"The legend tells us that Syberis, the Dragon Above, and Khyber, the Dragon Below, faced each other for the control of the multiverse from the very first moments of its creation. This put at risk the very creation fabric, so Eberron , The Dragon Between stepped in to stop the conflict.This is how our world was created.The Syberis scales and tears formed the sky, the moons and the stars, while the bones and blood of Khyber formed the caverns in the underworld. Eberron gave the gift of life to those in between both.
Our world has a history too long to be studied in courses as short as those offered here in Morgrave University, but that does not prevent us from looking at it briefly and concisely. Studying the empires of the past tells us where to find their remains, in the form of relics forgotten in time. In the worst case, these relics will only show us the mistakes made in the past so that they teach us to forge a better future. At best, they will also allow us to sell them and become rich in a very short time. "
Magistrate Kendra Davasios Opening address of the lecture "Monsters and Mausoleums" Faculty of History and Exploration Morgrave University, 998 YK
After the end of the Last War, the Wayfinder Foundation and Morgrave University signed an agreement, known only to the highest authorities of both institutions, establishing a club of extracurricular activities, the "Covenant of the Forgotten Relics". Using the resources of the Foundation and the University, this group recruits the most seasoned students and gives them the opportunity to embark on unparalleled adventures that endanger their lives in exchange for fame and fortune as well as extracurricular credits and immediate access to the Wayfinder Foundation once they complete their university preparation.
The new year is seeing graduate members of the Pact, and this is how new recruits are put to the test on campus. If they show that they are good at what they do, they will be admitted into this one-of-a-kind circle. If they do not, they will probably never be heard of again.
After some bold students finished their careers, they were summoned by an anonymous letter just before their graduation. Aukan Thuliaga, Soren ir'Zendorn and Cassiel Andoson faced some dungeoneering challenges to make themselves worthy of an invitation to be part of the Coventant of the Forgotten Relics. This not-so-secret society will give them access to tools and information about their particular goals. As it seemed, fate wanted them to work together, as the Orb of Stein Rune searched by Aukan is believed to be hidden around the fabled icy underwater shrine of Benthidrix, in the southernmost portion of Xen'drik, an area of interest for Cassiel. A fellow student, on behalf of the famous Flamewind, gives them a closed wooden box to be opened after they utter a secret keyword in the Wayfinder's Guildhouse in Stormreach.
Once they arrive to the Gate to Xen'drik and they speak to the useful keeper, they are introduced to their guides: Lerithyn, Major and Ra'sakar. The old maps the students brought from Morgrave will not be useful, of course, but they are intrigued about the box given to them. The inscription in the inside reads "The whole is greater than the sum of its parts" and its contentes were: an Arrow of Slaying(marked with a frozen snowflake), a Chime of Opening, some bottles with Nolzur's Marvelous Pigments, a flask with a Potion of Diminution and two Feather Tokens: an Anchor one and a Fan one.
It's time to plan a route towards Dowron's Shield. Stormreach is the city at the very north of the continent. I marked Dowron's Shield with the red dragon ampersand.
(Out of Narrator's Voice)
Hey, guys, welcome!
First of all, from these objects, choose and pick! Keep in mind they come from Flamewind, which is a sphinx.
Translator notes: Xen'drik is known as "Zendikar" by its natives. Also, the Traveler's Curse is known as "the Roil".
Editor's Note for our Moderator: I tried to link the descriptions for the Arrow of Slaying and the Feather Tokens, but I wasn't succesful, even when trying with the names as they show up in the Compendium: "Arrow of Slaying", "Feather Token (Anchor)" and "Feather Token (Fan)". Should I comment on this somewhere?
Cassiel: just a little detail. Xoriat is not waning like in... never. It's an off-orbit plane. I'll work with your idea of strange activities noticed around peculiar locations at the time of his birth, nonetheless.
Lerithyn, Major and Ra'sakar will work together as "undercover" agents for the Wayfinder Foundation. Their usual work involves serving as entry guides to Stormreach and the deeper, hostile areas, and also as "emergency rescue team" for members who haven't been back to the Guildhouse in a long time. This doesn't mean they always work together, though my guess is that Lerithyn and Major usually do.
Archaon: Is there a Khalni Heart in Morgrave? That party of old not only survived but was very succesful, for what I can see ;)
Major: He has heard some Cannith artificers refer to his body as a very rare "impervium" alloy. They never want to elaborate on that statement, though.
Lerithyn is kneeling next to Major, a small scraping tool in his hand. His short white hair blows in the breeze and his barbs are fully revealed, resembling a small goatee. "Major, the salty air around here does not agree with you." He scrapes out another section of Major with the scraping tool, small white clumps of salt falling to the ground. "I believe the group from Morgrave will be here soon. You must not fail to impress them with your craftsmanship." Lerithyn then grabs a small metal bristled brush from his tinkerer's tools, scraping more feverishly than before.
Lerithyn is tall, standing a little over six feet tall, with a long green robe, a wide-brimmed hat, and a scarf around his neck. Under the robe you spot studded armor, each stud individually placed by his own hand during its creation. A belt, filled with pouches lines his waist with two daggers on either side. Strapped across his back is a long-barreled projectile weapon. The barrel itself is three parts made of finely crafted steel with hard iron rings connecting each section. Small runes decorate the barrel and let off a faint glow at random intervals. The etched runes continue along the base and stock of the weapon with different components varying between gold, silver, platinum, steel, and iron that have made up the delicate mechanisms that allow it to function.
Lerithyn continues the task of cleaning Major up as the three students approach.
As Aukan is approaching the group of guides, he speaks to Sorgen ir'Zendorn, concluding a conversation started earlier while departing from the boat. "Returning home brings mixed feelings. The memory of my mother..." He trails off. "Perhaps we will pass through my village on our way. I would like to share my stories with my father, if there is time." Aukan pauses before adding, "If he still lives. Goliaths are not long for this world." He grins, turning his attention to the three guides as the voice of Ra'sakar penetrates his mind.
Taken aback by the unusual greeting, Aukan gathers his composure before delivering his introduction in a markedly different tone than the casual one he was using with Sorgen; he speaks at the center of the three men, unsure of whom to address. "I am Aukan 'Runehunter' Thuliaga," he bellows. Aukan's words, filled with pride and strength, is accompanied with a quick change in posture -- a warrior's salute, of sorts. Standing nearly eight feet tall, his eyes rest naturally downward toward the guides. His heavy armor, shield, and sheathed maul rattle in the wake of his movements. As the echo of his words dies, Aukan waits eagerly for the introduction of the guides. He breaths the air, happy to be smelling familiar winds once again.
Lerithyn meticulously replaces his tinker tools in their rightful spot, looking up at Major. "We'll have to finish this later, I suppose." He places the tinkerer's satchel in a finely crafted backpack before putting it on and turning his attention to the group. He nods to them, "I am Lerithyn." He adjusts his cannon as he speaks. "You've all had a long voyage, I suppose. Should we allow you time to rest before we depart?" He eyes the huge man in the center that calls himself Runehunter, but averts his gaze when he's spotted.
Addressing only the students, Ra'sakar walks towards them to shake their hands.
I'm the one in the cloak, a drow, of Umbragen and Sulatar descent. You look proud young ones, yet I wonder if you'd last a night here. While I overheard your conversation, I still wonder - has a life in Khorvaire softened you, or can you still survive the dangers of the night?
Ra'sakar turns to Lerithyn and Major, addressing only them:
I was told that you were planning our path for this journey. So how are we getting to Dowron's Shield?
Aukan takes it upon himself to provide the names of his companions. "This is Sorgen ir'Zendorn," he says, motioning to the Human on his left, "and this is Cassiel" -- he nods to the Aasimar at his right. "We are honored to meet you and we are grateful for this opportunity."
Upon identifying the telepathic voice of the Drow, Aukan replies, "I spent numerous years in the company of the Sulatar. They are a wise tribe." He regards Ra'sakar with a moment of respect, not for the man he is but for the heritage he carries within him. "You ask if I can survive these nights. Yes, I can." There is a slight pause as he considers adding, "Can you?" but refrains from saying so. Best not to let my competitive side show. These men are not Goliaths. It would not be a fair contest.
Lerithyn glances briefly at Ra'sakar, "It is quite intrusive to have you in my head." He then looks to the others, avoiding eye contact. "The quickest way would be to charter a ship, I suppose. But each time I suggest it I feel as if our friend Ra'sakar here is glowering at me." He nods to the group, "I also suppose you'd rather see the sights of the land, survive the perils of my home, and return in one piece without feeling cheated. If that's the case, we could travel through the jungles or canoe the larger rivers until we get further south." Lerithyn shrugs, "Either way it'll be a long journey. I ask again, should we rest for a few days before we depart?"
Aukan looks to Lerithyn. "Rest?" He scoffs, but then catches his guffaw, considering the needs of the Human and the Aasimar. "You are generous to offer. Perhaps a moment to gather our thoughts and make plans would be wise."
Continuing the conversation with Lerithyn, Aukan says, "If we are traveling south overland, I could guarantee us safe passage through Tharkgun Dak and the Fangs of Argarak. What lies beyond that region is unknown to me."
Are you sure, Aukan? It seems you have been away a while. You met with the Sulatar? They don't often accept strangers. Perhaps you met my mother, Nedelyne? And in case that competitive streak you Goliath are known for is gnawing at you, I've spent the large majority of my life in the Jungle, nine times your age, if you're in your 30s.
While the above thought reaches Aukan, the next thought is directed at Lerithyn.
Well, I've yet to see you prove your worth. Until then, I'll only talk to you through telepathy. Same for everyone.
"Very well, Runehunter. Ra is meant to guide us through the jungles, so I believe we may have a relatively 'safe' path up until the Fangs." He nods, "Very well, indeed." Lerithyn plops on his hat before gesturing, "Let us get rooms for the night and speak more of this after your companions have had real food in their bellies. You do eat, giant?" He nods assuredly, more to himself, "You may also wish to send word of your safe arrival." He leads the group to a nice, reputable establishment.
Giving his focus to Ra'sakar, Aukan says, "Nedelyne was my instructor for a time. It was a privilege to hear her speak of the Giants of old." Aukan takes a moment to fully comprehend Ra'sakar's age and his clear advantage at living in the jungle. I am the student. When Aukan next speaks, the competitiveness in his voice is completely gone. "I would ask that you share with me your superior knowledge of the jungle, or at least as much as I am able to understand. You are the guide." He gives a formal and respectful nod.
To Lerithyn, Aukan puffs his chest and says jokingly, "I could eat stone if challenged! ... But stewed goose will suffice." For the first time since meeting the guides, he smiles, proud to be in the presence of such experienced companions.
A chuckle escapes Ra'sakar's lips as the 6 of them head towards the Chapterhouse. To Aukan, the following thought reaches his mind.
So how was she? I've not seen her for many decades. You amuse me so, with that attitude of yours. I'd be happy to teach you, but I'll see how well you fare first. Did you ever learn how to best the Roil? How to trick it into leading you where you wish to go? It is difficult, but you seem like a quick learner.
Lerithyn guides you through the city in an almost direct path through alleys and streets, nearly blind to everything going on around him. He seems lost in thought as he weaves through the crowds and doesn't notice when he separates from the group not once, but twice. If not for the head-piercing telepathy of Ra'sakar, he'd have continued without the group. His face never really seems to portray much emotion, always remaining in an emotionless 'dumb' state even when cursed at by passersby for not minded their path.
Very well, a drow, a kor, and a warforged... Zendikar is slowly coming to us. And good to see you again, Zulaport!
Sorgen seemed lost in his thought, and in studying the objects from the mysterious box. He didn't even flinch much when Ra'sakar sent them that chilling telepathic "welcome". It seemed fitting that a true Zendikari, one of such long life at that, would warn them without pulling words. Or thoughts. He still only mumbled his name, a bit undecided if to use Sohar Gada already. But "Stormreach" seemed to have changed a lot. Plus, his father's name was much more well known in the Halimar region and around the hidden city of Sea Gate. He went with Sorgen ir'Zendorn still, planning to switch to Sohar Gada if needed.
As if he heard the thought conversation between Ra'sakar and Aukan, Sorgen finally decided to speak during their city walk. "By the way, gentlemen, I think we should consider the Roil in our travel. The maps that we have are all but useless. Apart from the names used by locals, which tend to be completely different, it's the rough borders of the land and the distances that don't match. We will better commune with the Roil itself, or an entity that moves such force, before deciding which route to take. I have means to do just that."
Sorgen, as always, didn't try much to be friendly. He knew from past experiences he didn't manage anyway, when he tried. But he made a mental note to at least try better this time: teamwork would have become of paramount importance later on, he was sure. Plus, there were some others in the group challenged like him in making friends, Lerithyn in particular. So he made a challenge to himself to try better, especially with that strange Kor.
Yes the names are different, but I have grown used to the foreign terminology, so that is hardly a problem. The Roil foils not only maps, but all sense of time too. I know a group who went in and came back 5 years later, thinking they'd only been travelling a month, and another who had the reverse situation - in the jungles for a month, came out thinking 8 had passed. We'll see how your means fare on the morrow... I have a feeling this expedition will last longer than the last, and I'd hate to see those hopes dashed.
Time was an entirely different danger, that Sorgen was attributing more to the stories contaminated in the academic world by notions of Faerie and planar phenomena. He liked to think so, at least. Finding confirmation of this particular aspect made him visibly uneasy. But he limited to acknowledge with slow affirmative movements of the head, without losing sight of the street ahead.
The rogue mage seemed to move through the crowded and dumped city as if he belonged there, with an ease that seemed excessive, for such a bookish individual. He reminded Ra'sakar of a Merfolk of the Emeria or maybe even Cosi creed. Unfettered and sliding through obstacles as a sleek moray.
Cassiel, wearing robes of almost beige color, contrasting with the black leather straps of his belt and boots was quiet for most of the travel here, only speaking when spoken to but tried always to be as polite and welcoming as he could leaves the ship with his newfound companions.
When Ra'sakar's mental intrusion came, Cassiel strangely looked to his left where no one was standing and was about to say something to the thin air when noticed that the voice in his head was also in Aukan's, so he decided to keep quiet.
When indulged about being able to survive the dangers of the jungle, Cassiel only murmured: The real danger is the evil inside someone's soul that weakens and corrupts. The evils outside, you can fight and kill or be killed, there are no other options.
Pulling his hood back, Cassiel shows his light figure, almost marble skin looking more like a bust found in an art gallery then a living person but eyes dark and deep as the darkest sky of the deepest crater, with sleepless pockets below them and trying to not sound as gloom as he really is, he addresses the guides: Sorry for the hard words, I would truly enjoy a bit of respite from the travel from the Continent, and am sure that either rout you fine gentlemen decide is best we take will be the safest possible in this land so I trust you entirely to decide, but I must say that I would prefer land travel than sea travel.
While walking throw the city guided by Lerithyn, Cassiel said something inaudible to his left in a strange language (Celestial) "They look competent enough to help us keep safe, Barachiel, I sense good energy in them." And to his right he said in another strange language (Abyssal): "Adriel, we will not bring harm to those that are here to help us! And you are only to manifest when called upon!" Both phrases where uttered as low as possible and sounded more like singing murmur than a spoken language.
Now he waits to get to the inn and decide with those that will trail the shadows with him witch rout will be our doom.