From: Joseph_DuBois.WBST102A@?????.com Date: Wed, 23 Mar 1994 10:38:40 -0500 Subject: Re: Myrkandite 4
Part 4 The Divination Conic of Umar Abd Al-Badia: The largest and perhaps most dramatic application of Myrkandite is found in the Haunted Lands. There, amidst the endlessly swirling, shifting dunes, a single island of black basalt thrusts from the sand. No matter how savage the sun beats down, however, the rock remains cool and sitting upon its surface seems to refresh even the weariest of travellers. In the center of the platform, a six foot cone rises into the air. Studded across its surface are hundred, perhaps thousands of pieces of carefully crafted Myrkandite. The whole was fashioned by Umar bin Rashad, a corrupt merchant who sold tainted food to the nomads of the region. The vengeful Al-Badia hunted the merchant down, and compelled him into slavery. There he languished until a sandstorm separated him from his tribe, and led him to the basalt platform. A vision appeared before him, a ghostly image of the cone, and a voice commanded him to make it. He then followed a ghul back to the camp. The nomads, astounded by the return of their slave, being led by a ghul no less, listened gravely to the vision, and knew that it was the will of Fate. They returned to the platform, and established camp there. Because there was no water to be found, their lives became exceedingly harsh, but they did whatever was necessary to complete the task. Led by another vision, Umar came across a granite cone in the ruins of a temple. Half buried in the sand, it still contained gems embedded in the surface. The nomads dragged the cone two weeks to the platform. Using the small fortune garnered from the cone, Umar travelled north, and wandered the bazaar where once he cheated and stole. He came upon a boy who had found a sackful of red stones. He paid the boy well, and returned, knowing his quest was soon over. The histories become unclear here. What does remain, however, is the stone. When the top is struck, it transmits the energy across the surface of the stone. Light and sound wash down the outside, creating a brilliant spectacle. Folklore states that those who seek an answer from the stone must travel alone across the sands, seeking the cone and fasting all the while. Once she arrives there, she must wait until the sun goes down. Then the petitioner strikes the top of the cone, a solid chunk of Myrkandite. The energy from the blow creates a chain reaction, lighting each stone in sequence. However, the path the energy travels is never the same. Carved into the surface of the basalt platform is alphabetic characters. When the flow finally reaches the platform, it casts light on certain characters. Now most of the time, this jumble is fairly incomprehensible. That's where the Al-Badia come in. The sounds and light sent out from the stone travels across the dunes, summoning the nomads from miles away. The petitioner should have brought gifts for the nomads. Failure to do so usually raises the ire of the already unpredictable nomads. Depending on how well rewarded the Al-Badia are, they will do their best to translate the message. Often this is an analysis of the letters from the most wise of those who came. For those who are extremely generous, the petitioner is brought to a camp, where she may speak to the hakima. Chances of accurate divination are almost 100% at this point. There are those who say that there is no divination powers inherent in the conic; that rather the Al-Badia respond to the calling of the stone, and use their wisdom to ascertain an answer. Those who have made the journey, those who have struck the stone, and met the Al-Badia, have no doubts that the conic works. Krynn: After the journey to Al Quadim, Cameron began to prepare for the journey to all the populated worlds known, to begin a careful survey of how Myrkandite worked, and to see if there was a pattern to its cause and effect. The moon of Faerun provided no quick solution, and rather than allowing his enthusiasm to wane, he travelled to the next world. And the next. And the next. Sometimes it thrummed lightly, sometimes it gave out a keening whistle. Other times, it just became dark and inert. It was recommended to him by friends that such uninhabited worlds held little in the way of interest. It was best, then to go to another heavily populated world, to seek out any scholarship already done on Myrkandite. The next, then, was Krynn. In transit, Cameron had the fortune to come across a member of the Arcane, who offered a goodly sum for his samples of Myrkandite, which he refused, after being told by the captain not to trust such creatures. He did manage to ferret out of the merchant that on the Arcane homeworld, Myrkandite absorbs ambient light, creating fields of darkness relative in size to the amount of Myrkandite. Almost immediately after arriving on Ansalon, Cameron was astounded to discover that the Myrkandite was changing its basic properties! The scarlet red faded into a burnished silver, with flecks of red throughout, and the whole mass became very malleable. Other than that, however, the ore seemed unresponsive. He was told by the captain to travel to Palanthus, the consult the Library, and the Metallist Guild, for any evidence concerning Myrkandite's discovery here. Those he spoke with claimed a familiarity with the substance, but confessed a need to take samples for further examination. Only in the Library did the truth come forth, as the acolytes' eyes widened with astonishment. "Dragon metal!" they whispered. Cameron was told of the Dragonlance, and how an exceptional few took on the red flecked sheen seen in the metal. These were exceptional weapons, even for lances. It was believed that the blood of the first dragon killed with the newly forged weapon permeated the metal, and the spirit of the beast, thus trapped, enervated any dragons who came near. Cameron was informed that the method of forging these weapons was perhaps the best kept secret on all of Krynn. There was little chance of an outsider, even one who knew so much about the ore, would be allowed into the forges of Ergoth. Still, he asked to be pointed in the right direction, to see if he could convince the armorers to allow him access. He was referred to Captain Allain, commander of a brig of war, which would be making the run to Ergoth. This meeting was perhaps the most fortuitous of any he had on Krynn. Deciding to be as forthright as possible, he brought a lump of the metal to the meeting, so that there would be no questions in the captain's mind. However, the moment Cameron stepped on board, the rock began humming and vibrating. Cameron was intrigued, but he did not want to offend the captain. He need not have bothered. In a flurry, the captain burst from the cabin, glancing about. As he approached, Cameron noted the rock vibrated more intensely. Suddenly, he caught view of the mage, and stormed up to him. He grabbed Cameron by the robes, and hauled him below deck.