3rd of Desnus, 4715 (still)
After a “night” of rest, we return to the mounds of rotting refuse. After a few minutes of tearing up roots and doing some general gardening work, we can all agree that there’s nothing superficially in the mounds. As Shamus tries to detect the magics in this room, he detects the presence of a few memory crystals along the walls as well as an abjuration effect on the final mound in the room.
The stone slab on the top of the mound is elaborately carved. When we clear it of growth, some of the carvings are a bit recessed. Some of the symbols and the figures are mounted on stone tracks and made to be moved. There is an elemental symbol for each, and they need to be put in the right order.
With a little bit of help from his friends, Shamus is able to move the symbols about so it forms the right shape. A mechanism moves, the lid slides down a few inches and then slides sideways. A shaft, mostly downward, is filled with a steep stairwell that goes down 30-40’.
We head down. It’s a bit warmer than in the terrarium (a better name than the rotting pile of refuse room) as we descend. It’s a little bit strange, The light is softer than elsewhere in the Remembrance, as much of the walls are bare rocks instead of softly glowing crystals. We come out in a small, circular chamber. It’s a natural limestone formation, with roundish undulated surfaces. The floor slopes down a bit towards the staircase. The chamber is 20’ in diameter with icicle-like stalactites and stalagmites, but not many of them.
The light is akin to dusk. There’s no objects or furniture in the room. The ground is bare but for the stalagmites. There are a few knots of crystal. Between them, on the walls, are cave paintings. Mostly, the paintings are made from natural colors and very primitive. There are some humanoid forms, and some hand prints, but they are three fingered hands and stubby compared to ours. Some are random, others seem to be together with some kind of narrative.
The auras around the crystal hubs seem dangerously different than those above. Shamus says the auras are not static, instead they are in motion. It reminds Shamus of the magics used to make magical items. Tira snaps one off and gains a mossy green Ioun stone.
The surface of the stone ripples. It undulates under the drawn symbols. Some of the ripples coalesce around the crystal cluster that Tira picked from. After a moment there’s a rough form of a face that comes out of the crystal. The face is about 7 feet across and becomes more distinct. Under the brow ridges, it opens up and two glowing crystals open. It looks similar to Menhir and my face. The stone ripples a few more times as it takes form.
When I greet it, it turns and greets each of us. We chat Terran. He is Galab Dur. The name roughly translates into He who watches of the greater rock. Some call him I-oun (venerable/wise elder). He says we can take the gifts of the earth. One of the gifts was made for Nargrim Steelhand. We inform the venerable elder that Nargrim died as he lived, killing giants in the mountains. I-oun feels the gift should not go to waste. Sif takes the 4’ crystal shard from the wall. I need to put a rough hilt on it. It is very sharp. Long, thin and relatively flat. Sif thanks him for the blade.
Shamus studies another item and realizes that he can cast his magic through it, and it will extend the spells. (A rod of lesser extend.)
The next one has a conjuration aura around it. It is a pearly white crystal spindle. It confers the ability to heal upon its bearer. It’s a little bit cracked. Regeneration 1hp/hour.
The other Ioun stones we find are:
- It’s a cracked dusty rose prism. +1 initiative.
- Cracked incandescent blue sphere. +1 perception.
- Cracked pink and green sphere. +1 use magic device.
- Cracked magenta prism +2 to a skill. The skill can be changed once per day.
- Dusty rose prism.
- Crystalline baguette (12” long). Conjure a rockfall (dirt, small rocks). Stonecall 9 charges.
- Crystalline wand. Burrowing effect. Use it to tunnel through 15’ sand, loose soil, or gravel. 12 charges.
- Cluster of small crystalline shards. Very sharp and pointy. There are 10 arrow heads. Orc Bane (+1).
- Hand-sized crystal (glowing). It looks sort of like a memory crystal. When you tap it it has the memory of a spell inside (scroll/dwarven tablet) Barkskin (stoneskin). Divine.
- Crystalline tablet of elemental body (earth). Arcane.
- Tablet of Stoney Grasp.
I ask for the story of this place, and I-oun is happy to oblige.
It is the story of the covenant. The agreement between the elemental laws. He launches into the story, recounting events. In days primordial, and age long since past, the elements were at war with each other. There was nothing beyond earth, air, fire and water. In conflict, eternal, never ending. Water eroding earth, earth smothering fire. Air extenuating fire, fire melting earth. … But some of our members dreamed that more was possible, that more could be done. In those days we developed magic. We made things by growing them. But some among us sought out minerals, crystals and metals and they thought of another way, a faster way to craft To craft new things. Things that did not exist before. And then, some among these crafters (Mouhal) harkened to the notion that even more could be crafted with even more elements if they were brought together.
It was decided that there was a reason to join forces. To ally with the other elements. So, for the first time they sought to cooperate, to speak with the other elemental lords. To forge a truce. A covenant. That would allow them to concentrate their efforts. To cooperate and bring more into being than what came before. To dream new dreams. So that our children could be brought into being. That was the beginning of the elemental covenant.
The crafters took the elements together and they crafted the world, the mortal world that you know of. Everything in it, everyone in it became about because of the crafters. And the crafters, they forged our children. Mortal races. That they might explore the world. That they might explore existence in ways that we were unable to. That they might bring back their stories and teach us what was unknown to us.
And so, once they returned, their memories were brought here. I have been here, keeping memories of the covenant for ages. Teaching it to those that would learn our history. And learning from them in turn of the latest knowledge from their world. So that we might grow as they grow. That is the covenant. It is the underpinnings of the world.
What has brought it about. What continues it. Is the alliance. Between the elements. But the earth remembers. The earth never forgets. Some others might forget; the air is fleeting. The depths of the water are fathomless, but the earth remembers.
As your people bring their knowledge here, so does my knowledge grow.
He felt something enter. Prying. Disturbing memories. Manipulating the portals.
We learned that when one door opens, all do.
I-oun has the sum knowledge of all the crystals.
I ask how one joins and I-oun removes his crystal heart and hands it out to us.
Menhir does the same. Without pause I impale myself on Menhir’s heart. He becomes a solid being of crystal, and I become a menhir. When I open my eyes next, it is done. My eyes are still crystal but my form is just an affectation. The party takes the sudden change remarkably well.
We decide to take on the monster under the bridge of floating mushrooms. I swim down through the strata of crystal to see what lies beneath the floating mushrooms. The chasm is roughly 130’ deep. The bottom is caked with compost and fungal growth. I have to stop close to the bottom, otherwise I’ll end up tunneling through the crap. It’s really thick with clouds of flies down here. If there’s anything down here besides compost and flies, I don’t see it.
I throw a rock at it and something moves very fast. There were six points of contact with the earth. The group decides to try and spook the creature into motion.
Tova fires a cross bow bolt into the ground. It disappears into the compost. Nothing seems to happen. One of the puffballs jerks down, then back up again. Insect legs pull itself up and Tira is blinded by it. It is the most beautiful insect I have ever seen – nearly crystaline creature with gossamer wings.
Shamus runs up to the ledge and jumps on one of the floating puff-balls. He then casts diamond spray against the creature, which recoils. Tira starts chanting. Stinna, Ingridhill, and Sif fire their bows at it, but the arrows shatter on impact, or are deflected off.
The crystalline insect (an ultramarine chaser according to Shamus) tries to attack Shamus, and Tova attacks it and knocks the insect out of the way. Shamus casts snowballs at it and retreats further back.
We all ready an action to deal with it. Ingrahild hits it with an arrow as Tova calls down the god’s blessing. When the creature finally draws close once again, Tira strikes at it and kills it.