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Month Index: March, 1994


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.



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