Deceived - Part I

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The Fyearikloa'i Rensh'a, or "Thinkers of the People" in the Common tongue, are proud to present "The Deceived," a trilogy dedicated to the infamous Mirror Wraith Prophecy and its subsequent effects on the Moon Mage Guild.

The Mirror Wraith Prophecy was a curse presented as a gift to the Guild of Moon Mages. As a scholar of the Fyearikloa'i Rensh'a as well as of Heritage House, I have studied extensively the events that transpired in relation to the Wraith's words. Having pieced together information gathered from both word of mouth as well as various notes, I, Heritage Keeper Kelvena Nortune, present to you a summary of the incidents that led up to the delivery of the Prophecy. It is my hope that all accounts are portrayed as best as possible.

   Chapter I - The Wards of Fate
   Chapter II - Sorceress of Ruby and Onyx
   Chapter III - Excavation
   Chapter IV - The Shadow Masters
   Chapter V - The Prophecy 

Chapter I - The Wards of Fate

The borders between the Plane of Abiding and the Plane of Probability are crossed frequently by the predictions of Moon Mages. If these glimpses of the future can pass through to our Plane, then what is to say that objects -- or even living beings -- cannot do the same? At a price, we have come to learn that the Plane of Probability is inhabited by sentient beings, and that they may indeed cross if the conditions are right. Whether by a mage's spell gone awry or a gifted enchanter's scribing of Katamba, these beings have come into our realm: voidspawn, tenebraelings, umbramagi, and, the most dangerous of all encountered thus far, the Shadow Masters.

What protects us from these creatures? Surely, if they exist, and we can create portals to their Plane, then why can they not do the same? From all the evidence shown, it is my belief that the a certain group of Obelisks protects the Plane of Abiding from the Plane of Probability. There were three of them known at one time, their purpose a guarded mystery. Each one towered fifteen feet high, crafted from a translucent matter that seemed to glow from within. Four gems, symbolizing the moons, adorned the off sides of the Obelisks’ peaks: a golden topaz, an iridescent pearl, a fiery ruby, and a crystalline sapphire. By all accounts, they were well over a millennium old and were inscribed with a series of intricate text and sigils. Many of these were incomprehensible by modern researchers, yet others had a curious similarity to the celestial sigils utilized in the enchanting process.

If, indeed, it is these Obelisks that have worked tirelessly to create a barrier protecting our Plane, then it is safe to assume that their strength been greatly weakened. Numerous creatures from the Void have crept through to our world in recent years, and, though they've been consistently repelled, the very possibility of their entrance is disturbing. Of the three known Obelisks, the one on Taisgath is the sole remaining artifact, resting at the place of Tezirah's release during the conclusion of the Prophecy.

The Ker'Leor region to the west of Therenborough holds the ruins of another; its destruction occurred not long before the events on Taisgath. In an attempt to understand the ancient structure, Lady Amiss DeRhi, an apprentice to Lady Demosel, removed the wards surrounding the Obelisk. Various spells were cast upon it by the students gathered, and the Obelisk began to pulse. The pulses quickly rose in pace and culminated in a brilliant display of lights that streaked through the air. The Obelisk seemed to draw power from the moons themselves, the gems adorning the sides lighting up in sequence. However, it became unstable once it reached Grazhir's Pearl, perhaps because it had no place to draw power from. A storm swirled from the Obelisk and spread to quickly consume the provinces. It was accompanied by visions hitting seers through the realms, and green lightning fell from it, killing many. Those who remained took shelter in a nearby cave while the clouds carried out their rampage. When all had calmed, the Obelisk was destroyed, melted to its base. A point of note is that a marked increase in the speed of the moons, as well as changes to the weather patterns across Elanthia, have been attributed to this experiment.

The last of the three Obelisks was found in an archaeological site beneath the Observatory of the Southern Crossbow, though an accident forced its destruction.

Chapter II - Sorceress of Ruby and Onyx

The three Obelisks contained lost arts, as was shown during the reign of the Empire. In the year 718 BL, a woman named Tezirah Eilsina formed a group known as the Saesdorian Cabal. The Cabal's studies were always mysterious, but rumors quickly spread that its members were studying an ancient structure. It is now known that they were indeed doing so; in fact, they were researching one of the Obelisks, the most likely candidate being that which has since been buried beneath Zoluren. Somehow, Tezirah found an uncompleted device, one created five centuries before her time: the Deceiver. She soon after began to work towards assembling it, eventually accomplishing the construction of the device -- although to what end she had hoped for it, none are certain. The most common belief is that she wished to use it, in concert with her Sorcery, to spread chaos throughout the Empire.

In the year 706 before the Victory of Lanival, 12 years after Tezirah formed the Saesdorian Cabal, Empress Demin I of the Seven Star Empire outlawed the practice of Sorcery in all of its forms. This decree led to the eventual orders demanding the execution of Tezirah and her followers; they fled underground to escape persecution. Three years later, in 703 BL, the Imperials discovered their hideaway. The soldiers tore through Tezirah’s mansion, finally discovering her with the Obelisk. It was the Obelisk on which they attempted to hang her. What exactly Tezirah did next isn't certain, but by all accounts she tried to cast a spell - which failed, summoning a Shadow Master into our Plane for the first time in recorded history. By the time the Imperials had slain the beast, Tezirah had vanished. The mansion was destroyed and the Deceiver device taken apart; the knowledge of their existence buried for centuries to come.

Chapter III - Excavation

The years passed, the Empire collapsed, wars were waged, and a prosperous city, The Crossing, sprang into being above the ruins. A part of the Saesdorian Cabal that managed to flee persecution eventually came to be known as the Progeny Of Tezirah; a representative would later sign the Lunar Accord, causing the sect to become a cornerstone of the Guild of Moon Mages. For centuries the Moon Mage Guild would study the ruins of past civilizations. So it was simply a matter of time before its scholars happened across the remnants of Tezirah's manor. Roughly 70 years before Tezirah's release in 362 AL, an expedition began to study the old manor below the Crossbow Observatory guildhall. Council members, Y'shai, researchers, and students were all among the explorers, including Erzebet Crowther, Mortom Saist, Taramaine Ennis-Braun, the Gypsy Demosel, and a mercenary named Grell.

Rummaging about the ancient collapse, they found an intact Obelisk and the disassembled Deceiver device. Being researchers, they did not hesitate to reassemble the pieces of the device and, in doing so, once again unleashed the Shadow Masters from the Void. A pair of the beasts leaped forth and blood ribboned through the air as students, researchers, and even two Council members fell to their power. The Shadow Masters had to be stopped, or ruin would fall upon The Crossing; countless would be murdered and much destroyed. Taramaine, along with Mortom and Erzebet, knew there was no choice; they utilized the power of Sorcery.

Their spell succeeded -- the Shadow Masters were destroyed --, but its magic was uncontrollable, and it struck both the Obelisk and a Y'shai named Shanrolias. Shanrolias was the first Y'shai to die since their inception, and it was then that their secret was discovered: a Y'shai's soul is lost forever, cursed to never find peace on the Starry Road. A shard of the exploded Obelisk also lodged itself in the chest of Grell Pel'cora, and would later give the Obelisks the power to summon him to them as they wished. Such is how he became a part of the Prophecy.

The survivors found that the Deceiver could not be destroyed, but it could still be deconstructed, and so that is what they did. The three pieces were then hidden; one lay inside the music box of Lady P, another resided in a Therengian Shrine, and the last was kept with Mortom during his long, enchanted sleep. Knowledge of the events was kept secret. The mansion was locked away. All those involved hoped that none would ever discover what had transpired under the Observatory, in front of the mysterious Obelisk.

Chapter IV - The Shadow Masters

Fiends from the Plane of Probability, a Shadow Master is quick to shred those who idle about or gawk in awe. From the day they first appeared, they have instilled fear into those unfortunate enough to have witnessed their chaos. Arriving a few at a time through rifts, their masses are barely held at bay by the slowly dying enchantment of the Obelisks.

They appear as an ivory skull set upon a lithe body of shadows, dark as an empty night's sky. Their bodies are immune to the motions of blades and the passing of arrows - only by a Cleric's blessing or power of the moonblade can their form be hurt with weapons. Intelligent, a Shadow Master is more than capable of resisting spells cast by some of the most talented of mages, though their shadowy form is susceptible to light, as produced by spells such as Burn or Dazzle. Creating a pool of shadows upon the ground to serve as a portal, as once here they seem unaffected by the Obelisks, they call forth creatures from the Void and together wreak havoc upon Elanthians.

Their talents run high as well; they are capable of possessing those in our Plane with ease, as was shown during an experiment by a number of students belonging to the Moon Mage Guild. A group prediction was attempted in order to understand the Prophecy, but it formed a rift to the Void, spawning a Shadow Master. Councilor Thorrick, who had been observing the group, was quickly possessed, and a change came over him; he urged the students to widen the rift. Clearly, the Shadow Master was attempting to further passage for its brethren in the Void. Thankfully, its trickery was discovered in time and the Shadow Master seemed to leave -- but, as is illustrated later, Fate would not be kind to Thorrick.

Chapter V - The Prophecy

The years after the incidents beneath the Crossbow Observatory were relatively quiet for the Moon Mage Guild. The Deceiver slept, its existence kept from the students. In the year 351 AL, however, within the shrine of Tamsine, Goddess of Civilization, a prediction would be shared that would hold dire ramifications for the future of Elanthia. The few gathered there have retold their tale of how the shrine was suddenly overcome with a powerful smell of perfume and the sound of breaking glass. It was then that an at that point unheard-of creature appeared: the Mirror Wraith. Surprised by it, one of the gathered, a mage known as Finthin, cast a spell upon it, causing the creature to shatter. Amazingly, the Mirror Wraith pulled itself back together, once again becoming whole.

It was then that it spoke, claiming to be a messenger for the Mistress of Ruby and Onyx, and offered a gift -- one not just for those in its vicinity, but for all people of Elanthia. In return for its vision of the future, it asked for a memory -- one of joy and warmth, with which it could return to the Aethyric Cold. Most were hesitant to offer something so dear, save Finthin, who perhaps wanted to offer an apology for striking the creature, and one other, a Moon Mage named Pentaith. The Wraith gathered the memories of Finthin's wife and Pentaith's father, stating that they were enough to satisfy its needs, and so spoke the following. These words would fast take their place in history.

   Gather round, good worthies, and hear what I've seen,
   Reflected in a glassy eye
   Heed the truth of my words alone...
   ...for prophets never lie.
   Three Deceivers set forth upon the lands
   Emerging from the cold --
   While your protectors sleep and dream soft dreams
   Their plans already unfold.
   No king! No squire! No heart nor reason
   Can alone unturn this darkling treason
   But an army or a legion
   Will find their weapons worthless lead --
   'pon an Elanthia, barren, dead.
   And here, pray allow, some light be shed.
   To the first, a man with platinum eyes that once reflected moons
   He grasps for all he cannot have in a chamber of lapis and gold
   For the promise of power he'll bring forth change...
   ...And ruination, ere this tale is told.
   To the second, once a warrior saint,
   Now a fiend to the eyes of the blind.
   Only one knows where his path truly leads,
   Through battle, and aethyr, and time.
   To the third, a bone-yard, and a restless grave,
   Lost in the trinkets of a tragic past.
   When every hour is spent in delirium dreams,
   A moment's peace is a fortune amassed.
   An artisan will become his final work,
   When the stars begin to fall.
   The first Deceiver re-awoken --
   And its brethren hear the call.
   Trust not what you know, o worthies,
   In a realm of confusion and strife.
   Nothing is as it first appears,
   Illusion the deadliest knife.
   With this weapon the Deceivers shall strike,
   And a mighty blow be laid.
   An ally will fall, one hope be lost,
   In a grave that your ignorance made.
   One shall travel a province most unwilling,
   Kidnapped by a righteous man.
   Blood will be shed as it passes into
   Strange circles and stranger hands.
   While the wise mourn, the wiser take heed,
   And brace against turbulent times --
   Now comes the season of discontent,
   With a shadow o'er people's minds.
   War begins in an unlikely place,
   Fought with precious metal and lies,
   Sides are chosen, lives are staked
   With a curse the only prize.
   Now two are one and one is lost,
   Held in a sanctified place.
   A dead man knows what the living do not,
   But keeps a somber face.
   A confession is a treacherous thing,
   From a soul so weary and tattered --
   But words of truth will unmask the darkness...
   ... And the work of five centuries, shattered.
   With hours left upon the clock,
   And doomsday well at hand,
   A midnight sun will shine upon
   A forever altered land.
   And what of the future, o learned ones.
   What will become of you --
   The choice resides in your hands alone...
   ... And this is the only thing that's true.
   No king! No squire! No heart nor reason
   Can alone unturn this darkling treason
   But an army or a legion
   Will find their weapons worthless lead --
   'pon an Elanthia, barren, dead.
   And there, perhaps, some light has been shed.

With that, the Wraith vanished, setting in motion one of the most infamous events in Kermorian history. Between the Prophecy's delivery and its fulfillment on Taisgath, scholars would engage in countless debates as to the meaning of its cryptic words and the nature of the Wraith who told it. The answers are clear to us now, but at that time, they had just begun to reveal themselves.


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