The rolling hills leading into Brightvale were a very welcome sight. Theolounious Scrivenger paused to settle his hat back onto his head before continuing the march onward, striding along on the end of his line of comrades. He was walking between the open fields and Edgar Ivange, a shadow Shoyru.
"Oh, and to think," burst Rosemarie Willow suddenly, clasping her paws together in excitement, "it's only been two days!"
Theo failed to see how this excited the shadow Kacheek. He looked over at her and arched one eyebrow rather sarcastically, wondering what her father would say if he could see her now. Rosemarie's father was infamously strict; if he heard her dropping the formalities she had known for all of her life, Theo thought maybe the brown Kacheek would suffer from an immediate heart attack. Or perhaps a mere explosion of rage.
"It has taken too long," said Edgar shortly and a little sharply. He appeared to be faintly sweaty. His white shirtsleeves were neatly rolled up to quarter-length and he had his black sport coat slung over his shoulder. "I had forgotten how much I positively despise traveling, especially for such a length of time."
Dempsey Rowen frowned noticeably. "I find it enjoyable," he said, apparently leaning toward Rosemarie's skewed view on traveling. "Besides, I also think that two days is not long for traveling, especially at a walk."
Edgar faced forward and deigned not to respond. Theo followed the irritable Shoyru's gaze and saw that they were growing quite close to the entrance to Brightvale's first fields of grain. Theo glanced down at himself and noted how informal he appeared, with the ends of his pants rolled slightly up, the first button on his shirt undone, and carrying his sport coat and a shabby patched bag. He sighed. "Hold on a moment," he said, stopping to readjust his image.
When he was finished making himself appear quite formal, Theo began the rather short trek to Brightvale Castle again. Compared to the two days in which the four had traveled together, the end of the walk into the large gray building seemed to be absolutely nothing. In fact, Rosemarie and Dempsey did not even mind going out to purchase some water and more supplies, while Edgar and Theo headed into the castle.
The castle was quite grand. It was magnificent in its own way, although not quite as magnificent as Edgar claimed Meridell's castle to be. Theo thought this place could have a pride of its own, although he kept the thought to himself as he had yet to see the inside of Meridell's castle. This castle was so entirely massive that it was hard to imagine anything being any larger or any more attractive. It simply reeked of power.
Theo and Edgar were headed off a few minutes after entering by the big wooden front doors. A couple of guards in shiny gray armor stopped them. One of them had noticeably reddish-orangey hair peeking out from under her helmet; the sight tugged at Theo's mind, but he shoved away the nagging sensation of memory for later. "Halt," said the redheaded Kougra, holding her sharp-looking sword directly in Theo's face. "What is your purpose?"
"We want to visit the library," said Edgar plainly. "We've come from the Haunted Woods to do some research in the archives."
The Kougra frowned and exchanged a glance with her partner in guarding; her partner in guarding was either quiet or less sharp in the mind, because he simply grunted and made a noncommittal movement with his head. "All right," said the Kougra finally. "I will send Bruce with you."
That encounter had seemed entirely too easy to navigate. The thought made Theo wonder if something else was going to occur – something that would be much more difficult to escape. Theo shrugged off the sensation and focused on following Bruce the large Grarrl to the library.
"What shall we look under?" asked Edgar, the moment they stepped inside. Theo was a little too busy taking in the sights to answer. The library was just as grand as Theo thought the rest of the castle was: it was huge, and there were cases and cases of books everywhere. There had to be something of interest here, Theo knew. Anything that would help – maybe even a little family history on Isaac Krawley. Surely that would even be of assistance somehow.
Edgar and Theo began their searches separately. Edgar informed Theo that he would be looking under the Gs for Grimoire and the Is for Inkdeath; Theo informed Edgar that he would be looking under the Ks for Krawley and the Ds for Dark Magic. Theo found several books and documents on the subject of Dark Magic, but they were all in the Restricted section. The section could only be accessed by those with proof of citizenship from Brightvale, and Theo, predictably, could only prove that he was originally from Altador. Neovia had no such restrictions on anything and no requirement for proof of citizenship for anything.
Theo was, however, able to locate a fat useful-looking tome. It was a fadey black color. Golden words were inscribed in cursive on the spine: Ancient Ancestry of Neopia. Theo settled himself down at a table and slapped open the book. A burst of dust floated up from the first pages and Theo gave three uncontrollable sneezes in a row. When he was finished, he cast the nearby Grarrl guard an apologetic glance for disrupting the library's silence before going back to examining the book.
There were no cover pages at the beginning; the book started right in, beginning with the Abel family. Theo skipped that and cruised along, quickly skimming the top labels of the pages, until he reached Kale. He took more care after that, and silently thanked Fyora out of habit when he reached Krawley.
Not much was written on the subject, although Theo was now certain that the Krawley family had been in Neopia for presumably much longer than the Scrivengers had. Although now that Theo thought about it, if something could be passed along the family line, perhaps the Scrivengers were a little more successful than Theo perceived.
Regardless, the Krawley page read:
There have always been the Krawley brothers, three. Their names are Isaac, Merritt, and Raphael. Isaac seems to regard Neopia in a generally peaceful manner, although due to his unfortunate past it is likely best to avoid him if possible. He is of a deep blue shade and tends to keep to the older cities.
Merritt seems to regard Neopia with a more certain degree of distress. He has never done anything particularly spiteful or harmful to Neopia, but as the power of his brother is known, it is likely best to avoid him if possible. He is of a light green shade and can be found most anywhere one decides to look for him.
Raphael is an enigma and is best to completely avoid. He is a known sorcerer. He is the color of the evening sky and the setting sun. It is best to pretend that he does not exist, for it is said that he will appear to any who wish to find him.
Theo found the entry downright odd. The first sentence even made him tingle with wonder; there had always been the three Krawley brothers? Theo frowned to himself, thoughtlessly curling over the edge of the page with one of his fingers. Everyone had to be made at one point or another. There could never have always been the Krawley brothers, three.
The bit about Raphael Krawley disturbed Theo the most. It made a shiver crawl down his spine. Theo felt as though if he turned around he might find a Krawk the color of Eventide standing between two bookcases, watching him. Theo quickly looked over his shoulder just to make sure nobody was really there. When he looked back down at the page, he noticed a small addition to the entry that he hadn't seen before. It was scrawled untidily in the corner of the page.
See the Altadorian Records Room for more information, although the author advises against it.
Theo couldn't help but grin rather crookedly. Edgar chose that moment to walk over to his friend and collapse into the seat beside him. "Nothing," said Edgar flatly. "I have discovered a great deal of nothing."
"That's all right," said Theo agreeably, forgetting formalities for once. He gestured at the entry he'd found. "I've found something."