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Author Topic: Kaliklies Library - The Oracle of Fears  (Read 1435 times)
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Kane
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« on: August 03, 2010, 05:02:44 AM »

The Oracle of Fears

My enthusiasm for reading the various packets improved with each one I read.  I wasnít convinced that there was any connection; at least not one I could see, but there was something, some quality, which could be of benefit to our cause or at least should be investigated. The next to catch my eye was wrapped with a map of the island of Asmadar. In the old sageís shaky hand was written the title, the Oracle of Fears.

The Witches of the Oracle, author unknown, circa 700 Second Age
   "Asmadar has known many who sought to unite the island under their rule. These men were strong of arm, with warriors that could stretch from the mountains to the sea. All fell before them except the witches of the oracle. No warlord would risk entering their oasis in the aptly named Desert of Tears; afraid to look into the dark waters and see their fate. Better living in hope then knowing with certainty the moment of their deaths.

The witches came from the old lands across the sea, bearing the Font of Fears. They claim that the high priestess of their order looked into the waters and saw that this new land needed the font if some great evil was to be averted. They were among the first to set foot on these shores, claiming the oasis as others sought the greener lands to the west. With their servants and guards they have never numbered more then a few hundred, easily supported by the bounty of the oasis.

The order is led by a high priestess who is blinded so she can tend the font without risking despair and madness from seeing the future. Not able to see the petitioners, she is able to clearly interpret their visions without being influenced by their emotions or appearance. The High Priestesses have provided counsel to kings and beggars, treating each equally. Many petitioners never return home, unable to face what theyíve seen; they retreat into their own minds or simply walk into the desert to die.

The Font of Fears is not more then three feet across, filled with a shallow pool of water. Those looking into the waters swear that they see the future of a single event or person they most fear. Visions can last moments or hours. Few speak of what they see, but those who have confirm that everything they saw came true. Some hope that by seeing the future they can take steps to prevent it or at least diminish its effect. Others hope to prove themselves by facing their fears. None leave the Font of Fears unchanged."

Kaliklies notes: The first good historical record of the Font of Fears. The witches have subtly influenced the course of history. The reference to preventing a great evil may be the rise of the Dark God. I have no doubt that the visions are true; there are too many accounts that support the futures seen in those dark waters. Is there a way to use the Font?  If I looked into it, would I see the end of our race and the Dark Godís ultimate victory?  Would I even have the courage to look?

Note found with the body of Arashan al-Farouq, Sharuun, 514 Third Age
   "My thirst for knowledge and the assurance of what my future held has driven me to where I am now; writing out my final bequests, ready to take my own life. The mistakes were of my own making, putting faith in false friends and believing that there were still men of honor. The only way to save my family and retain what little dignity I still have lies in this small bottle in front of me. Iíve been told it is nearly painless and that I will pass quickly. There is no other option, for I have seen the future with my own eyes.

I knew that there was risk when I was first approached by men offering more then three times my normal fee for the use of my ships and caravans. The gold was buying my silence, but I was not the first to look away when contraband was smuggled into and out of the city. When reports came in of men and women shackled into my wagons, I turned a deaf ear; the money was too good and it was buying a bright, or so I thought future for my family. I was more welcome in court and the major families in Sharuun sought out my company and advice. It could have continued that way, if I hadnít gone to personally review one of Ďmyí cargoes. It was when I saw the children, frightened, hungry, and in chains, that I became aware of how far I had fallen.

I didnít know who to go to for help; who could be trusted. I had spent years trading throughout Asmadar and had heard the tales of the oracle and the witches who tended it. They said that when you look into the oracleís dark waters you see the true future of what you most fear. I was desperate. The elders on Asmadar swore that the oracleís visions were true. Few had the courage to look at their fears and know their fate. I had no choice; I had to know, so I set sail for Asmadar to see my future.

The vision was far worse then I could possibly imagine. What I had allowed to happen led to the death of hundreds all feeding the hunger of the Dark God. I have betrayed my King, my faith, and honor of my family. I canít put right what Iíve done, but I can see that at least some of those who have the blood of innocents on their hands die. Do not seek my family, I have sent them into hiding; not from the high Kingís justice, but from the long arm of those I inadvertently served. Their blood will not stain the altars of the Dark God. To those who serve that foulness, no matter their station, show no mercy. They will show none to you."

Kaliklies notes: Many discount the oracle, believing it takes what already exists in your mind and shapes the images to match your fears. Arashan was a fool and believed he was merely smuggling slaves, not providing sacrifices for the Dark God. From his own hand, he did not know that he was supporting the hidden network of corith forming in southern Erenland. Could he have altered his future?  He obviously believed that nothing he could do could save himself.

The Diary of Councilor Loran, 112 Second Age
   "I was so proud the day Yarrel, my brother, was selected to be an avatar of the Queen. Centuries of loyal service were being rewarded and our family was poised to grow in influence in the court. More importantly, Yarrel would have direct access to the Queen and would be doing critical work for the betterment of our people. I both loved and envied him, wishing I had been chosen in his place.

His time as an avatar changed him. We were still close, but there was a portion of him that was locked away, hidden from me. He could tell me little of what he did or where he travelled. I could usually piece together where heíd been based on the gifts he brought my children.  Yarrel couldnít resist bringing exotic toys or foods home with him. With no children of his own, he doted on mine; always coming to visit as soon as he returned to Caradul.

The last time I saw my brother was four years ago. He took a ship and travelled east, never returning to Erethor. I would get small parcels from Sharuun, Hallisport, and even the dwarven lands. His letters were brief and lacked the warmth and humor I had known since we were children. Something on his trips changed him, for the worse. At the turn of the year, I was notified that my brother was dead; killed in the Icewalls. His body would not be returning, lost in that frozen land.

Even though I knew that it was wrong, I had to know more about where my brother had been and what had changed him. I quietly called in favors and was able to track his movements from the day he left Erethor. He had taken a ship to the island of Asmadar and then found guides to an oasis in the Desert of Tears. There was only one reason he could have gone there, to look into the Font of Fears. The Queen used my brother to see the future of her fears, forcing him to look at the horrors to come. Iím convinced that this is what changed him. Was he afraid to come home knowing what he did or did she prevent him? I canít help thinking that the Queen sent him to his death to prevent others from knowing what he saw."

Kaliklies notes: I should not have this document as many would see it as treasonous. I am now beyond the reach of mortal justice, but you, hopefully, have many years ahead of you. Show this to no one. I believe the Queen sent her avatar to the Oasis of Tears and looked into the Font to see the future of our people.  She changed in the early Second Age, becoming more distant and focused, willing to sacrifice anyone or anything to fight her wars. That she never allowed that avatar to return to Erethor and likely sent him to his death, speaks volumes of how dire the vision was. What other secrets does the Queen keep from us?

I looked over to the fire, thinking of throwing this last entry into its embrace, destroying any evidence that my mentor had begun to doubt the Queen. I stayed my hand as I had doubts of my own. That she would use an avatar to look into our future and then dispose of him without remorse did not surprise me. The Queen has become colder every year, even to her most loyal servants. What did she see? Has she sent others to look into the dark waters? Are we truly doomed or did she see a path that even she fears to tread?
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