24day of Secundus, 1669 AV
“So what you are saying is that while the dagger is clearly of Hellenic or pre-Hellenic origin, it was found in a Numan ruin in the New World, and it carries enchantments that were specifically harmful to creatures protecting a temple that clearly predates both cultures. The answer really couldn’t be more simple, although I’m not surprised that you require my assistance to put the pieces together.”
The large man pauses in his summary to stuff another pastry into his ample jowls. As the Montaigne investigator licks the sugar from his sausage-like fingers, Maria rolls her eyes and glances at the young Castillian man next to her.
Bad enough I have to deal with Francisco, but at least he’s been more tolerable since acknowledging his responsibility for Salma’s disgrace. Now we’re supposed to tolerate this fat, arrogant, Montaigne ass?
Monsieur de la Plume sips from the large glass of wine and dabs at his face with an embroidered handkerchief before continuing.
“Your confusion is most understandable, as you are unable to step back and see the bigger picture. Allow me to summarize the information you have presented in a more organized manner, and I’m sure you will understand the brilliance of my conclusions.
“You have determined that the Atlantea of legend is, in fact, a reference to the New World. This is a story that dates back at least 2500 years, likely longer in oral tradition. As it is safe to assume that Colombo has not moved farther from Euros in that time, we must assume that travel over those distances has been possible at some point in the past. You describe differences in the Atlantean references at different points in the historical documents, suggesting that in various eras it was also not possible to travel the distance, during which times Atlantea is ‘lost’.
“We know that the Numans and Hellenes has access to powerful magic at times in the past, and these magics are mentioned with differing frequency in the accounts; more prominent during the times of great conflicts such as the Trojian War, the Pellopanian War, the Cathagrian Wars, and the collapse of the Numan Empire.”
The man pauses to belch loudly and bite off a chunk of turkey leg before continuing to speak around the food in his mouth.
“You have found evidence of the truth of ancient myths, including what you believe was the Helmet of Perseus, hidden in a massive temple unlike anything seen in Euros, surrounded by signs of battle involving Numan and Hellenic warriors, in a land populated by natives that speak a language similar to ancient Hellenic.
“So, unless I am wrong, and I am never wrong, the answer clearly is that magic has waxed and waned over the centuries, allowing various peoples access to the New World. The tales are clearly events that happened in these distant lands, having filtered back to Euros to be altered by time and loss of magical knowledge into the mythic tales that we all accepted as merely fantastical.
“As to the specific question of the dagger that lies before us on the table, you must work from the assumption that it is likely an object from myth. If you strip away the embellishment and alterations that would be inevitably introduced by time and retelling, you have the most obvious and elementary of deductions; The temple you describe was clearly a labyrinth, or near enough to be interpreted by the ancients as such, and the dagger designed to defeat its guardians. This device must be the weapon given to Theseus by Ariadne, daughter of King Minos, to kill the Minotaur.”
The obese man sits back in his chair, a smile of satisfaction on his face as he contemplates his next victim amidst the trays of food before him. Maria again glances at Francisco, rolling her eyes in annoyance. The Castillian scholars had already come to many of the same conclusions, although the insight into the cyclical nature of magic now seemed obvious.
“If two artifacts of legend are real, there is a good possibility many more exist in Colombo. This makes Aunt Elena’s goal of re-establishing a colony and exploring the continent even more important. We must find these artifacts before DuLac and others can!"
A spoonful of sugared cream clatters to the table as the fat man nearly chokes in surprise. “Did you say DuLac? The scoundrel Pierre DuLac? The canaille who stole the Star d’Infant from the Louvre? He is in the New World?” Maria and Francisco nod. “Then I have even more reason to travel with you. Finding the Lady Salma will be a minor distraction compared to the possibility of finally catching Montaigne’s Greatest Theif!”