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Tranquility, p.1

Tranquility, page 1

 

Tranquility
 

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Tranquility


  Chronicles of Galadria IV - Tranquility

  David Gay-Perret

  Translated by Amy Trahearn

  “Chronicles of Galadria IV - Tranquility”

  Written By David Gay-Perret

  Copyright © 2017 David Gay-Perret

  All rights reserved

  Distributed by Babelcube, Inc.

  www.babelcube.com

  Translated by Amy Trahearn

  Cover Design © 2017 Joshua Wright

  “Babelcube Books” and “Babelcube” are trademarks of Babelcube Inc.

  The complete Chronicles of Galadria are made up of 6 volumes, which can be found in multiple languages in an e-book format (for a complete and up-to-date listing of translations and distributors, follow this link or look on the website www.gayperret.com, under the Chronicles of Galadria tab):

  Chronicles of Galadria I - The Other World

  Chronicles of Galadria II - Encounters

  Chronicles of Galadria III - Lessons

  Chronicles of Galadria IV - Tranquility

  Chronicles of Galadria V - A New Beginning

  Chronicles of Galadria VI - Hope

  Please note, some volumes of the series may not have been translated into the language you are currently reading yet. To verify which books are available and in which languages, or to see translation progress, follow the link above.

  Table of Contents

  Foreword

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15

  Chapter 16

  Chapter 17

  Chapter 18

  Chapter 19

  Chapter 20

  Chapter 21

  Chapter 22

  Chapter 23

  Chapter 24

  Chapter 25

  Chapter 26

  Map

  Foreword

  Before you launch yourself into the saga that awaits you, let me just mention that I would like to have this book available in as many different languages as possible, so if you’ve mastered a couple and you’re tempted by adventure, visit Babelcube to get in contact with me! The original language is French (but I will entertain offers based on a previously translated language), but the target languages depend only on you – although some have already been covered.

  It is important to understand that the “coming of age” aspect of the Chronicles is the result of a patchwork of themes and ideas that I added in as they came to me, in a spontaneous way, without really thinking about their effects on the overall stream of the story—a bit like an intimate diary or journal. However, the completion of the writing process also marked a moment of comprehension and a new perspective on my life and the world; I now thought of elements that I ardently wanted to share, though the story was sadly already finished. As I reread the story in the light of this new realization, I discovered that all that I now wanted to say was already there, though perhaps poorly expressed (as I hadn’t constructed the story with those ideas in mind).

  So, I would also like to mention my latest project concerning this series: I am planning on creating an animated series, divided into episodes. For connoisseurs, it would be somewhat in the style of Japanese anime. Ideally, I would like to work in collaboration with an animation studio (perhaps seeking a scenario?) so that the story can benefit from the knowledge, advice, and resources of professionals, all while maintaining my point of view, my ideas for direction, and my music. Most important for me are assurances to respect the atmosphere and the story. The creation of an animated series would permit me to begin the creative process again, but with those key themes and message in mind, so that I could transmit them throughout the story, but in a clear, structured, and logical manner.

  So, if you know individuals who work in the field of animation who might be interested, or if you yourself are in such a position, don’t hesitate to contact me!

  And here we go. It is more than time for you to discover the adventure that is to follow. Enjoy reading, and enjoy the journey...

  To all who still know how to enjoy the here and now...

  Chapter 1

  “WHAT on earth could I have done with it?” He plunged his hand into his sack, but found nothing but food. “I know I brought it. It has to be here!” This time, he shook the pack until all of its contents were scattered across the ground, and finally, he found the object he was seeking. “There it is! My map! I knew I hadn’t forgotten it.” Glaide grabbed the piece of parchment, a big smile on his face, until he suddenly seemed to realize that now all of his provisions for his journey were spread about him on the ground.

  “Criminy,” he muttered. He quickly gathered up the food, taking a moment to make sure none of it had become dirty or damaged. He’d decided to set up camp a bit away from the road where the grass was thick, so in the end, all of the food could go back into his pack except for one apple, which he began to munch on distractedly.

  The young man had left the morning before. First, he had taken a moment to consider which direction his master might have taken, but honestly, he didn’t have even the vaguest idea. He figured Kezthrem had probably decided to travel without any particular destination in mind, stopping here and there as the whim struck. The adolescent, on the other hand, had a very clear goal: to find his friends. However, to do that, he would need information about them. Since he didn’t know if they’d done anything to make a name for themselves, he didn’t know whether or not any of the rest of the inhabitants of the Known Lands would know where they could be found.

  He had finally started towards the north, since the majority of the villages were that way. However, after a good deal of reflection, he had decided that that might not be such a good idea. Baras was searching for him, after all, and as soon as he entered a village, he risked being recognized. Plus, if he asked about his friends, he could be overheard by someone who might deduce who he was—something that he ought to avoid at all cost. That was why, too, he didn’t want to go to Shinozuka; as soon as he arrived, he was sure Rozak would want to proclaim his identity, and in that case, even if his friends heard he was there and tried to join him, he’d bet Baras would gather an army straightaway to attack the city, which would certainly put a damper on things. And as things stood, and without the aid of the other peoples, humanity wouldn’t stand a chance. Those thoughts had occupied him the entire previous day, and today, he needed to choose a destination, keeping in mind his goal and the risks inherent to each possibility. And so it was that he sat studying his map early that afternoon, trying to decide where his steps should carry him.

  “Right,” he murmured. “Based on my previous trips, I should be about a day’s journey from Adrish. If I hurry, I could reach it tomorrow, before sunset.” He quickly chased that idea out of his head, however. Adrish was, after Shinozuka, the most likely place where he would be recognized, after all. “Let’s see... Further to the north is Endre. I’ve never been there, so no one there should know who I am.” However, and for no apparent reason, that solution didn’t particularly please him, either.

  “There’s always a risk that someone will recognize me,” he grumbled. “And besides, that’s too close to Fyth. The one time Baras spoke to me, I was near those mountains... I could keep going until I reach Heidro, but that would bring me close to Shinozuka.” With a sigh of resignation, he let the parchment slip out of his fingers and fall gently onto the grass. It was obvious that finding anything out about his friends while still remaining inc
onspicuous would be impossible. And that was besides the fact that he would probably receive plenty of erroneous information that would carry him to the four corners of the Known Lands, making it more and more difficult for him to remain anonymous.

  The other solution was that he spend his time almost entirely on the road, entering villages only to buy provisions. It would be safer to make his purchases in the scattered villages and isolated homes that he chanced upon during his travels, but Glaide knew that then his chances of coming across his friends would be slim to none. “I can’t leave it all to chance,” he said to himself. “I have to get information somehow! Sure, I found Kezthrem purely by chance, but it’s inconceivable that something like that would happen again...”

  The boy looked at the scenery around him, hoping that there he would spot a hint towards some kind of solution, but that didn’t help either; his mind remained a blank. He remembered the shakuhachi then; his master’s gift was somewhere in the bottom of his sack. He hadn’t taken the time to play it yet, instead saving his breath for walking, but at the moment, he had no interest in walking, since he had no destination in mind. Very carefully, he pulled out the instrument. The swirls and decorations engraved on it made the instrument one of a kind, and he was pleased to own such a piece of art. But he wasn’t there to stare at it, so he brought it to his lips.

  The first sounds to come out of the flute were nothing but wind in the best case, and screeching sounds in the worst case. However, instead of becoming discouraged, he slowly worked to control his breath until he began to hear notes worthy of the name. Pleased with that first victory, he decided to try to string a few notes together. Kezthrem had told him that the melody of such an instrument depended on what one felt, and that it wasn’t difficult to play; however, the young man didn’t really succeed in producing “music” per se. What he created was hesitant, and lacked the fluidity of true music. Finally, after about a quarter of an hour, he tucked the shakuhachi into his belt. He hadn’t accomplished anything particularly exceptional, but he well knew that he’d have plenty more chances to work on it! Besides which, the small break had accomplished what it was meant for: he’d decided on a destination, or at any rate, a town’s name had come to mind. However, he didn’t get up or make any move in that direction. In fact, it was absolutely out of the question to move before he’d carefully considered all the potential consequences of his idea. And there were certainly plenty of those, since he was considering nothing more nor less than heading towards Zakorth.

  “Zakorth,” he murmured. “The Cursed Village, the place that shelters the worshippers of Baras... The refuge of all who have chosen to follow him, instead of fighting against him.” He and his master had passed near the city just over a week ago, on their return from the temple of Aras, and they’d discovered a horrifically ravaged village bearing silent witness to the fact that the territory of that city had grown. The memory still brought the young man pain, and the few words his master had shared about the city made it seem likely that greater still and entirely unmentionable atrocities were experienced by those poor souls that survived such attacks.

  At the same time, though, the adolescent could not ignore the place. If Baras had an eye on his friends, which was very likely, then he would be sharing that information with the inhabitants of Zakorth. That meant it would be the most likely place to find valuable and precise intel on them. And there, he wasn’t particularly concerned about being recognized. Up until then, his adversaries had been simple monsters, most of whom had been killed. Besides, Baras wouldn’t be expecting his prey to throw himself into the jaws of the wolf.

  “I have to go there,” he declared. “From where we were, the city didn’t look so terrible. If I’m as inconspicuous as possible, and I collect my information quickly, I should be able to come and go without any problems.” He knew perfectly well that what he was planning was risky, and that if anyone discovered he was the Destroyer, it would be not just him that died, but also the hopes of all the peoples of Galadria alongside of him. Worse than that, he wouldn’t be able to keep the promise he’d made to his friends: that he would see them again.

  “If I don’t go there, though, I’ll never be able to enter another city, and I don’t want to spend my entire life on the road. I have to gain the support of the different peoples before I reveal my identity, and I have no idea how. And besides, I should have my magg at my side as soon as possible.”

  The boy took the time to turn the idea over and over in his head, but no matter how he looked at it, he always found that heading to Zakorth was the fastest and most efficient solution. Of course, besides the village itself, he’d have to deal with the territory around it, which was also plenty dangerous. If he was attacked by a regiment, despite all of his training, he’d have little chance of surviving. However, after thinking about it a bit more, he found a solution even to that problem: he would simply have to make anyone he crossed paths with believe that he was allied with Baras. Besides, what imbecile would head towards the most dangerous village in the Known Lands if he didn’t live there?

  “Me!” thought the boy with a smile.

  However, he also imposed one limit on himself: if, on his approach to Zakorth, he decided he was likely to become trapped there, whether by a topography that didn’t favor flight, or by the presence of too many overzealous guards, then he wouldn’t enter. The goal was to gain information, not to become a prisoner for some indeterminate duration...

  With that thought, Glaide took to the road again. A quick estimate of the distance to be traveled told him that he could reach the gates of the town in under a week. The day before, when he’d come across the relay station that he and his master had discovered just before returning to the dojo, the man tending it had told him that the mount Kezthrem had rented for him was already en route for Vlatendire. A little disappointed, the boy had nonetheless understood that he couldn’t have ridden anyway: with no one to follow and his own lack of skill, he would have been incapable of pacing or leading his horse as he’d need to. But nothing could beat a good walk, anyway! And besides, that would give him time to think things over, as was his wont.

  He remembered then how the solitude he’d experienced after leaving Tyv and Paeh had weighed on him; having no one to talk to had been dreadful. Happily, though, that had lasted only days before he’d encountered the dwarves, and after them, a dragon. Those thoughts filled him with excitement as he imagined everything that could happen to him in the days to come. Would he see Ayrokkan again? Cross paths with other adventurers? Would he finally see an elf? Anything was possible! As Kezthrem had said, once one got a taste of adventure, it was hard to give it up. However—and Glaide kept that thought always in mind, even during moments of complete euphoria—it was also adventure that brought death and pain. For the moment, though, he felt good, and the spectre of loneliness and solitude appeared far off, at least for the time being.

  The afternoon passed by tranquilly, and bit by bit, Glaide began to find his rhythm. That evening, he didn’t stop to eat, instead taking pleasure in watching the sun set off to the left, then slowly be replaced by the multitude of stars that contrasted with the inky black of the sky. He felt light-headed as he gazed upwards, and the shadows around him swallowing up all the landmarks reinforced that feeling. The moon, nearly full, brightened the plains that he was traveling through. With his gaze fixed on the infinite sky, he thought, “It’s funny, but now that I think about it, when I was traveling with Kezthrem, I didn’t actually pay much attention to the land we were passing through. We spent a lot of time talking, especially in the evening, and soon after that I usually went to bed, completely exhausted!” He let out a deep sigh. “Just like when I first met my master, I’ll have to get used to this new lifestyle. Bit by bit, I will get used to it, though, and fall back into the habits I had when I first left Emily, Jeremy, and Gwenn.” Then, out loud this time, he said, “And to think I’ve finally finished my training... It’s incredible! I’ve learned how to use
a sword, I’ve come to know a truly amazing man, I’ve learned the true history of Dzen and Novak, beyond the erroneous memories of the inhabitants of the Known Lands, and that's not even mentioning all of the other things I’ve learned!

  “I was afraid six months ago, not knowing whether or not I should leave by myself, and today, at long last I’m searching for my friends again. Did I really believe this day would come? Wasn’t it, deep in my mind, nothing more than some unlikely future? An image of a utopia where everything I hoped for came to pass?”

  Deeply happy, Glaide wrapped himself up in his cape and passed a peaceful night, filled with dreams of victory and the promises of the future...

  Chapter 2

  THE next day, his determination began to waver: the further he went, the more time he had to ask questions and relive his memories, which made him reconsider his decision more than once. Finally, he refused to think at all, because he knew he could consider and reconsider the decision endlessly. On one hand, he could think of all sorts of arguments to change directions, while on the other hand, he was unable to come up with a better solution...

  Two more days passed without the young man really noticing. He’d come across no one thus far, and he knew that after a few more miles, it would no longer be likely for him to come across anyone at all. The territory of Zakorth wasn’t much farther anymore. However, before he could be sure he’d crossed into the town’s territory, he would have to find strong proof of enemy activity in the area. That could mean cadavers, or the traces of a struggle, complete with blood... As he saw the sun begin to set, he decided to stop for the night. He didn’t know for sure how far the borders of that cursed city might be, and he didn’t want to risk crossing them accidentally, or spending an extra night already within hostile territory.

 
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