Friday, February 25, 2011

Bibliophilia IV

Book Buried in the Sand

The Riddles of History
Over ten years ago, General Drake Angerfang went on a campaign. Everyone was hopeful that the general would return triumphant, but in the end only Skarbar Sharpclaw returned with a handful of survivors.

Skarbar told everyone that General Drake was killed by Zanka in Zanka's Dune, and most of the soldiers died as well.

This was shocking news, because we had all seen that General Drake was heading out to suppress the banditry of the Rotteneye tribe. Why had they suddenly changed course to Zanka's Dune to attack Zanka?

Some said that the Rotteneyes were behind it all. That they had tricked the general into attacking Zanka, knowing all along that he would be eaten alive. But wasn't Drake too smart to fall for such a trick?

The answer to that question, along with Drake's bones, have all been buried beneath the sands of time.

After the death of General Drake, everyone urged the wise Skarbar to become our new lord.

Yes, I said, "wise." While Drake still ruled, Skarbar was a reliable advisor, and his fame was only secondary to Drake himself.

After the well-loved Skarbar took up his post, he re-outfitted the army to prepare for an attack on Zanka, to avenge the death of Drake. Of course there was no shortage of enthusiasm for the campaign, and volunteers joined the newly reformed army in droves. The Angerfang Clan was particularly fervent, and nearly all of them volunteered to join Limon. The Sharpclaws were active as well, particularly in support and logistics, but none could match the numbers of the Angerfangs on the frontline.

At the same time, no one thought too much about it. We just figured that Skarbar knew that the Angerfangs wanted vengeance more than most, and would thus make the most stalwart troops for the frontline.

This campaign, like the first, did not go well.

The army was bitterly defeated, and the Angerfangs were nearly wiped out. Not only was General Drake not avenged, but the entire country suffered a major blow. Skarbar announced that he would not send another expedition until a more fit and able army could be assembled.

It was about that time that Skarbar began sending squadrons to Zanka's Dune for military exercises. While there wasn't a repetition of the previous tragedies, each expedition saw some loss of life. But the bodies of the dead were never brought back, which caused some consternation among all of us.

When General Drake died, his body was never found. Over a hundred soldiers were set off to battle Zanka, but less than 30 bodies were recovered.

Even more strange was the fact that none of us ever discovered the bodies of the fallen Zanka's Dune. It all added up to a tangled mystery which none could unravel.

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