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Page 7 "Wind of the fools"

To calm down after escaping Lark's shadow, he squatted beneath a mature spruce tree, a silent witness to the city's impetuous expansion. The thick trunk sheltered him from the cold gusts of wind that rushed down the precipice. This was Ephir that continued its possessive dance down the fjord to meet the sea. It was opposed only by the light, slender langskips, which, thanks to the strenuous work of their oars, were the only ones able to reach the harbour at this hour. But soon enough, like every day, the Ephir will wrap up his windy manatees and begin to return humbly to the mountains, calmer, hummer, allowing the ships to reach the city. He is then jokingly referred to as the ‘wind of the fools’, although he saw nothing funny about it. Like hundreds of others pulling from every corner of Terrmenia, he had come here for his chance, entflamed by the holcon fever that consumed this isolated land from its rocky core.

Grain by grain, stone by stone, rock by rock, the greed of man has gutted the massif, ripping out its glossy entrails, about the existence of which the few inhabitants of the once village of Holmen were the last to know. When the cogs of Prince Baltan de Kolmen sailed into their peaceful land for the second time, their fate had long been sealed. The young prince, during his prior cartographic expedition, arrived in this remote region of Terrmenia and while penetrating one of the dozens of caves and caverns of Skilsund, came across a treasure long hidden by nature. As a keen geologist, he immediately recognised that he was dealing with a unique marvel.

Now Hanor too had a piece of this wealth. He fished it out of the bundle and stared at it like a long-awaited trophy. The precious cobble, which he turned investigatively in his fingers, seemed to absorb all the light falling on its crystalline surface into its interior, sparkling with all shades of blue. A curious mineral of unmatched hardness, durability, beauty and, when combined with carbon and sulphur, combustibility, all of which qualities make it such a desirable ore. Weapons refined with holcon were characterised by their deadly quality, and the jewellery in which Holmen goldsmiths set holcon became a chic jewel, coveted by all women in Terrmenia.

He must make the most of it. A second chance like this may not come again soon. When the traffic starts to pick up in a few hours, he will head down to the city and join the crowd. There will already be people who will give him a generous amount of mark coins for the raw holcon without asking any unnecessary questions. If he does not want to fall into the hands of mercenaries, the first thing he must do is to dress better, to distinguish himself from the common vagabond. Things would work out somehow from then on. He believed in luck.