On a troubling morning, the forest-people Eoghan and Aislan made their way from the woods into the town of Durry. When they arrived, they heard the bell of the nearby Abbey ringing the alarm. Brother Ninnian had sounded the alarm when he went into the Script House in the morning and found that the Book of Wisdom was missing. The Book is perhaps the most valuable item in all Erin. It transpired that Abbot Burnim had had the book spirited away from the richer monastery in the south, its normal home, so he could make a quick copy. Ninnian gave the task to the scribe Thorros, who was so distracted by the riches on the cover that he took his time with it, napping and doodling as much as writing. And this morning, the book was gone.
When Ninnian rang the bell, it alerted Nola and Maeve, acolytes in different ways, who were making their way across the grounds. They had just bumped into Thorros – who did not have the book – on the advice of Dermit the Unloved, scamp of the Abbey. A frantic search began. Abbot Burnim was beside himself.
The townspeople came out of their homes and headed to the Abbey to see what was happening. Eoghan and Aislan followed. They noticed, however, one villager behaving strangely. It was Tomaltach, a logger, running against the stream with something bundled under his tunic. Eoghan grabbed one of the villagers – Ronan the farmer – and pointed him out. Ronan told them to watch the man, and went to tell the Abbot.
The forest people watched Tom as he made his way to his lodge, near the trees. Ronan alerted the folks in the Abbey, who broke off their search and scrambled down into the village. There they found Tomaltach trying to climb to the roof of his house and hios wife, Mornye, clutching him desperately, trying to keep him from leaving. At this point, Thorros and the forest-folk noticed two Druids in the forest, the elder, Maevan, atop a large oak and the younger, Nyavin, in the underbrush. Both were casting spells.
Mornye tried to stop Tomaltach from reaching the roof, pulling at his leg and begging him to stay. He dislodged a stone from the house and struck her with it. She crumpled, head broken, he right in front of her three terrified children. At this, Nola, Maeve, and Ronan leapt onto the house walls, trying to get to the top.
Just as Maeve climbed up, however, the Druid’s spells went off. Tomaltach rose in the air and was carried off on a gust of wind. As he sailed away, he held up the book in triumph, revealing among other things a doodle on the end piece, a leaf with a water drop labeled “Children of Gozreh.”
Eoghan drew his bow, which brought gasps from the villagers, and fired an arrow at Tomaltach as he sailed away. The arrow struck home and the man fell, yet the book did not fall. Instead, the wounded man and the book floated off, over the trees, and out of sight.
Maevan turned into a hawk and flew away. Eoghan and Maeve cornered the hapless acolyte Nyavin in the forest eaves and quickly brought her to surrender. Burnim and Ninnian arrived and, in full panic at the loss of the book, offered rewards of the entire monastic order to anyone who could return the book. This attracted the attention of Thorros, who immediately volunteered to find it. Eoghan and Aislan were similarly interested, immediately, in searching for it, for unknown reasons. Maeve had a look of righteous dedication in her eyes and followed. Nola did as well.
While the villagers consoled the abandoned children of Tomaltach and took custody of the the vile acolyte Nyavin – embers likely to be her fate – these five companions leapt into the woods at Eoghan’s lead and sprinted off in the direction the book had last flown.
But before they left, the rich old farmer Shlavin came to Nola and warned her that she should give up all hope for her lover Roarc. “He is gone for good,” he said, winking at Thorros. Shlavin then told her to marry him, if she knew what was good for her. After stern looks from Maeve, the nasty old fellow shambled back to his lodge. Nola is left wondering – where is Roarc?