Valyncort advanced through the high, overstuffed bookshelves of the Skyn Academy archives and emerged to the scholar-crowded reading area, spying at its center, a bored, golden-haired woman, sitting alone, humming a silly tune and pouring over a richly illustrated history of Urvolsk. The soldier walked to the blonde’s side and slid the codex replica onto the table. She turned to the fur-cloaked man’s book, slowly looked over her shoulder and smiled, batting long painted lashes.
“A present for me, Valy?”
The woman froze as she took in the scrawl on the first page of the codex.
“Where in the Crow of Coribahn’s name did you find this?”
The captain cast his gaze left and right to the library patrons; several looked up from their books, some with visages of mild annoyance, others, idle curiosity.
“Keep your voice down.”
The woman’s pale oval face contorted with perplexity.
“Sorry,” she replied, dropping her naturally high voice to a melodramatic whisper.
The captain hesitated, for the patrons had yet to returned their noses to their tomes.
“Tellll meeeee,” she squeed.
Valyncort rolled his eyes, sighed and leaned over the table beside the woman, mere inches from her face.
“I got it from Proconsul Vilmin. Its a copy of the Codex of Mazr.”
The woman peaked up.
“Why would Vilmin give a luge like you something so-“
“How did he come by it?” The woman inquired intently, re-assuming her theatrical hush.
“Don’t know. Didn’t ask. Isn’t important. Can you read it?”
She carefully examined the first page of the manuscript and nodded. “Hlfglarean is my specialty. But I don’t understand why you need me to translate an already translated work.”
“The Proconsul has tasked me with finding Mazr’s stronghold.”
“The tower of Jarnhjalmrodall?”
“Yes.” He tapped the adjacent corner of the duplicate codex. “The location of which lies in this book. If I’m to find Jarnhjalmrodall, I’ll need someone who can decipher the map which leads to it.”
The woman closed the book and smiled like a child before a candied apple.
“Say no more. I’m all yours.”