The Aptly Named Book of Lost Wisdom Volume 2
by Nyri Dawnsong

I can never hope to convey the pride I feel in being the familiar of Prince Eric and Prince Dahr. Nor can I describe the pain of being unable to come to their aid in their current predicament. I will not share with you the rage I feel toward the parties responsible for my separation, for that rage is theirs to experience. Such rage is a private matter to be shared only with those who have been unfortunate enough to earn it. When I find those parties, and I assure you I will, there will be a reckoning.

                                                                                                           The Book of Lost Wisdom, Kalutu

Chapter 1 – The Secret

Seventeenth of Learning 1142

Kalutu walked through the palace corridors with more purpose than he’d ever felt. There was a not before seen urgency in his movements. A deliberation that hinted at barely concealed anger. That he had no target for that ire served to intensify it.

Prince Eric and Prince Dahr were gone, not only from the palace, but from the city of Rish. Indeed they had gotten so far away, Kalutu wasn’t certain he could pinpoint their exact location. He should have insisted he go with Dahr, but he hadn’t. And now they were far away and getting further, and he could do nothing to protect them.

He thought about going to the king and queen directly, but there was someone else he needed to tell first. The one person who would take him at his word. So he found himself near Princess Chari’s quarters. Two guards stood at either side of the door. He paused for only a moment, not having expected it, but he should have. There were strangers sleeping in the palace tonight. A closer glance identified them not as palace guards, but as guards that King Leonid had brought with him from Melar. As he approached, they stiffened, though apparently they recognized the were-owl.

“I need to speak to Princess Chari.”

“On her wedding night?” asked one of the guards incredulously.

Kalutu shrugged. “I have news of Prince Eric.”

“Be that as it may, said the guard, “her highness is sleeping. Perhaps it would be best if you come back in the morning.”

Kalutu almost said something inappropriate but realized that would not further his goals. He closed his round eyes, counted to three, opened them and tried again.

“Now see here, my good man. My master, Prince Eric, has sent me with a personal message for Princess Chari. Are you really willing to risk the fall out if that message is not delivered?”

The man, to Kalutu’s surprise, still looked uncertain, but the other guard intervened. “We have to wake the princess, Sart. You know that.”

Sart looked uncomfortable, but finally nodded and knocked lightly on the door. A tap that wouldn’t have woken a sleeping mouse. Kalutu, frustrated and no less angry for it, leaned past the guard and rapped sharply. The guard whirled on him and almost drew his sword, but the other put a hand on his shoulder.

A few moments later, the door opened, as if Princess Chari had been nearby. Though she was fully dressed, her short, blonde hair was disheveled. She looked uncomprehendingly at them through bleary eyes.

“What’s going on?”

“This…creature said he had a message for you from your husband.”

Princess Chari’s eyes narrowed. “Sart, this creature is my husband’s familiar and will be treated with respect. He arguably has a higher position than you do. I trust Kalutu with my life.”

This unexpected support made Kalutu feel better.

“But he’s a lycanthrope!” replied the guard, not quite shouting.

Princess Chari, started to say something, but Kalutu interrupted.

“Indeed I am. Tell me, Sart.” The man’s name felt strange on his tongue. “Exactly how many lycanthropes do you know personally?”

Sart started to reply and stopped when he saw the look in Princess Chari’s eyes. “Kalutu is not only my husband’s familiar, but a member of my guild team. He will be treated with respect, or I will inform my father that at least one of my guards is not satisfactory.”

Whatever Sart had been about to say died on his lips. “Yes, Your Highness.”

Princess Chari turned to the other guard, who was already in the process of raising his hands, palms out in a gesture of surrender. “Of course, Your Highness.”

Kalutu wanted to say something more, but then realized this was all a distraction. This guard, obtuse as he was, was not an appropriate target for his rage. Kalutu asserted control over himself.

“Princess Chari. I’m sure this guard was merely doing his job. In fairness, it is unlikely he has ever met a familiar gifted to a prince by the gods themselves. You can’t expect him to behave in a way other than he did. I’m positive he has learned his lesson.”

Both guards turned toward Kalutu, looking surprised. Chari opened her mouth as if she was going to say something, thought better of it, and instead said, “You have a message from Eric?”

“I think we should talk inside. What I need to tell you is for your ears alone.”

Chari nodded, and Sart looked like he was about to protest, but a single glance from Princess Chari stopped whatever he had been about to say in its tracks.

“Of course, come in, Kalutu.”

She held the door open for the familiar, but her glare never quite left the hapless guard until the door closed behind her.


Chari closed the door and grimaced. “I’m sorry, Kalutu. That guard was out of line. You didn’t deserve that.”

“It’s not important. Prince Eric and Prince Dahr might be in danger.”


“They have left the city of Rish and are getting further away even now.”

Eric and Dahr were no longer in Rish? Where were they going? With whom? Were they still with Maynor? There was so much Chari wanted to ask, but she could barely organize her thoughts beyond the two that popped into her mind at that moment. Her very first impulse was to go after them immediately. The longer they waited the further they’d get. If she left now, maybe she could catch them.

The second thought, and one she had neither the time nor the energy to entertain, was that something could happen to them before she could catch up with them. The feeling made her want to leap into action. Hell, she could end up a widow before she got to consummate her marriage. She frowned at the thought. What a stupid thing to think at a time like this. She pushed all thoughts from her head and tried to think of something pertinent to ask.

“Kalutu, how do you know they’ve left the city?”

“I always know where my masters are, or at least, I always know what direction they’re in, and I can feel how far away they are. When they’re closer, I can tell their exact position, but they’re far enough now that I just know that it’s beyond the city walls. Beyond that, I can’t say.”

That was helpful. If Kalutu could track them, she’d have to bring him with her. Not that she’d thought about leaving him behind. She had told the truth when she had dressed down her guard. Kalutu was part of their team. She still needed more information. It was still possible that everything was fine, and that this was something that Maynor had planned. And she’d had no idea that Maynor had come for Dahr, if that is indeed what happened.

“Maynor came and took Eric last night.”

“He took Dahr as well.”

“If they’re with Maynor, surely it’s okay,” said Chari, but the quaver in her voice belied her words. “It’s happening, isn’t it?”

“I believe so.”

“Dammit. It was supposed to be all of us. We have to follow them.”

Kalutu shook his head. “We do, but not yet. We not only need more information, but supplies, some idea of where we’re going, and a way to get out of the palace undetected. Your parents aren’t going to let you go wandering around the world without an escort. Aside from that, we need to notify King Terrence and Queen Treya.”

“You’ve really thought this through. I need to start doing that. Normally I have Eric to pull me back, or even Dahr. Can you do that for me, Kalutu? Pull me back when I overextend myself?”

“I can try. I am still new to this world and lack both context and information. There is still much I don’t know. I’ll need you to help me through the gaps in my knowledge.”

“I can do that.”

The two stood in silence for just a little while, trying to come to terms with how this was going to change their relationship. Chari knew that when Dahr and Eric were around, Kalutu had had direction. A master— well, two masters. Now he only had Chari, who had no actual control over him. And Chari had gotten used to being second guessed by the brothers. At times it rankled her but she strongly suspected she was going to miss it and, now that it was gone, she realized how much she had depended on it.

“So where to first?” she asked.

“Perhaps we should see if Maynor is in the palace. It’s still early so if he is, he’s probably sleeping.”

Chari nodded. She hadn’t moved far from the door and opened it. Kalutu followed her out.

The guards had been arguing but at the moment the door opened, whatever they had been saying ground to a halt.

Chari only got a few steps from the room before she turned. “I meant what I said before. Kalutu is my husband’s familiar and, as far as I’m concerned, a dear personal friend. He will be treated with respect. He will be afforded all the honors you’d show any noble.”

Olear, the guard who hadn’t said anything before, nodded immediately. Sart also nodded, but the look on his face told the princess exactly what he thought of her statement. Chari had had enough.

“Guardsman Sart, go to my father and tell him I request you be reassigned. If he asks you why, tell him that you think your opinion is more important than mine. Now.”

Flustered, the guard bowed and moved off down the corridor.

Chari whirled and stamped away still grumbling under her breath. Kalutu followed immediately behind.

“He was only looking out for you,” said Kalutu, attempting to be reasonable.

Chari shrugged, but didn’t answer.

“What’s the plan?” asked Kalutu.

“We try to track down Maynor, and if we can’t, we’ll go directly to the king and queen. I just wish we had more to go on. We don’t even know that they’re really in danger.”

She quickened her pace, but Kalutu kept up easily. Neither spoke again, at least not to each other, though they had to stop a servant to ask for directions.

At length they came to Maynor’s room. Chari rapped loudly on the door. A passing guard looked up startled, but when he saw who was knocking, he kept going down the corridor, clearly not wanting to tangle with a royal guest, no matter how loudly she was banging at this hour of the morning. When there was no answer, Chari knocked again even louder.

She was about to give up when she heard someone stirring inside. A moment later, came a very tired voice. “All right, all right. I’m coming.”

She heard a bolt click, and Maynor opened the door. He was still wearing his leather armor, as if he’d slept in it. His boots were on as well. To Chari, he looked like a man who’d come home too drunk and was now regretting it, complete with what looked like a hangover. He stared at them dumbly, as if he didn’t recognize them, or perhaps he was just waiting for them to explain why they were banging on his door at this hour of the morning.

“Where did you take Eric and Dahr?” she demanded.

He shook his head, as if to clear it. “What? Nowhere. What are you talking about?”

“You came to our chambers last night, and took Eric with you.”

“I did no such thing.”

“You did. And you came for Dahr too.”

Maynor glanced at Kalutu who nodded.

“You’re saying I met with the princes last night?”

“You did.”

“I was here sleeping last night. All night.”

Chari and Kalutu looked at each other. “Then you wouldn’t mind helping us find them. Because after you took him, Eric never came back. Nor did Dahr.”

“Are you saying the princes are missing?”

Chari nodded. “That’s exactly what I’m saying.”

Suddenly, Maynor transformed. He still looked like a man who’d had too much to drink, but it was clear his duty outweighed whatever he was suffering. He pulled himself together, closed his door and started walking quickly.

On the way, he stopped every guard he passed and asked them to look for Eric and Dahr and asked them to meet him at Leata’s office, which turned out to be their next stop.

The door was open and Leata was inside, already awake. The moment the three appeared, she was on her feet. “What’s wrong?”

“Princess Chari and Kalutu say I took Prince Eric and Prince Dahr from their rooms last night. I have no memory of this. Either I did this and don’t recall it, or someone else did who looked exactly like me. Get some servants to find them and bring them back here.”

“Should we tell the king and queen?”

“Normally I’d say we should wait to see if they’re really missing, but there are strangers in the palace. Princess Chari, please stay with Leata.”

“And where will you be?” asked Leata.

“I’m going to wake the Misfits of Karmenon. I want them where I can see them.”

Maynor practically ran from the room. Chari watched him go, then turned to Leata.

“He really did come for Prince Eric last night.”

Leata nodded. “I believe you. Let’s go wake the king and queen, shall we?”

Chari and Kalutu followed Leata, hoping she was wrong, but knowing in her gut that Kalutu had been telling the truth. She wondered why he hadn’t told anyone else that they were no longer in the city. Then she thought it might be a good idea not to say anything just yet. Because she had every intention of going after her husband, and if he was no longer in Rish, then she’d have to do it without letting anyone else know. Because no one was going to let her and Kalutu walk into unknown danger, no matter what the goddess said. But Chari hadn’t been training as hard as she had for no reason.

“This is a waste of time,” whispered Kalutu. “They’re getting further away.”

“I know. But if a search party is sent out now, we won’t be part of it. You know that.”

Kalutu thought about that before replying.

“I do. But every moment we delay…”

Chari smiled in sympathy. “You sound like me. But a friend suggested that we can’t just run off without thinking things through. He told me we need supplies and a way out of the palace unseen. We need a head start, or they’ll catch us and bring us back. I’m a princess, Kalutu. I can’t just go anywhere I want, because no one is going to let me. We’ll have to be clever if we’re to follow them. And that means no one can know you know where they are, okay?”

Kalutu nodded. “I understand, Princess Chari.”

Neither spoke again, until they reached the royal chambers. Two guards stood outside the door, but immediately allowed Leata access. Chari didn’t know whether or not to enter, so she waited outside with Kalutu, trying to think of ways to escape the palace undetected.


Treya lay awake in bed listening to Terrence snore softly beside her. She liked the sound. It distracted her. Gave her something to focus on.

There were strangers in the palace tonight. A team of adventurers–the Misfits of Karmenon. They had been brought by Andeon Walsh, the guild master of the Rish branch of the Adventurer’s Guild, and though neither he nor Veloran seemed to have a problem with them, she still couldn’t relax. She couldn’t lose Eric or Dahr, she just couldn’t. She had already suffered enough loss in her life.

During the Undead Wars, Terrence had been gone for well over a year. He’d come back haunted, angry, suffering an injury that went far more than skin deep. And he carried the guilt of his affair with him. Sometimes she thought he needed that guilt to distract him from the terror of the endless nights, and the memory of so many lost. She couldn’t take any of it away, but she could shield him from her own pain. He didn’t need that.

So she hadn’t told him. Terrence never knew Treya had been pregnant with his child when he had left. She hadn’t wanted him to worry about his unborn child while he was off fighting. They each had their roles and child bearing was hers.

Instead of consulting a healer, as many women would have in years previous, the queen went instead to the mage Lord Ormund, who was younger and not quite as full of himself back in those days. He was a promising young mage who, among others, had been looking into the rash of miscarriages and still births that had plagued Rish and the surrounding areas for years. The truth was she’d have preferred an older more capable mage, but all of those would be joining her husband on the front. Lord Ormund, talented even at his age, wasn’t a battle mage, and his lack of experience in battle made him a bad choice to bring. He was, instead, tasked with keeping an eye on things back home, a job he took to with no shortage of pride and dedication.

Treya had gone to him for reassurance but hadn’t gotten it. Instead she’d been told what she’d known anyway. No one was safe. They didn’t know what was causing the issue, and even the queen herself wasn’t exempt from it. Lord Ormund didn’t believe it was a physical problem but rather a magical one, and that the solution to the issue, whatever it was, would be magical in nature. She had heard the same before from others, which was why he had been the one she had consulted.

She didn’t want to tell anyone about the pregnancy, she wouldn’t have been able to deal with the sympathetic looks, the fear, the gossip, and most of all, the abundance of fake well-wishers crowding around her in her husband’s absence, attempting to curry favor. So she asked Lord Ormund to help her hide her condition from those around her, and he did. He had been devoted to her. She thought he might even be in love with her, but of course, she couldn’t let that be her problem. His loyalty had been enough.

So Terrence had never learned of the pregnancy or that the child had been stillborn. That they had lost their second son. Very few people in the palace knew. Treya had been the center of much of the palace gossip at the time, but few suspected the truth and those few that knew were loyal. Some suggested she was withdrawn because the king was gone, and she was scared for him. Others thought she might be ill. Very few people had been there to share those dark days with her, and no one had been there to share the endless nights.

Well not no one. There had been one young woman in particular, a servant recommended by Lord Ormund who had stayed in the queen’s chambers and cared for her and Eric when no one else was around. Her name was Bess, and she had the requisite knowledge to care for the queen during a difficult pregnancy, though of course no one could help with the mystery illness for no one knew what caused it. Still the girl was trained to deal with the more standard complications that could arise. She had cared for the queen to the best of her ability, but it hadn’t been enough, not that Treya blamed her. Her son’s death wasn’t the girl’s fault. She had done all she could. And she had sat there with the queen through every heart wrenching moment. Treya couldn’t imagine how she would have coped without her.

Treya had tasked her with taking her dead child from the palace and making sure it was properly buried. She had named the child in her head, but she never repeated the name to anyone. It was her secret and hers alone. Her baby. Her perfect little boy. The name, at least would be hers forever. All that was left of her second son. All that was left of of failure.

She felt the tears begin and let them come, a thing she seldom did in Terrence’s presence. She could remember everything about that night, as if it had only been yesterday. The horrible cramps, the feeling that something had gone wrong. The look of horror in Bess’s dark brown eyes, her steadfast strength, offering what tiny comfort she could to her shattered queen.

The girl had stayed with her through the anguish and the tears, and then she had taken her baby away. Treya had had enough presence of mind to compensate the girl, handing her a necklace worth a small fortune for what she had had to endure not only that night, but the months leading up to it. Treya had never seen Bess again, and she was glad for that. The girl would have been a constant reminder of her pain.

She had been brave, that girl, the only person in the confidence of a queen. But she was gone these fifteen years. Treya wondered what had become of her and hoped she was all right. The queen hoped sharing her pain had not scarred the girl. She couldn’t bear to be the cause of yet more pain.

In a moment of resentment she now regretted, Treya had told Terrence she hadn’t been alone in her chambers while he’d been away at war. She hadn’t lied about that. First she had the child growing within her. And Bess had been there, every night to care for and comfort her. Eric had been there, a small comfort during the dark days that came later. The need to care for him prevented her from retreating inside herself. She had to be there for her other son. And afterwards, when the girl had left the palace with the body of her stillborn son, Treya had her pain for company. She had her guilt. She had her nightmares. They never left her. And she wasn’t alone now as she lay there worrying about the sons that had lived. Terrence had always wondered why she had welcomed Dahr so readily. She had lost a son already. She knew that pain. Children were precious. All of them. She would never blame a child for the actions of its parents.

And time had done what it always did, wearing away the sharp edges of pain and grief like water smoothing a stone, somehow making it bearable. Treya had not been prepared for that pain to return carried on the back of the approaching danger. The pain and fear of losing another child once again reared its head, demanded her attention. She had woken from her dreams, and it was there as if it had never left her. And a part of her was glad, for she was the only one who could mourn the child she had lost.

So she was awake when she heard the door open and instinctively knew it had begun. She didn’t move. She waited for Leata to approach the bed.

“Your Majesties,” said the chamberlain softly.

“What is it, Leata?”

The king continued to snore.

“It seems Prince Eric and Dahr are missing.”

“Define missing,” she said, still not moving to wake the king.

“Kalutu and Princess Chari both claim that Maynor had come to take the princes from their rooms last night, but he denies doing so. So far, we can’t find either of the princes. They may still be in the palace, though.”

“They’re not,” said the queen, though she didn’t know how she knew. She just…felt it.

“Your Highness?”

Treya shook Terrence. It took a few seconds before he managed to get a word out.

“Wha…what’s wrong?”

He felt it too.

“It’s begun, Terrence. Get up and dressed. The boys are gone.”

“Just the boys?”

“Yes, Your Highness,” said Leata.

“Ah, Leata, I didn’t hear you come in. What’s happening?”

Leata repeated what she had said already, but the queen wasn’t paying attention. Instead, she was listening to the sound of her heart pounding in her chest. Her sons were in danger. She could barely think, but she had to.

“We’ll get dressed and meet in the throne room,” she said. “Get Maynor, Princess Chari and Kalutu together there. And have some servants start checking the palace.”

“We’re already doing that.”

“Good. We’ll meet you down there.”

Leata bowed and left, but in the semi darkness, it was hard to see her. Terrence was already getting out of bed.

“They’re gone, you know.”

“I think I do, though I don’t know how.”

She got out of bed and walked to him, placing her arms around him from behind. “We’ve known this was coming. It was never going to be easy.”

The king bowed his head. “I know that. But I’m still going to find out what happened.”

From the tone of his voice, Treya had no doubt that the king was going to do just that.