OOC: Based on actual events that occurred in game on February 24, 2019, approximately 9:15 PM EST. These events could never have taken place without many people. This was a group effort of writing and exchange of ideas (between Lenaea, Frediwyn, Rafano, and Aaoskar). The characters that are represented are more than welcome to speak up as well. Since this was a secret event on a controversial topic, I will leave it to them to let it be known if they participated or not and to what they did or did not do.)
At the time of this writing, 430 years, one month, and 35 days have passed since the victory of Lanival the Redeemer. Last night, I took part in a ritual that most people, I am sure, would find too profane to even consider. Today, I find myself imbued with a strange mix of curiosity and foreboding. I must record in this diary my recollection of this event, and those leading up to it, before time betrays my memory, and before those in power discover my complicity.
It all started with the Moon Mage Lenaea. She and I had had dealings in the past—from what I understand, years ago, word of my skill with empathic shifting reached her ear, which inspired her to seek me out. I do not take on many clients—the art of empathic shifting is viewed with disfavor by many. My qualms about Lenaea, though, were laid to rest rather quickly.
At her first appointment, she appeared at my doorstep with terrible wounds, her hands blown clean off her arms, but she appeared otherwise unaffected. Indeed, save for her missing hands, nothing about the mage’s appearance or manner indicated that anything was wrong at all. I had restored the hands of other moon mages with a similarly cool demeanor. I healed her without a second thought and then we went about our business.
She appeared at my door with these same injuries on other occasions, too. Missing hands, blood coming out of her ears… I paid it no mind. We tacitly agreed never to discuss our forbidden practices, that is, until several weeks ago when she broke our unspoken pact.
“Frediwyn, do you know the source of these wounds I sometimes bring to you?” She raised her eyes from her newly replaced hands and fixed me with a calm stare.
I replied, “Sorcery.”
We sat in silence for some time. I was expecting her to ask more questions or talk more about what prompted her to ask the question that had gone unspoken for years, but she just sat in silence and appraised the sky.
She asked, “Would you ever let me use it on you?” I hesitated. Healing wounds from sorcery was all well and good, but I was not certain whether I wanted to allow a sorcerous casting on my own person. I reasoned with myself, though. Unlike others of my guild, I am disinclined to shun those who engage in the darker arts. Truly, how could I, when I dabble in empathic arts that my guild forbids? And what is the worst that could happen? A wound? I could heal myself. My curiosity won me over. Hesitantly, I said, “Yes.”
She gazed out the window and up towards the sky, then her eyes shifted from the heavens to me. She muttered a word—a spell?—and my mind began to race. I looked away in discomfort, gazing out my window. But I was confused at what I saw. The world—no-- time seemed to be stuck in an eternal loop. I saw multiple different visions of my familiar street at the same time, as if layered upon one another. Some showed prosperity, some utter ruin, and, in at least one, darkness. Utter darkness. I was filled with fear.
At some point, I returned to the here and now, but it was as if no time had passed at all. There Lenaea sat, looking at me, a look of understanding washed across her face. Before I could speak, to ask her why she had shown me what I had seen, she leaned over and whispered two words:
She rose to leave, gently placing her hand on my shoulder as if to offer me comfort. My home was empty, but my mind was filled with questions.
Weeks passed. I began to research “the Arbiter,” a Being that I came to learn about from only a whisper. After many solitary nights amongst musky books and even muskier half-crazed lunar scholars, I learned that The Arbiter in Darkness and Creatures made of Shadow had once declared war on “The Children of Grazhir.” I learned, too, that denizens from the shadow realm have invaded Elanthia in the recent past.
I heard rumors about Moon Mages performing research to unlock more secrets about The Arbiter and the Plane of Probability, but soon my research had to be stopped for I encountered far too many people who seemed hostile at my desire to learn more. They were more hostile towards me, it seemed, than at the extra-planar beings who had rained down destruction on this Plane.
Weeks turned into months. I had nearly given up learning more about Lenaea’s cryptic words when I heard her voice in my mind saying “Frediwyn, we need you. Come to us.” Immediately, a flickering black radiance erupted from seemingly nowhere, forming a jagged rift in the air. Hesitantly, I stepped through the rift to find myself surrounded in utter darkness.
Though all I could see was blackness, I heard the voices of many. Finally I heard Lenaea’s voice cut through the darkness saying, “Before we begin, let me make certain that each of you has Tenebrous Sense upon you, for what we do tonight we must do in the dark, and in secret.”
Instantly, my eyes were able to see all that the Darkness tried to conceal. I had so many questions. I wanted to ask her so many things, but instead, I remained silent as she continued to speak. I couldn’t help but notice that several accomplished spellcasters stood with me. A war mage, a bard, a cleric, a paladin, the moon mage Lenaea, and myself, an Empath, all stood united in a circle.
“We are in Tezirah’s house,” she continued. “This place has such history and holds so many secrets. Secrets that could increase not only our understanding, but also help us protect the Plane of Abiding from future threats.”
She continued, saying, “There is a sigil in the floor at your feet. It has remained here for countless years, forgotten, never unlocked, and never opened. I, and other Moon Mages, believe that this is the Sigil of Tezirah, herself. Tezirah was many things. A researcher, a moon mage, and, most say, a sorceress. Some of the things she is rumored to have done do not coincide with my own moral views. However, it is my belief, and the belief of those other Mages with whom I work, that Tezirah used and blended all four mana types. She wielded the kind of magic that can harm creatures from the Plane of Probability.”
Before, we had only spoken about The Arbiter, but now I was standing in Tezirah’s House and listening to a moon mage talk about Tezirah. I wondered to myself why I did not see more moon mages beyond Lenaea. I glanced around, and then whispered to her, “If this is a Lunar Artifact, where are the other Moon Mages?”
She whispered, “They are far away this night, on Taisgath island. Their wisdom is needed there to draw attention away from us. What we do here they must not know…. Not yet.”
“The Arbiter in Darkness and his minions are a threat not only to the guild we now stand beneath, but to Elanthia,” she said. “He has likely been provoked by the Traders’ recent breach of their contract with him. And the entity known as Pelag ai Aldam, residing in the Astral Plane, calls us defilers and wishes our demise. There is good reason to suspect that the Arbiter, and other extra-planar entities, may launch an attack on the Plane of Abiding.”
She pointed toward the sigil. “Some of Tezirah’s magic may be locked in this sigil. Today, my hope is that we can learn more about it, and perhaps learn how we might use it to help achieve victory in the war that may soon come. Using this magic, of course, would be a last resort. But we should at least know what it is, even if we decide it must be kept hidden away. Even if we decide it must be destroyed.”
“Thus far, all attempts at using Lunar spells and rituals to open this sigil have failed. It has become apparent that to unlock Tezirah’s secret, we must use magic that only Tezirah knew—feral sorcery.” A ominous silence fell across the room. I knew of this exceptionally violent magic. I suspect the others did, too, yet none of us look our leave. Were we all motivated by some altruist desire to save Elanthia? I do not know. Each person kept their secrets that night.
“It is impossible for one individual to wield such magic, and even if they could it would likely be unsafe,” she said at last. “This night, I propose that we jointly work together. Our reasons for being here may be different, but I believe that we all share a common view that this Plane needs protection. My hope is that unlocking this sigil will help us learn how better to do that.”
Glancing about the room, I could tell that each of us had questions. It was apparent that most of us knew very little about Tezirah, the Arbiter, or feral sorcery. Yet each of us now were standing, staring at a sigil that none of us, save Lenaea, had ever seen or touched. I couldn’t help but wonder how each of us ended up in the House of Tezirah that night. No one spoke their reasons. But there we were, a cabal of mages, pulled together from the four realms of magic, to wield feral sorcery.
Soon, spells were cast and wards were placed. When all were ready, Lenaea started a ritual. I don’t know what I was expecting, but she started to dance. As she turned about the sigil at our feet, music, not unlike crystal wind chimes, faintly filled the area. I saw shadowy tendrils faintly pulsating deep within the crystalline structure that contracted about ruby motes of light in a rhythmic dance
What had I gotten myself into?
We each began the ritual dance, however, the chimes only sounded when the bard or Lenaea danced close to the sigil. I was entranced by the ritual dance, and nearly all my thoughts focused on the pulsating sigil. Almost in passing, I noticed that a light had surrounded the paladin and changed colors as we expanded the boundaries of our ritual.
We each began to focus upon the sigil and harness mana. Lenaea pulled a single drop of dragon’s blood crystal suspended from a slender animate pendant from her cloak and raised it high into the air. The pendant steadily brightened until it burned like a glowing white torch! A universal spell focus capable of harnessing all mana types—this was the tool she proposed to use to blend all the mana types to mimic the magic of Tezirah!
Each of us held as much mana as our physical bodies could endure. The light flitting about the paladin bounced between us in the room, changing colors! Lenaea held the pendant aloft, straining under the weight of mana coursing through the focus. Finally, she cast the Unleash spell at the sigil! But…. Nothing happened.
I saw a glimmer of emotion cross Lenaea’s face, a look of disappointment. She whispered to me, “We were not enough. The ritual demands more.” After the moment passed, we stood still for a time. Eventually, we took our leave and returned to our homes.
But my mind would not rest, and now curiosity robs me of sleep. As I write, I wonder what we did wrong. Did we need more mana? A more powerful tool? A better conduit for the energy, one that has never been touched before; a body untrained in the ways of magic… dare I say it—a living sacrifice?
As I sit in my darkened parlor, scrawling these words by candelight, I recall the vision I saw of my familiar street, cloaked in darkness, dread and death hanging in the air. Is that our future? If it is, I do not know whether the source of that threat is the Arbiter, as Lenaea says, or some other being. Nevertheless, I am resolved to search for answers, to satisfy my conscience, even if that means turning against the established order.