It was so dark outside that Tarkoitus could not tell the difference when he closed his eyes.
âHow did I get into a mess like this?â he thought as he heard the growl of a creature behind him.
That evening, two mice were scurrying across the lonely terrain. They were dressed in clothes fit for the noblest of a land, which they were, indeed, in the small country they resided in: PĂŽndor. They were heroes of the famous Third Rodent War and saved their country through their exceptional negotiating abilities and valor. As a result, they were deemed ambassadors by their âelders,â the select, wise mice that governed the land. Their elders had sent them on a diplomatic journey to one of their allies, Patriambar.
The white mouse, Tarkoitus, was the most intelligent of the two; in fact, he was the most ingenious mouse in PĂŽndor since his young school days. He wore a gold-sided, tri-cornered, brown leather hat and carried a small, brown pouch with the supplies that would sustain them until they got to Patriambar, along with a scroll which contained information of immense importance for the future. The brown mouse, Admirandil, also wore a tri-cornered hat, but it was silver-sided and black-colored leather. He held the map that would guide the pair to their destination.
As time passed, the sky became pitch black. Suddenly, they heard the growl of a creature behind them. Tarkoitus dared to turn around, looking into glowing, yellow eyes filled with malice and evil. Before Tarkoitus could cry out, the creature pounced on him and dug into his flesh with its claws, creating a wound that started bleeding brutally. Admirandil, on the other hand, was frozen with fear and could not aid his friend, especially since he could not distinguish the creature in the dark.
All of a sudden, a ring on the finger of Tarkoitus started glowing, its light startling both Admirandil and the creature. The creature then bolted away in the direction of a forest. Admirandil expeditiously ran to the side of his dying friend, who pointed at the scroll that fell out of the pouch when the creature attacked him, visible by the ringâs luminous light.
âAdmirandil, my good friend, bring the scroll back to PĂŽndor and place it in an inconspicuous location, unless they know of what is written inside and can fulfill the prophecy,â he whispered hoarsely, more life draining out of him through each word.
âWhat about the diplomatic journey we were sent on?â questioned Admirandil hastily, knowing that Tarkoitus did not have much time left, yet not wanting to let him go.
Tarkoitus answered in a voice so small that it seemed as though it was just the breeze of the wind, yet Admirandil heard every word as clear as day: âNevermind that. Just make sure that the scroll gets home safely without anyone else noticing. As I know my time is running out, I ask you to bring me back to PĂŽndor to rest with the rest of my ancestors. Farewell, my dear friend, and assure my family that I had fallen asleep in peace.â Tarkoitus breathed his last breath, but his face forever showed tranquility and contentment.
Admirandil weeped as he reluctantly made his way back to PĂŽndor with Tarkoitusâs lifeless body in his arms. The day after he arrived at PĂŽndor, the whole country had heard of Tarkoitusâs death and grieved over it. Admirandil buried his friend next to his father and cleverly hid the scroll in the eye of a painting of Tarkoitus, in honor of all that he had done for his country and the intelligence and courage he exhibited throughout his life. Little did they know that the ring that was on Tarkoitusâs finger slipped off and hit the ground without a sound. Its glow then started to fade, the ring turning into its original gold color with the name âInnyarnaâ engraved on it, the surname of Tarkoitusâs familyâŚ
Seven generations later, a young white mouse, Tunke, could be seen staring at the painting of Tarkoitus. He was a petit mouse and wore his school uniform, a black sweater with a white shirt and a green and gold tie and black pants. He sensed a connection with the dead mouse, perceiving a peculiar feeling of equanimity whenever he talked to the deceased mouse. Indeed, his association came from being a relative of Tarkoitus, though it was unknown to him at the time. Occasionally, he could hear a voice whisper a reply to him, but he did not know where it came from, though it seemed to come from the mouse in the painting.
One day, Tunke was feeling troubled after his teacher told him of how Tarkoitus died. Tunke wanted to prove that a nobody like him could be as valiant as Tarkoitus and Admirandil were, but he never had an opportunity to do so. The elders looked down upon the young mice like him, even though his family was one of the noblest of the land. He was the most intelligent mouse since Tarkoitus and was marked by peers and teachers alike as a prodigy, but he was still treated by many as immature schoolmouse, for they were jealous of him or just did not recognize his brilliance.
After dinner, Tunke hurried to the Capitol to discuss his thought with the picture of Tarkoitus, for he did not have many true friends that he could talk to about such issues. Fortunately, it was only ten homes away (for the homes of the PĂŽndorian creatures were built into hills, with only a circular door to designate its location). He opened the large, golden door and walked through at least five different pathwaysâthat all looked the same. He finally arrived at the hall where the painting was and sat down to begin a long talk with Tarkoitus.
âI want to prove my bravery, Tarkoitus, but no one would even notice a young mouse like me,â he said, dejected but full of admiration for the legendary mouse. All of a sudden, he saw the left eye of the mouse glow!
âTake the object in the eye, little one,â the mysterious voice whispered to him. He reached for the unknown object, grasped it, and gasped as he saw that he had found a scroll with the seal of Innyarna on it!
âOh! This must be the forgotten scroll that father was talking about in his study! He only believed it to be a myth, but it is distinctly not!â Tunke exclaimed.
Although Tunke did not know at the time, the existence of the scroll was only mentioned to those that were close to Tarkoitus and was enchanted so that anyone else that accidentally stumbled upon it would forget about it, which was how it became nicknamed the âForgotten Scrollââby the ones that knew about it. Tunke knew that no one would ever go to the hall where the painting hung, for no one had ever been in the hall when Tunke visited Tarkoitus, so he opened the scroll where he was.
Tunke read the words written on the legendary scroll:
âThe forgotten ring of the house of Innyarna
Will be remembered once more
When found by the descendant of whom it was for.
Its magic can startle the greatest of foes
Found where the last three of Tarkoitusâs homeland grows
And on the way in which he was to go.
One may find it under the third of cord revised;
Equivalent of a mouse it is sized
And by milk-white wood sufficed.â
âI wonder what this means,â Tunke thought. âI must go consult Gomodron on this matter immediately! He is just as skilled, if not better, than me at riddles and is an expert on the history of Tarkoitus. Oh, thank you, Tarkoitus the Brave!â
Tunke ran out of the hall and to his house to share his news with one of the only (living) animals he trusted, Gomodron the Hedgehog. They were so close that Tunkeâs family took Gomodron in as their own child when his family was eaten by an ophidian on a trip to visit their relatives in the North and he was told to stay at home, missing the tragic event.
Tunke arrived at his house and furtively crept up the stairs to his bedroom, which he shared with Gomodron, along with the scroll, so that his parents would not see him and question him. He opened the door as Gomodron looked at him.
Gomodron was a light-brown hedgehog that wore a black fedora, a prized possession of his that his biological father treasured and wore constantly when he was alive. He spotted the scroll and the (broken) seal on it, immediately knowing what it was, for he also eavesdropped on Tunkeâs fatherâs âsecretâ conversation. His eyes brightened up and widened immensely.
âOi, Tunke! That is the âForgotten Scroll!â I cannot believe you have it! We are going to become rich andââ Tunke covered up Gomodronâs mouth and prevented him from finishing his loud exclamation.
âYou do not want us to get in trouble, do you?â whispered Tunke. He closed the door quietly, explained how he acquired the scroll, opened the scroll, and laid it on the polished wooden table in the middle of their bedroom.
âThere is a prophecy written here in the form of a riddle,â Gomodron observed. âHence, we must solve it to find out where the ring is.â
âYou are forgetting that only the heir of Tarkoitus can discover the ring,â Tunke replied, slightly dejected as he remembered the first three lines of the prophecy. Gomodron thought for a moment then gasped as he came to an astonishing realization.
âWhy, Tunke, you are the heir of Tarkoitus! Why else would you have been given the scroll? After all, your father also knew about the scroll, and I can assure you that Admirandil only told his and Tarkoitusâs families, especially with the enchantment placed on it.â Tunkeâs eyes widened as he heard Gomodronâs conclusion.
Tunke tried to keep his composure calm, cleared his throat, and stated as professionally as he could, âNow that that is settled, let us decipher this message.â
âWell, we already know what the first four lines refer to, so let us start on the fifth line,â Gomodron agreed. âIt is written that the ring is âfound where the last three of Tarkoitus;s homeland grows.â Quite peculiar if you ask me.â
The mouse and hedgehogâs brains pondered upon the line for only a short moment before Tunke declared, âIt must be in some sort of forest or wood-like area. You see, our country was still name âPĂŽindorâ back then. The last three letters are pronounced as the word âdoor,â which is usually created with wood that comes from trees. The next line, âAnd on the way in which he was to go,â only proves the one above, as Tarkoitus and Admirandil passed through the Nimdron Forest, according to the map that Admirandil and his son created a while later.â Again, Gomodron agreed with Tunke, as it was the only logical explanation he could think of at the moment.
ââOne may find it hidden under the third of cork revised,ââ continued Gomodron.
They only thought for a few minutes before Tunke exclaimed, âIt is under a rock!â Seeing Gomodronâs baffled face, Tunke explained, âThe line is quite literal, actually. The third letter of cork is âr,â which is the starting letter of the word. To revise the word, one must change the order of the letters to form another word, which would create the word ârock.â Gomodronâs ears turned red, as he was ashamed of not being able to comprehend the line.
However. Gomodron shook it off and focused as he read, ââEquivalent of a mouse it is sizedââ the size of the rock, of courseââAnd by milk-white wood sufficed.â Well, according to The Dendrology of PĂŽndor by Awdur Golwen, the only white-colored tree in the area is the birch tree, which just happens to be found in Nimdron Forest!â
âExcellent!â Tunke exclaimed. âWe have figured out the riddle-like prophecy. Let us repose for the night, and maybe we can plan how we will travel to Nimdron Forest tomorrow, though we would probably have to consult Elder Vitur about it,â Tunke decided. The two young ones went to bed for the night with merry hearts. They were ecstatic that they came across such an important matter and deciphered it within four hours. They had no need of recording their findings, as their memories served them well. The duo was extremely excited to find out what adventure was in store for them and to plan for their life-changing journey.