The notes for The Story of Jasmine continue:
Every evening, Melantha’s chief demon minister, a human-like creature she had formed from a favorite snake, gave her a litany of all the news collected from the day’s reporting, from inside Medrylthorn to the front lines. And every evening, Melantha drank it all in. Her spacial awareness was very keen. She could easily visualize all the movements and happenings within her sphere and relate them to each other in her mind. At first, she was only mildly concerned that Bardulf had been missing from the reports. But it had been several days now.
“What news of Bardulf? Has he been located?” she asked.
Her demon minister slithered towards her. “Yes-s-s-s,” he replied, eager to please, “the Dark Prince just emerged from the dwarf mines-s-s-s, northwest of UR. After all this-s-s-s time, he was-s-s-s angry his-s-s-s men still failed to locate the UR’s Princess-s-s-s. He cruelly punished those who brought him the unwelcome news-s-s-s.”
“Yes-s-s-s. The Dark Prince carries-s-s-s with him a large book. To obtain it, he boasts-s-s killing many little people living in the caverns-s-s-s under the mountains-s-s-s. He will not allow the book out of his-s-s-s sight.”
After Melantha dismissed her minister, she started to deliberate. Little people—could he have slain the Guardians of Wisdom? Did Bardulf chance upon the Erykyng’s Crystalline Caves? Is the book he carries the fabled Tome of Wisdom, which contains the history of the Mid-Realm? Does the book also contain Erlkyng’s knowledge on how to destroy her magic and power? Erlkyng was the only being in the Mid-realm she had ever feared because he learned her secrets.
Suddenly, Bardulf became much more of a threat to her security. Maybe Bardulf was not the buffoon she thought he was. After all, his own growing network of spies rivaled her own.
At the beginning, Melantha determined Bardulf’s weakness was his ambition and his burning desire to learn magic. He proofed to be the perfect choice to undermine and conquer UR. She had made herself indispensable to all Bardulf’s desires and even gave him powerful magical incantations to use against UR. She now regretted that decision.
He performed her practices very well — almost too well. She realized Bardulf had a better knack for magic than she gave him credit for. Now, with that book in his possession, he might prove to be much more problematic and unpredictable. She wondered what other weaknesses Bardulf had that she could exploit.
© 2018 DARLENE