The Star-Bathed Chalice

Date: 1/31/2007 at 16:46
From: Anonymous
To : Everyone
Subj: The Star-Bathed Chalice

Rumors began spreading over the countryside as gossips and worrywarts
noticed an inexplicable patch of darkness in the night-time sky,
sometimes linked to stories of a vastly powerful artifact. Though the
tales varied wildly upon the tongue of every teller, all signs pointed
to the Vashnars and a wizard. Many became suspicious of Hycanthus'
continual pacing and muttering, but he remained unhelpful.

Weeks later, a gaggle of young harpies descended upon the mainland,
intent on abducting men of every species and nationality for study and
leisure. Such high-quality specimens as Ta'lionu, Listar, and Tygrin
were stolen away to the harpies' makeshift nest, though they were freed
by fellow citizens in due time. After the last of the harpies' prey was
liberated, the filthy invaders snatched away the wizard Hycanthus.
Seekers of untold power, glory and riches were quick to head to the
abandoned house in the Vashnars.

The shack was left relatively intact by the wizard and his captors -
evidence that he was either caught off guard, or was unable to put up
much of a fight. The only remarkable difference within the abode was the
presence of an enchanted door, blocking entrance to the pool of the
stars. After pushing and pulling was proven to be ineffective, it was
discovered that a simple touch called forth a magically projected voice.

Unable to decipher the words themselves, the treasure hunters were aided
by the self-serving sorceress Cohrati who had also ventured into the
Vashnars in search of Hycanthus' treasure. When her dark magic had
cleared their minds, a second touch to the door revealed a riddle, which
spoke of a beast who once lived in the Morgun forest. It was Janus
Anfini who first figured out that the riddle spoke of Shenebre, one of
the twelve Mejevsavelnel constellations. The group rushed to the Morgun
in search of the collapsed home of Shenebre; although Janus Anfini was
the first to arrive, Rosalind Dark, Karim S. Karamazov, Vasilus and
Feichin were hot on his tail.

The next riddle was revealed upon touching the long collapsed home of
the Beast. A merry chase from riddle to riddle lead the treasure-hunters
from Torston to Lord Rahn's Volcano, the sarcophagus of Sekhet in Lady
Niuri's collapsed temple, and finally back to Hycanthus' home in the
mountains. This time, when the treasure hunters touched the door, a new
riddle was spoken.

Karim was the first to solve the riddle and prove her knowledge of
astronomy, which instantly allowed her passage to the Pool of Stars
behind the shack. Following suit, the remainder of the hunters passed
through the doorway to behold a remarkable, star-bathed chalice. The
chalice could not be moved, yet precious moments later it was found in
Karim's hands.

The chalice sparked into life, drawing on its holder's energy and
creating a column of light that erupted into the sky. Turning the night
sky into a chaotic mass of swirling stars, it became apparent that
Hycanthus' greatest creation was the ability to commune utterly with the
night sky. Part of the cupholder's soul was taken, rearranging the stars
in Karim's image. Much to its creator's dismay, this communal sapped the
magic from the chalice, turning it into but a pretty trophy.

The Tasur'kean scholar now rests eternally over the Spinesreach Citadel,
rising on the fifth of Chakros every year.

Penned by my hand on the 4th of Severin, in the year 208 MA.