Temporal Pocket

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[Temporal Pocket, Nexus]

Shifting colors pulse across the sky, oscillating in a fluctuating random pattern admidst the shattered shards of the sky. More shards jumbled together comprise a floor drifting above the bottomless void.
You also see Timekeeper Veralos and a swirling red vortex.

[Temporal Pocket, Archives]

Coruscating reverse rainbows arc at various angles all around, casting madly flamboyant colors on every surface. A fractured jumble of wood, stone, steel, dirt and bone form a shifting ground, a bottomless void stretching far below. Encircling the area are a series of anomalies of distorted space sitting upon pedestals made of shifting crystal. A short railing composed of coiled shadow is strung between the pedestals, preventing any ventures beyond the bizarre platform. You also see a shadowy anomaly, a shifting anomaly, a fetid anomaly, a shaking anomaly, a chaotic anomaly, a bubbling anomaly, a crackling anomaly and a circular wall composed of shattered crystal.

The Archives within the Temporal Pocket were revealed by Timekeeper Veralos to a group of adventurers seeking to employing the past- and future-seeking skills of the Bards' and Moon Mage Guilds .

EVOKE
Your senses are flooded with the weight of the history of this place, the strange Feral magic looped upon itself, creating a depth of timelessness that blurs any distinctions between the past and the present. What has happened currently is, and now has already occurred. The sensation is confusing, difficult to make sense of, when suddenly, you catch a glimpse of not what was, but what could have been. The past remains a closed loop, but beneath history there are infinite histories stretching sideways, possibilities with minor differences and possibilities with incomprehensibly horrific outcomes. As you become overwhelmed with the deluge of histories, your probing falters and the images cease.

LOOK circular wall
Roughly circular in form, the wall appears to be composed of shattered crystal shifting in a chaotic jumble of movement. The wall casts a bizarre reflection that does not quite match your own movements, and no matter what angle you approach, the wall appears perpendicular to your field of view. At the edge of the wall, the crystal shards appear ephemeral, fading into nothingness. Through tiny gaps of crystal you see a strange platform against a field of darkness.

LOOK anomaly
Hovering above a pedestal composed of crystal, the anomaly appears as little more than a bolus of distorted space. You can make out fleeting images within, and believe you could STUDY it to learn more.

Shadowy anomaly

The anomaly unfolds and you see time play before you, a series of fragmented images and broken sensations flooding your sensorium like a fleeting memory. An execution is stayed, and Tezirah, with no restraints or restrictions, defiantly claims the obelisk, the psychic backlash of her projected ownership reverberating in the mind of any who draw close. She laughs, endlessly, echoing across the Plane of Probability to the irritation and ire of its denizens, and she plucks the strands of Fate with enough acumen and restraint to avoid the watchful gaze of unseen observers, somehow remaining just beyond Pelag ai Aldam. Her influence grows, and she turns her attention to Elanthia.

A turtle is forged, the linked Grazhir shards centralizing Throne City as her hub of power as she gathers the remaining shards under her influence. She pursues the fledgling Lunar sects and offers a choice -- serve and reveal their secrets, or be erased from memory. Most submit, many do not. Fate closes, and their memory is expunged. She and her sorcerer kin revel in prophecy and bend Fate to their will.

The failing outpost known as Forfedhdar struggles, economically gutted as its wealth is exported across a vast network of Moongates, creating a fleet of powerful warships, unstoppable armies, and impregnable fortresses. Spies are murdered before they receive their orders, merchants undercut before their wares arrive. Rebellions never take root, would be leaders vanishing before they begin to think of wanting something different. None may stand in any role but service.

The Arbiter in Darkness scrutinizes Tezirah's seat of power, and for reasons that elude you, takes no action against her. Pelag ai Aldam grows increasingly outraged, his fury building as he bends his purpose to her destruction, but she remains elusive. The War of Fate stretches endlessly, broken causality and blurring boundaries between our Plane and the Plane of Probability stretching across the land. The turtle remains the keystone, the obelisks the doorway, and while a reign of unstoppable malevolence continues, Pelag continues to escalate his efforts to stop the Supreme Defiler. The events proceed again, looping endlessly, and you tear your attention away from the anomaly, leaving you disoriented and unsure of when you are.

Shifting anomaly

The anomaly unfolds and you see time play before you, a series of fragmented images and broken sensations flooding your sensorium like a fleeting memory. A massive obsidian ziggurat towers over a ruin at the intersection of two rivers. Behind twin mountains on the horizon, you notice another terraced structure looming. Atop the cyclopean stone design, a distant form clad in regalia of resplendent gold gestures for kneeling masses as a man wearing gladiolus-emblazoned armor places a thin silver crown atop his head, resting gently above his alabaster featureless mask. The crowd cries out in worshipful praise with a repeated chant of "Azhjam!" He basks in the glory of the amassed crowds, his arms held high.

Through the throngs of chanting masses, you catch a glimpse of a blur of motion, coming from the shadows. A Gor'Tog, clad only in black, makes his way through the crowds with determined intent. He reaches to his belt, slipping a diamond-hilted black stiletto from the folds of his cloak to stab a winged guard in the throat, silencing the soldier before a call could alert another watchman. Without hesitation, the Tog draws forth a mini-crossbow, taking aim and firing at another soldier, leaving the man clenching his gut in the stone streets. The Tog gestures to the shadows, and another rogue appears. His face is hidden behind a balaclava, revealing only crystal-blue eyes. Nodding to the Tog, he smooths the silk of his sapphire blue shirt, drawing his own blade to silence a third. Both begin the process of scaling the face of the ziggurat, creeping upward, careful to avoid the gaze of watchmen.

Reaching the top, the Gor'Tog pauses, reloading the crossbow and taking aim at the robed figure from the shadows. As he steadies his shot, his eyes widen, and he slumps forward, choking on blood. Shoving him to the ground, the balaclava-clad companion throws him to the stone floor, pulling the blade out from the Tog's neck. He pauses, wiping the blade on the Tog's vest, before removing his own balaclava, to reveal rows of sharp, jagged teeth, grinning wide. Remaining in the shadows, he crouches to the floor, his features slowly twisting, before looking up, his features blending and shifting until he adopts the form and face of the Gor'Tog. Stepping forward, he kneels in front of the robed man, his head dipping low. Armed guards are seen drawing weapons, and the crowd nervously continue chanting.

Satisfied, the robed figure peers out from behind the faceless mask. His hands raise again, and he announces: "Today -- we unite two continents, under the banner of the Endian Empire! Today, we begin a new way. The resistance, both here and in Therengia, has been crushed. The hand of the Azhjam now extends as far as the eye can see. Today begins -- the Fifth Age!" He pauses, and in emphasis, he gestures, an arcane pattern of sigils faintly echoing from his fingers. Pooling blood draws from the shadows, slowly creeping across the ziggurat's stone surface and dripping upward, congealing into a crimson blade in his open hand. He gestures toward the setting sun, addressing the crowd. "Today -- we begin our conquest of the west!" The events proceed again, looping endlessly, and you tear your attention away from the anomaly, leaving you disoriented and unsure of when you are.

Fetid anomaly

The anomaly unfolds and you see time play before you, a series of fragmented images and broken sensations flooding your sensorium like a fleeting memory. A white-haired girl floats above a mountainous ridge full of corpses, the folds of a billowing purple cloak shuddering in the wind. Ossified appendages dangle from within, one reaching to the ground to clasp a fallen vial. Fingers of bone squeeze about the glass, shattering it. Raising an ebony-hafted scythe, she concentrates, her face devoid of emotion.

In deference, a behemoth of fused flesh and steel kneels amid the charnel ground, averting its gaze. Ridged bone horns extrude from its face, twisted about to intertwine with a thin silver crown atop what was once a helm of polished steel.

From a mountain pass, a Halfling clad in panther pelts watches. He idly shifts a dull butcher's knife in his grasp, gaping wounds knitting themselves back together. At his side, a twisted form clad in a silver robe grins. She eagerly calls out in an unnatural voice: "The Temple fell. Their ritual has failed. Now we can begin our own." Giddily joining, the animated Halfling cadaver nods in agreement, even as its disjointed jaw slowly dangles from its face. "Want do!"

Hovering above, the girl shows no emotional response. Instead, she closes her eyes. The ruby atop the scythe begins to glow, and an unnatural maelstrom of chaotic energy twists outward from her, grasping hungrily at each of the corpses. One by one, their broken bodies twitch, staggering slowly to their feet, their empty eyes reflecting nothing but tiny red pinpoints.

Her body wracks with twisting energy, the assembled corpses becoming rigid and still as she becomes a conduit for a writhing shadow, a vortex of unimaginable, impossible creation. The fetid dead erupt in unison, their flesh dissolving into a singular yawning, consuming face as the mangled remains are twisted horrifically and merged with the rocky terrain. In the distance, you can hear thousands of agonized screams resounding from the halls of the nearby mountainous citadel as it contorts into unnaturally jagged spires.

In moments, your view shatters like a broken mirror, and you are left with the unnerving feeling that even as the threads of time knit together, the disembodied face of the Hunger has seen you through the temporal pocket -- and that even through the twisted streams of multitudes of possible timelines, it clamors to find you, hoping to add you to its collection of suffering. The events proceed again, looping endlessly, and you tear your attention away from the anomaly, leaving you disoriented and unsure of when you are.

Shaking anomaly

The anomaly unfolds and you see time play before you, a series of fragmented images and broken sensations flooding your sensorium like a fleeting memory. You see a fortified city straddling a large river. Ten wide bridges span the waters, each adorned with several large waterwheels to harness the power of the current. A colossal statue of a skeletal dragon sits at the northern end of the widest bridge. The beast faces south, its head bowed and wings tucked in an apparent show of respect. Further upstream, a series of dams control and divert the flow of water to sprawling tracts of agriculture to the west. Nine temples soar above a city thrumming with all the expected activity of a thriving trade hub.

On the south side of the river, haze partially obscures a sprawling industrial hub. Thick black smoke pours from an abundance of forges and smithies. Carts laden with arms and armor steadily depart for the city's center. Further south, thousands of woodcutters beat back an old-growth forest leaving raw timber in their wake.

To the north another titanic statue, this one of an armored Gorbesh general, straddles one of the northern gates of the city. Shield raised and sword pointing due north, the statue seems to threaten some unseen foe. Your gaze follows the tip of the sword farther north to the... Greater Fist?

In an instant, you recognize the Segoltha river and the remains of the Endrus forest south of the river. The Oxenwaithe river has been canalized and is clogged with barges loaded with timber and ore. Nothing recognizable remains of the city itself. There is not a single stone marking the site of the Temple dedicated to the Kermorian pantheon. From your vantage, you can pick out a few disheveled-looking members of the native races milling about the city, but the population is dominated by Gorbesh and Gnomes. If any S'Kra Mur, Prydaen, or Rakash live or even exist in this time, they are not visible.

As your focus shifts from the awe-inspiring feats of architecture and engineering ringing the city to the finer details of life within the walls, you start to notice the tell-tale signs of Gorbesh barbarism. Out of the east gate of the city exists some kind of fortified slum or prison. Uncharacteristically, the Gorbesh paid little attention to the design and layout of this place beyond erecting an imposing array of walls and watchtowers. Inside, shanties made of scrap wood and earth occupy nearly all available space, and mud occupies the rest. Gorbesh guards lead lines of people to and from this place in heavy chains clasped around their necks. Some of the returning parties trail empty neck clasps behind them as they enter the slum. The events proceed again, looping endlessly, and you tear your attention away from the anomaly, leaving you disoriented and unsure of when you are. Roundtime: 5 sec.

Chaotic anomaly

The anomaly unfolds and you see time play before you, a series of fragmented images and broken sensations flooding your sensorium like a fleeting memory. What you see can only be described as a pure disorder, rampant chaos, utter destruction. You see the remains of a massive Empire, broken spires shattering, some debris falling into fractured piles on the ground, while most hovers and spins around in the air, completely untethered to the earth below. Ribbons of lightning and shadow coil around floating mountains, smoke billowing in fleeting forms vaguely resembling spiders with too many legs.

The ground itself is sundered deeply in places and pierced by newly formed jagged cliffs in others. Gouts of liquid magma arc across the sky in fiery rainbows. A tempest of turbulent air struggles to remain cohesive in the sky, funnel clouds erupting from the airy mass in every direction. The Segoltha river flows straight upward to the limit of your view, fine mist and confused fish falling in every direction, while boulder-sized hail falls back towards the ground from the river's apogee in the sky.

Shockingly, there are people, thousands of them, locked in agony. Armored warriors suffocate as they float in the air, while scholarly mages crawl along the ground before being crushed by ice or falling into newly formed chasms in the ground. Civilians scream and run about in panic. You are witnessing a horrific calamity as it unfolds.

A band of soldiers clad in golden plate stand transfixed, watching existence and reality unravel, and one by one they throw down their shields in helpless defeat. The events proceed again, looping endlessly, and you tear your attention away from the anomaly, leaving you disoriented and unsure of when you are.

Bubbling anomaly

The anomaly unfolds and you see time play before you, a series of fragmented images and broken sensations flooding your sensorium like a fleeting memory. A Human child with jade green eyes and square-jawed face clutches the hand of his frail and sickly sister. The girl coughs weakly, clenching an unfinished unicorn figurine. There is a knock on the door, and a woman dressed in healer's robes strides in, carrying a satchel of herbs. The healer closes her eyes and takes a deep breath as she lays her hands on the girl's forehead. The girl's skins flushes, and the healer grows pale for a moment and looks dizzy. She wipes her brow, and takes a long drink of cold water.

The girl takes a shuddering breath and after a moment of violent coughing, spits a wad of brown phlegm to the ground, causing her brother to laugh a bit and hold her tightly. The healer visits over the next few weeks, and the girl continues to improve. They grow up together, one of the lucky families spared from the wracking cough that burned through that wet, cold winter. The girl recovers.

The boy is inspired by the actions of the healer, and as soon as he is of age, he shakes his proud father's hand and hugs his smiling sister, and begins the long journey to the city. He is a quick study, and he saves many lives, curing disease and mending grievous wounds. He loses some patients, but his acumen in healing, magic, and crafting remedies shines, and his talents are sought far and wide. His sister has a family, a baby boy happily gnawing on a finely detailed unicorn figurine, healthy and content.

Trouble stirs in the Zaulfung swamps, rot and death spreading as the Stones fail and the breach expands. The young man manages a triage, supporting those who fight, before finally deciding himself that his efforts would be best applied in the Fortress, on the front lines. Striding into battle beside the fierce gaze of an alfar guardian, he helps to push the lines of offense deeper and deeper, before reaching Maelshyve's throne room, all watching in horror as Ciriasa mutates and begins her assault.

It is a blood bath. Ciriasa crouches over the remains of the young man's lifeless body, his jade green eyes staring into nothingness as claw and fang tears his flesh and breaks his bones. An echoing laugh fills the Fortress, and after devouring her fill, Ciriasa spreads monstrous wings and begins to scream into the abyss, and her form begins to dissolve into steaming black ichor. Pooling into an expanding sphere, the ichor begins to bubble, crackling with energy, and suddenly, a massive triple-tined claw to deforms the surface, pressing from within, reaching, as Maelshyve laughs in triumph. The events proceed again, looping endlessly, and you tear your attention away from the anomaly, leaving you disoriented and unsure of when you are.

Crackling anomaly

The anomaly unfolds and you see time play before you, a series of fragmented images and broken sensations flooding your sensorium like a fleeting memory. You see a night-cloaked Ulf'Hara Keep, still intact, resolve before you. As the vision's proximity to the Keep increases, so too do minute details of the scene. Several cloaked figures skulk about, their identities unclear, as they place strangely crackling devices at key locations about the foundations. Several guards, their armor gleaming under the stars, fall silently to the ground as growing pools of darkness surround and engulf them.

Without warning, a crash of thunder shatters the vision's silence, and a blazing web of lightning forks out, growing ever larger as it encompasses each of the obscured skulkers, disintegrating them into fine ash. As the spots clear, you notice a lone Human woman atop the ramparts, her smoking palm still upraised. Unnaturally loud from the visions' vantage, she states in an echoing voice that booms across the lands, "Know that Sithsia still stands as servant and guardian of Zoluren." The events proceed again, looping endlessly, and you tear your attention away from the anomaly, leaving you disoriented and unsure of when you are.