Discovered Pages under Springdale
The following pages were discovered under the streets of Springdale in a strange, very old place.
Curious, yet fascinating.
“Curious, yet fascinating.
How she’s going about this is not how I would have imagined in the least, if I would have imagined it at all. The Shadowfell has always been likened to a reflection as long as history cares to document, and while we are making use of this trait it, even so our work seems a perversion at best of that analogy. It is true when you create something from the Shadowfell you are, in fact, creating it, and it is not really a reflection, an imitation beyond shape, appearance, and to some degree form, but this standing only the most raw, baseless, elemental, or primitive examples of shadow magic are not simply a void. The arcane can create a ball of fire or weave the threads of flight. Shadow magic? It always yearns to recreate, imitate, and reflect rather than create anew.
Not this. I find it difficult to explain, but I feel in necessary to document my findings as best as I am able for future academic comprehension.
Take an apple. Now, reflect the red portion. Next, reflect the round shape. Finally, reflect the fruit nature. Take each of these reflections and distil them into their base forms. Finally, reflect the apple into each base form. You do not create a “red apple,” nor a “round apple,” nor a “fruit apple,” for to say this would be missing the point. You create something that has the qualities of an apple’s redness, but in a form that isn’t divorced from the apple. You create something that has the qualities of an apple’s roundness, but in a form that is still akin of the apple. You create something that has the qualities of an apple’s fruit nature, but yet isn’t simply fruit, but still possesses an apple tendency to the fruit. And finally, you are left with an apple; a changed, incomplete, apple. And unless your reflections are perfect, the apple you have left behind still has some of the redness trait to it, and some of the roundness trait, and some of the fruit trait.
Reading this, one will likely find at best an abstract and challenging concept due to its impossible nature, and at worst entire and utter nonsense.
Now imagine this mind boggling idea, but instead of applied to an apple, let us apply it to a man.
It has been truly a pleasure to work with Shadow Master Arken, and Golem Master Trengs. As a humble alchemist, I feel out of place.”
I didn’t sign on for this.
“I didn’t sign on for this.
Even so, I can’t say that some small part of me isn’t thrilled with the idea.
Golem Master Trengs. While I’ll fully admit it isn’t exactly a household name, I’ve well-earned my share of respect during my career and all of it has been, I say again, well-earned. I’ve created Melora’s Gardeners, I built the seatamers, and I even supervised the construction of the warforged that the Exarchs make personal use of. I had thought I had seen it all.
This is something else.”
At first you would have thought
“At first you would have thought the stuff was bloody gold, next it’s not worth the spit in my mouth!
Last week I couldn’t get the orders processes fast enough, and then next thing you know Mistress Astus Vendorin changes her mind, and decides she doesn’t want the crystals any longer. Now she’s marched all sorts of witches and sorcerers in here, half of ‘em giving praise to the goddess of death—the goddess of death! Burn my soul!
One of ‘em is a real looker, though. Orphesu I think her name is. Glides around in an evening dress, and a fiddle case. I don’t know who she is, but she’s really important, important enough that you’d think she was the emperor’s daughter! Jack made an innocent enough comment about the gal’s looks, and Astus struck him down with a blazin’ bolt of lightning, with the all the hell-fire of the Great Chaos on her face! The Orphesu gal curtsied thanks to the mistress, and—face as calm as could be—walked out of the room like nothing happened! Jack didn’t die from the burns, but once he was treated, Vendorin had me show him out.
The alchemist, Ledlin, seems nice. I’ve been lending him the crystal the mistress was having the boys mine as nobody seems to be interested in it any more. Ledlin took a liking to them, and invited over one of the shadar’kai to look at it, Shad Arken. If she would have been human instead of shadowspawn, I wouldn’t mind a kiss and a dance from that one. The other shadar’kai, the religious zealot, however, rubs me the wrong way. It’s just something about her…”
Sometimes I doubt the work we do.
“Sometimes I doubt the work we do.
I know that’s wrong; I know am I am doing what I am supposed to, but at the same time sometimes I can’t help but question it. I’ve been told all my life that there is no evil to the work of the shadow, and have seen it first-hand. Even so, watching what we do, what powers we choose to manipulate… can it be right?
I’m glad I got to know the other shadar’kai; it was getting lonely here. She was sharing quarters with the other lesser mages, and so I asked her to move in with me. After all, two sharing a room is better than a dozen! She accepted, so we set her up a place in the corner of the room. I offered getting some of the help to put up a curtain, but she said it wasn’t necessary. This seems petty to complain about, but the woman makes me feel so small in comparison!
I spoke to Mistress Vendorin about my fears, and she largely set my mind to ease. She’s so kind to me, I can’t help but think of her as my elder sister. Perhaps I’m just being foolish. After all, I never had any siblings, so who’s to know what it’s like? Then again, Mistress Vendorin fills the role of elder sister quite well, from what little I’ve seen of her with her two younger sisters.
The middle one lives here at the base. What a marvelous, and majestic woman! Towards anyone else she fixates a gaze like few others can hope! It’s not harsh, nor unkind, nor anything dark, yet at the same time you can’t help but swallow and wet your lips when she looks your way.”
What terrible creatures
“What terrible creatures. What simply awful creatures.
I can’t help it! They’ve never done anything wrong; never the smallest of sins, but even so my heart tells me they aren’t to be trusted. I’ve largely held my concerns to myself for two reasons, the first is the obvious question that plagues my mind. What would I accuse them of? That they make me nervous? After all, I helped create them, so I know better than most exactly what they are. So I suppose I’ll just leave the little people to run around on their own, and ward my room once over.
The second, and more pertinent reason for keeping it to myself is Orphesu. She treats them as her children. To say anything ill of them would not only be a personal attack against Orphesu, and in turn, an attack against the Raven Queen. That is, unless I cared to imply that Orphesu was another Equitas, and the idea of that horrifies me more than the little creatures.
Mistrss Astus Vendorin had me send over the mask and robe I was working on to her sister, Virana. I told her that they’re works in progress, but she insisted that Virana still sees them. I personally delivered them to the woman’s room. I was going to explain to her how these masks were different; they weren’t part of the creatures as much as they should be. I was going to, but… I couldn’t get a word out. I wouldn’t say that Virana was unkind about the ordeal, but she doesn’t have much patience with cowards.
And I can’t blame her; I don’t have much patience for my cowardice either.
Even so… I wonder if I can get Stran to install another lock on my door?”
I can’t complain about the pay
“I can’t complain about the pay, but light! The headaches…
The gig they offered me sounded too good to be true; said I’d get free room and board and that they’d cover my equipment expenses besides paying me four quotidians a week. Promises of equipment always tend to fall through with these mercenary jobs, but even if it did, I could easily cover my losses with pay like that. I figure I’d put in the two years, and then go me a nice plot of land. Settle down with a wife. Which, I suppose, I still plan on doing.
But Arturian’s Ghost! The headaches! Sitting post here in the West Wing, I don’t care how quite it is they still fight me. Can’t seem to keep torches lit, for whatever that’s worth. I keep myself distracted from the throbbing by making rounds between checking up on the torches. Of course I can’t help either but notice how dim torches seem to light here in the West Wing. If I was a suspicious man, I’d say that there was magic about these halls. Good thing I’m not, I suppose.
I was lucky enough to find a barrel that wasn’t being used. It’s good, sturdy, and just the right height. I set it up near the center of where I patrol. It’s a good way to rest my legs for a spell, and when I hear my superiors coming, I just simply stand and none are the wiser.
There’s this tall shadar’kai wandering around here, the woman can’t be much older than me. Gets special treatment because she knows both the likes of Divine magic and bits of Shadow spells, I suppose from being a ‘kai and all. At least, I assume she’s getting special treatment; besides the likes of us guards, the only men who get this far west are important. Not sure if that’s because of that sealed off storage that pretty lil’ violinist goes to just west of my rounds, or the master control just to the east. Perhaps both.
I wonder if either has to do with my headaches?
Of course, I’m not a suspicious man.”
The headaches are getting worse.
“The headaches are getting worse.
I suppose I should shut my jaw about them; I’m getting paid a collector’s ransom to have headaches. Not a bad life when you think about it. Even so, I wish they’d just go away.
I’ve been hearing violin music coming from just west of my post, where that young woman in the evening gown tends to go. I don’t know much about music, but even I can tell you that it’s quite beautiful. It builds up, and then slowly releases the tension, gliding around with a firm, commanding resonance… I can’t help but say it seemed awfully lonely, though. Heartbroken, almost.
And then a fool waltzed through here, dressed up like he was that cursed criminal Black Shadow himself! What kind of fools do they let into the West Wing nowadays? Anyways, he must have had some good news, because for a good hour or two after he left that tune was quite a pleasant, happy piece.
And then it wore itself away, back down into that sad, yet beautiful tune. I would say that the music is keeping me distracted, but I almost think it’s making the headaches worse. Or maybe it’s just my lack of sleep; been seeing things out of the corner of my eyes, mostly when I’m distracted by the music I suppose. I can’t put a name or a face to any of it; just movement at the corners of my vision, or I think I’ll see a face in the stonework.
I can’t wait ‘til I can afford that track of land.”