The sound of steel hitting stone echoed throughout the complex. Chronicler Ivran gasped for breath as he awoke on the floor. “Damned thing…” A frantic set of footsteps drew the elf’s attention to the door. “Ivran?! Are you okay?” Arlen shouted. “Yes nephew, I am.” Helping his uncle from the floor, Arlen sighed.
“This is much different from what you’ve said before. The Psychometry cases you have written about have never taken a toll on you like this.” With a pat on the shoulder, Ivran smiled at his young nephew. “This is true, but the Grand Master has piqued the interest of the Decemvirate with her… findings.” Arlen nodded with relief.
Grand Master Shao had informed the Pathfinders Society several weeks ago that she had made a discovery of the ages. A ruin so old, that It predated the fossils in the surrounding mountains dozens of times over. This shrine was not unique however. The most well known “Shrine of the Untested” was a days travel west of Absolom, but it was seriously damaged by an infestation of goblins and several groups of adventurer’s before them. With the aid of her students, the Grand Master was able to breach the defenses of the shrine.
Ivran leaned back down to the floor, gently lifting the ancient broadsword as if it were a newborn. “Although, I do agree nephew. Never have visions been so clear. I can remember every blemish on that mans armor, and I can nearly smell the stench of death on him when I do the reading.” Placing the blade back on his portable desk, Ivran slumped back into his chair and motioned for a drink. Arlen went into his bags as he inquired, “How is it possible then? Such an item carrying impressions like they were a persons memories?” Taking the flask of water from his nephew, Ivran gazed at the blade. “It must have been the dragon. He changed the blade with Old Magic… Even though it does not respond to magical detection, it clearly is no ordinary blade.”
Old Magic. A term Arlen had seen only in the oldest of records back at the Grand Lodge. It went by several names; Proto Magic, Words of Power, and several other synonyms. Back in ancient times, It was the raw and untamed power of the universe.
“I’m glad to hear I have not wasted your time. ” Grand Master Shao said as she rounded the corner. “Apologies for the intrusion Chroniclers’, but I overheard you from the main chamber.” Giving slight formalities, the three sat down at the table and discussed what they knew. By the time they finished, the sun had begun to rise.
“Gentlemen, it is clear we are dealing with something unique. I do not wish for any claim on this discovery, but I do want to keep informed on any future endeavors. “Agreed, Grand Master.” Ivran slid a piece of vellum across his desk. “This document legally binds us, and you, to share any and all information about these ruins at a moments notice. We will also supply you with a Shell of Sending to help you keep in contact.” Grand Master Shao nodded and took a quill in her hand. “And I would like to make a personal request if I may.”
Ivran raised an eyebrow and cleared his throat. “I will hear you out before I answer madam.” The Grand Master put the quill down, delaying her signature. Reaching into her robes, she produced a strange letter. It was on expensive vellum and bore the emblem of Jalmery. “I recieved this letter from a postman who knew where I was during my stay in Absolom.” After a quick examination, Ivran patted his forehead with a handkerchief. “Grand Master… I apologize for the failure of security. I do remember you were quite clear on uninvited guests.”
With a subtle smile, Grand Master Shao replied,”It was no trouble, he came in the day, and did no harm. I shall forgive if you can gather some information for me.” Ivran glanced to Arlen who had already opened a fresh journal and was digging for a quill. “The letter is from The Houses of Perfection. They have demanded me to participate in an upcoming Solemn Sky Duel of Masters. I wish to know what the houses entail, and the rules for the duel before I give my answer.”
Ivran maintained composure as he tried to form his words. “With respect Grand Master, are you asking me to spy on those who spy on you?” The Grand Masters expression shifted from neutral to slight disdain. “Of course not. I want their history, not their secrets. I wish to know who would demand my presence without seeing me in person.” Arlen closed his journal with a heavy thud. “I will have the information you seek within a day Grand Master.” Ivran suddenly stood from his chair. “Arlen! Know your place! You know the penalty for drawing information from the archives without permission.” Arlen simply returned a friendly smile to his furious uncle. “I do, but its only the public information she wants. As I recall, the public can access public information.”
Ivran glared daggers into his nephew, but relented. “Very well, but I -will- review what you are going to put in the public eye. And be warned, just because you have the ear of -one- of the Decemvirate, does not mean you have -all- of their approval.” Arlen nodded and stepped out of the room. With an frustrated sigh, Ivran turned back to the Grand Master. “I respect your authority Grand Master, but I must state my… concern. The houses have acknowledged you as a peer already. Why would you decline? To be recognized as a master by the Houses is a tremendous honor. The Grand Master nodded,”I understand that much, but I wish to know their intentions. If their path of perfection clashes with my teachings, I want no part of it.”
Grand Master Shao inspected the ancient broadsword carefully, her gaze as precise and delicate as any surgeon. “But this, has my immediate interest. If the visions you are recording are true, than we have proof of human civilization hundreds of years before the Age of Legends.”
Ivran smiled, “You seem to be interested in the ancient past. What -are- you looking for?” Grand Master Shao began to exit, but stopped and replied, “The truth.”