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Author Topic: Kaliklies' Library - The Pool of Ayrth's Blood  (Read 2189 times)
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Kane
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« on: June 22, 2010, 04:51:04 AM »

First of a new series, with a different format and tone.  The first one sets the stage and gives you snippets of information on a place known as the Pool of Ayrth's Blood.  Each week (for the next 8 or so) there'll be a new entry.  The first site is fairly mild but they ramp up fairly quickly. Hope you like them.

Kane

The Library of Kaliklies: The Pool of Ayrthís Blood

Caradul, 17th of Olibares, 99 Last Age

   Itís been three days since Kaliklies, one of the most accomplished monks in the history of the Order of Truth, died. Kaliklies was a mentor to me in my early years in the Order. He said he saw the promise in me and with just a little more work and patience that promise would bloom. While few others had time for me, I was always welcome in the old sageís rooms. With his death, it was natural that I would be selected to catalog his rooms and put his final works in order.

Kaliklies was a prodigy from a very young age. He was the child of devout parents, who kept the spirit of the old, true gods alive in their heart. Weak of body, but strong of mind, he was given over to the Order very early in his life. His early skill in languages impressed even the oldest of the sages. In his life, he mastered over a dozen languages, including several dialects of elthedar. His skills were put to use trying to decipher the secrets of the Time of Years, seeking knowledge that could be put to use to save our people from the Shadow. His discoveries helped to strengthen our defenses and for over a century he was a respected councilor of the Queen.

They say brilliance burns hot, quickly consuming its fuel before fading to embers. It seemed as if Kaliklies had escaped that old axiom, burning brightly for centuries, seemingly immortal. His mind stayed sharp until his body failed him. Seven years ago, he suffered several serious seizures that partially paralyzed his left side.  His speech slurred and his mind seemed to retreat in on itself. He shut himself in with only a single servant, ignoring his peers and former students. A creeping dementia slowly took hold and his mind became as ravaged as his body.

I was saddened as I enter his rooms. Like Kaliklies mind at the end, his rooms were a shambles.  The former order and discipline were gone, with books and scrolls scattered everywhere and stray words and lines drawn on the walls. My task was going to take far longer then I hoped. Before I could even start organizing his papers, his servant handed me a note in the shaky scrawl of the old sage.

ďDelian, My time is short but I am so close to solving the mystery. You, my favored student, must succeed where Iíve failed. Iíve tried to gather the most important pieces for you, they are somewhere on my desk. You and the others may think Iím mad, but there is an important, possibly crucial truth hidden in the myths and legendary sites scattered across Eredane. They exist for a reason, find it and save us.Ē

Quickly moving to the desk, my hopes began to soar; one last gift to the Order from my friend and mentor.  Those hopes were dashed as I scanned the papers in front of me.  Some were crumpled up as if in disgust but maybe a dozen were carefully piled and tied with a ribbon. The papers were bits of legend and descriptions of places scattered across the great continent. I could see no rhyme or reason. On the top of the pile was a page written just days before his death titled the Pool of the Ayrthís Blood.

The Pool of Ayrthís Blood:

The legends of the Halflings and Sarcosans both claim that there is a pool, sheltered in the rolling hills near the Ardune Sea, that weeps with the blood of the Ayrth, turning a deep crimson. According to the tales, the pool weeps when the Ayrth is saddened; when some major disaster occurs. The Free Riders claim that the pool turns red every year on the anniversary of the death of the last true High King. I believe this is the same pool that is mentioned in the writings found at the elthedar ruins at Carchesh. If the pool exists, it is one of perhaps a half dozen similar sites mentioned in our histories, but now lost in time.

Iíve gone through the various histories and books of folklore and included the most relevant. Iíve done some research on where the pool may be located, and Iím convinced that if it still exists itís west southwest of the Sea. Thereís too much traffic to the north and the area to the east and due south were heavily farmed in the Second and early Third Age.  Even with the loss of the great libraries of Erenland, there would be enough surviving documents giving a more exact location if the pool was anywhere but to the southwest. Scouts should focus to the north of the Al-Kadil trade road, staying away from the isolated villages.

If possible, a sample of the water should be obtained when the pool is weeping. The reference from the refugees likely exaggerated the effects, but if even half of what was claimed is true, the restorative properties would be very helpful in treating our wounded. The next time I see the Queen, I will have to ask her for her support. She has always appreciated my efforts and her judgment is not clouded by tradition or closed like those who narrowly focus on the daily reports from the war. Without risk and exploration we are doomed.

Fragment of a Halfling verse:
As a mother cares for a child, so does the land care for us her most favored
The sign of her favor are everywhere, a cool breeze, high grass, and healthy herds
Like a woman, she cries when her children suffer or when she is betrayed
Her tears are the blood of the Aryth
Each time she cries she weakens and the rains slow
The Ayrth, our mother, must be honored
To her, the blood of each new birth, the ashes of those who passed, and our songs
Revere the land, sing to glories of new life and celebrate the fallen
Give our strength back to the land

Kaliklies notes: ďIncomplete, but note the weeping of the pool and the slowing of rains. First link between the Dark Godís draining the Ayrth and the effect on the weather.Ē

Excerpt from ďA Geography of ErenlandĒ 397 Third Age
   ďSouthern Erenland is dominated by the Ardune, a large inland sea fed by the Eren River, countless smaller streams, underground springs, and seasonal rains. Surrounding the Sea are a number of smaller lakes and ponds.  Most, but not all, are connected in some way to the Ardune. One notable exception is a small pond nestled in a vale sheltered by old growth forest and rock escarpments.  The local Sarcosan have named it the Poll of Arythís Blood. The poolís name is derived from a superstitious belief that the pool weeps the bloody tears of the Ayrth during major disasters.

With the help of a seasoned guide, I visited the pool in the late fall. I found nothing mystical, just a well hidden and very serene pond. The only unusual aspects were its depth and the cool, crystal clear quality of the water. The pool is at least six hundred feet deep and could easily exceed a thousand. From its shape, the pool resembles a massive cistern.  It may have started many centuries ago as a fumarole when the region was still volcanically active. Itís likely that sometime in the distant past an underground river or stream broke through the fumarole wall and began to fill the pool with fresh water. The tales of the blood red water may be tied to a natural event, related to its volcanic past, releasing sediment and ash into the pool which temporarily changes it color.

Well off the established roads and trails, the pool is rarely visited. Along its north bank are a few crumbling stones that may once have been a home or a small shrine. The stones have been worn smooth by the elements so itís not clear if they date from the original Dorn settlements or from the fey. The only inhabitants now are the abundant wildlife. My guide and I observed at least a dozen species of birds and animals. We also found tracks of numerous plain cats; so, if you seek the pool, be careful and set an armed camp.Ē

Kaliklies notes: ďsame pool, ruins likely elthedar and used by traveling Halflings and Sarcosans. Origin likely correct, formed at the dawn of Eredane

Torn page from a 67 LA report from the Commander of the Green March Front

More refugees arrive every arc, driven before the orc host or escaped from the slave farms along the Eren River. Unfortunately time has stripped away my compassion and Iíve grown callous to their tales of deprivation and horror. What we get are more hungry mouths to feed and very few strong arms to carry a sword or wield a bow. Some, few, do have skills we can use as carpenters, metal workers, and healers. Those skills are always in high demand as we try to build new homes away from the fighting.

While Iíve learned to ignore most of the faces and their stories, one refugee, a noted healer, stood out. I saw him caring for the wounded, both his own and ours, and could see the strength in him. I sought him out and over a few days, I heard and really listened to his story. After his wife was taken by the legates, he lead most of his village west, trying to escape the Shadowís tithe and find a place to raise their children in safety. They were hunted for days by slavers or other predators, forced well off the roads.

Hungry, with a number of seriously wounded, they worked through the rough terrain until they found a clear, crystal pool. They made a cold camp, trying to keep the wounded warm. In the morning they awoke and watched as the pool changed from clear to blood red. They were scared, but desperately needed water to both drink and to clean the wounds of several people who were feverish; infection was setting in. With no other option he took the wounded close to the pool and bathed their wounds in the red water. Before his eyes the wounds began to close and the skin took on a healthier color. By the end of the day the fever was gone.

With his people healed and slavers still on his trail, they agreed to leave the pool the next morning. When they awoke the pool was crystal clear again.  Whatever had made it red was over. He believed it was a miracle and I believed him. Would that we had such a pool here, to help save my warriors.

Kaliklies notes: ďIt was this note that sparked my memory of something I had read over a century ago. I have had the libraries scoured but still canít find a similar story from the Time of Years that I know exists. My memory is not what it was but I seem to recall there were six such pools.Ē

I sat back and tried to think through what Iíd read.  Kaliklies excitement and evident concern were the only things to give me cause to hope. Three short documents and references to his memories that had to be suspect due to his age and health, gave me little to work with. Kaliklies believed there was something of value in a pool halfway across Eredane in the heart of Shadow controlled territory. Even if the pool existed and had the mystical effects from the reports, the risk was not worth the gain. There had to be something more then just a pool that can occasionally heal.  If Kaliklies was correct, there was something deeper, something more important. If heís right, how can he expect me to find what he couldnít?
« Last Edit: June 29, 2010, 04:57:58 AM by Kane » Logged
arnon
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« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2010, 02:41:53 AM »

Hope you like them.

I do. I do. Smiley

I love this kind of stuff.

Thanks Kane (for this and everything else you're posting).

-arnon
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