Enchante Journals, Volume 2 (book)

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The Enchante Journals: A Chronicle of Music and Magic

By Elesigis Arilafrei

Introduction

Bards are the storytellers and lorekeepers of the land, but too often we have forgotten the truths of our own past. There are fascinating tales behind the music and magic that so defines what and who we are as Bards; tales largely unknown. For that reason, my companions and I have taken it upon ourselves to create these chronicles, what we have called the "Enchante Journals."

In this endeavor, this vast undertaking, I have been aided by the following noble Bards: Hildart Sverul, craftsman of Hibarnhvidar and master of the Dwarven epics; Nereeth Gethaelt, wandering singer and performer and entertainer of children; Endirek Chydaku, of the Order of Kalodi. In this volume of our chronicles, we discuss the Order of Kalodi itself, as well as the Dwarven Bards of the city of Hibarnhvidar.


Volume II

How many of you are familiar with Order of Kalodi? Not enough, I'd bet. That's a shame, given the impact they've had on all things bardic.

The Order of Kalodi actually wasn't formed by a Bard, though. No, it was established by a Trader (a very wealthy one) named Astianis. Astianis was very focused, throughout his life, on the acquisition of wealth and material possessions. His wife, on the other hand, was a beautiful and brilliant Bard named Kalodi... for which the order was named.

Kalodi was, beyond simply being any ordinary Bard, an excellent scholar. She was an archaeologist, a historian. Kalodi was known for seeking out and then exploring ancient ruins, as well as her extensive collection of rare and ancient artifacts. While her husband filled storehouses with priceless treasures aimed at increasing his wealth or reputation, she sought out things that would enhance her knowledge. A rather opposite pair, weren't they? Nevertheless, Kalodi and Astianis were very much in love.

(Did I mention how they became a couple? If I did not, then I shall make that known now -- they were both students at the Asemath Academy when they met, and they developed a relationship during that time.)

It came as quite a shock to our mogul friend Astianis when his wife was killed -- needless to say, it was a wounding blow to the Bardic community of that time, as well. It happened when the lady was exploring a certain underground ruin... she was spelunking there when she fell, and had her neck and back shattered.

Most husbands, in grief, would blame such a death on Kalodi's ceaseless pursuit of ancient knowledge. "Had my wife not been there," the reasoning would go, "she would not have died." But Astianis, knowing his wife's mind and spirit, knew that if she had not been in that ruin (and in all the others she explored) she would not have LIVED. That exploration of the past was her life, and without it, she would have been nothing more than a walking corpse. He grieved for his wife's loss, but he also celebrated her life and accomplishments, and promised to see her pursuits continued, in her name.

Thus was the Order of Kalodi established. Astianis created it as a place for knowledge-seeking Bards to go, and to learn, and to work together to better accomplish their goals. With the mogul's extensive financial backing, it became a repository of information, in the form of carefully cared for crumbling texts with yellowed pages, or arcane artifacts that shed light on ancient magics or even the everyday life of long-gone cultures. Astianis ran the order with all the skill he had accumulated in the creation and running of his vast merchant empire, and through that genius, the Order of Kalodi quickly became one of the premiere Bardic organizations. It even rivaled other scholarly institutions, such as the Moon Mages' [[Celestial Compact]].

The order's contributions to bard-dom have been immense. It was a member of the Kalodians, as they later became called, that created the mental skill known as Bardic Recall -- a young archivist named Norek Skorasvadh.

Most lore-oriented Bardic magics also originated among this group, created by them out of necessity, to aid themselves in their goals. Take Faenella's Grace, for instance... a magical song that will enhance the listeners' attentiveness and scholarship, allowing them to learn better and more easily. This song was devised by a very brilliant religious Elothean Bard named Daryneir Alinith.

(As Nereeth is quick to point out to me, the Grace of Faenella was also an enchante that proved invaluable during the time when the Bards were forced to hide away underground from the Dragon Priests.)

The enchante known as Aura of Tongues was discovered by a Kalodian by the name of Kietan Reniakai, quite by accident! Kietan, you see, was just a boy, a child, when he created this enchante. He had been orphaned and taken in by the Kalodians, who raised him as their own, in addition to making note of the affinity he seemed to have for elemental magic.

The child one day was babbling meaningless, madeup words, in a singsong manner, and he seemed to have infused that babble with some of his innate magical strength. The result was the first formations of the song we now call "Aura of Tongues." While he was singing in his fantasy language, several S'Kra Kalodians stood nearby, discussing current affairs in their native language. Remarkably, it quickly became apparent that the boy understood the words they were speaking.

It is both baffling and confusing to listen to the Aura of Tongues. The words of the enchante sound like mere gibberish to most listeners. But for the Bard himself, the nonsensical flow of syllable after meaningless syllable of strange combinations of vowels and consonants... somehow gives him an aura that enables him to understand other languages.

Magically, this enchante seems to function in a manner similar to the song "Muse's Inspiration," in how it uses elemental energy to enhance the powers of thought. Nevertheless, it was a precious boon to this order, which used it to translate texts as well as speak to people of many other races.

(To note the fate of the enchante's creator: Kietan grew up, and in the process became an accomplished Bard; he joined the order that had raised him, and worked as a diplomat for the Guild itself, representing its interests before various provincial sovereigns.)

The Order of Kalodi remains a crucial part of the Bard Guild to this day, maintaining its treasure trove of knowledge, continuing its quest for history, and overseeing its great archives and storehouses.

****************

Deep in the mountains of Forfedhdar lies the staggering city of Hibarnhvidar, home of the Dwarven people. They are renowned not just for their battle prowess or their love of mining and delving -- they are also accounted as among the finest craftsmen on the continent.

From the carving and cutting and embellishing of gems, to the formation of astounding furniture and statuary of rock and stone; from the smithing of the finest blades, hammers, axes, and armors to the creation of crowns and rings and medallions... even including a mastery of the craft of instruments.

Some might be surprised at that last point. Everyone knows, really, that Dwarves craft most things excellently, but few acknowledge their exquisite skill at instrument-creation, thinking instead the talent lies solely with the Elves or the S'Kra Mur. This is an incorrect assumption.

Dwarves have a strong Bardic tradition (as can be attested to by anyone who has had the joy of listening to their rousing epics), and so the combination of Bardic influence with a general mastery of craftsmanship has allowed them to create truly fine instruments. In any event... I digress. Much of the Dwarven proficiency at craft comes from their nature as the children of Kertigen, much from hard-work and training. But part of it also comes from the magic of the Dwarven Bards.

The enchante called "Muse's Inspiration" was developed by a group of Bards in Hibarnhvidar that sought to use their elemental magic to enhance an individual's basic creativity, just as other songs enhance anger, courage, and inner calm utilizing elemental energy.

In creating the entrancing many-colored shawl which is now worn by the goddess Kerenhappuch, Kertigen was divinely inspired, by visions of the beauty of Hodierna. The Muse's Inspiration song, deeply chanted by Kertigen's Dwarven children, seeks to mimic that effect, creating a powerful inspiration in the listeners. Just as Kertigen's extraordinary ability to craft was enhanced by his inspiration, so does this magic bring about a similar effect. In fact, it was the tales of Kertigen and his shawl that first gave this group of Hibarnhvidar Bards the basic idea behind Muse's Inspiration's magic. The words of the song tell his tale, tell of Hodierna's beauty, and tell of the passion of creation and the wonder of its results.

We should all be thankful for their fervor in honoring and emulating their god, for it is that adoration that has gifted all Bards with a marvelous enchante.

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Our chronicles of Bardic magic are continued in the next volume.

By my hand,
Elesigis Arilafrei