Understanding The Balance — From the Archives of Kris the Bard — Part Two
For all too brief a time, the White Tower, also known as The Lost Tower, twin to Melasurej, the Wizards’ Keep, stood in Elannort alongside its damaged twin. Unbeknownst to anyone, I secretly crept up the tower several times to converse with The Guardian of Tomorrow. After each encounter, I rushed back to my room to capture on paper, as accurately as I could remember, the words that had been spoken. Now, in another time and a different dimension, I have the opportunity to reflect on those hurriedly scrawled notes and share them with you.
Our First Meeting
CJA wrote this in A Vision of the Future.
“The Guardian of Tomorrow had not spoken to anyone else since the White Tower’s appearance. The time portal remained transparent and the controls appeared to be locked to the here and now. It seemed as if everyone in Elannort wanted to visit the tower and eventually Manfred had decided to declare it off limits. He sealed the entrance with his magic. It would stop anyone getting in but he doubted if it would stop the White Tower becoming lost again should it decide to disappear.”
It is true, but for some reason Manfred’s magic did not stop me. I only visited when I had an overwhelming urge to do so. In hindsight, I understand that The Guardian was calling me and allowing me to get past the seal. It was with trepidation that I approached the Guardian of Tomorrow, the first time we spoke. Inside the portal, the mists swirled and the Guardian spoke in a great booming voice, just as Simon had described. The voice seemed so loud that I feared all Elannort would hear us. But we were never disturbed.
“Kris of Karo, we are very pleased to meet you. You have led an interesting life and one that we did not predict. Even now, our vision is clouded. We have dared to take a peep into the future, but there are so many possibilities we cannot be certain of anything. Only one thing we know; you will play a key role in securing the future of the Cosmos. Nostradamus foretold this and we concur. We would have you swear allegiance to The Balance and promise to serve us faithfully until the Conjunction. It is very unusual for us to do this, but you are an unusual being. You now carry a Hero’s gene and that may be vital in the future as it has been in the past. Will you so swear?”
I had no idea what I was letting myself in for. How could I possibly live to see a Conjunction? What did the Balance stand for? Could I serve it and Simon and Manfred all at the same time? What did they want me to do? I stared into the portal. I don’t know how long I stood there. My mind seemed to fuse with the swirling clouds and I relived adventures from my past. I was at the Last Council of the Wise, my head controlled by Weylyn the Wolf as I spied for him. I curled up in fear, on the floor of a mountain hut, while two warriors fought the wargs; I had given up information to the sentient beasts and I didn’t know whether to fear them or the men the most. I stood before the locked door at First Delve that refused to open until I emptied the dwarven gold from my pockets. I stood before Manfred the Magician as he prepared to probe my mind and I both expected and wanted to die. That was my lowest point.
As Manfred cleared Weylyn’s hold on me and I glimpsed the possibility of a new life, as Bard of Elannort. I was still a craven coward but I had a new purpose to chronicle the life of the Hero and celebrate it in my writing.
Elannort was about to fall. Weylyn was outside the doors of the Wizard’s Keep. He had broken Manfred’s staff and was about to send him to stone. It was then that my life turned. A rat bit me and I jumped up, said something heroic, and distracted Weylyn just long enough for Simon to return and destroy him. I saved the day, just as much as the Hero did. The rat, of course, was Fate and his bite had given me just one of the Hero’s genes.
That should have been my finest hour, but there was even better to come. I actually held Kin Slayer and saved Simon from death in Dring’s dungeon. That was my finest hour. For just a brief moment, I understood the exhilaration and the awesome responsibility that goes with The Sword.
Nothing that I would do, could top that, could it? The mists swirled and I got glimpses of future events. I will be there when Elannort falls to Gadiel and there will be something important I still have to do. I tried to grab hold of the vision, but it evaporated into swirls of mist. I saw something else; a young girl, no more than a teenager with long red hair. She needs my help. I offer it willingly but feel terrible guilt at the same time. I tried to understand the feelings, but they were gone like autumn mist in the rising sun.
And suddenly I understood. My miserable life actually meant something. I had been manipulated by gods and wizards but I had come through to find my true purpose. I had no inkling that I might be being manipulated again. I simply knew that I had found my vocation.
“I so swear,” I said. “What must I do?”
“We do not know. Study us. Try to understand us. When the time is right we will all know.”
And so I began that day studying The Balance. It has been my life’s work and I could not have done it without the help of Rheanna, Custodian of the Great Library at Rhakotis.
But before I left for Rhakotis, I had the opportunity to speak with The Guardian several more times and ask them some questions. I will tell you about that next time.
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