealthy?  Wealthy beyond all mortal men?’

Garion nodded.  ‘Yes.  Yes the kingship is the wealthiest in the
realm.  The Arch Regent of Mallorea rivals me, but I am wealthier it
is said.’

Again, another confession,’ said the Doomsayer.  He is clearly
guilty.  What more need be said.

Guilty of what?’ asked Garion, now confused.  The villagers looked at
the Doomsayer, eager for him to speak.  The Doomsayer glared at Garion
and, finally, opened his leather-bound book.  ‘Thus says the Gospel of
the Lord Almighty.  ‘Seek ye riches?  Nay, I tell you, seek poverty.
For the rich are beset with pride and seek to dominate and manipulate
others with the power they achieve, to destroy livelihoods and make
their fellow man, likewise made in the image of Ul, their slaves and
servants eternal.  Riches are for fools, dear disciples.  Heed my
words and take note.’  The man closed the book, looked at Garion,
again with a sneer, and looked at the villagers.  ‘The lord has
spoken, let his name be praised.’  And all the villagers yelled
‘Praise the Lord.’  Garion looked worried.  An angry mob was always
difficult to calm down.  He would have to speak with wisdom.  He
looked at the Mrin Codex but, just then, a little voice in his heart
said ‘Let your own words suffice.’  And so he spoke truly.

It was prophecy which chose me for kingship.  I was a simple lad,
living at Faldor’s farm, not dreaming of such things.  But such things
chose me, as perhaps they have done for others in other times and
other places.  Could I truly refuse such a calling?  For this Gospel
of the Lord you speak of I have not heard of.  I know of Ul and the
other gods, but not this gospel, so feel perplexed in being judged by
its words.  I have never sought ill will towards another man, never
sought to prevent his desires of wealth or his own dominion.  I have
never sought to manipulate or abuse my responsibilities.  I deny such
a charge, and while we may differ over the need for Kingship and
authority, I understand your perspective and see your point.  But I do
not hold my self guilty of wrongdoing, and my conscience thusly bears
witness.’  The Doomsayer glared at him for a moment, glaring madly,
and looked at the crowd who had softened, and were looking at him.
And then he came forward, held out his hand to Garion, who reluctantly
shook it.  And then he spoke in a new voice, a different voice, a
calmer, more sedate, more humane voice.  ‘Well spoken King of the
West.  It would seem they have chosen wisely to have your gracious
decency rule for them.  You are a good King, and the Lord Almighty is
pleased with you.  Your testing has come, and you have spoken words of
honesty and truth.  Go in the name of the Lord, and may he bless you
with life everlasting.’  Garion looked at the ‘Doomsayer’, not really
sure what to say, but stepped down from his seat, watched as the
villagers gradually dispersed, and slowly, carefully, made his way out
of the hall.  The chief of the village came up to him, shook his hand,
and apologized for the difficulties.  And then he encouraged Garion to
return to Riva saying the Lord’s will was for the King to return, now,
for difficult times lay ahead.  So the Doomsayer claimed.  And, thus,
Garion returned home to Ce Nedra, who was still asleep, placed the Orb
back on the mantelpiece, and once again considered just what was going
on in the world.




The ship landed at Lameth late on a sunny afternoon, and Silk and
Barak exited, thanked the captain and the crew, and made their way to
a local inn.  ‘So where is this place?’ asked Barak.

On the northern edge of the village.  The merchantman’s name is
Davros.  We shouldn’t have too much trouble tracking him down.  The
villagers are bound to know where he is.’

Let’s hope so,’ responded Barak.  They came to the inn ‘The Golden
Eagle’ and booked a room for the night.  Drinking ale and eating
supper they noticed the eyes of the inn upon them, and hushed and
whispered voices exclaiming they were strangers and something about
the Doomsayer needing to see them to judge them. ‘What are they
whispering about,’ asked Barak.

The new cult.  The Doomsayers.  It looks as if they have reached
Lameth.  We will have to have our wits about us.’  They continued to
drink their ale and eat their supper when the innkeeper came over to
speak with them.  ‘Look, we don’t want any trouble here, so when the
father gets here, go along quietly, okay.  It will just be trouble
otherwise.’

What father?’ asked Silk.

The Doomsayer.  Dressed in brown robes with a black book.  You will
know him when he arrives.  Just go quietly – don’t mess with him.  You
will see.  You will trust in the Lord then.  You will trust in the
Lord.’

The innkeeper left and Barak whispered to Silk, ‘Trust in the Lord,
hey.  Do they speak of Ul.’

I am not completely sure, Barak my friend.  But we will find out soon
enough.’  They finished off their meal, thanked the innkeeper and
retired to their room.  The coals in the fireplace were still burning,
so Silk added a log, washed with the basin, and took to his bed.

They were sleeping soundly, and the night was passing by, when they
were suddenly roused by a racket.  Silk rose and Barak got up in his
bed, yawning, and asked ‘By Belar’s beard, what is all this
commotion?’

Silk went to the window and saw outside burning torches.  Suddenly a
man dressed in long brown robes appeared, looked up to them with a
gleeful look, and entered the inn.  Silk turned to Barak – ‘The
Doomsayer is here.  We had best get dressed.’  Barak reluctantly
agreed, and they started dressing.

When they were just pulling on their boots there was a knock at the
door and the innkeeper spoke up.  ‘Guests, there is someone here to
see you.  I am afraid you must come out, or there will be trouble.’

We will be with you in just a second,’ responded Silk.  He looked at
Barak, nervously, but ready.  Whatever was to come now, he would speak
truthfully.  Beldin had given him a hint at what was coming, so it was
time.  Time to face down his demon’s and speak true words.  Prince
Kheldar may have been a thief and a rogue, but he had a good heart,
and surely that was what mattered the most in the end.  Surely that
was what mattered most.

They exited the room and came down to the heart of the inn.  The
Doomsayer was there, surrounded by a dozen villagers, and he glared at
Silk and Barak.  He spoke – ‘Barak, son of Cherek, you have justified
this Prince Kheldar in your heart as worthy of your friendship and
companionship.’  Barak looked at the Doomsayer stunned, not really
knowing how he knew who he was, and amazed because of it.  The
Doomsayer continued.  ‘And thus, Barak son of Cherek, because you have
justified this rogue, we will judge you upon his judgement.  If we
deem him innocent, we will deem you likewise as such.  But if he is
guilty, you will suffer his fate.’  Barak nodded.  He understood such
judgement.

The Doomsayer turned to Kheldar, glaring at him wildly.  ‘We will hold
the judgement here – there is no need to go elsewhere.  You may sit,’
said the Doomsayer, and Silk sat down calmly.  Barak stood back and
watched his own judgement as well.’  The Doomsayer stalked around the
room, looking mighty and powerful in his robes, holding his book of
judgement with pride, ready to accuse Silk for all his lifes
wrongdoings.

Kheldar.  You are a Prince of Drasnia,’ are you not?’

Yes, that is true,’ responded Silk.

Yet you forsake your divine responsibilities and run off on foolish
childish adventures.’

That is not how I see it.’

Silence,’ yelled the Doomsayer, a mad look in his eyes.  ‘I did not
say you could speak.’  He continued to stalk the room and eventually
continued.

You have been known to be prince of thieves.  To deny others their
hard earned rewards of work and glory in their wealth.  Do you deny
this charge?’

Silk hung his head, shamefully.  ‘No.  No, I don’t deny that.  I have
had a lifetime of roguish ways, I admit that.’

The Doomsayer nodded.  ‘So it would seem, Kheldar.  So it would seem.’
And then he opened up his book and read.  ‘Thus says the Gospel of the
Lord.  My disciples, do not run with men of wickedness, who steal
other’s belongings, and glory in their prowess of such an art.  For
they deny the work of those who pursued their rewards with an honest
heart.  Such men are wicked, do not consort with them.’  Thus says the
Gospel of the Lord,’ and the Doomsayer closed the book.  He looked
around, again with a wild glare in his eyes, and gazed at the
villagers.  ‘He is guilty – who would disagree?’  And all the
villagers assented as one.

Silk felt downtrodden.  It was as if a lifetime of his roguish ways
had finally caught up with him and now judgement had come.  He was
guilty and could give no defense.  The Doomsayer glared at him, his
eyes wildly alive.  ‘Do you not have anything to say in your defense,
Prince Kheldar, Prince of Thieves.’

Kheldar looked up, and spoke all that he really could say.  ‘Tis true,
Doomsayer.  I am a rogue.  I am not proud of that, and have
beforetimes regretted my ways.  But it almost seems as if it is a life
I had no choice in living.  As if it was a destiny inescapable and the
thrill of the adventure was a drug I simply could not avoid.  I will
say this, though.  I have only robbed the rich, and never left a poor
man hungry.  I have not really been a violent man, and have had
adventures which have changed this world for the better.  I believe I
have a good heart, despite my many flaws, and more than that, well I
can not say.  It is just the way I am, I guess.  Just the way I am.’
The Doomsayer looked at him sternly, and then spoke in a strict voice,
but a voice which hinted at a previously unknown sense of compassion.
‘And that is your defence, child of he who is?  Those are your own
words?’

Yes,’ nodded Kheldar.

And the Doomsayer softened.  ‘Then you have judged yourself, Prince
Kheldar.  And before these villagers as witness I declare that the
Lord Almighty favours you and will give you a blessing.  For you have,
in truth, not been a burden to others and have given joy and
friendship to those who, at times, have needed it the most.  Go in
peace Kheldar.  The Lord’s blessing be upon you.’  Silk, uneasily,
rose from his chair and looked at Barak.  The Doomsayer spoke with the
innkeeper and giving Silk one last look left the inn.  The judgement
had come and Silk knew, in his heart, just what that judgement had
been.




‘The Doomsayers are necessary to every planet, Belgarath.  Throughout
all the worlds of life we bring the testing to each world, to each
realm the judgements of he who is.  For the eternal Gospel of the Lord
Almighty is to be preached unto all worlds until the very end of
time.  It is our task, our sacred task, and each and every one of us
has been chosen specially to bring the good news to all the children
of men.’

And this Lord you speak of?  He is Ul, so you claim?’

He has many names, and Ul is just one of them.  He is the force of
life, the superior God, the universal spirit.  And we serve him
faithfully in the duties he has called us to.’

Belgarath nodded.  Beldin had voiced similar words.  ‘So the testing
has come to our world then.  The testing of faith, as you call it.’

More than faith, Belgarath.  More than simple faith.  It is the
testing of the very soul, and the future of your world is at stake.
For should you ultimately fail the final testing the result would be
very dire – very dire indeed.’

Belgarath stroked his long beard, contemplating those words.  Polgara
spoke up.

How exactly are we to prepare for this testing?  And what exactly
will the final testing be.’

That we will not speak of daughter of Belgarath.  For should you know
of your destiny you would undoubtedly seek to change the will of the
Almighty.  And that we will not allow.  What we will say is this,
prepare your heart, prepare your soul.  Seek within those things you
know you should be about and seek them with all your heart.  For the
testing will come, perhaps, when you want it least of all.  So watch
your heart and be ready, child of Belgarath.  Be ready.  Now, your
time here is finished.  The scroll your compatriot seeks will begin
the quest outlined for you.  If you fail this quest, then the testing
may well be too much for your very soul.  So be diligent and faithful,
for the reward is great.  And now we are finished.  The brother will
show you out.’  The chief father finished off speaking, left the room,
and shortly the brother who had let them in came into the room and
they followed him back to the entrance.

Once outside Polgara looked at Belgarath.  ‘Not quite what you
expected?’

I am not sure.  They did not offer too much more than what we had
known.  But it seems a quest awaits us and, perhaps, the final quest
of Belgarath.  For I am feeling my age, daughter.  Suddenly I am
feeling my age.’

You have aeons left, father.  Fret not,’ she said, comforting him.

Alas I fear not.  I fear that the time of Belgarath the sorcerer is
approaching and something else awaits.  I don’t know why I feel this,
but I just do.’

Then whatever will be will be.’

It is as you say.’

They returned to their donkey and as Belgarath led his daughter back
through the forest he thought on the words of the father and of the
final testing.  It would be the culmination to his life, this much he
knew, but whatever would be would be.  Whatever would be would be




*   *   *   *   *

Gemma looked in through the window.  There he was, her king, and he
was safe again. She had prayed to Ul that he would watch over her lord
and protect him from the darkness to come, and it seemed he had done
so.  This pleased her and just then, noticing the glowing orb on the
mantelpiece, seemingly glowing, somehow she knew, because of her
presence, she felt a sudden burning in her chest.  And suddenly she
came alive and started glowing, burning white golden light, a light of
pure energy and love, radiating the purest warmth, almost as if of a
very god of glory.

Garion had quickly come outside and looked at the angelic being
hovering before his eyes.  Not knowing what else to do he kneeled down
and payed homage, speaking.  ‘Mighty angel.  I am your servant.  Speak
your will.’

All Gemma could say, despite so much now in her mind, so much new
knowledge, knowledge she had suddenly acquired, as if she had been
prepared since birth to receive such knowledge, was ‘I am just
Gemma.’  But then another voice spoke within her, a new voice which
had found, finally, its chosen vessel, and found its new eternal
chosen home.

You know who I am, Garion.  For I have been with you for so very long
now.  You are a chosen child of mine, and my spirit will be with you
always.’  And then the being who was Gemma started to glow a little
less and hovered back down to earth, returning to a semblance of her
previous form.  Garion looked at her, perplexed, and as she came to
herself, queried.  ‘Gemma.  Who, who are you?’  But then he suddenly
knew, suddenly knew exactly who she was.  And, racing inside, he
looked at the mantelpiece.  It was gone, of course.  Gone, in one way,
never to return.  But returning outside, looking at the new and living
Orb before him, Garion placed his arm around his ‘Glorious Lady’ and
brought her inside.

He took her to a private room, gave her bread and wine, and waited on
her.  She puzzled about all the fuss, but Garion knew, somehow
instinctively, what the fashioning and purpose of Aldur, all those
long years ago, had been about.  And the ‘Glorious Lady’ whom he knew
he would serve forever had come to be.  When she begged him finally to
let her rest, he retired, and not waking Ce Nedra, laid down on his
bed.  A chosen vessel had been found, and an ancient plan of the God
Aldur had come to pass.  And Garion found peace in his heart, and
rested, in a way, from a struggle which had been part of his entire
life.



Chapter Three

After the ultimate choice of life by the Seeress of Kell, gradual
reforms began happening through the continent of Mallorea.
Fundamentally, the major shift was in a new direction of rulership.
The old empire was to be replaced by a new Arch-Regency, one of lesser
power, as it was deemed that too much power led to too much
corruption, and such had been a lesson the Malloreans had gradually,
through so much strife, come to learn.  The Seeress of Kell, her job
presumably finished, had disappeared from contact with civilization, a
worry to some, but to most life simply went on.

The new Arch-Regent was a descendant of ‘Zakath, a former Emporer of
Mallorea, but one of far more hospitable disposition.  His family,
while ancient worshippers of Torak, were now progressive in their
thinking, with ideas of a new world, a new Mallorea, and presumably a
new destiny for the Mallorean people.  Arch-Regent ‘Zakandra was a
mellow man in many ways, given over to travel throughout Mallorea to
ensure he was seen doing his job and, in his intention, winning the
hearts of the people.  He sensed revolution in many ways as an
undercurrent throughout Mallorea, as if the people desired a change,
but were perhaps unwilling to go all the way to enforce such a
change.  And, as such, ‘Zakandra felt he was living on borrowed time
in a way, King over a people who perhaps didn’t even respect him.

Zakandra had met the King of the West, Lord Garion, once.  He had
intended his visit to the lands of the Angaraks to be mostly about
diplomacy, but upon hearing the news that the Arch Regent was to cross
the ocean of the east, and tread on land not distant from Aloria,
Garion forwarded a request for a meeting, and two nations sat down,
once sworn enemies, now finding peace in a new world, and a world
which had a new word of power running through it  - ‘The Economy’.
Trade – trade throughout Mallorea, the realm of the Angaraks, Alorns
and other kingdoms of the West, was essential to a healthy and
functioning society, so ‘Zakandra spoke in his wisdom with Garion.
And while Garion thought marvellous the stuff of such conversation, he
sensed in a way that his own son, in this new world emerging, might be
the better choice to handle such responsibilities.  And so, imposing
Geran on the throne of Riva at the Isle of the Winds, Garion returned
to Faldor’s farm, to live a life of simplicity, leaving such things as
the ‘Economy’ in the hands of those better able to manage such
responsibilities.

For ‘Zakandra, hearing from his various advisors the ways of the west,
Geran, a younger man, nearer his own age, seemed a better choice to
have dealings with.  In fact, could they forge an alliance and form
treaties of trade and peace, well, the future looked good for
everyone.  And a burgeoning economy would see the blessing of all the
children of men.  The furthest thing from his mind was war – a great
and grand war with the west – but there were stirrings from these
doomsayers, voices which spoke of an epic final conflict, the last of
an old age, an old era, before the birthing of the new world.  A time
in which a woman was to go into the travail of birth to bring forth
the desired child of her hopes and dreams.  So ‘Zakandra, hoping
against hope that such madness would not come to be, inevitably began
plans for preparing his troops throughout Mallorea and carefully, so
as not to be too obvious, enlarging his forces.  They would not lose
again, that much he was sure of.  And even if the Mad God himself came
back from death ‘Zakandra would have his new world and, most of all,
his beloved economy.

*   *   *   *   *

Rtachek was a man on a mission – a mission in service of a Mad God who
he believed, through the power of sacrifice available to himself, he
could literally raise from the clutches of death itself.  And so, the
new High Priest of the western Grolims, in a new temple on the shores
of the ocean in south-east Cthol Murgos, counted off one of an endless
number of sacrificial virgins they had sacrificed to their beloved
deity.  They had scoured Cthol Murgos for virgins, and even taken a
fair number from Thull and Nadrak, much to various protestations.  But
Rtachek was a man of great influence, if not direct power, and
reviving the Mad God Torak was deemed in the best interests of the
Angaraks.

Yet Rtachek was not alone in his sacrificial libations.  For the
pouring of virginal blood had been going on in the citadel of Night,
Cthol Mishrak, by Brazadar, younger brother of the dead Zedar, Grolim
priest of much power and influence in Mallorea.  And while they were
aware of the constant sacrifices of the western Grolims, they paid
them no heed, determined to show they were the true servants of Torak,
and that a worthy enmity should exist towards the western Grolims,
ones which Malloreans had long disdained.

Yet, it seemed, the answer to their sacrificial madness did come one
day, or night as it were, for in the twilight of the west, the moon
did glow dark red, and the sign of a snake covered the moon in black
and scarlet, a sign to many that Torak had been reborn.  It lasted 3
hours, and afterwards many swore truly to no avail to the unbelievers
that they had witnessed such a sign.  Naturally, it seemed, the
doomsayers took this as one of the portents they had spoken of, and a
new wave of zeal for the doomsayer cult and its teachings emerged,
more passionate then ever.

And then, the darkness of blackness emerged in the citadel of the
night and Torak, awaking from the hell of his ordeal, came alive in a
high tower of the citadel, Brazadar instantly notified at the God’s
presence.  And, with Torak reborn, war was coming.  War with the west
and the destruction of the Mad God’s most hated enemy, the western
King Garion.

*   *   *   *   *

Brazadar carefully made his way down the spiral steps, downwards, into
the hell of earth below him, treading a million steps it seemed, one
endless parade, until finally, almost not believing he had reached the
bottom, but the light from the torch telling him such was true, came
to the thick wooden door.  Beyond lay his God, Torak, in slumber.  He
could not, it seemed, yet bear the light of life, the light of the
sun, nor the dread heat of the day, for in his slumber he had grown
accustomed to the cold of nothingness, and the heat of life was
foreign to him.  And so he come to this deserted place, far beneath
the citadel, were he rested and were Brazadar brought him occasional
food and news of the affairs of men.

He knocked, carefully, fearing the rebuke of his lord lest he be too
noisy.  Torak could kill on whim, yet, in a strange way, the mad
Grolim priest only revered him more because of it.  After a moment a
voice from within said ‘Enter’, and Brazadar placed the torch near the
doorway, fearing to take it inside with him, and opened the door
coming into his master.

Close the door quickly, fool,’ yelled Torak.  ‘The light is too
great.’

Instantly Brazadar closed the door and waited.  After a while the very
dim light from the torch streaming through the cracks of the door gave
just enough light for him to see his master, laid out on a long bed,
the scarring of his face as painful looking as it had always looked.

What news?’ queried Torak.

Brazadar came forward, kneeled and payed homage to his lord, and
presented him with a scroll.  Torak took it, and unrolled it.
Seemingly, despite the darkness, he had no trouble reading it.  When
he had finished he threw the scroll on the floor and Brazadar
retrieved it.  Eventually, summoning the courage, Brazadar spoke.

I am afraid ‘Zakandra is an unbeliever, master.  He denies the proof
we have sent him of your new life and claims none shall take the
throne of Mallorea from him.’

Torak remained silent, perhaps considering those words, yet who could
really tell the thoughts of a God.

It is no matter,’ Torak finally replied.  ‘He shall learn his place
in the fullness of time.  Now tell me, has the woman come yet?  Has
Belzandramas finally appeared?  For my plans rest upon this child.’

Not yet my master.  But as soon as we have word you will know within
an instant.’

Torak remained silent.

As Brazadar stood there, anxiously waiting upon his master, a dripping
sound of cold water echoed throughout the caverns.  They were in the
underheart of Cthol Mishrak, the waters of earth dripping through the
stone ceilings, betraying their location.  It was dark, cold and away
from all life but, it was here, in the utter dark, were Brazadar felt
the most alive.  Serving his dark lord, serving his dark agendas.

Eventually Torak spoke.  ‘I will know as soon as the woman is
sighted.  You will ensure this.  Now go, leave me.  I will eat in
three days.  Bother me not till that time.’

Brazadar nodded, took the scroll, and left, quickly closing the door
behind him.

As he trudged the million steps upwards he thought on the woman
Belzandramas and his master’s desires to have her found.  Whatever
role she was to take in the plan’s of her masters, it was imperative
that she be found as soon as possible.  For the glory Brazadar sought
was in his master’s power to give, and thus his master’s needs came
before all else.  All for the glory of the mad God Torak.

*   *   *   *   *

Ce Nedra, all things considered for a Tolnedran queen who had become
queen of the west took her husband’s constant labelling of a young
lady, barely a teen, if that, ‘His Glorious Lady’ quite well.
Tolnedra had long thought of itself as something of a cultured and
refined society, and while marrying the Rivan King was certainly a
marriage of honour, a lady of the Tolnedran court was not quite used
to being treated in second place.  But, if one thing that a life being
lived with Garion, with acquaintances such as Silk and Barak and
Belgarath had taught Ce Nedra, it was that humility was a much needed
and desired virtue in a life which was often, fraught with prophecies
and God’s and the like, a life of very hard testing.  But she loved
Garion and would allow him this grace of calling another maiden his
‘Glorious Lady’.

After a lengthy explanation that, in some strange way, Gemma, as she
was known by her personal name, was the new living embodiment of the
Orb, Ce Nedra, although having her doubts, inquired into the most
obvious of questions.  Who were the child’s parents?  Garion, seeming
to have neglected this careful, yet fundamental point, wished to avoid
the issue, but upon Ce Nedra’s insisting and Gemma’s own desire to
return home, they recruited one of the worker’s on the farm to drive
them the few leagues to a nearby farm which Gemma claimed she was
from.

Her parent’s, Ilk and Jandy were overwhelmed at a visit from the King
and, while Garion tried to be subtle in his new desires to have a
close proximation to their daughter, Ce Nedra was more forthcoming.

The child has merged with the Orb, Ilk.  She is special, now.  She
appears to be chosen of Aldur himself.  I am afraid she is now
important, and Garion is calling her is ‘Glorious Lady.’  I know you
will be missing a child, but if it is possible can she remain with us
for the time being.  It is an important issue, and we wish to travel
to the Vale of Aldur for the matter to be looked into.’

Garion picked up the conversation, having been kneeling before Gemma,
practically involved in worship.  ‘Yes, Yes Sir Ilk.  We will need to
travel to the Vale and bring your daughter.  This needs to be
discussed, and we must see Aldur himself.’

Jandy looked at Ilk, who looked at her with a tear in his eye.  ‘We
will miss her.  Be sure you keep her safe.  But we trust you, Lord
Garion.’  Garion nodded and signalled for the driver to give Ilk a bag
of gold he had promised him.  ‘This is for your troubles.  We can not
say how long we will be away, but it may be some time.  But we will
return her.  She is in good hands.  You need not fear.’

Ilk took the bag of gold, peered inside, and weighed it.  He seemed
pleased for the gold, but also had a look of concern for his daughter.

We’ll miss you Gem,’ said Jandy.  Instantly Gemma came forward,
hugged her parent’s, and spoke up.

I have changed, mother, father.  There is something different in me
now.  Some new presence.  And it is as Garion and Ce Nedra say.  I
must go find this Aldur.  For the name means something to me now.
There is a connection.  A connection I can not really speak of, but so
personal.  So intimate.’

She is in good hands,’ said Garion, as they made their farewells.

As the cart drove off, Gemma turned and waved farewell to her
parent’s.  It was a new world she was heading for, and a new destiny.
She wondered in her heart if she would ever see her parent’s again.
So much had happened in the world recently, so much turmoil.  But
family could never be forgotten, no matter what destiny had to say on
the issue.  She smiled, waved one last wave, and turned to look at
Garion.  He lovingly placed his arm around her, again called her ‘his
Glorious Lady’, and started humming a tune.  A tune, at once new to
her, but at once familiar as well.  As if she had known it for a long,
long time.

*   *   *   *   *

Belzandramas knew not the three nations which the spirits had spoken
of, and had left hastily.  But finding herself, having crossed the ice
northwards, in land she felt sure was on the southern Antarctic
continental region of Yulenthea, Belzandramas instantly reached a
conclusion.  Surely the three nations were ‘Shrar’, ‘Kmran’ and
‘Braed’, the long warring three provinces of Yulenthea.  Surely these
were such three nations as the spirits spoke of.  She had not often
visited Yulenthea, nor Junissa.  This was for various reasons, but of
course the cold weather was chief amongst them.  The solid ice just to
the south of these continents which marked the southern pole was
extremely cold, and no life could live there.  It was surprising,
considering that, that brave souls had once decided to make Yulenthea
and Junissa there homes, but indeed they had.  Near the northern pole
was the continent of ‘Ardannya’, smaller still than either ‘Yulenthea’
or ‘Junissa’, a place she had also visited infrequently.  And, of
course, the continent of ‘Zhadora’ in between the West and Mallorea
beyond the Great Western Sea on the other side of the world.  There
were other islands scattered around the world, of course, but no other
continents.

Torak was likely to be brought to life somewere in Mallorea, likely in
Cthol Mishrak she guessed.  So if she were to prove successful in her
ambitions she would need to begin here, in Yulenthea, before times.
She would need, to begin her agenda, gain power and influence, and see
to it that these nations never surrender to the power of Torak.
Certainly, it would be challenging and difficult.  They were minor
powers in comparison to the might of Mallorea.  But her glory
beckoned, and with a will which could make the impossible possible
Belzandramas was determined to prevent the one she would marry from
ruling these lands.  By her power she would corrupt him, turn him to
their conquest, yet betray him without his knowledge.  For such had
been the task set her, and such would be the reality.

Yet, in that cold and dark heart of Belzandramas, a little fire had
been lit and, while she was bent on her mission, that little voice
spoke soft words to her, encouraging her towards the day in which a
choice would be made.  A fateful choice, one made for her previously,
but one which would inevitably come down to Belzandramas herself.

*   *   *   *   *

I know you must feel like the ultimate hypocrite, silk, but it can’t
be helped.  The merchantman is unlikely to simply hand over the
scroll.’

Silk had been conversing with Barak over the ethics of theft, and had
been questioning wether, since his encounter with the Doomsayer, he
should really resort to theft.  ‘Perhaps a price can be reached,’
concluded Kheldar.  ‘It is the most preferable option for me
currently.’

Barak drained his ale, swore softly to himself, and nodded.  It would
be for the best.  Judgement had come, and his own words had spoken
against him.  Time to change the ways of a prince of Drasnia, it
seemed.

They came to the merchantman’s abode and, simply, knocked on the front
door. Shortly a servant answered, inquired as to their business, and
stating it, ushered them inside.  ‘You are not the first to seek the
scroll,’ said the servant.  ‘We have had numerous inquiries.  My
master is awake, now, in the library.  Just in here.’  He led them
into a large room, full of bookcases and many splendid items on
display, the walls littered with elaborate artworks of all cultures
Silk knew of.  The servant made for a long chair by a fireplace which
was turned from them, and spoke to a man hidden from them.  Soon the
man stood, a balding man, and came to introduce himself.  ‘I am
Draznak.  You come to see the scroll, I take it?’

To purchase it, master Draznak, if such a thing is possible.’

Draznak considered that.  ‘Nay.  I think not.  The scroll is to
valuable to me now.  But, if you are willing, we can negotiate on the
price for a copy of the scroll.’

Silk grinned to himself.  The merchantman was not stupid.  He suddenly
knew what all the seekers of the scroll would have come to – a
merchantman who knew its value, and would sell copies for the right
price.

Yes, we will pay for a copy.’

Then come, let us do business,’ said Draznak, indicating the table
near the fireplace with luxurious wooden chairs.

Not much later, a copy of the scroll in his knapsack, which was empty
a fair portion of gold, Silk was encouraged.  It may have cost him
money, but somehow he felt better for simply doing the right thing.
Perhaps it was a turn in the life of Prince Kheldar, a turn which had
long been put of, but coming, finally, at the right time.

Returning to the inn they were up late that night, studying the
scroll, and in the morning, once again boarding the ‘Old Warrior’,
heading for home and the Vale of Aldur, Silk knew a war was coming.
The war which the ‘Doomsayer’s’ also apparently spoke of was coming to
the world, along with the final judgement.  And the ‘Chronicle of
Torak’, should its prophecies come to pass, spoke doom for the world.
Unless the west, with Garion championing them, could somehow prevent
the perhaps inevitable, they would fail the ultimate testing.  They
were portents of destruction, and while Silk had passed his own little
test of judgement, and felt the better man because of it, he feared
for his world, and the darkness which approached.  But it was always
darkest before the dawn he reminded himself.  And the new world
dawning, well, hopefully that would put to rest all the fears of the
past.  And a new life could begin again for all, the wrath of mad god
called Torak finally and utterly having been laid to rest.

*   *   *   *   *

Sailing across the sea of the east, headed for Rak Goska in north-
eastern Cthol Murgos, Belgarath had been silent for days.  Polgara,
noting this, had at first tried to persuade him to speak and resume
their life long banter, but Belgarath, while occasionally encouraged,
usually remained silent.  Something weighed heavily on his mind.

They were heading home, now.  Bound for Algaria and the Vale of
Aldur.  Hopefully Silk would be waiting for them upon their return,
having acquired a copy of the scroll they sought.  And then they would
need to seek out Garion to speak with him.  For the west would need
prepare again, and its chief most guardian had a destiny awaiting him,
a prophecy they had not known of to fulfil, and a dark road before
them.

Sitting on a stool on the starboard side of the rig, Polgara
considered her father who was standing, looking out at the ocean,
seemingly weighing up his life circumstances.  This quiet, this
silence, was not like Belgarath.  He was a boisterous and happy old
man, still full of frivolity, still known to chase the maidens and
acquire wealth by sometimes dubious means.  But that was part of his
charm, part of what made Belgarath Belgarath.  But lately he had
withdrawn from this behavior.  In fact, since leaving the monastery he
had totally withdrawn into himself, keeping away from his daughter, as
if mulling over the long life he had lived, and reflecting over the
many choices he had made.  She feared for him, as for herself in some
ways.  This ‘Judgement’ which the father had spoken of was to come to
all the children of the west it seemed, as if it was some way
inescapable.  And perhaps this was what weighed heavily on the heart
of her father.  All his lifes choices.  All his mistakes.  All his
wrongdoings.  Perhaps they had finally caught up on the heart of Mr
Wolf and, right now, perhaps his heart was going through a phase.  A
phase of regret, which a Gorim priest of Ul might call a phase of
repentance in their language.

Yet she feared that he may be taking such repentance too seriously.
He could not help who he was.  It was how the gods had made him.  He
was Belgarath, sorcerer and rogue, and she loved him dearly because of
it. For him to be anything less than he was, well it would not be the
same Belgarath.  That was what she could honestly say, it would not be
the same old man of charm she had come to know and love.

She looked at him, looked at his wrinkled brow, and out of the course
of normality for her, prayed a silent prayer to Ul, the Father of the
God’s, that Belgarath would make the right choices in front of him,
and that the judgement would find him standing strong and proud.

She turned her thoughts to other matters.  Durnik awaited her at him,
back in the vale.  He had asked many times to accompany them, yet
Belgarath had insisted he remain in the Vale to be a friendly face for
Kheldar should he return before the two of them.  Durnik had
reluctantly agreed, but Polgara missed her husband.  He was becoming
stronger in the ways of magic now, having learned much over the past
number of years since that fateful choice of the seeress had been
made.  And while he was by no means a masterclass magician, he would
prove a handful for any soul risking taking him on in a dark alley.
She missed him and suddenly yearned to be with him, to feel the touch
of the soul which had longingly looked at her at Faldor’s farm but
been too shy, perhaps, to have ever made his feelings known.  But that
was Durnik.  A gentle and kind soul, full of good things, and good
words.  And in her heart she knew she could have married none other.

She gathered her cloak to her as the wind blew drops of ocean-water
into her face.  The spray was salty and crisp, and the sea air brought
a liveliness to the soul.  If this was the place her grandfather was
to find repentance, in the hustle and bustle of nature at its
fiercest, then perhaps that was a good thing.  For it would be a
repentance of the soul not soon forgotten, one as fierce and powerful
as the fury of the sea of the east.

Chapter Four

Travelling along the Great North Road into the mountains, having just
left the town of Muros behind them, Garion reflected on his travels
through this part of the world.  Sendaria, in so many ways, was his
true home, the home of his youth and upbringing.  Naturally it was
expected the Overlord of the West be a responsible and forthright
descendant of Riva-Iron-Grip, ruling from the Isle of the Winds, and
showing himself a proper and noble monarch.  Especially amongst
Tolnedran upper society there was a seeming expectation that Garion
carry himself with an air of dignity that a King warranted.  Suffice
to say, the very fact he was married to a Tolnedran Queen, assumed in
the mind of Garion that such expectations were not just for Garion
himself and the dignity of the Kingship, but the respect towards Ce
Nedra, the Queen Tolnedra adored.  But while he was King over Aloria,
King of the West, Sendaria was a separate Kingdom under Kalrach, child
of the deceased Fulrach, and he a guest here in a sense, but feeling
as if it was in many ways his true home, the home of his upbringing
and, perhaps, fondest memories.

Every day since returning to Sendaria, living at Faldor’s farm, going
through the same way of life Faldor himself had run the farm with,
taking crops to market, although he had plenty of wealth and needed
not to, yet doing that and the myriad of other things associated with
the farming life, Garion had returned to his youth and felt, now, like
he had been living a life he perhaps, had fate not interfered, he
would have lived all along.  He was a simple man in his heart, a
farmer, with a beautiful wife.  It was just that destiny had demanded
more of him, and Kingship had almost been thrust upon him at a young
age, slaying a God and becoming Overlord of a people.

Still, you did not always choose the destiny life made for you,
seemingly at the hands of the God’s, and while Garion was enjoying his
time at Faldor’s farm, he could not deny the way destiny had chosen
and moulded him and made him the man he was today.

He thought on his friend, Errand, now gone from them.  He was believed
dead, but nobody knew for sure.  His disappearance had been
mysterious, and while he was presumed burned in the blazing fire which
apparently claimed his final moments, they never found a body, and
some thought he himself had perhaps arranged his own disappearance.
Whatever the case may be, Errand was a child, like Garion in some
ways, who’d had a life of adventure thrust upon him.  The lad had
reflected to Garion, upon coming to live in the Cottage in the Vale of
Aldur, that he felt like he had gained a ‘Family’ with Polgara, Durnik
and Old Wolf.  Certainly, they were Garion’s own family, his own flesh
and blood two of them, but he felt for Errand who had never known who
his own parent’s were, abandoned in a foreign city, the tool and
victim of the machinations of the sorcerer Zedar.  But destiny had
likewise chosen Errand for greater things and, wherever his soul may
be, Garion wished well for him.

Of course, Errand was a child of innocence, touching the orb.  And
while he missed him, saddened by his death, new life had perhaps been
chosen instead.  Perhaps a different choice in the wisdom of the god’s
had bypassed Errand and settled on the girl Gemma instead.  Indeed,
his Glorious Lady, the living embodiment of the Orb, was someone,
Garion knew in his heart, who represented all the purity and best of
ideals which Aldur spoke of, and in the shaping of the Orb he knew now
that the Orb had long sought out one in which it could share its
heart, its identity.  They had been guardians of the Orb – Garion knew
that now.  Riva-Iron-Grip, and his descendants, down to his father,
and to himself, had been champions, protecting the Orb.  But they were
only to protect it until the day of its choosing.  Until a day in
which a chosen vessel would become one with the Orb, and the Orb
become that which it, in its heart, it had long yearned to be.

Garion looked at his hand.  It was funny.  The mark which the Orb had
made from youth had now, finally, faded away.  As if no longer
needed.  For it was not an object of stone anymore, no longer a pearl
of beauty, but in his Glorious Lady to which the Orb found new form.
And Garion knew, in his heart he knew, that he would protect this lady
at all costs, nay even with his very life if such a thing were
demanded of him.

What are you thinking of?’ queried Ce Nedra, who seemingly had just
awoken.

Oh, you’re awake.  Is Gemma?’

Ce Nedra looked at the figure sleeping beside her, gave her a gentle
nudge, but soft snoring continued.

Not yet.’

Then don’t wake her.  Let her get her sleep.  It must be a momentous
thing which has happened to the child, and it will take some getting
used to for her.’

Ce Nedra nodded.

They chatted for a while, and soon Gemma, who must have heard them
talking, came to life and raised herself from the back of the cart,
yawned and scratched scuff from her eyes, and looked at the two of
them.  She looked around, wide-eyed at being so far from home, and
spoke up.  ‘Where are we, Lord Garion?’

We are on the Great Northern Road, my lady.  Headed for Algaria and
down to the Vale of Aldur.’  She nodded, taking that information in
soberly.

Do you have anything to eat?  And can we stop?  I need to, you
know.’  She looked at Ce Nedra who instantly understood the girl’s
need for a private place, and asked Garion to stop the cart.

It looks like a good spot.  And there is a brook just yonder,’ said
Garion.  ‘We will have breakfast here and then get under way in an
hour or so.  A good time to stretch the legs.’

Gemma disappeared behind some bushes to take care of her business, and
Garion started to get a fire going, using the Will and the Word to
start the fire with the sticks he had gathered.  Ce Nedra began frying
the bacon and eggs she had taken from the stores they had brought
along with them for the trip, and when Gemma returned she looked
hungrily at the mornings fare.  ‘Mmm.  I love bacon,’ she said.
‘Please make it extra crispy.’

As you wish,’ responded Ce Nedra.

After eating Garion allowed Ce Nedra to explore a little and, as she
wondered from this tree to that tree, her delicate feet easily finding
footing in unfamiliar territory, a gift of her adventurous youth,
Garion looked on at the child with an affection that was starting to
grow, almost like the affection he had for his own beloved Geran.

You think fondly of her, don’t you?’ said Ce Nedra, almost gazing
into Garion’s own thoughts.

He came to his wife, put his arm around her, and kissed her on the
cheek.  ‘She is special to me, Ce Nedra.  I feel…. I feel as if there
is suddenly a connection, an important and vital connection, between
the two of us.  Errand and I shared a bond, almost, because of the
Orb.  But this is so much deeper.  She IS the orb, now.  And she is
someone I am sworn to defend with my life if necessary.  I don’t
really know why I am saying that, so suddenly, but it is just what I
must say.  It is the sense of honour within me towards young Gemma.
She is a special child, Ce Nedra.  And somehow, in these dark days of
judgement ahead of us, her innocence just might be the saving grace
which redeems us all.’

Ce Nedra nodded, gazing at young Gemma as she danced around the
clearing, sipping from the brook, and looking like any adventurous
young youth.

I can only pray, Garion, that she suffer not half the things both of
us have been through.  Whatever life throws at us I can only hope for
that.’

Garion nodded.  He too wished for good days upon this bright and
cheerful young lady.

They got to again after a while and, as they continued along the road,
drawing nearer and nearer to Algaria, Garion thought on the days
ahead.  The Chronicle of Torak was on his mind, as was the Doomsayer
Cult.  Things were afoot in the West and, seemingly, all over the
world.  He would speak with Belgarath as soon as possible, and while
he hoped to find him at the Vale of Aldur, alongside his Aunt Polgara
and Durnik, he would wait for them there if they were elsewhere, for
he needed words with his grandfather.  In the new pathways of destiny
before them, and in someway a new challenge which Garion felt he would
be facing, it would be his grandfather’s ancient wisdom which Garion
felt he would need to rely upon, perhaps at the most difficult and
challenging of times.


Riding along Garion looked up at the vast mountains of Eastern
Sendaria which ran northwards up to the Gulf of Cherek and southwards
down through Ulgoland, Tolnedra and into the heart of Cthol Murgos.
Much of the Kingdoms of the West and the Angaraks was mountain land,
perhaps habitable by only brave souls and daring mountain goats.  Most
of the western Kingdoms of Sendaria, Arendia and Tolnedra had ample
grasslands, as did Algaria and Drasnia, these being the common farming
lands were the majority of the people of the west lived out their
simple lives.  In many ways it had been a simple life which had gone
on, unchanged, for 7,000 years, amidst the wars of god’s and men.
Even in the climax of such struggles simple things remained: cows were
milked, eggs were gathered and sheep were shorn.  Yes, the simple life
pervaded the heart of Garion’s world, and it was such a life he had
been drawn back to in Sendaria, living out his memories of youth.  But
now destiny intervened once more, and a new fate awaited him.

Soon they would be nearing Algaria.  There were a number of less used
roads travelling down the edge of Algaria, alongside Ulgoland, and
while he had felt of visiting the Stronghold briefly, he really wanted
to return home.  They would make for the Cottage, home, and once
settled he would look for Beldin and Belgarath.  And of course, if he
was available, Aldur himself.

Right then, right at that moment in time, caught up in the beginnings
of another, perhaps lengthy, quest of epic proportions, Garion was
suddenly happy.  Suddenly, as if he was in control of his life and
control of the situation, this time heading out to meet destiny head
first, Garion was suddenly quite happy with all the things which had
ever happened to him in life.  He started whistling a tune, a new tune
he had whistled for the first time just recently, when he had
encountered Gemma.  And whistling it softly to himself he noticed
Gemma staring at him, and then, slowly, joining him.  Almost like she
had known the tune herself, almost as if it had long been a part of
her ways of life.  It was an ancient tune, unbeknownst to Garion, and
a certain God had whistled it himself, living in the Vale, expecting
and hoping one day for his grand work of the orb to find the
fulfilment it desired.

As he whistled, Gemma joining him, birds overhead began flocking
around them, some landing on the cart, seemingly not afraid, and
happily chirping away while Garion whistled.  Ce Nedra gazed at them,
alarmed that they could be so unafraid, totally unlike such
creatures.  But the more Garion whistled the more the birds chirped
and it was truly a sight to behold, a humble cart carrying precious
cargo, making its way along the Great Northern Road, headed for
Algaria, with a whistling King and a merry chirping accompaniment.
Truly, it was a sight not to be soon forgotten.

*   *   *   *   *

Rtachek had heard.  Of course he had heard.  He was not stupid, and
saw to it that he was well informed, that his eyes were everywhere,
acquiring all the knowledge his Lord Torak could possibly desire.
But, no.  Torak had rejected him.  Had rejected the glory of the new
temple ‘Cthol Torak’, built on the south eastern coast of Cthol
Murgos, dedicated to the glory of the God of the Angaraks.  Yes, the
Mad God had rejected him and his countless sacrifices, spurned the
adoration the Murgos had devoted to him and chosen, instead, the
Mallorean Grolims and the Citadel of Night – Cthol Mishrak.  And,
suddenly, in a moment of madness, standing atop the sacrificial altar
over the ocean, were the fresh blood of virgins still dripped
downwards, into the place of their resting, Rtachek understood his
destiny.  It was alive in his mind, the sudden and most dreadful
choice, the sudden and most dreadful work.  He, Rtachek, would be
God.  He, Rtachek, would be the new God of the Angaraks.  And he knew,
in the fowl power of spirit, wrested from the life force of innocent
virgins, just how he would achieve such glories.  The sacrifices
would, now, continue.  Inevitably so.  But it would be Rtachek himself
who would now receive the power.  And all would bow to him.  And all
would fear him.  And all would call him a God.  And that is what
Rtachek would be – a God – the God of the Angaraks.

*   *   *   *   *





Gemma looked up at the god.  There was something about him, something
instantly connecting to the very centre of her being, and she knew
immediately she had found a home, perhaps an eternal home, were she
would never be forsaken or alone ever again.

Let me tell you of Errand,’ said Aldur, and she sat down on his lap,
listening to the god’s tale.

Out in the other room, looking on at the two of them, Garion smiled to
himself.  He could not really say for sure wether Aldur had known
about his lady’s coming or not, but he seemed to have been ready for
them as soon as they reached the bottom of his tower in the Vale.  But
that was like Aldur, like he who was of the 7 gods.

Garion took a seat next to Beldin, the old hunchbacked wizard, who was
steadily working his way through a bottle of Aldur’s finest ale.  ‘It
is not every day he shares his own supply with us wizards,’ Beldin had
commented, and was enjoying his drink greatly.  Garion smiled at that
comment, remembering some of his own earlier years amazements at the
wonders Aldur performed for him.

Ce Nedra was by a window of the tower, looking outwards, softer in a
way since reaching the Vale.  It was like that, the Vale of Aldur, in
the heart of Algaria and the West.  It was a spiritual recluse from
the hustle and bustle of every day life, away from it all, a true
sanctuary in many ways.  Garion had once commented to her that not
everyone could come and visit this sacred place, not at whim anyway.
There seemed to be protective spells or charms which warded off
unwelcome visitors.  It was mainly a home for Aldur himself and his
chosen wizards.  It was, though, very rare that a new wizard came
along.  And while Garion had been called Belgarion for a while, and
possessed the power of the Will and the Word, he had gone away from
magic in some ways, back to the older ways of his youth, and his
original name.  It was not that he was against using magic but,
perhaps, more in the mould of some Durnik’s attitudes, who still often
preferred doing things the old ways, with his hands.  Some people
really didn’t change, and Durnik was one of them.

Durnik himself was at the Cottage presently, waiting on the return of
Polgara and Belgarath, and the thief Silk who was expected with an
important document.  He kept himself busy most days, doing some
farming and preparing of various foods which he and Polgara relied
upon for sustenance.  And he had slowly been learning more and more in
the ways of wizardry.  Recently, so he had shared with Garion upon
their return to the Vale, one of the twins, ‘Beltira’, had called him
Beldurnik without apparently thinking any better.  Durnik had queried
the name, but all Beltira would say was ‘Silly me.’  But Garion
guessed to himself that such a title was appropriate in many ways.
The old smith was a wizard now, and that was the usual prefix given to
those who possessed the gift.

Beldin turned to Garion and again spoke on the subject which was
currently the flavour of the day – the Doomsayers.  ‘Ul is a
mysterious god, Garion.  Those at Prolgu don’t always readily divulge
their knowledge and secrets of the father of the god’s, and Aldur
doesn’t give us too many clues either.  But he says of Ul from time to
time that the Father of the God’s has powers and ways beyond their
knowledge, as if he is aware of things and places and powers we have
only heard mention of in legend.  Stories of other worlds, supposedly
places were these Doomsayers have themselves come from.’

So Aldur has told you that specifically.  That the Doomsayers come
from other worlds?’

He mentioned it once.  Wouldn’t divulge anything more than that, but
says they have been around for many ages.’

And these other worlds – did they likewise suffer the judgement of
the Doomsayers?’

That we will learn of from Belgarath when he returns.  And he should
be back in the next few weeks, by my reckoning of his travelling
ways.’

The old hunchback took another swig of the ale, and stroked his
beard.  He looked at Garion, his brow wrinkled at what he wanted to
speak of.

This judgement you say the Doomsayer placed upon you.  This they
intend for all, do they?  To suffer the judgement of their gospel.’

I assume as such, Beldin.  If it is the will of Ul then, perhaps, we
are all meant to suffer the testing.  Fear not, Beldin, for you have
lived a good life.’

But the old wizard seemed to have a look of fear in his eyes, as if
the coming judgement would find his soul perhaps lacking, as if he was
not worthy of the life he enjoyed in the Vale of Aldur.

I am an old wizard now, Garion.  I have lived many a life of the
average citizen, and in that time I have done many questionable
things.  Many things I truly regret.’

Which we have all done, old friend.  Which we have all done.’

Ce Nedra spoke up.  ‘Beldin, you should not fear.  Whatever the
purpose of these doomsayers, I don’t think they intend evil will upon
people.  They are probably, from what I have gathered, simply showing
people for what they are.  Showing people’s true selves.  And we love
you Beldin, dearly.  Aldur chose wisely letting you live in the Vale.’

The old man took another swig of Ale, nodded, somewhat consoled at Ce
Nedra’s words, but still the wrinkled brow remained.

Garion looked at Beldin and could well understand the fears and
reservations of one who had lived so long as Beldin had lived.  In
fact, he did not know the exact age of the ancient wizard, but could
imagine that, like his grandfather Belgarath, he had done deeds over
the many years of his life that he now regretted.

In the other room Aldur had been telling stories to Gemma about his
beloved Errand, and Gemma had been staring, wide eyed, up at her new
master and friend.  Aldur had told him of Errand’s first visit to the
Vale and the story of him and the sled.  And he had spoken of a choice
Errand had made, to stay true to the sled’s journey, despite the crash
he knew would come.  And then he had asked Gemma if she would make the
same choice, and Gemma had said she would like to think herself that
brave, but admitted she would have jumped out of the sled for safety’s
sake.  And then Aldur had scruffed her head and smiled at the child’s
wisdom.

Beldin spoke again.  ‘There is something I fear happening, Garion.
And I fear it has already begun, from what you say of the zeal these
Doomsayers are gaining.  I fear this spirit, this spirit of judgement,
as if it will say things and make demands on all of us, demands
differing to the way of life we have enjoyed for so long.’

Garion nodded.  He too sensed something in the air with the coming of
the Doomsayers.  As if a change was coming on their world, and an
older age and way of life was leaving them forever.

Whatever the future holds, Beldin, I believe it will end up for the
good of us all.  When Cyradis made her fateful choice that day, our
destiny had been chosen for us.  And perhaps this judgement which has
come upon us is a result of that fateful choice, leading all of us to
a new dawn, a new day in our world, in which the darkness will be
vanquished.  And I fear, because of that choice of life, we must make
amends for our past choices of darkness.  And this may well be what
the Doomsayers represent.’

Beldin nodded.  That much did in fact make sense to him.

They remained there at Aldur’s tower well into the afternoon, enjoying
time with the Lord of the Vale.  And Gemma seemed to be changing as a
person from the brief time Garion had gotten to know her.  A new
confidence was suddenly upon her, having met Aldur, and a strength, a
strength in his lady he felt even beyond his own powers in many ways.

*   *   *   *   *

In the heart of the citadel of Cthol Torak, Rtachek dreamed.  A figure
approached him in his dream and said to him, ‘The power to thwart
Torak himself is in your grasp.  For if you seek dominion over the
Angaraks, you will need to defy this fallen god.  And the power of
darkness will serve you and do all your bidding, giving you the
strength and might you will need to conquer all and do all your will.
Yet, I say as an afterthought, there is a price to pay.  But you will
gladly pay this price, will you not, Oh Lord of the Angaraks?’  And
Rtachek, in his dream self, assented that he would indeed pay that
price.

*   *   *   *   *

Belzandramas, having acquired a stallion from a small village without
purchase, taking it in the dead of night, looked upon the city of
Yulen as she approached it from the south.  It was indeed a remarkable
sight, and she knew it home to over 20 million souls, stretching for
leagues from the coastline inland, the heart of the continent of
Yulenthea.  She knew something of the game of power of the
Yulentheans, the games of the court and the monarchies which had ruled
her.  And to such a game, with a wisely chosen vessel as her servant,
she could achieve the glories she sought for herself.

She knew what she needed – a figure, probably a male, with ambition.
Someone who was willing to serve for the glory she would promise him.
And, in a way, she sensed that a power had already chosen this vessel
for her.  As if the spirits which had spoken to her in the Cave had
already known of this person, and had prepared the way for her.  And
that had made her silently question their power and wether she herself
was just another pawn of prophecy in the hands of those powers which
ruled all.  Yet, that mattered not in the end.  She was certain enough
that the victory and power she sought would be of her own making, and
if those powers which be wanted to assist her in any way, then she
would simply allow them.  It just made it easier for her own goals.

As she kicked the stallion onwards, approaching the city, she thought
again on those powers.  To have the glory she desired, that was
offered to her, would mean that she would one day be pulling the
strings of fate and destiny that now manipulated her.  And if she were
to be the one doing that, well, what fates would Belzandramas choose
for the souls which entrusted themselves to her?  What strange destiny
would she map out for her chosen few?  For the choice of darkness had
been taken from her, and Cyradis had given into the light.  But now
Belzandramas, reborn, was a child of prophecy with no role.  And if
she could not live in the power of darkness, in the glory she had once
delighted in, what other possible future could await her?  Whatever
possible choice could there really be?  Riding on towards the city she
felt, in her inmost being, she would find that answer in the goodness
of time.  And, perhaps, not a choice she would once have made.
Perhaps, in no way, such a choice at all.

The End of Chapter Four


Chapter Five

'Jek Barder. Hit the fool in the face.'

Jek did as he was told, and the brawling thug grabbed his now bleeding

nose, glared at Jek, and left the tavern.

'It's a hard way to treat a man who simply said I was sitting at his seat,'

said Jek to Belzandramas. 'And I know who you are. I've seen you.'

Belzandramas waved her hand. 'I've traveled around. I don't doubt

your words. So in that, you will know I have power, and I am sincere

in my claim I can make you the absolute authority over Yulenthea.'

'What I don't understand,' continued Jek. 'Is what is in it for you.'

'A king needs a good advisor. And who better then Belzandramas

herself.'

'Humph. What, are a Rivan Queen now?'

'It is what I must comply with. I don't really care why, but the moniker

is upon me, and I have a meeting with an old foe to take care of.'

'Cyradis?' queried Jek.

'Purchase me an ale,' said Belzandramas. Jek got to his feet, and went

to the bar, soon returning with two more glasses of fine ale. Belzandrams

drank a little, and stared into the tavern's hearth. 'I find not much

consolation as I once did. I was from a place in my youth were choices

were often vague, as nobody cared that much. I found a new life in

a destiny, a prophecy, which was thrust upon my by the gods that be,

but I refused it not. I failed though.'

'As all do know,' replied Jek.

'And now it has asked more of me, with an inconclusive ending. My soul

has been shattered, but light has come in, and I see no point.'

'You seem glum,' he said, drinking his ale.

'Jaded. Jaded. It is beyond me to think I have succumbed to the simplicity

of my parents way, but it has. I fear I'll end up a barn girl, flattering

myself to think the mayors lad will look at me and take me seriously.'

'You are attractive enough,' commented Jek.

Belzandramas blushed slightly, but waved it off.

'Power is easy to obtain when influence is strong. Certain deeds of state

gain influence quite quickly. And many deeds can be arranged. Heroes

can be honoured. Take me to certain types of people, and I will make

all the arrangements.

Jek Barder shrugged. 'Whatever you say, oh Belzandramas. Whatever you say.'


* * *


'She is the living embodiment of the Orb itself,' said Aldur sombrely, staring into

the fireplace in his tower.

'I. I know,' replied Garion.'

'I do not really know, in my heart, if that was the point all along. Fashioning a life.

A female life at that. I do not recall, in those days, if such fashioning was in the heart

of my thoughts. Honestly, I can not recall. But I sense it may have been something

of an urge of my heart. To find something in the Orb I did not otherwise possess.'

'I understand,' replied Garion.

Aldur looked at Garion. 'Then that is good. For I do not.'

The god rubbed his hands for a moment, for it was cold in the tower, and looked as if

something pressing was on his thoughts and mind.

'Garion. It might be assumed by the folk and gentry of our world that the gods, quite

obviously, always know what they are doing. Let me assure you, we do not. There are

decisions we often make, decisions made in haste, things we should really have known

better about. And sometimes we have to live with those consequences for countless

generations. Torak is a worry. It seems he might always be a worry, for can you really

kill a god in the end? Perhaps it has been wishful thinking all along to make such

an assumption.'

'Perhaps,' replied Garion.

'I think, perhaps, in the Orb there was a counterpart put in place. A thing to bring

balance in this world from the evil of Torak. We held sway, and still do, over the world,

us gods. But Torak causes grief, and there needs to be much good to compensate men

from the troubles they find placed upon them by the very ones they pray to for protection.

It is not right we should allow Torak his place in many ways, but there is something I can

see in the heart of Gemma which I may have assumed had died in me.'

'A mother of mercy,' replied Garion.

'It is.........all that can be said,' replied Aldur.

'However this thing works out, this new quest,' continued Garion. 'I know we will all

learn some things about this world and this life we might not have considered as much

before. Your father, Ul, has things he wishes to accomplish. And the Doomsayers are

part of that plan. Even a god might learn a thing or two at times.'

'Well said, King Belgarion,' replied Aldur.

They sat there, watching the fireplace, and the night turned over, the owls hooted, and

Gemma, sleeping, was not concerned about the wrath of mad gods called Torak, for

she was dreaming of pleasant things, and worries about angry deities could wait till

another day.

* * *

'He's as dull as a doorknob,' said Gemma.

Polgara began brushing her hair. 'Dulliam is an – interesting – fellow, Gemma. There is a lot

more to him than you might have initially grasped.'

'He told me about his childhood. He's a common thief. There is nothing good about him.

And I try talking to him, and he just looks at me, mouth open, and nods.'

'Oh,' said Polgara. 'I see.'

'See what,' replied a frustrated Gemma.

'It can be like that. For a man.'

'Like what?'

'When he's taken with a lady.'

'Hah. That's rich. He hardly knows me,' replied Emma.

'I think he knows enough already. He's seen you and your mannerisms. He is overwhelmed,

that is all.'

Gemma stared ahead, into the mirror. 'And why would that be?' she asked, a little more

sensitivity in her voice.

'He's had a hard life. And it hasn't always had promise in it. He doesn't expect much glory

for himself. When he sees a lady like you actually talking to him. Well. Well he's lost

for words. Does not really know what to say.'

'Oh. I see,' said Gemma, staring at Polgara's reflection in the mirror. 'Well, we absolutely

can not have that. I will sort him out. You'll see that as sure as day follows night.'

'Or night follows day,' replied Polgara, correcting Gemma on the reversal of the common

Sendarian expression.

'Exactly,' replied Gemma, who now had a scheming look on her face.

* * * * *

'Gemma,' said Dulliam. 'Do you want me to take an interest in you?'

'Whatever gave you that idea,' replied Gemma, who had her feet in the river water by the bank, and was playing with a daisy.

'You examine me,' replied Dulliam.

'I have a natural human curiousity. I need to understand the flow. It is all about the flow. Everything is about the flow.'

Aldur, standing a short distance away with Polgara, looked at Gemma. This was something to pay attention to.

'What is the flow?' asked Dulliam.

'The flow, of the will and the word of the world we live in. How it is fashioned to be and march in its timing of things.'

'And what is that timing of things?' asked Dulliam.

'Yes,' said Aldur, coming over, and sitting down next to Gemma, putting his feet likewise in the river water.

'That timing of things is observable. All of life, in this world, animals, plants, nature, the celestial bodies – they all have a timing of things. They way they act and do things. And each being of existence often has his own timing, but there are common common timings in things of common nature.'

'I would imagine,' replied Aldure.

'Dulliam is unusual,' replied Gemma. 'He is slow. No, stupid or, forgive the pun, dull. No he is slow about things. He takes his time carefully with tasks.'

'Rather like Durnik,' observed Polgara.

Gemma smiled at Polgara. 'All of life has a general timing of things, a flow, and all the differing timings interact. But that is where the mystery of life is. All the timings do not always agree with each other, and so we have conflict.'

'Alack alas, we have seen much of that,' replied Aldur.

'We give way and harmonize the timings with each other as much as possible, to provide enough symmetry for life to flow. When there is too much contrary timing, heat gets strong in life, and boils over, often in disastrous ways.'

'What more can you say?' asked Aldur.

'Each being has its timing and its choices, and when we learn timings well, we can choose our interactivity with them with greater wisdom. When we can control the way we relate to others and choose wise interactivity which will benefit things.'

'Dulliam. She has obviously been challenged in thine own self,' said Polgara, staring at Gemma.

'Wonderful,' replied Dulliam.

'Do not concern yourself with my observations, Dulliam. I am simply a curious one.'

'That is indeed observable,' replied Aldur, who stood and started his way back to his tower. Polgara soon followed him leaving Dulliam staring at Gemma, an increasing knowing in him that this particular lady was not simply a pretty face, but there lurked an intelligent mind beneath.




HOW THE BELZANDRAMANIAN COMPLETES

Gemma and Dulliam have a romance and fall in love. They get married in the Vale. They have a child called 'Errand'. Beldin arrives and life is blissful in the vale for a while. Barak and Kheldar arrive. Finally, a council is called. Junissa has a new King, and there is a shadowy figure behind him who Beldin suspects is Belzandramas. Junissa has been negotiating with Mallorea for a united alliance of Angaraks. Cthol Murgos, Gar Og Nadrak and Mishrac Ac Thull join this new Angarak Federation. Belzandramas meets with Torak who declares his love for her. She is then spoken to by various spiritual voices who say that she is now somewhat redeemed, and that Torak has taken her for his queen. Belzandramas has used magic to heal Torak's scar,who gathers the strength of many Malloreon armies and comes to the Vale of Aldur to meet with Garion and Aldur. He is in the vale, with Brazadar, Rtachek, and Garion, Belgarath and Aldur come and talk with them.

'Brother. The old way is dead. I have – learned,' says Torak.

'I am sure you have,' replies Aldur.

'Let there now be peace between us,' says Torak.

'Hopefully it will be as you say,' says Aldur.

'I am a new person,' Belzandramas says to Polgora.

'Apparently,' replies the Sorceres.

'All is good,' said Torak. 'I fancy a spot of hunting.' And he gathers his falcons and goes off hunting with his birds.

The Angarak army stays in the vale a while, before Torak leaves. After a year or so, Beldin reports back that The Angaraks are building up their armed forces in Cthol Murgos, Mishrac Ac Thull and Gar Og Nadrak.

'Obviously the way of peace,' says Aldur.

'I think we all knew this was going to happen,' says Garion. 'The final bloody war.'

Beldin sighed. 'Inevitably.'

Belzandramas is sitting with Torak, and listening to his conversations with the emporer of Mallorea, and it becomes apparent he is planning war with the Alorns. She steals away one evening, and flees to the Vale, and talks with Polgara about what Torak has planned.

'why have you told me though?' queries Polgara.

'I told you. I have changed,' says Belzandramas.

Errand befriends Belzandramas then, the little toddler, and they become friendly with each other.


The story then goes on to show the final battle between the Alorns and the Angaraks, first in western lands, then eastern, with the final defeat of Torak in battle, slain by a loose arrow to the neck, and the victory of the Alorns, with Belgarion becoming emporer over the world, and the defeat of Jek Barder King of Junissa who was the final opposition in the fight.


In latter events Belzandramas marries Errand and they have children and family. The world of the 7 gods finally settles down to peace for a long while as the new Empire of King Belgarion brings stability to the world. But as everyone knows you can't kill a god forever.