Cries of, “We did it!” and “Huzzah!” and “It’s a breakthrough!” echoed through the spacious halls of the abbey that B.S.Roberts was being led through. The shouts then shifted to ones of, “By the Gods,” “Look at the size of that!” and “Will somebody get the man a robe?”
Liam—the guard that had welcomed the ghostwriter into Astrolabe Abbey—came to a halt in front of two massive oak doors from which the shots described in the previous paragraph were stemming. “Here’s the Great Academical Forum,” the guard explained. “It’s where the big experiments are presented and discussed.”
“Is that what’s happening in there?” asked the earthling as more cheers seeped out from the gap between the threshold and doors.
“That’d be my guess,” he admitted with a shrug. “Come on, let’s go introduce you to the abbot.”
B.S.Roberts paused and thought back to the silly little short story he’d written not too many days before. “What would the abbot’s name happen to be?”
“Abbot Abby Abbott, of course!”
‘Of course’ was right. He’d made up that horrible alliteration of name himself. So what was she—what was the entirety of Astrolabe Abbey—doing here? Sure, all of Faewalk was his invention, so he was in a sense already in a story, but this particular location inhabited by these particular people weren’t even invented yet when he’d been summoned here two years prior.
“What year was this abbey built?”
Liam paused. “Why, I don’t know, buster—I’m just a guard!”
“Oh, well, how new is it?”
“New? Look at this place. It’s got to be one of the oldest places in the Dagger Shores!” Patience waning thin, Liam took hold of the door handle and pulled it open. “Now come along. I have work to do, believe it or not.”
The Great Academical Forum looked like one of those cliched university classroom amphitheaters (was anything in Faewalk not cliché?), with the sloping floors accommodating hundreds of seats to fan out from the relatively small stage bordered on three sides with blackboards, and a table pushed to the side, a bundle of parchments the only thing on its top.
Three men were standing at the lectern, two wearing flamboyant suits and the third, an older man with flowing gray hair, a long silver beard, and an angular face, wore a thin robe that appeared to have been recently draped over his back. Most noticeable about him, however, was the fact that he was on his knees and using his hands to shield his eyes from the light streaming in from the high windows.
“Behold, fellow scholars—we have created a person!” one of the flamboyantly dressed oversized men shouted.
Liam leaned close to B.S.Roberts and whispered from the side of his mouth, “I don’t know what they’re so excited about. Women do that all the time.”
The newly created man was helped to his feet and led to a wooden chair that a toga-clad woman deposited on the stage, and before he even had a chance to plant his ass on it, he was hit by an onslaught of questions:
“Where do you come from?”
“Do you know who we are?”
“Do you know who you are?”
“Do you speak Commontongue?”
“Are there any others from where you came from?”
“Come on, man! Speak! We’re dying to get some answers from you!”
The old man (his hair color gave it away, though he seemed fitter than B.S.Roberts had ever been in life) looked up at the men staring at him with an annoyed squint. “Jigus’rist, Cholmondeley—you damned well know who I am!”
Archwizard Cholmondeley (because that’s who he was) stared at the newcomer, “Uh, I’m sorry… you were just created—”
With a fearsome scowl, he stood up and, with a flick of a wand he pulled out from his tangled excuse of facial hair, turned the old cloak into an exquisite blue robe.
B.S.Roberts’s jaw practically hit the stone floor. “That looks just like—”
“Balatar,” the archwizard shouted in recognition.
Gasps and murmurs spread through the crowd.
“Balatar?” B.S.Roberts asked, his brow raised in confusion. “No, it’s Alatar…from… but why…” he trailed off and then, as it usually does a couple minutes late, understanding clicked. He sprinted away from Liam to the bundle of papers on the table and snatched them up. Written on the top of the first page in his own handwriting was
THE WIZARD’S STAFF
Note: Use all CAPS for the code!