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Library: A Grand Mystery, The First of The Puzzles.


Author: Yari
Date:Nov 2 1995

  "I hate the desert," I grumbled under my breath.  I had been 
wandering for quite some time, perhaps as long as a full day, and was 
no closer to finding my way home.  Mirages await me in every 
direction, perhaps I am indeed losing my mind.  The heat, I reasoned, 
it is getting to be too much.  I took a break, sitting in the half 
shade that a particularly tall dune could afford, and must have fallen 
  When I awoke, it was night.  Desert nights, so clear, they were 
almost worth the various hazards that one might find in the arid
wastes.  Luckily, I knew before I entered this cursed place that I may 
find myself lost, and had brought plenty of water, so survival was the
least of my concerns.  I merely wished to get this new sword back to 
my home, where I could study it.  I tried to convince the old man to 
give it to me voluntarily, but in the end I had to use force.  I
suppose I used a bit too much force, but, the ends justified the 
means, I believe.
  I noticed a set of tracks leading southward.  Quickly bending down, 
they were clearly recognizeable.  "Horseshoe," I said, to no one in 
particular.  Fresh tracks, from the look of them, headed south.  I 
decided to follow them, since I really had no idea which way was out, 
perhaps the makers of these tracks do.  
  Know their way out, indeed!  The tracks led directly to the old well 
at the south rim of the sandy plains.  I followed the worn track
south-easterly, headed back to home, so that I could store the sword 
in a safe place.  I rounded a bend, at the base of a hill, and found a 
group of adventurers, sitting round a campfire.
  "Hail!" a familiar voice boomed.
  "Tulkas, hail!  Firebrand, Megapenthes, it has been too long!"  A 
Valar, the mysterious source of the hoofprints.  "What brings you to 
this valley?"  The Valar's companions were silent as always when he 
was around.
  "We searched for the mythical sword, but we saw that you had beaten 
us to our goal.  Did you have a nice nap?" he asked, a gleam in his 
eye.  "We did, however, find a rather mysterious old crone, in the 
cave at the bottom of the valley.  Strange things she said, and all 
the while playing with her crystals.  I noticed that she kept coming 
back to a particular arrangement over and over, as she seemingly 
randomly laid them out, like so:"  Taking his sword, he drew a crude 
diagram in the sand.

      /  |     
     C   C     
     |   |     

  I studied the diagram, strange indeed!  "And throughout, she was 
speaking to you?"
  "Not to us, I suppose.  She seemed quite insane, muttering strange 
and arcane sentences, ones that made no sense whatsoever!  I wrote a 
bit of it, so that I could study it later.  Perhaps you would like to 
see?"  He held a scrap of vellum out to me, which I snatched and 
quickly read.

    "Your friends, they are what matter in life.  Take
  stock of them, in order of importance, and see truly where
  they point you, for they know your destiny.  Having seen
  them in this light, take one step back to ponder what they
  mean to you, this is the true path to enlightenment."

   A curious note, indeed.

Solve the riddle of the story, and mail the answer to Yari.  The 
reward is 200,000 gold coins, if the solution is given within 2 weeks 
of the writing of this book.  The first correct answer will be 
rewarded.  Any answer that wishes to be rewarded must include a 
description of how the answer was found.  Any attempt to get 
information out of me, or tells/says/channels/mails of any questions 
will instantly disqualify you from this competition.  In short, don't 
you dare ask me anything, or else.  Oh, and have fun!  ;)