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Author Topic: Kaliklies Library - The Bloodstone  (Read 1595 times)
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Kane
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« on: August 17, 2010, 04:54:09 AM »

Kaliklies Library - The Bloodstone

The unread pile of packets before me was dwindling rapidly and I was no closer to finding a link between them. With just a handful left, I was praying that I would find one that would magically clear the fog from my mind and show me the answer I was looking for. Scanning the remaining titles, I chose the somewhat ominous one labeled the Bloodstone. On the top was a short note from my former mentor.

The Aruun is one of the least explored and most dangerous parts of our realm. Even without the threat of the Shadow, our people have been fighting and dying to contain the evils that shelter in this ancient and fetid jungle. In my youth I spent many years with the demon hunters seeking access to Ibon-sul and the other elthedar ruins. During that time, I had heard stories of the Bloodstone and its seductive powers. I had forgotten those tales until I started my current line of research. I’m not sure it’s connected to the other sites I’ve found, but something, at the back of my mind, says we should seek it out, that it may answer at least part of this riddle.

Extract from the History of the Doomed City of Ibon-Sul, 2479 First Age

“As the city began to fall into depravity, a number of cults formed; worshipping demons, practicing foul necromantic arts, and praying to false idols. All offered access to pleasure and power but at great cost. With the destruction of the city and the danger of accessing the ruins, our knowledge of these cults is limited, but the reach of one cult was so long that it spread its terror across the Aruun. That cult, the cult of the Bloodstone, was put down only at a great cost in lives.

Details about the cult are few, but every reference claims that they worshipped a large green stone of unknown origin that had veins of red running throughout it. According to legend, the red veins in the stone would expand or contract based on the amount of blood that was poured over it.  Once bathed in blood, the stone would pulse with power allowing rituals of phenomenal power. With the power of the stone, the priests of the cult were unmatched in the Aruun. They dictated who would live or die. It took the combined might of several cities outside the Aruun to final vanquish the cult.

There is no surviving reference of what became of the Bloodstone. The Danisil believe that the stone was either destroyed or is no longer in Ibon-Sul. If it still existed, they believe that the demons would use its power to try to break the wards around the city.”

Kaliklies notes: The author alludes to sources that I could not find, but I do not doubt its accuracy.  The book is considered the authoritative history of Ibon-Sul. The critical point of this account is the power provided by the stone in return for blood. In many ways the Bloodstone is similar to the coriths of the Order of Shadow, but instead of giving nothing to its worshipers, the stone strengthens its priests, but at a terrible cost in lives.

The Garran Scourge, 4395 First Age

“The savagery during the initial battles against the dorn caught our people unprepared. The dorn were born and bred to be warriors and raiders. In combat they neither gave nor expected quarter. Villages near the southern and central borders of Erethor were attacked and razed. Our lack of preparation and scant reserves in the first days of the wars forced villages to stand alone against the dorn assault. Those were dark days.

The greatest excesses occurred in the Aruun. The dorn warlord Garren led his reavers deep into the jungle, overpowering the scattered villages and demon hunters. Garren wielded a blade of flame that easily penetrated every ward and glamour. His power came from a large stone that he had carried with him. The stone was green and red and required four men to carry it. After every battle he took our wounded and any other captives and sacrificed them atop the stone, letting their blood flow over it. The stone absorbed the blood and pulsed with a raw power that somehow strengthened Garren and his warriors.

After blunting the dorn assault further north, the Queen was able to send more warriors into the Aruun to face the threat posed by the dorn warlord. Villages in his path were evacuated and the Queen’s army, led by seasoned Danisil scouts, harried Garren’s raiders but refused to engage, preferring to give ground, drawing Garren further into the jungle and weakening the power he gained from the stone. As his power waned, Garren began to sacrifice his own wounded to the stone. Only the strongest of his warriors were spared.

With Gerren’s warband weakened by our raids and his callous sacrificing of his own wounded, our army decided it was time they stood their ground and gave battle.  As our army attacked, Gerren turned and slew the four warriors carrying the stone, bathing the stone in their blood. As our warriors charged toward Gerren, the jungle came alive, the plants growing thorns and rending through armor seeking flesh and blood. All order broke down as an uncontrollable fury swept through the warriors on both sides. The battleground became a slaughterhouse; hundreds died in just minutes. In the end only a score of the Queen’s army survived. Gerren’s body was found in pieces that were left for the scavengers; he did not deserve a proper burial. The strange stone was never found.”

Kaliklies notes: From the descriptions, it’s likely they this account refers to the same stone. The account clearly shows the link between blood and the power of the stone, but also adds two new elements. The first was the rage that took control of both our army and the reavers. The stone may be able to influence those close to it. The second was the stone’s ability to take control and forcibly change the surrounding vegetation. The stone seeks carnage and has the ability to defend itself. Is the stone somehow alive? Was Gerren ever the master of the stone or was he its puppet?

Report from the Druid’s Swamp 99 Last Age

“With the Shadow preparing another offensive against our stronghold at Three Oaks, there was concern over a large army forming near Cambriel under the aegis of the Night King Sunulael. While we believe this army will move north, additional patrols were sent to the borders of the great swamp to ensure the army would not move west. Besides some minor skirmishes, the patrols found no sign of any significant preparations for an assault into the swamp.

There was one incident that I believe merits your attention. One of our larger patrols was sent to extreme southern edge of the swamp where it slowly merges with the Aruun. The patrol was harassed by Tuk, which are fairly common in that area. As the patrol pushed further south the harassment became an assault with dozens if not hundreds of the vermin attacking in waves, trying to wear down the patrol and exhaust their supply of arrows. The Tuk usually retreat and stay at a distance, not willing to risk a close fight. These Tuk attempted to swarm over the patrol and didn’t care how many of their number died.

With most of his patrol blooded by the assault, the patrol leader ordered a withdrawal, hoping the Tuk wouldn’t follow.  The Tuk pursued for three days trying to separate warriors from the patrol. There was no rest, the Tuk were able to draw on a seemingly limitless reserves. Only the arrival of a large relief party, almost sixty warriors, forced the Tuk to withdraw. I am sorry to report that seven members of the original patrol were unaccounted for and were probably captured by the Tuk.

After personally talking to each of the survivors of the first patrol, I believe that several tribes of Tuk have united under a single strong leader. That leader has been able to forge the tribes into one fighting force that is willing to fight to protect their territory. Their tactics have changed as well, as evidenced by the attacks in waves and their willingness to engage in close combat. The patrol leader is convinced that they only survived as the Tuk wanted them alive and tried time and again to isolate individual members of the patrol so they could be captured. Several of the Tuk were also able to control the nearby vegetation, creating barriers of thorns and grasping vines. It is not clear where they’re getting their new found power.

I’ve set up watchposts along the southern borders of the swamp. I’d like to know more about what has united the Tuk, but with the Shadow’s current offensive, I don’t have the warriors to spare. If there’s any change I’ll alert you.”

Kaliklies notes: I almost passed over this note as the Tuk are usually beneath my notice. It wasn’t until I read about their new found ability to control plants and their desire to take our warriors alive that I thought of the Bloodstone. The evidence is scant, but I believe the Tuk are using or are being used by the Bloodstone. The Tuk’s fierce resistance was likely due to how close our patrol came to the stone’s resting place. The stone is dangerous and should be destroyed or hidden to keep it out of the Shadow’s hands. 

I was not as convinced as my mentor that the last report was related to the Bloodstone. Kaliklies had three documents separated by thousands of years. Why were there no reports of such a powerful artifact in the Second and Third Age? Had it truly laid dormant for that long? I believe the stone was destroyed or lost in the First Age and the fight against the Tuk was an aberration. There are many strange things in the Aruun. It’s just as likely that one of the minor demons has forced the Tuk tribes to unite. It was interesting reading but not worth further research.
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