Dandelion and Kani sent the following report to TMN:
Luna an’ I met in town fer a bit ’twixt Whirly’s Pirate SCIENCE tour an da Bard concert, an’ lookit alla Red Quill folx we found!
Afrit an’ Coriakin an’ Healery an’ Kani an’ Megami an’ Phineas an’ Tayra an’ Wangah Rah, an’ some sock puppets. Baba an’ Sleipy were jus’ ‘bout dere, ‘cuz Healery invoked ‘em. Here’s a sketch.
We all went to da Hall of Clans so Luna an’ I could git inducted into Red Quill. Dat was da plan, only ‘cept we didn’t expect alla folx what came outta da liberry fer it.
Aymi got swept along wit da crowd an’ was verrah excited about da ceremony. She asked about clans an’ ever’body tried t’answer da best we could an’ den she joined Red Quill, too.
We hadda celebration at da Bard concert after. Connie was First Falled.
* * *
—Dandelion and Kani
Connie Crete sent the following report to TMN:
Writin this down while is fresh in my head. Thanks ta Luna fer gitn alla pitchers.
Was on our regular mosey, chose Ash this time ta bash sum darshak causn they is allays in need o a good bashin. As we were workin ta tha mausoleum, blamo - Jo daid as a doornail. Enter mysterious darshak:
No, I dunno who "tha master" be.
Dunno what time o tha day Rosentide be.
Yeah, helpin darshak be so not on my list.
Tried ta determine ifn this "master" were a good darshak or a bad darshak.
We fought our way ta Amdiroth. A couple o near disasters in tha disco temple basement. Lucky Mehan kept her head and rescued everybudy. Amdiroth were more innerested in sum studies than tha warnin we gived him. I aint kept up with who be on which side o tha Hatfields and McCoys o darshak land. Jo says he thought tha Drakesblood kin were more rebel based. Oh ya, Dande was able ta git Jo undaid once Mehan and Luna was also helpin out. (We'll totally fergit that Mehan got blammo'd too.) FYI: 3 zodiacs aint what I'd call "imminent."
But - it may mean tha darshak is gonna do sumthin down right anni-social in 3 zodiacs time.
Alchemist and Healer Mjollnir was seen today sporting a new scaly appearance after imbibing an unknown concoction.
When asked how this occurred, Mjollnir was heard to say
“I was up in that old alchemy lab on the cloud where I picked up a book. It was a fairly dry account of halfling speeches in a language I'd never heard of. As I flipped through it, a packet fell out from between the pages that contained a strange smelling powder. Naturally I did what every sensible alchemist would do, I threw it along with a bunch of ingredients I had with me together in a flask and drank the result.
I immediately felt a hot rash break out and to my horror, my skin became all dry and scaly.
And that’s not the worst thing, something in that potion caused me to grow a tail!
I’ve suffered from lyfelidaeism in the past but that transformation was nothing compared to this, that tail was sleek and nimble, this one drags on the ground behind me and is constantly causing me to trip.”
Mjollnir requests that any anybody with experience in reversing transformations please contact him to help him solve his scaly strait.
TMN received this submission from Sawyer the Seeker, written in a neat, even hand—on clean well-maintained parchment. The account is recently laid out for review and consideration in the main Puddleby library.
"The order is finally open to newcomers.
The bloodpool's hunger seems to grow by the day, but our numbers are ever dwindling.
Nacerus was right to share the power of the pool with outsiders."
The duty of instructing unspecialized fighters and bloodmage novices is not one to be taken lightly, as it is important that as the hunger of the bloodpool continues to grow our numbers do not dwindle.
It is from this lens of instructing novices and initiates of our Order (and gathering the opinions of some fully-realized mages), that I have sought greater knowledge and understanding of the nature of blood magic, and of the bloodpool. While there are still many un-answered questions (and some of the masters and Speakers are fairly tight-lipped), I believe that more meaningful connections can be made based on what we do know. Many of these connections may not be new, but I hope that by consolidating and compiling the information, myself, it will be easier for those interested mages, or future mages, to ask the right questions, answer the call, and find the path.
It is my hope that the following questions, connections, and theories can help every mage to better understand the nature of that which we serve. It is important to return to the order what we take from it.
-Sawyer the Seeker
The Savannah Temple
"Those who would remain safe must pass no further. Likewise shall those who would remain safe learn nothing of true power."
The first experience many young fighters will have in walking the path is a trek through the marshes to a temple located deep under the Savannah. This is where hopeful novices have been introduced to Nacerus and taken the first steps to forging their own blade. Though many novices have actually received blades before this time, the forging of one’s own bloodblade is still an important rite, and a noteworthy marker along the path. The construction and location of this temple are both interesting to note, and also lend credence to the theories of some more… flippant…members of the bloodmage community. First, the building entrance lies deep within the Savannah maha cave, which some have viewed as a connection to Detros the Ruknee (protector of places containing ancient wisdom). The façade of the temple bears a depiction of a warrior in battle, perhaps very similar to Ina D’Xus the warrior (which extant writings would suggest is associated with life and, more notably, blood).
Of note is the fact that the upper level of the temple appears largely abandoned and left in disrepair. It does not appear that this upper level has been used for some time, but by descending into what appears to be a dry well in the center of the structure, one may navigate a series of old tunnels and find themselves in Nacerus’ chamber, the entrance to what this mage would consider a separate and distinct structure. While the temple above is constructed of marbled stone and ornate columns, the temple below is constructed almost entirely of dark basalt stone, lit by torches, and is better maintained and free of refuse. The veil is thin, here, and while undine will accost any travelers seeking to traverse the well or the tunnels, below in the entrance chamber they serve as guardians of the gates, and are harmless to fully realized bloodmages. Perhaps a question for another time is, how are these undine made to serve the order as guardians?
It is the opinion of this mage that these two structures may indeed, have served two distinct purposes. What once was a temple, perhaps to Ina D’Xus, was either abandoned, or…changed (I hesitate to use the word corrupted, but a discussion on that will come later.) And the old façade is now home to the temple of the current Order. The lower temple does somewhat resemble other structures spread throughout the islands, but lacks many of their distinctive ornamentation and markings that may link them to the ancients. It is this mage’s opinion that the similarities may only be in the building materials, though any such similarities should still not be overlooked, and are worthy of further examination.
The Altar and the Bloodpool
"Where does the bloodpool come from? Nobody knows. It called to us and we came."
Where the bloodpool comes from is perhaps the subject of the greatest variety of theories when it comes to even the most experienced mages. Perhaps we care most about this topic because the bloodpool is the very source of our magic.
Some more…outspoken members of the bloodmage community have proposed the theory that the bloodpool is actually Ina D’Xus, converted or changed in some way. While Ina’s connection to blood has been documented, there doesn’t seem to be much else that this mage is aware of to support the theory that Ina, himself, is somehow the bloodpool.
Instead, I believe the subject requires a closer examination of two things that Puddlebean exiles are very familiar with: Altars, and Moonstones.
There is a great deal of documentation to support the connection of moonstones to the Altar in the Crystal Temple in Town Center. In the past, when the altar was taken and broken, the magic of the moonstones began to fail, and waned steadily until the altar was eventually repaired. It can be surmised from this that, at least in part, moonstones draw their power from the altar. It must also be noted that, according to the Loremasters, moonstones do not exist or do not function on the mainland.
When exiles touch the altar, a portion of their spirit is left behind or “remembered”. While the origins of this magic are perhaps not well-understood, its effect has been experienced by most every adventuring resident of the Lok’Groton. When an exile is injured to the point of incapacitation, or even to death, their spirit will disconnect from their physical body. All religious conjecture aside, it is evident to Puddlebean exiles that instead of emerging in some sort of afterlife after wandering through Purgatory, exiles instead emerge at the altar in a weakened, traumatized state. The plane that exiles call “Purgatory” appears very much like the ethereal plane and is yet another place where the veil is thin. Lesser undine can often be found wandering purgatory in small numbers.
This is where my theory for the origin, or at least some of the nature of the bloodpool begins.
Moonstones and Bloodblades
It is common knowledge among many that a moonstone is required in the forging of a bloodblade. During the forging, the magic of the moonstone is somehow…inverted, and infused into the blade. Instead of being used to restore vitality, the magic of the blade instead saps it. Without training this drain will eventually prove fatal. Just as the moonstones have shown to draw their power, or at the very least be connected, to the altar in the Crystal Temple, so too are the bloodblades connected to the bloodpool—presumably drawing their power from that source.
The relationship between moonstones and bloodblades allows for further thinking along the same lines when studying the two altars, one in the center of town, and the other in the temple of the Order. It is the opinion of this mage that the altar housed in the Order, while similar in design and effectiveness, has either been constructed in such a way or… changed… in such a way as to result in it being “inverted”. Much like the magic of moonstones is inverted to create bloodblades.
This begs perhaps the most relevant (to this mage) unanswered question: Is the bloodpool the cause of the inversion of the altar in the temple of the Order, or the result of it? We are told by the disciples that blades draw their power from the bloodpool, but does that also extend to the altar? If the altar in the temple were to fail, would blood magic also fail with it?
The blood altar in the Savannah also retains other similarities to the more recognized altar in the Crystal Temple. Mages who touch the altar leave behind an imprint of their spirit and are “remembered”. When a bloodmage bound to the blood altar departs, they will emerge within the temple where they are bound, the same as other known altars. However, there seem to be other properties related to the bloodpool and the blood altar. Fully realized mages can use their bloodblades as a focus to …traverse… the bloodpool, as it were. Traveling very quickly from the pool in the cemetery in Puddleby, to the altar and pool in the temple of the Order (they do not need to be bound to the altar for this to be possible.) Instead of passing through purgatory they pass through… a distinct, yet very similar space. This space appears much like purgatory or the ethereal plane, save for the presence of a single, small, still pool. Whereas undine can often be found in purgatory and the ethereal plane, in this “blood purgatory” the only denizen seems to be a single Astral Guardian, and the mages traversing the plane.
It would, perhaps be of interest for a Mystic to examine and explore some of these paths and phenomenon, but we are unsure as to whether such practitioners can be fully trusted, and as of yet, none are allowed entrance into the temple.
The Nature of Life and Death
“If you fear to walk the paths between life and unlife, leave this place."
Understanding more of the nature of life and death is one of the most important aspects of training for novice and initiate bloodmages. Once mages have learned enough to perform elementary blood magic by use of a bloodblade, they are encouraged to learn more of the bloodpool, and of the nature of life and death. These tasks are largely accomplished by feeding the bloodpool and studying the undine. This mage has many unanswered questions about the connection of blood magic to the undine, and to places where the veil is thin, but at the very least they seem to embody one of the most important tenets or facets of blood magic: the boundary line between life, and death. If blood mages are somehow intended to serve as the keepers or stewards of this boundary, or at the very least experts in walking along it, I suppose it only makes sense that that knowledge comes from studying those other creatures who do the same.
The question still remains, however… what is the connection between the Order, and the undine? How are the guardians of the temple made to serve?
By extension, it is of particular interest to this mage how Speakers such as Dourin bloodrunner are able to communicate, or at the very least, sense the hungers and temperament of the bloodpool. Just as it is also of interest what magic Nacerus uses to forge bloodblades for incoming novices and initiates.
It has been posited that perhaps the bloodpool, itself, is some form of greater undine, or extraplanar entity which may manifest itself in places where the veil is thin—where much death has occurred, or some other act or action that more thickly draws the line between life and death.
Let this be an introduction and invitation to all interested mages, initiates, and novices. I recognize that my theories are perhaps more just the basis for more questions to be asked, but in this process, I also seek the wisdom of those mages who have come before, and the perspective of those younger mages who I will continue to instruct.
Let us always remember, though we have found the path, our journey is not over. There is still much to learn and discover. Use your skills well, and remember to return to the order what you take from it.
- Sawyer the Seeker
Chaos Storm #1219 has swept the Lok'Groton island chain. Please post any changes you have observed and wish to share with others in the comments.
Delta Tao's "What's New" for v1219:
You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children — Madeleine L'Engle (1918–2007)
Whirl wind sent the following report to TMN:
It’s hard to describe briefly what occurred today and lead up to it, but I will try my best. A few days ago, someone from the time of the Ancients reached out to speak with several exiles.
Whether she herself was an Ancient is unclear but she spoke of Tart'targ as her mother who was older still. She called herself Pelaegia and spoke of the ocean and the weirding waters in an ancient Citadel atop a mountain peak in the Eastern Mountains. Under these waters lay ruins, cracks in reality, gateways acting as glimpses to a shadowy plane.
Unfortunately, the time between speaking and meeting was short, but a group of exiles consisting of NNK, Stinkfist, Mehan, Salandra, Haffron, Phroon, Gorvin, Naferu, Pirate, Poplar, Garr, Arbitur, Aspasia, Kvynn, Gustave, and I battled our way into Shadowspring Citadel to meet her.
She said she cared for the Citadel and worked to repair the cracks and damage done to it but requested the help of lantern bearers and their companions to banish a threat to the machines.
She said that a sun spirit from another plane was and had been feeding off the sun energy from the machines and that it had been slowly leeching sun energy from the world around it.
She asked if we had not felt the disturbance? The way the world feels slightly unbalanced, uneasy, as if tilted and uneven. A barrier between us and the sun, a weakness, a frailty.
While we know this state of being to be a reality, it apparently was not always so. Moreover, Pelaegia stated that lantern bearers, children of the Sun, should be no weaker than a child of the Moon, nor a child of the Earth. She told us of a time when that was so. A time before our remembering.
Surprised at the revelation that Mystics had never known more strength, she told us how we may find and banish this leeching spirit. Described as a vast golden, horrible, hungry wyrm, it is drawn to the greatest concentrations of the sun's energy so it may consume whatever it can. It must be banished back to its realm by destroying the physical body it manifests in our world.
Once it is no longer able to consume the sun's energy can the lantern bearers re-right the imbalance it left behind. In the ways of the Ancients, in the language of magic the lantern bearers must stand on the plaza of the sun and redirect the Sun's energies back into the machines by invocation.
Upon completion of this task she said we will feel the sun as we should and its power return to us. She requested that we seek her out when we have defeated the wyrm and she will teach us how to make amulets of breath, which will allow us to breathe water once we have the power to work such magic.
Discussion lead to action and today a group consisting of NNK, Salandra, Stinkfist, Mehan, Naferu, Arbitur, Gorvin, Xepel, Phroon and I ascended to a mountain peak housing a large Sun Machine more locally known as Sunspire.
Not sure we would find what we were looking for, we charged the machine fully to perhaps lure the creature to reveal itself and feed.
With great flashes of light, sun wyrms appeared between one blink and the next.
Swarmed, we fought them back. Suddenly a larger wyrm appeared and attacked as the bodies of the lesser wyrms dissolved into nothingness.
The fight was vicious but ultimately we prevailed. As it perished and returned to whatever plane it was from, we felt all the sun energy it had been directing toward itself gather around Salandra and I instead.
After consulting with Phroon, who with the help of Poplar, Fanan and others has studied the Ancient language extensively, we managed to translate the invocation.
Standing on the giant medallion engraved into the floor of Sunspire and lit by the sun, Salandra and I incanted "Sun join to Sun" in the words of the Ancients.
Light poured from our hands and bodies; the wind howled, and the machines groaned. A moment of electric energy raced across my skin and for a moment it felt as though sound had stopped, until a subtle shift in my mind snapped into place. A barrier I had not known existed, but once removed was unmistakably present, crumbled; Sound and light and *power* screamed back to life inside me.
The world itself shifted, askew no longer, but level as it had once been, as it should have been, settled comfortably back into being.
Every moment since I have felt a slow but steady flow of strength return to me emanating from the Sun's machines. Powerful as it is, I too feel chaos clouding its strength. What will occur once the growing chaos storm passes, I do not know.
But every day brings us closer to the Sun and I look forward to every moment.
Thoom Phroon sent the following announcement to TMN. Congratulations to Phroon!
I've passed the seventh circle healing test!