Enchante Journals, Volume 4 (book)

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The Enchante Journals: A Chronicle of Music and Magic

By Elesigis Arilafrei


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 look at the Bards of the Velakan Desert, and the fallen city of HighHold -- two places where our ancient enemies, the Dragon Priests, have played major roles...

Volume IV

The Velaka Desert is a place of immense elemental power. Few places on the Kermorian continent can boast of such an intense presence of Air, Fire, Earth, and even Aether energies. So it should come as no surprise that some of the most famed and legendary Bards and Warrior Mages have come from this vast expanse -- the desert virtually breeds elemental masters; from Alhaani and Archmage Hh'reshh, two of the most fabled Warrior Mages, to Urisaar the Gold and Kahishu, Bards who have, on epic levels, made our Guild what it is today.

In the city of Muspar'i itself, one has merely to walk down the colorful and much adorned streets and squares to see the influence Bards have had on it... the Street of Performers, where the city's citizens gather to watch jugglers and hear fabulous yarns and watch dancers and singers; the Heketha Square, with its grand Bard Guildhall and its theater catering to the desires of Kermoria's wealthiest to see the magic that only the finest Bards can work; the Street of Instrument Makers, lined with shops and stalls and peddlers displaying their musical finery, their exotic instruments from which waft the most stunning sounds... it is a city where music, and Bards especially, have had a profound impact.

But just as Muspar'i has thrived on Bards, so have Bards thrived on Muspar'i. For thanks to its emphasis on the Bardic arts and its overabundance of raw elemental energy, it has been a hotbed (no pun intended) of advances and progress in musical magic. The people of the city have incorporated the magic of the enchante into their regular way of life, and it has helped them cope with some of the harsh realities of the desert -- through the necessities given them, the difficult situations they have encountered, these people have been forced to become creative with their magic, developing new applications for it. As a result, the number of enchantes has grown.

The two most prominent gifts from Muspar'i to Bardic magic are the enchantes "Drums of the Snake" and "Desert's Maelstrom."

The "Drums of the Snake" has long been used by Velakan Bards as a way to move more efficiently and safely through the desert. Bards have often been used as members of hunting, trapping, or trade parties thanks to this magic, which is integral in many areas quite simply unsafe to traverse without the survivalist magic. The song seeks to emulate the particular feel of S'Kra Mur song and dance... like the S'Kra Mur people, their dance and song have a rhythmic, sinuous, languorous quality to them. The enchante takes that melody, that movement, and enhances it with magic, granting a similar serpentine power to move the body and limbs to those who listen to its sound.

There is no real precise history behind Drums of the Snake... no single Bard responsible for its origination. The styles of dance and song upon which the enchante is based are integral in the S'Kra Mur culture, down to its very roots, and have been a part of the race's heritage long beyond the point of historical memory. The enchante, really, was something that came into being naturally, rather than through experimentation or a desire to find a method of using magic to accomplish a specific set of goals.

So while we cannot pinpoint a certain single Bard or a specific timeframe in which we developed this power, we can lay the thanks for its creation at the feet of Muspar'i. As time gradually went by, the songs and movements so much a part of this city's culture took on a power that eventually became the enchante we use to this day.

The second enchante, "Desert's Maelstrom," is of course, a far more powerful and devastating piece of music. Where Drums of the Snake had a natural evolution and has been mainly employed for utilitarian and protective means, "Desert's Maelstrom" was devised purely as a tool for war.

When the armies of the Dragon Priests crossed the Velaka Desert to absorb within its empire the S'Kra city of Muspar'i, most of the citizenry was content to allow history take its course -- after all, despite the general uneasiness, if not downright disgust, that the wealthy and educated Musparans felt toward the goals and methods of the Priests, they all did share common bonds. The World Dragon was worshipped widely in Velaka as well, and after all, they were of one race. Not to mention that Muspar'i was not a state known for its military influence... it was a city of merchants and artists and scholars, unprepared to halt the onslaught of the Dragon Priests.

But the Bards of Muspar'i were not quite so content to roll over before the marching armies of Dzree. Emboldened by the courageous self-sacrifice of the greatest of their number, Kahishu, who stood alone before the gates of the city and made the entire Army of the Dragon tremble, who single-handedly visited chaotic destruction upon the forces of Dzree, only to meet his own death soon after... the Bards decided to fight.

While individually they had not the truly awesome power of Kahishu, they were still far from weak. And not to mention that they had the power of the Velaka Desert on their side as well!

Following Kahishu's death, the Dragon Priest army slowly began to pull itself together again to prepare to march on the gates of the city anew. They were still in something of a state of disarray, though -- Kahishu's attack had struck them hard.

The Bards of the city stood upon its walls, and called out to the power of the elements. Their songs joining in unison, they summoned the winds and the fiery sands of the desert to strike their foes. Huge storms began swirling across the desert, its sands striking at the Dragon Priests and their monsters, battering them back. It was as though Velaka itself sought to wipe out Dzree's invaders.

Valiant though their effort was, the Bards of Muspar'i were never enough to hold back the amassed might of Dzree. The army reformed, and slowly but surely began progressing again toward the gates, its assault renewed. Though arrows were ineffective, the priest army also had powerful magic on its side, and they began to attack the Bards upon the walls. Quite a few lost their lives that day, but not most of them -- most of them lived, either hiding out in the city, or fleeing to their second home, the desert itself.

Never again has such an impressive display of the Desert's Maelstrom been seen, and it likely never will be seen again. But it is still a powerful and useful enchante, and remains used -- many desert hunters use its powers to trap wild yeehar and bring them to the city. And with the reunification of the Bard Guild, knowledge of the enchante has spread beyond the desert, to Bards far and wide.


HighHold, the mighty citadel that once served as the capital of all Dwarfendom, was famed for its ability to craft stone and gems, in addition to its more famous reputation as the most impregnable and untakable fortress ever constructed. Even once it ruled no longer as the capital city of every Kermorian Dwarf, it still remained the center, the seat of power, of the mighty nation of Adamantia... now, regrettably, fallen.

But few beyond the most diligent keepers of lost lore are aware that much of their skill with the craft was due to the Dwarven Bards that would aid the gemcutters. Fewer still recognize that it was not the song you would expect, Muse's Inspiration, which lent them their talent -- it was actually the ancestor of the enchante we know today as the "Eye of Kertigen."

At its height, HighHold was well known in many circles for the power its Bards possessed, the ability to give listeners eyes as sharp as Kertigen's himself, eyes that could detect even the most miniscule and invisible flaw in a rock or a gemstone.

The slightest crack, the smallest fracture, a spot, a lack of purity, the most minute imperfection... they were all visible with glaring clarity when one was under the effects of Kertigen's Eye.

Many other Bards knew that those in HighHold held this valuable power... but regrettably, the Bards of HighHold were as stingy with their knowledge as the rest of HighHold was reclusive and xenophobic. Throughout the years, many a Bard would journey to the great city-keep, seeking to learn the secret of the magics that allowed the HighHold Bards to perform their miracles. But every visitor was rebuffed. Even other Dwarven Bards, from Kwarlog and Hibarnhvidar and other settlements, were refused their requests to learn the enchante's workings.

With this total lack of cooperation by the Bards of HighHold, many attempts were made by other Bards throughout Kermoria to replicate the magic's effects, attempts at devising enchante matrices that would function in a similar manner to whatever the Adamantians used. But no luck. No one was ever able to duplicate that unique effect of analyzing rocks and gems and the earth itself.

HighHold had stood since the birth of civilization itself; it had reigned from the moment the gods first placed mortals upon our world of Elanthia. And the people... not just in HighHold, but everywhere, expected that the fortress would stand forever. But it didn't. No one ever successfully beat this city in a siege; no one ever took the hold by force. But it was through the genius of the Dragon Priests that HighHold was finally felled. Other storytellers can weave this tell better than I can... my main concern, of course, is the fate of the magics that they had kept secret there.

As the land crumbled around HighHold, and as the city itself slowly withered away, the people finally realized the simple fact that their once great fortress was no more, and would soon be nothing but dust. Many, at that realization, attempted to flee through the Dark Hand that Empress Dzree had created... but few of the Adamantian Dwarves ever made it past that boundary alive.

One Bard did, though. He did make it out of the Dark Hand, to a small Elothean refuge village on the outskirts of Ilithi (a conquered realm of the Priests). However, though he may have been alive, he was still not long for the world... he had made it out of the Dark Hand, but barely. The Bard was critically wounded. Dying.

I do not know why, with his last breath, he chose to sing the song of Kertigen's Eye to the villagers who had taken him in. The Dwarves are creators, craftsmen who build things to last an eternity. He had seen the destruction of the Indestructible Keep that all thought would last until the end of time. And perhaps, seeing that, he sought to preserve something of the legacy they had created. Perhaps that one Dwarf wished that something his people created DID live on.

But it was not to be. He sang, with his last breaths, Kertigen's Eye, but he never finished the song. His wounds were too grievous, and as he sang, the blood bubbled up from his throat into his mouth. Before he could complete the enchante, he had fallen to the ground, dead.

The melody he sang was incomplete, and an Elven Bard who had also been staying in that isolated village attempted to finish it, building upon what the Dwarf had completed. He tried a number of endings to the song, but none of them resulted in the stone-seeing power of the original version. But he did finally devise one complete enchante which altered the way he saw entirely, greatly increasing his vision and even allowing him to perceive that which was not visible to the eyes at all.

That is the version of the enchante we use today. Some would say the song we use is more powerful, even better, than that which the Adamantian Dwarves had. Others would argue that point. But it is irrelevant either way. Though many Bards have, since the fall of HighHold, attempted to create the ending of the song that allowed the Dwarves the stonesight, none have been able to replicate the exact enchante that the HighHolders used. It is likely we never will. Despite the efforts of one dying man, the legacy of the Bards of Adamantia was lost to the mists of time.


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

By my hand,
Elesigis Arilafrei