The Fifth Age

The Companions reach the Magan and set about finding a way across (it's a bloody huge river, so no fording allowed). A fisherman (who thinks they're insane for going into Darshiva, where the demons are) tells them good luck… but there're no boats to be found for miles around, as the local population did the sensible thing and headed for Gandahar. What they ultimately find is a river barge that's already been sunk once, but is still sound. They haul it out and repair it, then cross the river… right into the waiting Mallorean Army. Their attempt to bluff their way past fails when General Atesca arrives. Zakath wishes to speak with them. (SD 268-291)
The Mallorean Army finishes building its encampment, and the Companions are transferred to a tent there. Zakath arrives around noon on the next day, announcing that they'll be headed back to Mal Zeth. Garion says they won't. Zakath leaves. The next morning, Beldin suggests that they goad Zakath, then summon Cyradis. Cyradis tells Zakath point-blank: Raise your hand against Garion or his companions, and you'll die–and so will your Empire. She also reveals to Zakath that he has a task to perform, and the first part of that is to journey to Kell with Garion, leaving behind the trappings of his power. Zakath isn't exactly happy, but realizes he has no other choice. The Empty One joins the Companions. (SD 294-309)
Polgara breaks what they're really doing to Zakath as gently as she can (given the time constraints). They tell Zakath why they went to Melcena (and why Zandramas did)–and Zakath is Not Pleased with his cousin Otrath. Then they have to tell Brador and Atesca that Zakath will be leaving with them, alone. To protect the Mallorean Army, Polgara, Belgarath, and Eriond speak with Aldur–His presence will keep both Nahaz and Mordja well away. Once they've arranged for Zakath to look shabby and dealt with a few other matters, they depart for Kell. They meet up with Beldin outside the encampment, where Zakath recognizes him as the man whose face is posted on every tree for six leagues around Mal Yaska. (SD 311-330)
They head into Darshiva, and almost immediately begin encountering both Urvon's and Zandramas' forces. Polgara gets rid of Urvon's Hounds by igniting a dormant volcano (prompting Beldin to wonder if maybe she might be pregnant, since the sorcery was unusually clumsy for her). The volcano even gets Zandramas' attention. They encounter a wolf and her puppy, and take them along. (SD 333-360)
Belgarath and Beldin come to a shared realization: there's no need to rush to get to Kell ahead of the Grolims because the Grolims can't go to Kell! At the time the Angaraks moved in to conquer Dalasia and convert the Dalasians to the worship of Torak, they also discovered Kell's significance, and attempted to destroy it. Since the Dals couldn't allow that, they put their wizards to work on the problem. The Dalasian wizards placed curses all around Kell, directed at the Grolims. Any Grolim who approaches Kell too closely is struck blind. This means, of course, that the Grolims will be positioning themselves to follow the Companions as they leave the area around Kell… (SD 370-375)
The Companions discover that they're in a fairly dangerous position: right between Zandramas' army (5 leagues behind), and Urvon's (6-8 leagues ahead). They decide to head south into Gandahar to get clear; Ce'Nedra "listens" in on the armies with Beldaran's amulet. She manages to pick up on the battle plans of both sides, and Belgarath discovers that the gorge where the Karands (Urvon's army) are planning an ambush is behind them; if they continue south, they can get completely free of the battle area. (SD 382-386)
Using Beldin as a guide, they manage to get to a trail that will eventually lead them to the main caravan route down into Dalasia… unfortunately, it leads right past the gorge where Urvon (and, more importantly, Nahaz) is setting up the ambush. They use the opportunity to make sure the battle's well underway before they leave the area (it's always a good idea to know which demon is going to be following, don't you think? :). Nahaz's troops don't get to spring their ambush, though, because Mordja challenges Nahaz, who accepts. Unfortunately, they detect Garion–and the Orb. The two Demon Lords race each other to get to Garion, who draws his sword and waits. Durnik is the one who takes action, however. He literally sledgehammers Nahaz back to Hell, with a little help from Aldur (okay, a lot of help from Aldur). Mordja shows somewhat more intelligence than his demonic compatriot, and leaves voluntarily, rather than see what Aldur's newest disciple could do to him. (SD 386-406)
The Companions continue into Dalasia. They encounter a Grolim, and manage to squeeze confirmation of a few useful facts out of him. Rather than kill the priest, they leave him with some sheepherders when they drop back below the snowline. As it happens, another Grolim sent by Zandramas to attempt to get to Kell is there; he's been struck blind by the "curse," which he doesn't consider a curse at all, but a blessing. He doesn't see the world around him, true, but he does see the face of his God (not Torak). (SK 3-27)
They encounter another talkative old man who actually speaks wolfish. He gives them some advice–don't cut any trees, and don't kill anything in the forests around Kell, since doing so would profane a holy place of the Dals… and that would be a Bad Thing. The similarities between this old man and the one Garion, Silk, and Belgarath met in Gar og Nadrak years ago lead them to wonder if the repetitions of various events are signposts of a sort–an indication that they're approaching a fairly significant EVENT. Shortly thereafter, they encounter a group of Dals sent to guide them to Kell. (SK 27-38)
Boktor, Drasnia: The Alorn monarchs (Porenn, in particular) has discovered that Barak, along with his son and several companions, has vanished, presumably in Barak's ship. Porenn is concerned but not yet alarmed. Vella accompanies Yarblek back to Yar Nadrak, to see what Drosta is up to. (SK 39-42)
Sthiss Tor, Nyissa: Salmissra is growing annoyed with her present Chief Eunuch, Adiss, as he's not only incompetent, but a slob (and she's a snake, so she can taste him as well as smell him). She orders Adiss not to enter the throne room again unless he's bathed. She also wonders just exactly where Sadi is, now that she's not irritated because she's molting. (SK 42-43)
Rak Urga, Cthol Murgos: Alorn negotiations with the Murgo King continue. Javelin is the chief negotiator, but he's got the strong suspicion that he's being outmaneuvered, since the Murgo King is quite shrewd. The Alorns propose the placement of a Cherek fleet in the Sea of the East to keep the Malloreans in Mallorea. Urgit really throws Javelin off-balance with the comment about joining with Porenn to wish a mutual relative well. (SK 43-47)
Temple of Torak at Balasa, Mallorea: Zandramas has begun to realize just exactly what being the Child of Dark really means for her. She also receives word that Agachak has landed on the western coast of Dalasia and is heading for Kell. (SK 47-48)
The Sea of the East, near the Isle of Verkat: The Seabird rounds the southern tip of Cthol Murgos, and turns northeast for the run to Dal Zerba in Mallorea. (SK 48-50)
The Companions reach Kell. The sophistication of the city amazes everyone, but then, Kell is the oldest city in the world, having been continuously occupied since long before the cracking of the world. They are led to a house that was built especially for them at the beginning of the Third Age. (SK 51-56)
Several of the Companions start hearing a murmuring sound–Polgara, Garion, and Durnik can all hear it, but neither Silk nor Sadi can. Garion conducts an experiment, and it turns out that the people who can hear it are ones with some degree of 'talent.' The 'noise' isn't sorcery. They're also fairly sure that the Dals have enough concentrated power to deal with any threat from the Grolims, so there's really no need for the curse that protects Kell. Unless it isn't Kell that the curse protects. When Durnik finally realizes that Toth's sign language is a sham, and that the mute is communicating directly with Durnik's mind, this provides another clue. It seems that the curse is there to keep the Grolims from becoming curious about the murmuring–which is created by the Dal group mind. Polgara links with the group mind, but is asked to leave after a short time. (SK 56-65)
The Companions attempt to figure out where the Seers are–they are, after all, there to see Cyradis. Polgara learns that they're not in the city proper. Ce'Nedra and Liselle are able to get more specific–they're somewhere on the mountain. Polgara takes Beldin and Garion (just in case the Orb is needed), and the three of them turn into hawks and fly toward the mountain. They're beset by a sudden (unnatural) storm, which Garion subdues with the Orb, and then find a trail, which they follow until they run into Toth, who is blocking their way. Polgara persuades him to stand aside, and the four of them continue on to the Place of the Seers. (SK 66-76)
Cyradis greets them, revealing that the very act of discovering her whereabouts was a necessary task. She has Toth bring a large, black leather-bound book; they then return to the city below. Cyradis gives the book–a true copy of the Mallorean Gospels–to Belgarath, and he and Beldin immediately start pouring over it. Belgarath interrupts the conversation between the others a while later with a discovery: the Place Which Is No More is Korim. (SK 77-84)
The Companions, joined by Cyradis, set out for the island of Perivor, where the instructions Belgarath obtained from the Mallorean Gospels will be made clear. Zandramas, using a rather cruel deception, "persuades" Ce'Nedra to divulge the location of the Place Which Is No More. (Garion, needless to say, is Not Happy with Cyradis for failing to warn him about it… but it was a necessary event.) Ce'Nedra thinks she's found Geran, but what she's actually holding is a bundle of rags. (SK 85-94, 114-117)
Sthiss Tor, Nyissa: Salmissra dispenses with her Chief Eunuch after he once again enters the throne room without bathing. (SK 97-100)
Yar Nadrak, Gar og Nadrak: Yarblek and Vella arrive in the city to discover what Drosta is up to. They go to Drosta's favorite tavern, the One-Eyed Dog (the very origin of the term 'dive bar', apparently). They blackmail him into revealing that he's trying to get back on Zakath's good side, by allowing Brador's agents through to infiltrate the West. Oh, and there's this little matter of allowing Mallorean merchants to not pay Nadrak import duties, too. (SK 100-107)
Tol Honeth, Tolnedra: Anheg of Cherek arrives to discuss the disappearance of his cousin Barak, and several of Barak's friends. (As he put it, that group is "sort of like a natural disaster waiting to happen.") Anheg had brought Greldik along to help search for Barak, and Greldik was successful–a Tolnedran merchantman coming from Mallorea had seen Barak, heading for Mallorea. (SK 107-108)

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