Evoke

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EVOKE (formerly known as PERCEIVE HISTORY) is a quest ability that is available for now to all eligible Bards until the quest has been completed. All magic using guilds utilize the Power Perceive skill to detect the presence of mana. Bards have an ability based on this skill to detect the traces of emotion or magical imprints left upon an area, or at times, an item. While the Recall ability allows one to quickly bring back information studied, Evoke allows the Bard to truly experience the past.

Locations

Zoluren

Landfall Docks

  • One is where sailors go.

You close your eyes, opening up your senses to what can be perceived in this room ... but are distracted by a little girl clutching a ragdoll crying out for her Mother. You glance downward and ask her if she is lost. She nods at you, saying, "We travelled here from Ratha and got separated. A sailor came and told that our inn rooms were ready. Momma said to wait here for Daddy to leave the ship, then went with the sailor." Before you can reply she yells toward the river, "Daddy!" and runs down the gangplank. Suddenly, she is knocked into the swirling water below by a burly sailor carrying a trunk. You shoulder your way through the crowd to where she fell, but all you see is the ghostly image of a child reaching upward. Her blond hair floats upon the water, and one hand clutchs the doll as she dissolves before your eyes. All you are left with is the sound of her voice echoing on the river's breeze, calling out, "Daddy!"
With a start, you find yourself drawn back to the reality of the here and now.

Leth Deriel

  • A second is in the City of Elves, through a burl.

You close your eyes, opening up your senses to what can be perceived in this room ...
Moments later sorrow slashes through your veins with a knifelike edge, causing your eyes to snap open, riveted to a psaltery hanging from the wall. Without touching it you can recall the soft grain of the oak it is crafted from and the harsh edges of the soundbox as if you clutched it to your own chest. With certainty, you realize that the instrument's owner was holding it at the moment he learned something that caused him boundless sorrow.
With a start, you find yourself drawn back to the reality of the here and now.

Tree in S'lai Scouts

  • The third is in a place of great Sorrow.

Women dip water from a well, while nearby locksmiths practice their trade for young hunters. You close your eyes, opening up your senses to the history that lingers in this room ...
Suddenly you are surrounded by the city that once flouished in this place, before counted time, before the town's slow disappearance from the hillside. You are standing in the marketplace, feeling a part of it... the smell of meatpies tickles your nose and vendors' cries ring in your ears. A squirrel in the oak tree tosses down an acorn and almost hits you! A man leaning on the oak tree stares you in the eye and says balefully, "This is my tree. Don't touch it." Another man, holding a wicked-looking scythe, looks toward the first and asks, "Who are you talking to, Harcourt?"
With a start, you find yourself drawn back to the reality of the here and now.

Arthelun Flats, Old Imperial Road

You gaze down the ruined road and watch a heavily burdened merchant slowly approach. His soiled clothing is tattered and slack folds of skin dangle from his neck and upper arms. His eyes are distant but he trudges onward with a determined stride.

He stops for a moment at the base of the trail to catch his breath. He hesitates as he gazes upwards at the ruins, glancing over his shoulder towards Dirge, before coming to a decision. Muttering to himself, he adjusts the weight of his packs and carefully picks his way up the trail.

As soon as his foot brushes the stone of the ruins, he crumples to his knees clutching his head. Screaming in despair, he thrashes his head about, revealing flames burning from his eye sockets as a voice blazes through your mind, "MINE!"

The word still rings in your skull as the merchant vanishes in a puff of smoke.

Arthelun Flats, Cambrigweld

Sand and stone flood into the crater, quickly leaving nothing to mark this spot from countless others within these desolate lands. Four figures fade into view, a haggard Gnome, a massive Gor'Tog clad in oddly vacillating full plate, a warlike Prydaen and an unassuming Halfling. Between them is a chilling sphere of absolute nothingness.

The scene explodes into movement. The Prydaen dispatches the Gnome unceremonious grace. The Halfling snatches up the sphere, but is felled by an abrupt gesture from the Gor'Tog. The Gor'Tog stoops to take up the sphere, then drops it as if it has burned him.

It lands at Gor'Tog's feet with a hollow *THUD*.

Though his expression is hidden by his featureless helm, the 'Tog's whole body seems to flinch as he takes a deliberate step away from the sphere on the ground before him.

Nothing Happens.

(2 second RT)

A sensation of sudden nausea grips you, as if the earth is dropping away beneath your feet. A hot odor, like ozone, heated metal or burning hair assaults your nostrils and brings stinging tears to your eyes.

All is light.

Your body is violently ripped into its constituent particles before you can register pain, heat, or even surprise.

((<<Bard>> suddenly flinches before falling to the ground with a mute scream.))
((spirit loss occurs; potentially fatal))

Arthelun Cabalist

You gaze into her eyes seeking an understanding of her past and find yourself drawn into a confounding overlap of images and memory.

FIRE

... you're tired, but it's a good tired, a familiar tired ...

The other elements dance to your whims as well, but Fire is in your blood. Fire is your soul. Fire is your power, and you'll give anything to keep that power burning.

... it was just a fight, not your fault he couldn't take a punch. You toss aside the pickaxe. Didn't need that lousy job anyhow ...

But recently you've heard rumors of a new power, a new type of fire, a Blackfire and those stories have left a determined chill in your bones.

... why are you even out here ...

Just thinking of them causes you to stoke the fire within you higher, but it does little to stave off the cold.

The memories threaten to consume you, but you are the master of your own mind and easily seal them away before they take hold.

Therengia

Statue of Peri'el

As her body curves over a detailed khurmary, pristine water tumbles out of the S'Kra Mur goddess' mouth, opened as if sustaining a beautiful, melismatic note. She sits atop a stunning limestone replica of the planet Elanthia with a serene expression sculpted on her magnanimous face. Under her feet, the colossal orb splits partially into a jagged crevice, offering a glimpse of the slumbering dragon curled inside.

You are immersed in the sights and sounds of new construction. Skilled masons lay the cobbles upon the street, and bricklayers add the final touches to lavish houses around the square. Though you stand in the very center of the neighborhood-in-progress, the limestone fountain is missing, yet to be placed. A stocky red-haired Dwarf surveys the area with an appraising gaze, her eyes sweeping the activity as she toys with the embossed wristcuff above her right hand. She points at landscapers in the surrounding palm trees and shouts directions. Several burly workers drag a wheeled crate into the area. Just as a man brings a metal rod to one of the box's corners, a loud *CRASH* disrupts the ordered chaos. The female Dwarf spins on her heels to investigate the source of the commotion.

Muspar'i Cleric Guild

Gazing intently into the depths of the small bargate statue, you delve deep into its history. The form of a young Elven woman shimmers into view as she carefully chips layers away from a large chunk of reddish stone. With elegant movements and meticulous precision she shapes the top of the piece, forming a smooth dome. She takes a step back and admires it for a moment before returning to shed further unwanted rock. The scene twists abruptly in a passing desert wind to reveal the same Elven woman, though notably aged. Pacing to and fro before the still unfinished statue, she looks at it expectantly with searching eyes. The upper and lower shapes are completely formed, though the lower half remains rough and unfinished. With purpose she approaches the work and drags a sharp tool across its base, leaving a deep crack. For the final time the image distorts, becoming two figures standing on the crest of a large sand dune, the wide expanse of Lake Ratamipak in the background. The Elven woman holds forth the now complete statue, smooth and pristine. Her countenance is stoic, though relieved. The other figure -- a female S'Kra Mur wearing a simple white gamantang -- reaches forward to accept the statue. As her scaled hands touch the red stone, the vision begins to fade.

Haven Bard Guild

You focus your senses on the past events of this room. The room immediately shifts out of focus, then slowly returns back to normal. The Bard Guildleader Ezruh sits behind his desk, pouring over some manuscripts when a man clad in full plate armor enters, walking right past you as if you weren't there.

"The Hounds of Rutilor are seeking a heretic, and I was told you might know where to find him," he says grimly from behind the anonymity of his visor. Ezruh rises and starts to open his mouth to speak, but at that moment a powerful wave of fear fills the room, leaving you as paralyzed as Ezruh appears to be. The shadows around you begin to shift and move, seeping out to fill the room with unpenetrable darkness and an unimaginable sense of horror. Just when you think you can bear no more, the shadows slowly fade back, revealing Ezruh crumpled beside his desk in a pool of blood. The armored man wipes blood from his broadsword and quietly sheaths it before turning to leave.

"Unfortunately, now that I think about it, the heretic I was sent to find was you," he says casually. "If by some miracle they do save you, take a bit of advice. Mind your own business." With that, he exits the office, leaving you shaken and unnaturally cold.

Ilithi

The Abyss

You reach out toward the steel cage, scraping a tiny bit of dried blood off. Suddenly light floods all around you, illuminating the empty pit. A small kobold scurries into view, carrying the limp carcass of a grey squirrel. The kobold opens a small hatch in the side of the cage and flings the dead beast inside, slamming the cage shut with intensity!

A voice booms from behind you -- causing you to whirl around -- "Ahh, yes. That will do nicely." An ancient kobold shawled in deep, black robes raises his clawed hand and begins to chant in an ominous tone. Moments later he gestures, his bone-white mane flaring wildly about him.

A cacophonous shrieking emanates from the illuminated pit. You whirl about once more to behold the feral form of a pale grey death squirrel writhing about torturously on the bloodstained floor of the pit. After several moments filled with agonizing squeals, twists, and shudders, the tiny beast suddenly explodes! Bits of bone and blood spatter the steel cage before you.

The voice behind you sighs, "That wasn't it, either. Slight matrix adjustment..." The sound of a stylus scratching upon parchment fills the stone corridor. "Bring on the next candidate!"

With a start, you find yourself drawn back to the reality of the here and now.

The Abyss, continued

You reach out and touch the remnant of ripped cloth hanging from the broken door hinge and ponder on its origin. A flash of desperation washes through you as you suddenly behold a small kobold leap from the doorway, scampering down the hall. A lanky grey figure lopes quickly after it, managing to catch its prey down the hall. A brutal scream echoes through the hallway, shaking you back to the present reality.

With a start, you find yourself drawn back to the reality of the here and now.

The Frozen Heavens,Tranquil Tundra

The color slowly bleeds from your sight and your world becomes enshrouded by a chill miasma. You marvel at these changes as the obelisk slowly tips itself upright and coruscating light ripples through the obelisk while the odd procedure transpires. Only a moment or two passes before the obelisk falls dim and somehow changed. Where once it held masterfully crafted disks there are only empty settings, and the artifact reeks of a particular... inanimateness. Voices whisper through the monochromatic miasma, thousands of thoughts and words overlapping, different voices, conversations, tongues -- none familiar -- though awe and fear underlay it all, tinged with desperate hope. Disembodied hands float over the babble, rapidly shifting in appearance from one set to another -- now feminine, now Dwarven, now scaled, now masculine -- carrying a disk of black gold. The hands carefully mount the disk in one face of the obelisk before evaporating away. A pale white disk coalesces from the miasma before the artifact. It floats passively before a violent shatter rips through it; leaving the disk devastated yet somehow whole.


Time passes. The obelisk stands.


Dwarven hands clutch the pale disk, still wracked with fissures, and the very air around you rends apart. Color explodes through you in a flood as the visions of the past fade.

With a start, you find yourself drawn back to the reality of the here and now.

Qi

Taisgath

You close your eyes lost in your senses. When they open you know yourself to be someone else.

It's been a long night, and outside the sun is surely rising, but you know you'll rest well today. The guildhall is sparkling clean and everything is perfectly prepared for the guests, despite the unseasonal chill.

You replace the last of your supplies on the shelves, realizing as you do so that you forgot to empty the mop bucket. Exhaustion weighs heavily on you though, so you conclude that it can wait until tomorrow. You turn to leave only to find the exit blocked. A nondescript figure stands in the shadows of the doorway, strangely devoid of emotion.

It reaches for you, quick as a thought, slender fingers cutting off your shrieks even before you consciously realize you've been screaming. With its other hand the figure forces your head close to its face. Fetid breath fills your nostrils as it whispers, "Shhhh, let me get a look at you. Faces are always the hardest part." Long moments pass as stares emptily into your eyes, your thoughts racing frantically.

Finally it seems to find whatever it was looking in your eyes, for it twists you about and plunges your head into the bucket of filthy mop water. You fight for breath, struggling futilely against the unrelenting grip of its slender fingers. Though it has your arms pinned behind your back, you beat your feet frantically against the ground, hoping someone, anyone, will hear.

Eventually the asphyxiation and exhaust become too much for your elderly body, and your struggle ceases as your limbs grow still. Sensing that your inevitable surrender has come, your assailant finally releases you.

In the last fleeting moments of your life all you can hear is the faint sound of the door closing and a muffled voice, your muffled voice, saying, "No, no, I'm just fine. Please, forgive me for waking you. I was putting away my things and there was the most awful rat in there..."

Darkness fully washes over you and as the memory fades you are somewhat surprised to find yourself alive and well.


Additional locations

Planar Telescope via the Astral Plane

  • Bards who are well learned and eager to go the extra mile for exotic lore, may now unearth a portion of the history surrounding the Planar Telescope and the strange land housing the Grazhir shard Teloish.

Your vision plunges into darkness. You see a large cavern, lit only by a white glow suffusing the silvery-white shard Teloish. The cavern is far from its natural state: the floor has been worked smooth and intricate carvings are visible at the edge of the dim light. The meaning of the half-seen dots and serpentine lines is obscure, but they bear a resemblance to constellations. A high-pitched hum fills the dead air and with it the Grazhir shard brightens. Both the sound and light grow in intensity until the Grazhir shard discharges two arcing, incandescent bolts toward the ground. The streams of energy explode as they touch the floor! Your supernatural sight takes only a moment to compensate for the flare, revealing two entities standing where the streams grounded. The first looks very much like a male Human, skinny and pale with short red hair. Despite the mundane appearance, you get the bizarre sense that the entity is disassociated from its environment: as though it is not standing there so much as a realistic image painted over the background. The second entity is shaped like a Human in the abstract, composed entirely of light. It is naked and androgynous, without even a face to blemish the smooth planes of its form. Its light is harsh and feels somehow cold, like staring into the stars of a clear winter's night. The two entities regard each other and then walk wordlessly toward the opposite end of the cavern. The second entity's illumination reveals even more serpentine symbols, carved into the floor with greater frequency toward their destination. The first entity either cannot see or does not care about the carvings, but the second one pauses. It kneels down to examine one of the carvings for a long moment before catching up with its companion.

Your vision is plunged into darkness, though you can see a cold light steadily approach from the opposite end of a smooth stone cavern. When the light comes close enough to identify, it is not a torch or even some magic trick, but a glowing abstract Human shape, naked and androgynous. A skinny, red-haired male Human walks along side of it and slightly ahead, as though leading the way. The entity of light stops just short of your point of view and silently watches its companion advance. A few feet away from the entity of light, the Human figure stops in mid-step and quickly backpedals. Ribbons of silvery-blue and fiery red light erupt into life around its feet, tracing out serpentine patterns across the floor that bear a resemblance to constellations. As the magical light show reaches its climax, a faintly transparent image of a Human woman appears. The illusory woman is old, perhaps seventy or eight years. Despite physical fraility, thinning hair and ruined skin, the woman maintains an imperial bearing. She wears a robe adorned with patterns of gold, white, blue and red. She points an accusatory finger at the Human figure and barks out, "I name you Servant of Fate." In response, the strange symbols on the floor contort and dim, as though straining under some sort of weight. The Servant stumbles backward as though struck. Turning toward the entity of light, the illusion takes on a softer countenance. She says, "I do not enjoy this morbid gift. How many people are forced to see how little their lives truly mean? I am not destined to live forever, nor does any god care about Grazhir-touched souls. I will experience a death so complete that no one will judge me. All my line will remember is the name of the one who damned them. I am left with one final avenue for vanity. Stand and bear witness, Arbiter in Darkness." A painful swirl of wordless, violent thoughts emanate from the Servant like waves of heat as he steps toward the illusion. The Arbiter tilts its featureless head, taking in the entire cavern. The Arbiter projects a vivid imperative through the air: you will wait. The Servant hesitates, though the volume of its thoughts intensify. The illusory woman says, "The spirits wish to wage war on the children of Grazhir. So be it, your course will not be changed today. But if you insist on blaming them, then remember the fallacy of the seer! Fate is meaningless without the living moment; the future is judged by the past." The woman's voice becomes more emphatic, "You of all spirits cannot afford to forget the past! Do not dare to forget the lesson that G'nar Peth carved into our bones! You see the emanations of the children of Grazhir, but think about the places you cannot see!" The Servant's violent thoughts crescendo as it steps toward the illusion. The woman turns back toward the Arbiter and says, "It would never listen, but you still may give this moment meaning. By the stars above, I speak prophecy: just as you judge the children of Grazhir, so in turn shall your people be judged from afar. For each pint of blood that coats the mad one's hands, one of your own will know de-" The Servant strikes at the woman with its fist, disrupting the magic held the illusion together. The symbols go dim and the scene fades away.

The ink-black cloud above you disappears, revealing warm shafts of sunlight. Voices rise up around you, speaking a guttural language which you intuitively understand. Turning around, you see five male Humans speaking to an old woman. All six Humans share dark hair and complexion, though the woman's dress marks her out of the crowd. While the men wear undyed wool, she is wearing a robe adorned with gold, white, blue and red patterns. One of the men speaks out, "This cannot stand! if we seal the cavern, then what was the point of our labor?" The woman says, "Your labor was spent for those who can open the doors you cannot." Another man speaks up, saying, "What is this nonsense, Nera? The only other children of Grazhir are those ridiculous shamans on the steppe. What do you think those barbarians can do that we cannot?" Nera says, "I suspect you will live to find humor in this memory, but the tribes are not who I am thinking of. Trust in what I am about to say: we exist on an island in the ocean of time, isolated from great continents behind us and in front of us. We are epilogue and prologue, but we are not the story." Nera says, "Just as we are define ourselves by the past, we will be defined by what impact we have on the nexus that grows even now on the very horizon of possibility. It will be the salvation or destruction of the children of Grazhir. They must be shown the way of death and glory."

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