In case you missed the beginning of this little tale, you can check out here what happened in parts 1 and 2. Last time we stopped at Envio discovering a secret door that leads into the mountain rock. Let’s find out how this story ends.
The passage soon becomes like something that might once have been part of an underground temple, with wall relievos and artful tiles on the floor. Envio has a bad feeling about the tiles (no good ever comes from those), but he finds the courage to set foot on the first of them – unleashing a bolt out of nowhere, hurling him back against the wall.
A few seconds pass before his senses return to Envio. As he examines the floor closer he spots tiny letters in the center of the tiles. At first they do not make any sense to him, but then it strikes him: They are the twelve notes of the octave! He recalls what’s left of his musical education and follows them, step by step, in the chromatic order, each time hearing the respective magical sound. Triumphant he arrives on the other side of the tiled passage.
Around the next corner waits Ardia’s giant hound which Envio saw briefly at the evening performance, but forgot about completely. One moment they stare at each other hesitantly, then the hound attacks and involves Envio in a fierce fight. As it is usually in such stories, Envio manages to somehow overcome the beast and drive it away.
Finally the tunnel gives way to a cave which is used as a huge laboratory, with pipes and bottles and cauldrons and shelves filled with rare ingredients. Standing in the center there is Ardia, shouting “Heureka!” and triumphantly holding up a cup. Her hair is uncombed, her facial expression clearly shows her madness. As she spots Envio she uncovers what he already gathered, that she diverted the divine gold from inside the rock to use it as a core ingredient for making a potion of eternal youth. Finally she drinks up the cup without Envio being able to interfere. A few seconds pass with nothing happening, before suddenly Ardia is shaking and convulsing and turning into a living lich which soon breaks down before Envio. As she takes her last breath the dying Ardia transforms into the young beautiful woman she once was. So the goddess fulfilled her wish at last, in a twisted, cruel way.
Next morning Envio is thanked by the priests for uncovering the sacrilege. He is glad to have solved another crime and prepares to leave the village as suddenly people are shouting and gathering at the pond. As he arrives there, golden streaks appear inside the water, one, then two, then more, and finally the Goldfall unleashes the miracle, divine gold flowing into the holy pond. The pilgrims start to pray and sing and thank the goddess for her mercy. Envio smiles.
Don’t miss my upcoming release
which is the soundtrack to this short story featuring viola and violin performances by the wonderful Nat Willow a.k.a. Natalia Wierzbicka. Without her the Goldfall miracle would never have happened. 🙂