103 - LAKE GALIFAR

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103 - LAKE GALIFAR

Post  Admin on Fri Dec 16, 2011 7:19 am

With Ahlissa having plotted her course to avoid habitable areas Aidan avoids contact with the dragonshard and begins working with the scholars to unravel and make sense of all the information they have gleaned.

DREAMS

Aidan again begins to be plagued by disturbing nightmarish dreams and the frequency of these increases as they draw nearer to the Demon Waste. He dreams of a thick living mist that rolls into peaceful human settlements and consumes everything. He hears a deep monstrous voice calling him. “Come to me, give in, you do not have to suffer unnecessarily. Join me.”

RESEARCH FINDINGS

The scholars remain confused about the amber dragon shard's true purpose. Everything known about it has been mapped out and aligned where that is possible. For many of the scholars, the ability to decipher its meaning is impossible and it startles them to see Aidan understanding the unfamiliar blend of languages and symbols so easily.

It is known as “The Shard of Drazahk Khan”. This is because ownership was implied to belong to a monstrous troll warlord of that time.

The scholars and Aidan generally agree that the dragon shard is unique and is approximately 20,000 years old.

The only new information that Aidan learns is what appears to be a name, perhaps the name of the entity that is contained within the dragon shard. He cannot be sure that it is a true name. The implication being that any attempt to conjure or summon the entity from within could cause profound consequences if he ever thought that it could be controlled by using that name.

“Adz Tarzeni” is the apparent name of the entity contained within, a malevolent force that seems to be vying for release and control of its surroundings.

WILL SAVE 32
DARK KNOWLEDGE 32

This name triggers fear in Aidan, inexplicably, and he feels it gnawing at him deep within. The name is deeply disturbing.

INTELLIGENCE 24

The name becomes obvious after some time … obsession kicks on … the letters begin to unravel … an anagram emerges … “Izendraazt” is the name. He is the one who stepped forth into Zanarkand when Mabar fell. He is the god demon who sought domination over that portion of Ebberon. It would seem that some portion of him is contained, as a dark essence, within the shard.

Aidan reveals his suspicion to the other scholars. They immediate pale and look horrified. “How can this be? He was defeated months ago and the land was left scarred by his presence and that of the Unforgiven? Is he returning?”

“What confuses me is that if it is Izendraazt then he is in two places at once. He is imprisoned in the Shard and he was also in Mabar, where he stepped out into Zanarkand. Perhaps one of the reasons he came through was to retrieve a part of himself from this world. If he has been away for so long, how could he exist?”

One of the younger scholars, a young elf named Elray, remarks “Perhaps he has had the power to manipulate time itself. It may be possible that he has found a different way to bring himself back by using the past to manipulate us. Izendraazt represents the ultimate evil that Eberron has faced in its recent times. But this is purely hypothetical, of course.”

Aidan surveys the mad scribblings and transalations on parchment that are scattered across the walls of this room and ponders “it is an interesting idea, but we found the shard beneath Gideon and he never got that far. The thing inside is imprisoned and it was imprisoned a very long time ago. It stands to reason that the thing inside is not Izendraazt but a manifestation of him, more like a counterpart, if you know what I mean.”

An elder scholar named Wayfyrd adds “then perhaps a simulcrum? A fascinating concept. However, if we consider the origin of the shard's story and its name … The Shard of Drazahk Khan … then we know the shard existed 20,000 years ago and it gave power to its monstrous warlord owner. The power was presumably demonic, and the further assumption we could make is that Drazahk Khan made a bargain with the demon in order to gain his power. The demon may well have been Izendraazt in his younger form, or perhaps a copy of himself as we hypothesise. It would stand to reason that a younger form of the demon may not have attained the full power we have witnessed in our recent times, but the motives, goals and desires of the entity we appear to have identified will almost certainly be the same. An interesting notion. And interesting that it seeks you Aidan. We understand you have direct knowledge of Izendraazt from Zanarkand?”

“I saw him step through when Mabar touched and therefore that would mean that this demon has connected with Izendraazt when he came through and now knows what the future version knew and led to seeking me out. The unseen servants in the library were Unforgiven in disguise and tried to manipulate me into releasing their evil master. They may or may not have been in communication with Izendraazt. I do not know but he only saw me briefly when he stepped through.”

“And of your anxiety and other manifested troubles?” Wayfyrd asks. “Were those exacerabated after you had this contact with Izendraazt's emergence into Zanarkand?”

Aidan wonders if the suggestion is being made that he is crazy! “No … there have been other incidents which have led me to understand the Dark Knowledge but the dragonshard itself has led to my recent unfortunate behaviour.”

“Yes … the influence of the taint has been noticably less with your reduced exposure to the artifact. Indeed, your behaviour has improved and you are more focused, which is why we have been fortunate today in learning of the demon's name.”

“Indeed – you are correct – I have have this taint for some time but without it I would never have been able to learn what I have, especially at places like the Star Haunt. So in some respects that is why I decide to keep this taint controlled as it is because it opens doors to knowledge that may perhaps have never been opened.”

“A curse with a benefit, some would say,” Wayfyrd smiles.

“Yes it is, but while I have such companions such as yourself and Ahlissa's crew it puts things into perspective for me as one who seeks to pursue the light of road rather than the road of dark.”

The other scholars nod understandingly and murmer quietly to each other. Wayfyrd says “We all agree that your intent is self-sacrificing and very noble. It is a rare person who would accept so much pain and mental anguish in the hope that they may be able to help others decipher the past and help the rest to gain that knowledge. It cannot be easy and we respect your actions. As always we remain ready to assist however we can. I think we have uncovered much about the artifact, perhaps more than we considered would be posssible. It will be interesting to see what happens at the destination. “

“We should take this information to Ahlissa. “

INFORMING AHLISSA

That evening Aidan joins Ahlissa and Jillian on the bridge in the rear cabin at the Captain's table for a meal. Both ladies are dressed very casually and seem very relaxed about the journey which has been uneventful.

Ahlissa remarks “We have had no reported sightings of Mohorvaeus or his agents since we left Korranberg. His reach clearly does not extend this far. Tell us Aidan, what news of the shard? Have you discovered anything else other than the fact it is covered with exotic writings? What lies within?”

Aidan says “We have identified the demon though how he could have been in two places at once I do not know. We believe from the name that we got that it is Izendraazt that is in there.”

Ahlissa and Jillian both stare in horror at the metion of that name. “Are you certain?” Ahlissa demands. Jillian appears fearful.

“The name was not given as Izendraazt but when the letters are rearranged it spells as such. And I felt it to be true, the malevolence and hostility are the same as the demon I witnessed step into Zanarkand. We are only speculating as to how Izendraazt could be in there as well as stepping through in our time from Mabar. At the moment we think that perhaps this Izendraazt is an earlier manifestation of the one from our own time. He could have been a simulcrum. We don't but it was noted that he is familiar with me and I did see him in Zanarkand after his servants tried to influence me into opening the door. At this stage I just don't know whether the latter manifestation communicated to the shard at some time because the shard was beneath Gideon and he never reached it. So it poses an interesting point as to whether this Izendraazt as to whether this Izendraazt knows what happened to one that has been defeated in Zanarkand. We know that this demon was trapped in the shard for a long time. And yet two years ago we have not only Izendraazt imprisoned beneath Gideon but also stepping through with his Unforgiven in Zanarkand.”

“This is worrying news,” Ahlissa remarks. “I may have to relay the findings to my people but not yet as we are flying in the dark so to speak, so as not to be detected. Given your past encounter with the demon in Zanarkand I am pleased you have distanced yourself from the shard these past few weeks. It may well know you weakenesses and manipulate you to exploit those. “ Turns to Jillian and says “I notice you reacted to the demon's name?”

Jilllian says “Yes, of course I have seen the damage that it brought upon the Blade Desert and have heard the stories of the devastation that occurred when it broke through from Mabar. But beyond that I have heard of Izendraazt in my homeland where his name is whispered because he is associated with so much suffering and pain. Even though my people have their own troubles and are possessed by things as loathsome as ordinary demons, he is a demon that has never been quite so ordinary. His power rivals the Quori and in the past he sought an alliance that had a greater hand in the destruction of the known world during the Age of Demons. He was responsible for showing the way to our world to the Quori … in many ways my people would say he is responsble for their downfall. To hear his name spoken again brings much anguish and fear to my heart for my homeland would have been a much different place if the Quori has never emerged or found us.”

Ahlissa “I am sorry to hear, truly I had no idea. We had always heard that the Quori invaded from another world but never suspected they were led to it by something from ours.”

Jillian looks at Aidan and says tearfully “It is not your fault, you did not know how that name might affect me because you do not know what truly happened to my people.”

“Well hopefully I will understand some day.”

Ahlissa says “I wonder what the Shard's association with the Umbragen will be? If this demon has already caused the downfall of Jillian's people then perhaps it is equally responsible for what happened to them. Could the demon have manipulated the shard to present itself as a key to knowledge when its true motive may be something quite different indeed?“

“If that is the case then he has control of his own prison. Yet he cannot get out. Nothing so far that we have encountered hints at a mechanism or means of release. There are only brief references to his imprisonment. “

“I find it puzzling,” Ahlissa says. “But then I'm not a scholar … I'm sure things will take the correct course of action. I rely mostly on my gut feelings and instinct. And those tell me we are not in great danger … yet. If there are any further developments with the shard, don't hesitate to tell me. We will take all the necessary precuations that we can to keep everyone safe. Personally, I am intrigued about the origins of the Umbragen that you have described to us a while ago and am much looking forward to that discovery.”

“I wonder if the Umbragen actually made the Shard,” Aidan says.

Ahlissa looks at Aidan and thoughtfully suggests … “I see where you may be going with this, it's like they captured the demon and possibly bound it to gain its power … possibly under duress so that they could use it to defend themselves against its minions?”

Aidan nods and says “in many respects the demon wants to go to the Demon Waste but the shard is pointing the way. Both want to go to the same place. The demon thinks that by reaching the location which I presume is an Umbragen ruin that it will be released. However the Shard has imprisoned him so far and we have to do what we can to ensure his imprisonment remains. I think he is reaching out to me as I have been reaching out to him because of this Umbragen link.”

Ahlissa nods at that and suggests “It may also be that the Umbragen ruin may contain the items necessary to ensure Izendraazt's destruction. Let's face it … if they can imprison the demon then they must have acquired some means to destroy it, otherwise why would the demon relinquish its power to teach them? There are some intriguing possiblities. I just hope we are not expecting too much if it turns out to be a trap of some kind.”

LAKE GALIFAR

The Zephyr Breeze has journeyed for a month and a half, mostly under cover of darkness so as to not be visually detected so easily. There have been no further incidents with the agents of Mhorvaeus and it is assumed they have lost and given up on the airships trail.

Lake Galifar is the massive body of water that connects several of Khoravire's nations; Aundair, Breland, Droamm and the Eldeen Reaches.

“Our path will take us over the Eldeen Reaches,” Ahlissa informs Aidan. “It is a vast area with sparse population. Druid sects, shifter tribes and fey forces maintain a precarious balance of power in that region. We must be particularly wary not to draw the unwanted attentions of the Cult of the Dragon Below, which is a persistent foe that the other groups strive to keep in check. There are two dragonmarked houses that operate here too, House Vadalis (Handling) and Orien (Trade) and we will stop over briefly at one of the few outposts they maintain for travellers. There is also a place, southwest of our intended location that is named the Gloaming. It is a fearful place where the forest has twisted in upon itself; it is also recognised as a manifest zone that is linked to Mabar. I believe you are very familiar with that planar influence, having witnessed its recent emergence over Zanarkand. Naturally we will avoid it.”
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