Friday, September 30, 2011

Parting Ways


Featherune, Veratar

Well, things change fast on Rynaga. Arcan was called out to support a search party. Turns out a family went missing two days ago along the road from Strata to Featherune. Saycia's guild mates arrived and she rode out this morning on an urgent assignment. From the looks of things I'm on my own again, for now.

Before he left, Arcan told me I could stay at his home as long as I wanted and we talked about meeting in Quena weeks from now in hopes of tracking down Dain, another former friend of Solan.

Dain used to live in Grynevia, but recently he and his wife decided to build a house on the western edge of Silentwood forest. Arcan suspects the two visit Quena every now and then for supplies, so tracking them down shouldn't be hard.

Today I'm making some arrangements for travel. Gathering up dried food. Sharpening blades. Packing tools. I took Grimora out for a ride this morning after having her ankle bracers refit. She seemed happy to get out of the stable for a while. I'm sure she'd be glad to know we'll be back on the road soon.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Calling


Featherune, Veratar

Over the past several weeks I’ve made my way from Phaedra north to Strata and then on to my current stop, Featherune. After meeting up Arcan and learning more about the Athite stone, Solan’s final journey the Shrinking Depths and the inscription on the stone itself, I’m convinced an expedition to discover what happened to Solan is in order.

Yet, anything worth doing is difficult. While Arcan believes there may be others willing to help with such an expedition, he says it will be difficult to arrange. As I’ve mentioned before, my goal is to seek out as many of Solan’s friends and allies as possible. Perhaps one or more of them will be open to the idea of an expedition.

I sit now staring out into the morning light, pondering the next road I will take. In the distance, the Andoras Peak towers over the city of Featherune. My thoughts wander.

Like Solan, the early explorers of Earth’s history risked their lives so that we could understand our world more fully. Some never returned home. Others discovered new lands, only to see kings and queens exploit their findings. For Magellan, Leif Ericson and Shackleton exploration was a calling. It still is.

Despite modern misconceptions, exploration is not about thrill-seeking. It’s rooted in ideals such as understanding our ancestors, solving deep geological mysteries and uncovering truths about our planet which can make our lives better.

Sometimes, in waking sleep I imagine I’m standing on a high altitude trail on some fictional world, looking up at a dizzying height. Colleagues pass me on their way up to a dig site where the remnants of an ancient civilization wait to tell their story. The oxygen is thin. My nose is an icicle. With a determined step, I press on.

Perhaps I missed my calling.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Inscriptions, Implications and Intrigue


Featherune, Veratar

To say I’m not intrigued by the inscription on the athite stone in Arcan’s possession would be an understatement. Arcan, Saycia and I discussed the implications of the inscription at length. Arcan is convinced that Solan knew about the engraving, while Saycia is skeptical.

Me, I tend to agree with Arcan. Before his disappearance, Solan had deciphered another message written in Lokma. It is possible he translated the stones inscription as well, but simply kept this fact to himself.

Did Solan enter the Shrinking Depths simply to explore the strange phenomenon there? Did he have inside knowledge as to some plot involving the place? Was he being blackmailed into going there? I think these questions will be answered in time, only if someone were to risk their own well-being to find Solan.

Most here think Solan is dead. Yet, Arcan is not ready to concede this. In fact, Arcan has suggested I go to Serenity and talk with Rea, Solan’s longtime girlfriend. It’s possible she has information we do not. After almost three years with no news of Solan’s whereabouts, she may be ready to share what she knows.

For now, I’ll remain with Arcan for another week or so before deciding my next road. The mystery of Solan’s disappearance has been a topic of much rumor and myth. It feels like we’re starting to unravel something.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Athite Stone


Featherune, Veratar

Not long after I arrived at Arcan’s house the following morning, Arcan’s sister Saycia showed up as well. Saycia is a member of Dark Dawn, a guild committed to deciphering ancient texts and studying cryptology. (At least that’s their stated mission.) After visiting for a while Arcan invited me to stay with him, rather than at the inn downtown.

Now for those of you familiar with the events of Prelude, you’ll remember that Arcan won a lockbox containing a white stone from Solan in a Ruse match. This was shortly before Solan’s disappearance in the Shrinking Depths. Solan had instructed Arcan to sell the stone. Arcan didn't listen.

A day after I arrived at Arcan’s house, he called me into an empty room of his house. From beneath the floor boards he revealed a secret compartment. Within this compartment, wrapped in a blanket was a lockbox. From the lockbox he produced a pearlescent white stone, taking care not to touch it with his bare hands and placing it into a stone bowl.

“You know what this is, don't you?” Arcan asked.

“The stone given to you by Solan before his disappearance,” I answered.

“Indeed. Yet, we’ve learned much about this stone in recent months. We now suspect this stone to be an Athite specimen. Athite is a banned form of radia so we keep the existence of this stone hidden,” explained Arcan. “But, there is something inscribed on the stone,” said Arcan, motioning to his sister.

Saycia produced a magnification lens from her pocket. Holding it up to the stone Arcan pointed to a series of tiny cryptic markings. This inscription is something which Solan had either missed entirely or did not speak of while the stone had been in his possession.

I asked Arcan, “So, what does it say?”

Saycia interrupted, speaking with a wry smile, “It’s an ancient Sarion language called Lokma. When translated it reads: Effect (property) of Voltaire, Shrinking Depths.”

Voltaire? Who is this in reference to? Why are they connected with the Shrinking Depths?

To quote the great Sherlock Holmes, “the game is afoot.”