Pearls Are Not Accidents

Gracious and wise Rod Rambler please edit this as you see fit.

Scribbled upon the top –
My good man I had forgotten to send this missive in my last batch.

Written upon 20th of Thoth

Envoy Alloywin Earthseeker,

While I was in Caer Itom back on the 20th of Thoth I decided to visit the person the Books of CrIsis call the “Official Alchemist of CrIsis” or Master Gabriel the Alchemist. I entered his shop located on the eastern side of the city. Having and escort of ten hand picked Elf and Dwarf Janissaries from Emperor Voelkian Itomas II was likely protocol and not wishing to upset my host I even left my twin rune axes behind, securely embedded in the ceiling where shadows of the room shall hide them well. Relax my good man, with Rod Rambler as the editor I never feel bad about revealing a simple idea because, well its Ra damn Rod Rambler! Besides I wanted this meeting to be about friendships, discourse, and honoring friends of CrIsis. While all of that colorful stuff may indeed be true I just wanted to meet someone that had made armor for a living god! I know its childish but even you must have felt this way about things once. My hope is when I reach your age I still do.

The shop was grand in stature and easy to distinguish with the silk covered signs above it – “OFFICIAL ALCHEMIST OF CRISIS” – silk screened upon it. Both had gold lettering and the one in Western was red silk, while the one in Elvish was black silk. I bade my guard to wait outside and their commander, Captain Arn, directed them into honor guard positions outside the shop and cover multiple angles should as he put it, “Foul things this way come.” One day remind me to tell you the story about how Arn – wielder of the rune blade Vermiculus Mortem – earned his way out of a Gladiator profession and into the Janissaries assigned to the emperor, fascinating stuff.

Upon entering I was greeted by what was clearly a person that valued his collection of items. He did seem to embody the notion that Elves value items for their unique qualities as oppose to any subjective value. Within a minute or two a younger looking elf appeared. He introduced himself as, Caewyn, Master Gabriel’s apprentice. He asked whom I was as he looked me up and down judging whether or not I was worth his time. My sleeveless coat was made of metallic blue cloth, trimmed in gold and silvered steel. Noticing the Korobite upon the boots and fingerless gloves his eyes perked up, the Frost Dragon hide belt with hand axes he pulled his head back as though intrigued. Then he saw the ring. Clearly, a poor card player tried to hide casting a detection spell behind a robed arm as he offered me refreshments. I asked for tea which caught him almost off guard as the result of his spell. He manage to stammer out the question as to my reason for visiting. I told him as I looked at a vase on display from the flower phase of Livander the mason which as you know is 14,000 years old. That I was here to see the official alchemist of CrIsis. When he asked whom I was I told him simply Prince Torrun Ithanson, High Thane of the Dwarves. I switched to an ancient elf dialect and watched him squirm as I lowered my voice when I talked to students that had upset me.

Off he ran behind a counter and the heavy curtain beyond it. He was yelling at someone to keep me busy, entertain but don’t let me leave as he was running off to get Master Gabriel. As the curtain parted what did my wandering eye did appear but the shortest Troll I had ever seen! Scant inches over 8 standard feet in height! I thought Bast’s Free Agent was short but by Horus’ wings this was tiny! Before the shortest Troll I had ever seen in Congress was 19 standard feet tall! I think I could make a name for myself here as a Giant hunter in this world!

Still the Troll spoke excellent Elvish of the old dialect. We took a seat as Caewyn brought out the tea and I asked him to thank his master for his hospitality, which made him bristle at the notion but off he went. When I queried the Troll as to his name, Zavik, was his reply. I am sure my sister-Queen is running into this issue but no one believes we are of the blood of Ithan! Ra forbid the first time this world sees the sheer power of the Armor of Ithan or her shield, Ithan’s Ward! Gods are jealous of Ithan’s armor! If you could make a suit of rune armor to rival Castlerake in fame yes gods would envy you. Ithan was after all a warrior that became a rune mage under the god Thoth directly! He was also one of the few Thoth said had completed his training and must learn more on his own, what better accolade is there!

Alas, Zavik and I bantered back and forth and I decided to show him my most prized possession. I brought out the speech the Usurper-King ~ Isle-Wind gave in the Golden City of Baalgor on the day the Great Thunder happened. Since it was protected from destruction by runic sigil, I unfolded it and allowed him to read it over my shoulder. You see, with the fame of Grignak it has become more in fashion to have at least one Troll servant working for you. However, Zavik, being the personal historian/researcher of Gabriel made him seem very ahead of the current trend.

It was during this time that Master Gabriel arrived and yet again I had to suffer the doubt of a learned person having their world view ripped apart. The ring on my hand mentioned something to me and showed me a vision of him escaping a falling building trying to get elves out Dwarves fought other Dwarves in the background. The rune ring agreed to allow him to examine it to prove my veracity. I did so after explaining I was a member of CrIsis trying to honor our official alchemist with a visit. Apparently, most of CrIsis has changed out and forgotten the deal they set up with him during the tenure of Azariel. Zavik, went back with his master and Caewyn returned asking if he could assist me. I asked him for more tea and when he returned I thanked him directly and asked him to play cards with me. We talked about him a lot while they were gone and I believe I helped appreciate how wonderfully lucky he is. Given he was picked by an alchemist that has made armor worn by a living god! I reminded him of what I learned from my master, “You will fall a thousand times before you rise a champion.”

It was then I noticed Gabriel and Zivak standing at the counter so I dropped my cards smiling, “Royal full barge! I win young one.” He thanked me for the game and there was a spring in his step as he went back to his chores. Master Gabriel bowed as he addressed me by my full title, even Zavik apologized for doubting facets of my story. Gabriel tried to ask if I would make sure this poem made it to the Library of Bletherad. I told him that since I can’t make it in I would try and contact Professor Malkin regarding this, however, I would prefer to share what I know with Gabriel. Then the alchemist can bring it to whom he wishes, for knowledge is power. I also promised to speak with my sister about making the rune enchantments knowledge available to Gabriel so he would not be required to scavenge rare ingredients for his creations. Zavik and the master alchemist were astounded based on their expressions (Editor’s Note: either Alloywin or Master Rambler can someone make sure my sister reads this so I don’t have to write another missive?). Everything I had read about our races relations this would be as astounding to them as Great Thunder was to history. Zavik wanted to hang out with me to get as much lore as possible about this other world of Congress and our people.

Gabriel tried to offer some form of payment, but I was just trying to honor his commitment to our group not acquire a discount. Eventually he asked about our future travels and we talked about Çynopolis. He mentioned about needing to see various CrIsis member weapons to affect the planar ghosts our former members would be. He offered to make rings allowing us to see their rare form and would be done in 24 days. I will inform CrIsis tomorrow upon the festival that they will be ready on the 13th of Kym-nark-mar.

A good day indeed.

Prince Torrun Ithanson,
High Thane of the Dwarves


Written upon 25th of Thoth

Envoy Alloywin Earthseeker,

My good man I love this city! Caer Itom is like the entertainment district in Argent, our largest city. At night it harbors not just darker delights one might associate with more “adult” activities found in various pleasure salons and drug laden dens. It also harbors an unending amount of entertainment for performers on the street, taverns, games of chance from axe-throwing to cards and dice! Zavik spent the days with me starting with the Festival of Thoth as I read stories or told them to children. Then that night I actually used him to hold the money we later donated back to the Church of Thoth from the Church of Ra, it was glorious!

The following day I went with Zavik and the ten Janissaries and made a donation to Bast at Black Cat’s Dungeon. Now I know what you are thinking but I partook in none of the more well known delights of this location. I did hand over 18,030 Western currency to High Priestess Katheryne in exchange for a place Zavik and I could have philosophical discussions, musicians that wouldn’t mind if I join them with my pan flute, and at the last third of the day we talked about where I came from in quiet eating wonderful assortments of foods from the city.

That night I gave my Janissaries 10,000 Western currency so they did not have to tax the Empire’s resources for food or lodgings while escorting me. I am sure they could likely demand lodgings anywhere I went but that’s not how you forge good relationships with others in your community. We adjourned to a wonderful restaurant near the palace named “The Golden Bull” however the sign had been hammered out of complete brass clearly looked like Xerx’ses. Here Zavik and I dined with Terramore Gleba and Merkl’s father, Rizoel. I brought Zavik along not only because of the agreement I struck but this would be his chance to get new tales about CrIsis, my demigod status. I told the story at length about meeting Mary and saving little Izulkral from a Troll on my world. Size wise it would be like saving him from a true giant on this world.

Then came the long and arduous tale about the death of my parents. How it broke me, the drinking, shaving nearly all my hair, the depression, and then finding out the Frost dragon had been spotted. Abandoning all reason and seeking the beast for retribution. I talked about those that had tried to come along and died in early encounters with the monster. Even knowing and working together had failed in the end, but to make sure they, alongside my parents had not died in vain I continued on. Even when my sister tried to stop me so she would not have to bury me, I continued on. I talked about the final battle with Frostscythe, and how he kept telling me his name and how I would die. I put my poetry book on the table and stroked the frost dragon hide. They understood and I talked how Mighty Ra grabbed me then and restored my body and mind. He said I worked for him and a war was coming. I needed to be ready and when he set me down I don’t think I realized I had become a Demigod at that point. I just skinned the Frostscythe and drug his head down the Frostspear mountains and back to my people. Yes what I had done was valorous but all great deeds have one thing in common.

~ Nothing worthy is ever easy ~

The next few days were spent in the light with Zavik and in the night with Rizoel having a wonderful time making two extra donations, one to Wise Thoth for 20,030 and one to Mighty Ra for 21,000. I paid 9,999 gold to the band for their helping learn how to have fun in this world and become the undisputed axe throwing champion of Caer Itom!

What a time to be alive!

Prince Torrun Ithanson,
High Thane of the Dwarves


Written upon 27th of Thoth

Envoy Alloywin Earthseeker,

My good man this world is a dull pearl to those that grew up here. I know this from the first girl I fancied growing up in Congress. Her family ran the allocation of food and storing supplies for all of Congress. Varnya, was herself a druid but her chosen protectorate was the sea. She taught me something that shall likely ring through this group of missives. While I will date when I wrote each one of them know that as a group I am sending them via the Magic Eagle Scrolls upon the 27th of Thoth.

Pearls are never made from grains of sand in an oyster. Depending upon the size of the oyster it could be some very tiny animal, crab, or what have your mind’s eye see fit to make it. Well, that animal forces its way into the oyster and the oyster responds by coating it in a crystalline solution known among learned scholars as ‘nacre’ or what runesmiths called the soul ward. You see the making of the pearl is a defense mechanism of the oyster to protect itself. Now if the animal is small it is easy for the ‘nacre’ to form a tight shell which has the luster pearls are known for. The larger the animal the harder it is to maintain the tight soul ward of the ‘nacre’ solution.

Not surprisingly, large and lustrous pearls are super rare the same way a rune weapon for a god might be. Nevertheless, both items exist and that is why oysters are what Runesmiths call nature’s Rune Forge. The animal chooses to enter the oyster but often does not choose to become entombed for all eternity as an item we bipedal folk find beautiful. The difference between good and bad rune weapons is the free will and knowledge of what one’s future may hold as a pearl in the sea of arcane eternity.

Since you were around during the “War of the Fair & the Strong”. You know it was our stoic forefathers of the rune that were worried the surface lords of the New Kingdom were incapable of the focus needed to make sure to not abuse the power to harness a soul effectively for eternity. Given all of the factors of how one might come into the possession of a soul not their own, much less one powerful enough to withstand separation from its body and effectively the cycle of life and death. It’s not hard to see why one might be reluctant to share the knowledge and burden of such a secret. What the world has not recorded is that we did try and share it. As mortals though we were fallible and our choices did not work out so great. Need I remind you of the tales of Tezuan the Elf Runesmith and his stone rune armor! Many children in Congress grew thinking he was the bogeyman.

I recently had a conversation with one of the members of CrIsis, Silent Dream or Apis’ Luminary. In the following conversation think about how an animal or irritant to the oyster enters and becomes the beginning of something small yet wondrous.

During our trip to Springgate Dream approached me during one of the wagon breaks, “Torrun,” he asked, “Do you have some time to talk?

I of course obliged him, “Certainly my good Kankoran, if I said that wrong please correct me. However, yes I rather enjoy discourse. How may I be of service to Apis’ Luminary?”

Silent Dream looked at me with an odd glance for but a moment when I used his divine title. His face betrayed a brief flash of confusion, followed by concern, then it’s snapped back to normal. As he spoke I could sense a little uncertainty, “No, you said that fine. I wanted to apologize for how I acted during the Festival of Thoth. I think what I did when you talked with Teramore Gleba was inappropriate. I’m sorry if I’ve offended you.

“Nay, I was the one worried I had broken some cultural taboo of your people in the Northern Wilderness. I was worried since paper was new for your nation, that maybe it was precious in a way I don’t yet understand. This world is strange with its tiny trolls and orcs. Rabbits for instance are so small here. In Congress most native things were twice the size of here.”

Dream relaxes a bit and the uncertainty and nervousness about his shoulders goes away. He would make a horrible card game player, tells everywhere. “Paper isn’t new to my people. We used to use it all time as fire starter.” He smiled at his joke, which made me chuckle as he relaxed. “I’m glad we cleared that up. It felt like you’ve been avoiding us lately. Is ‘Congress’ what your world was called? You’ve mentioned it before but not in great detail. It’s strange to believe that there’s a whole world out there where everything is twice the size of here. How did you manage to survive in such a world? Is that why you left it?

“There’s a lot of philosophers that theorize a world like that is what made us unite and put aside, err….
…. solve our differences.”

I admit that I found myself stroking my beard as my father did when he had philosophical talks with me, “We never had the Millennium of Purification. My grand father’s brother is a Runesmith, a living one. It feels weird to say it like a qualifier. My sister-Queen is having him work the Rune forge left over in the Dragonhammer’s Korin, umm sorry that means mountain. I believe in this age you call it Northolme.” Talking about this was rather calming since I really had not bonded with any of my companions accept in the quest given chores of re-assembling a god! Continuing on I said, “Congress is the name we used to describe the world after we became a single people. All the written histories describe it as taking a decade to fully work itself out. There were mainly Elves & Dwarves, but we also had some Gnomes and Humans. Together we are one people, one Congress.”

Poor Silent Dream’s face contorted into worry and concern when I mentioned the Runesmith and then the former Korin of what is now Northolme, his words were thick with it, “That sounds like the sort of world Lictalon is working towards. Was it his return that brought your Congress back to this world? It’s no wonder your sister allied with him. But is our world really ready for the return of rune magic? Everything I’ve ever heard made the act of forging rune weapons evil.

“We had one working rune forge in Congress but it was decreed no souls would be used unless they could be verified to be of their free will. Only three souls ever made the criteria. All of them were former Runesmiths and members of my family line wishing to serve the future generations for all time. It is my hope when my time comes to pass I will be afforded such a tribute. I know that a part of me will live on in the Ring of Ithan.” I showed him the ring on my hand for emphasis, “Since Ithan made it at the dawn of the Age of a Thousand Magics. His line knows that those whom choose the ring will leave a portion of their soul in it. The wisdom of countless ages is held in this ring. In many ways I have dreamed about this world ever since my it came unto me via my parents passing.”

I caught myself stroking my beard once more, “They did come up with a way to enchant things using runes that requires no soul, but also none of the foul components often used by alchemists to do so! It should be an exciting time because it means a way to harness magic without needing to hunt Dragons or other sentient life!” Looking at the sky the way one might scry upon a crystal ball to answer the next part, “After the Call to the Elves went out. It hit the Compound doorway when a Sulyott’s normal emissary came for his monthly visit. We decided it could not hurt to send an emissary force to greet Lord Lictalon and see what his plans were. In three days airships had been dispatched to Mishala and Sulyott regarding us. I left on the those airships and had only been in a city of the realm for three days before Mighty Ra came and enlisted me to help CrIsis.”

Sighing, “I like the world but I miss my monastery, the vineyards, even the breweries I had begun. I know not everyone left Congress but I was just becoming really known for my cooking. Now thanks to Ursus, or Khonsu’s Revenant, I shall be known forever more as Lightweight.” Dejected or resignation was painly etched upon my face, “I am sure this is punishment for trying to lead a normal life free of the blood of war. Alas, this is not what Ra needs of me so I strap on axes once more and make the crimson river flow once again. To think I had found a way to use my training to harvest the fields to make ale.”

Silent Dream’s worried look settled down as I went on about the changes/improvements to Rune magic. When I paused he gestured with an open hand/paw as though he had an olive branch in the form of an idea, “One of the many things I learned in the Wolfen militia was to embrace the nicknames others gave you. Fighting them or being upset by them had a way to make them stick worse. Look at me – you think anyone even remembers that I was once called ‘Nightmare?’ Don’t let ‘Lightweight’ drag you down.” Silent Dream seemed to pause as though many thoughts were racing about his mind, “This isn’t the militia, though, so if ‘Lightweight’ really bothers you just let him know like you did with Grignak. Ursus isn’t that bad a guy… bear… man… Giving people weird nicknames is one of the ways he bonds with others. He doesn’t do it to offend. I don’t think so, anyway…” Silent Dream trailed off what he was saying. Switching topics he mentioned, “I guess that makes sense about how your people continued to develop magic. With the creatures in your world as large and dangerous as you said then the Alchemists and Runesmiths who had all the knowledge of ancient magic would need to come up with new ways to pursue their crafts. I can’t even imagine what fighting dragons there would be like in order to pursue such magics. Those who do it here don’t often survive.

“The main problem I see dealing with Ursus is that I like him. The same way I like my sister, fiercely competitive. When you’re brother and sister, you have time – typically – to work out any kinks in that relationship and any hurt feelings.” I continued, “Alas, we don’t have that kind of time to find that balance between the bear and I.” Sighing once more, “Apologies for being aloof, however, it’s very clear the bear wants to feel in charge. Except that he is challenged by everyone at making some of those decisions, and not without good reason. I have a hard time figuring out my place in the group that has no discipline, no military structure, and frankly it’s a wonder you’re not all dead.” I could feel that frustration mixed with nihilistic resignation, “A large part of me doesn’t want to get to know any of you. Because you’ll likely get yourselves killed, and I for one am sick of watching people I like die. Oh, Magic Pigeon Flash, I have no interest in killing Cynopolis priests, however, my orders are to finish this mission with speed and efficiency. Anyone or anything that derails this group will be dealt with. Ideally in a nonviolent way if possible. If not then I’ll put them down because they’re an enemy to our military endeavor. And the Mighty Ra made it very clear…

…WE. ARE. AT. WAR.”

The Kankoran radiated disappointment with such a profound glance my way upon hearing what I had to say about my fears getting to know Ursus and CrIsis. “Well, we have time now,” he tried to offer, “he’s right over there, watering those bushes.” Silent Dream pointed to where Ursus had casually walked off the trail to relieve himself. “I think Indaris felt that same way – that none of us were worth getting to know because we were going to die anyway.” He was radiating sadness as he spoke, “When the time came for him trust us, he couldn’t and ended up abandoning his faith in the Gods. I only knew Roggan for a brief time before he passed into Apis’ realm. I only got to spend a few months with Xerx’ses before the Gods retired him from this quest. Artorias was only with us for a short while before he passed on. Personally, my only regret is that I didn’t get to know Artorias before he was taken from us. I don’t regret any of those friendships or relationships I forged with those who left us. Not even Indaris, and he flat-out abandoned us.” Silent Dream took a deep breath, “I know you’re a Prince of the Dwarves, the Demigod of Valor, and someone the God’s considered worthy enough to replace Xerx’ses in this quest. I can understand that we don’t measure up to you. I hope someday we can prove that we are worth getting to know and befriending. I don’t suppose my word means much, but that’s how I feel about it.” Silent Dream headed off to rejoin the main group as we continued on to Springgate, “If you change your mind, you know where to find us. We’re here, with you, for as long as you and the Gods wish.

That conversation made me realize something not just about souls in rune weapons but life as a whole. I may or may not become Ursus’ friend but we are all little irritants/animals creeping into each other’s respective oysters. The only difference is whether or not we convince the oyster to accept us or turn us into a pearl.

Pearls are not accidents

Prince Torrun Ithanson,
High Thane of the Dwarves


 

 


Several Magic Eagles written in Elven between the 20th and 27th of Thoth; in 1st year in the Koris Gwaisol – Kingdom of Ælfrik.

 

Pictures from our own AZ Rune

 

8 Responses to “Pearls Are Not Accidents

  • He is such a complete 180 degree change from Xerx’ses as a character to develop. Though I still only feel I have a real handle on him as a person.

  • Creeping into each others skin…Interesting way of saying we are becoming brothers. We are brothers in arms. We have fought and shed blpod with each other. Although not much of our own blood, mostly others blood.

  • Gosh, I hope old Rod the Rambler has enough spare time to read his mail.

    • Believe me, sometimes it is a struggle…

  • I really like Torrun’s viewpoint on things here. I hope many mutual pearls result from our time together.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *