Light Returns to the Darkness (Doran)

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Light Returns to the Darkness (Doran)

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Light Returns To The Darkness.
Cylus 7, Arc 721


Eventually Doran had departed the Prime Atheneum for the night but the librarian who had helped do promise that she would keep his study area intact and even add any books she might find during the following trial.

So it was that once he had returned he would find any books he had finished with gone from his research station and any he might still be using were still on his desk. There where two new piles. One pile had a note on it.

“This pile contains legends about the island. A few of them mention this heart but these sources for this subject are secondary at best and in many cases tertiary. Here are what I found in case.”

It was signed by one of the librarians. The other pile had another note. “These titles are random but their authors at least claim to be from either Scalvoris or Faldrass.”

He also saw that a letter had arrived.
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Re: Light Returns to the Darkness (Doran)


Dear Professor Thetys,

It is a pleasure to receive this from you. I must admit to being surprised and delighted when I saw that the Echo Scroll had activated. I believe that I may be able to help you, so I apologise in advance for the length of this letter. I will attempt to clearly and precisely address each issue and question you raise.

I was aware of the Council's situation with Slags Deep - that information arose when I was the Council Member for Welfare. I must admit that I am rather surprised that it has gone on so long - but with everything else which Scalvoris has had to deal with, it has likely not been a priority. I am sure that the Council will deal with it, however, and efficiently.

Now. On to your questions.

I have not come across the name Mrs Violunne Guffone - but it seems rather odd to me. I have read many textbooks, books of legends, stories, and many other kinds. It is most unusual to put the "Mrs" in there. Is that possibly significant? I mention it only in the hope that something may trigger some information.

In terms of the Ice Caves, I can certainly offer more information. My husband was in the University expedition where the Eclipse Portals were discovered and they came across statues made of ice. They were so exquisite that they seemed to be impossibly detailed - even down to being able to see tiny details in the eyes, and a plate of food where each ice pea was individually perfect. There were no tool-marks or scratches and Padraig, my husband, describes them as so lifelike he would not have been surprised had they moved. They also encountered animals made entirely of ice which very much did move.

Watch has been considered a vital part of Scalvoris defence for as far back as I've ever researched. Brandel, the Albarech before Kura, was stationed at Watch for many arcs. He would be a good person to discuss the importance of Watch with, I think. I have never heard of the King of Egilrun - but we did have a situation a few arcs ago where the "Prince of Eternal Mercies" came to Scalvoris, and he murdered my friend - Aeon. The "Prince" was, in fact, an avriel known as Noth. An Inn burned down, and Aeon saved a baby from in there. A group - the Church of Eternal Mercies showed up for a while on Scalvoris but I haven't heard anything of them for a while . That is the only link to Kings / Princes I can think of?

In terms of isledots - that is the word that Scalvoris citizens use for the small islands around the island. Perhaps the iseldot and shrine link is something to do with Immortals Tongue? I know that there were issues there with some archaeological ruins which had been being excavated and everyone there disappeared. My husband was part of the expedition to try and uncover what was going on there, and they found that there was some kind of "war" (not literally, but in terms of balance / influence) going on between Moseke and Lisirra. However, there was a slave left there to die and Padraig brought her home. When they arrived, they had some moss growing on them - and it had been seen on Immortals Tongue. The moss on them seemed to heal their wounds and fend off poisons and disease. On Immortals Tongue, it had demarcated the area and seemed to be serving to hold back Lisirra's influence.

As for Baron von Smooglenuff - Padraig and I attended a "murder mystery dinner" there some arcs ago - Kura was also there. He told us the tale of Enri von Smooglenuff, and how he saved the island. I believe that the Baron was marked by Yvithia - and I know that he had an ailment which left him bound to his home on Faldrass. It is worth to note that there are, most certainly , a series of caves and tunnels underneath the ground in Faldrass. Padraig and I once fell through them. My understanding is that the Baron was the focus of the dark ships in 718, and the aim was to destroy his manor. I dread to think what it is that might happen now that it is gone. He was a good man, there is no doubt.

As for the essence - I believe I may be offer more information - but it may simply be adding to your confusion! There are many many references to four or five elements throughout Scalvoris. There is nowhere else which has such a diverse environment. Consider that Smooglenuff Manor was on the site of Fire. Ishallr is Water. The mountains are Air and Immortals Tongue is Earth - in many of the legends I've read. There are also examples of fire, ice, air and earth animals - Padraig and his companions encountered such in Ishallr - tigers, I believe.

Xiur being a protector of Scalvoris does not surprise me. Padraig is marked by Xiur my personal theory is that Xiur (air), Cassion (earth), Ziell (ice) and U'frek (water) have always watched over Scalvoris. Of course, there is no fire in that, and I wonder if that is why Smooglenuff was so important. The King of Egilrun not being mentioned in all the books is odd. I wonder if it is to do with the Prince? I am concerned for the safety of Egilrun in this situation - Slags' Deep goes down at least seven levels and the anti-magic idea there is quite odd. There is a prison which is full of prisoners - many of whom have significant magical power. But the village around that prison has had a real increase in anti-mage sentiment over the last few arcs. I suspect those two things are linked, quite frankly .

I wonder if the Crown and the Pact are linked to the King of Egilrun, or if they might be separate. When I was researching legends because Padraig had gone missing when he went to the edge of the world - I read about Dianarv Aznat, known as the Pirate King. His ship was The Royal Reaver and his flag was a golden crown on a white field. The Pact is the agreement between the Pirate Lords, I believe, and something must have been agreed for one of them to be the King. Diarnav was the oldest of the pirate lords, but only according to some. The other candidate for that was Araman Musizu, he was known as "The Ageless" and was believed to be a Mortalborn. I read many such legends as that, and he was said to be a Mortalborn of Xiur, Cassion, or U'frek - accounts varied. His ship was The Wicked Reaver and his flag was a smiling skull over crossed bones.

They are the only two Pirate Lords with ships named "The <something> Reaver."

I don't know if any of this is useful to you - please be assured I will provide what help I can from this distance. I am in Desnind and likely to remain here a while.

With all my very best wishes,

Faith.


word count: 1200
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Re: Light Returns to the Darkness (Doran)

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The son of Ziell had spent a considerable amount of time wondering about what he had found out, even after he had returned from the Prime Atheneum late in the evening, and he had worried, slightly, for it seemed to be bigger than he had realized at first. One name especially had occupied his thoughts: Violunne, the author of the book with the star who had written about events that would take place centuries in the future. He felt a strange kind of kinship to the woman that he had never met, for she seemed to possess a connection to both Xiur and Ziell, just like he did.

He thought of her when he returned to the library, immediately after he had finished his classes for the trial and eaten a light meal at the Academy’s cafeteria, about whether her father’s name was more than just coincidence. He was or had been called Richard, just like the man that he had danced with at the Mummer’s Ball in Rharne, the man that had turned out to be Xiur later on. He thought about whether he might be able to find her and talk to her, if she was a Mortalborn, like him – and then he wondered if he was wasting his time, briefly, before he decided that this was too much of a coincidence to not take a closer look.

It would be better to investigate and not find out anything than to overlook an important clue, and ignore a sign from Him, the Immortal that he had attacked on the frozen plains of Oscillus, during the battle at Treid's Tomb, and that he had had vowed to serve for as long as he drew breath.

Once he had deposited his coat in the coatroom, the Mortalborn who was dressed in a comparatively comfortable dark suit – he would likely spend several breaks in the library again – made his way to the statues of Xiur, Ziell, Yvithia and Tried, just like the trial before, in order to honor them before he sent a silent prayer to Daia. For the Mortalborn who had once blamed his father’s kin for all the pain and suffering on Idalos, prayer was never lip service. He truly believed. Hope was not just an illusion, and peace was not just a dream, but possible, perhaps even likely, although he would never just pray and expect the Immortals to provide.

He believed that they were more likely to help those who helped themselves.

For that reason, he approached the desk where he had already been sitting the trial before. When he noticed that the librarian had not only taken the books that he didn’t need anymore away, but also brought him new ones and read her note, a smile flickered across his face. The woman had turned out to be exceptionally helpful, and for that reason, he decided to thank her, provided that she was nearby – he could spare a bit or two; without her, his work would have been much harder – before he turned to look at the letter next to the books.

Upon seeing who it was from, he immediately sat down in order to read it. He had not thought that Faith Augustin would reply so quickly, but he was infinitely glad that she had.

Unlike Faith, he did not think that the fact that Violunne had called herself “Mrs. Guffone” was in any way significant, apart from meaning that she was or had been married.

The mention of the ice statues definitely attracted his attention though, and he leafed through the notes that he had taken the trial before – he had brought his notebook with him, of course. In her book, Violunne had mentioned ice statues that guarded against people finding the way into the “Heart of Scalv”. There were legends surrounding them. Could they be the same statues that Padraig had come across during the expedition?

He had not known that Brandel, Kura Mareth’s predecessor as Albarech, had been stationed at Watch. It would, he decided, be prudent for someone to talk to the man. Before long another name caught his attention though, and the Mortalborn’s eyes widened slightly as he had not expected to ever encounter it again. Noth, the one-winged Avriel that he had once created a magic artifact for, a gauntlet that essentially negated energy and uncast spells, had been on Scalvoris – and murdered one of Faith’s friends. In hindsight, he regretted ever associating with the man, but he would not dwell on his past regrets and mistakes now, when the fate of Scalvoris might be at stake.

It was unlikely that Noth had anything to do with his research, that he constituted another piece of the puzzle that he was trying to put together and that would, hopefully, help Scalvoris and minimize bloodshed in the coming war, or stop it altogether. It was not entirely impossible though, and thus he decided to look into Noth’s activities in Scalvoris later on - if he had time. It seemed a little strange that the name had cropped up now.

The trial before, he had not thought much of the mention of isledots. Reading Faith’s letter changed his mind in that regard though. Immortals Tongue, the archeological ruins and the “war between Moseke and Lisirra were definitely significant – as was Baron Smooglenuff. He had already theorized that the “Heart” or the “Essence” might be located under Faldrass before, but the mention of tunnels and caves and Faith’s conformation that the Baron had indeed been the focus of the attacks in 718 made him more convinced than ever that the man had been guarding something, protecting something.

That would be one of his new research goals that trial, the Mortalborn decided. He would try to figure out why Smooglenuff Manor could have been targeted – and if the Heart or the Essence could indeed be located nearby. He also couldn’t help but wonder what had been in that place before the manor had been built – and why exactly it had been built. There had to be a reason why Smooglenuff’s ancestors had decided to settle down so close to a volcano.

Faith’s connecting the four elements to different locations on Scalvoris was another piece of the puzzle. He just needed to figure out if there was any location that corresponded to the Heart or Spirit (the sources that he had consulted so far were not clear about what exactly the fifth element was). The heart was, usually, located in the center. Was there any place between the four that Faith had mentioned? If he looked at a map and drew lines, would he be able to find what he was looking for where they met? Or was that another folly on his part, and was the Heart located somewhere under Faldrass as he had assumed at first?

But then again, sometimes, it was possible for something to be in two places at the same time - and fulfill two functions ...

Faith also connected the elements to different Immortals, with the exception of fire, though. Did that mean that Baron Smooglenuff, or whatever he had protected, was fire? Was fire on Faldrass or under it? And if the Baron had something to do with fire, who or what was the heart or spirit – or was it an actual spirit? That was another thing that he would look into, he decided – as was the Pact and the Pirate Lords that had agreed on it. Araman Musizu, “The Ageless” was the Pirate Lord that interested him the most, due to his possibly being a Mortalborn – which could mean a link to both one of Scalvoris’ protectors and Violunne herself.

And then he needed to figure out how exactly the Warden fit into everything.

Faith had not been the only one who had replied to him though. Kura Mareth, the Albarech of Scalvoris, had a request for him as well. She wanted him to find out if there were any connections between the Heart and Sweetwine Woods, Faldrass Volcano, Ishallr, The Immortals Tongue and Slag’s Deep itself as there had been incidents at all four of the former locations and the latter was a major concern. Due to what he had read the trial before, he decided to add one more location – the Scalvoris Mountains. That was another research question of his – and the one that he would try to find an answer to before anything else.

And then there was, of course, Violunne herself.

To that end, he planned on trying to find out if the Guffone family or Richard Guffone were mentioned anywhere. Furthermore, there might be some mention of Violunne herself, maybe not by name, in books about Ziell and Xiur – or books about Scalvoris and Viden. He knew approximately when she had written her book – two-hundred arcs before the Pirate Lords had arrived. Sources about events that had taken place in Viden around that time might reveal more – and maybe, there were birth or death records, not necessarily of her, but also of her family.

Perhaps, her name had been shortened in some sources. Perhaps, there was a “V. Guffone”, or, perhaps, her name had been misspelled. Perhaps, there were people with similar names.

Furthermore, he also planned on researching if Xiur had ever created Mortalborn – if Violunne Guffone turned out to be one, perhaps even blessed by Ziell – which was something that he could not stop wondering about - it might be possible to talk to her rather than just reading about her and trying to figure out how she fit into everything. A part of him could not help but hope that he might still be able to find her alive somewhere.

“Who exactly are you, Violunne?” he whispered, in a barely audible tone of voice, and looked at the statue of Xiur, his patron once more, before he finally began to check the books that the librarian had provided him with, in order to bring light into the darkness and find something, anything, that might help Scalvoris in the coming war and give its people hope – or rather, more than he had discovered so far.
Research Questions
1.a. Kura’s request: Are there any connections between the Heart and Sweetwine Woods, Faldrass Volcano, Ishallr, The Immortals Tongue and Slag’s Deep itself?
1.b. Doran’s addition: Are there any connections between the aforementioned and the Scalvoris Mountains?
2. Violunne: Are the Guffone family, including a potential husband, or Richard Guffone mentioned anywhere? Do any sources mention Violunne, or a woman that could be her? Do any sources about Viden, Scalvoris, Xiur or Ziell mention her, or someone like her? Does anybody mention a “V. Guffone”, or someone with a similar sounding name, and did Xiur ever create Mortalborn? Does Xiur have any daughters?
3. The Pact: What exactly did the Pirate Lords agree on? Who were the Pirate Lords, and who was “The Ageless” in particular? Are there any sources that mention his being a Mortalborn?
4. The attack on Smooglenuff Manor in 718: Are there any sources that mention more about why it might have been attacked? Was Baron Smooglenuff guarding or protecting anything? Could the Heart, the Source of the Essence be located somewhere nearby? What existed in that place before Smooglenuff Manor was being built, and why was it built?
5. Heart and Spirit: Could the Heart or Spirit correspond to a location on Scalvoris, an Immortal - or perhaps be an actual spirit?
word count: 1931

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Re: Light Returns to the Darkness (Doran)

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Light Returns To The Darkness.
Cylus 7, Arc 721

The librarian was in the process of working through returning books when he found her to thank her. The woman was actually up on a step ladder in the process of trying to shelf a book. Doran would noticed that the book next to it had tilted so that it filed both books spots at a slanted angle. The spot was just barley within her reach. The middle aged woman smiled at the professor as she worked to get the book in place. For some reason the book in the spot seemed to keep falling back into the way. “I hope that you got some good rest last night.” Finally she set the book she was holding on a shelf and reached up for the other naught book.

As Doran look at the book. The cover had similar letters to common, but the words weren’t in common. Though Doran could tell that while the other books she was working on where ones that he had looked through yesterday this book hadn’t been one of them. The biggest thing to catch his eye was that while it wasn’t exact it looked like one of the words on the cover was very similar to Faldress.

The librarian was talking as she pulled the other book down. “Well that book is particularly naughty. Not only was it hogging two spots it isn’t even in the right spot.” She then sat the book down on her little cart so that he could get a view of the book. The title was simple. “Children’s Tales for Star Gazing.”

“As I mentioned in the note though. You have gone through any of our primary sources on legends about the Heart. Anything else we have on that is at best secondary but most of them are, I heard from my dad who heard from his dad who told me while drunk kind of information.” The librarian smiled at her own joke. “I also haven’t had any luck at finding any other book by Violunne Guffone. She doesn’t seem to have been very prolific of a writer.” She paused and thought for a moment. Then she tapped her chin. “Yes one of my colleges actually suggested a book that might be of uses. Its over in the military section of the library. A book navel sieges. He thought he remembered a section on navel siege of Faldress.”

The librarian motioned for him to follow her and then bustled away as only a librarian can bustle away. She led him to a part of the library that he hadn’t visited a lot on this trip as took them to general navel history. She browsed the book shelf and finally pulled a book off the shelf. “Here it is.” The book was on coastal defenses against navel tactics.

As Doran would begin to delve into that book he would find a section talking about Enri Von Smoglenuff and his defense of Faldrass. While the pirates had control of the main island, they appeared almost fanatical about trying to take the little resort island. Enri seemed to be there to counter them at every attempt to take over the island. As he continued to read though the author, a very dry admiral from ne’haer, mentioned that he wasn’t an expert on the island geography but found it interesting that the pirates seemed to focus their attacks at the docks to the manor and the manor itself, but never really tried to invade through other parts of the island. The admiral came to the conclusion that either that one spot was the only realistic invasion point in which case Baron Erni was a genius. Or if there were other good spots then he was decent but the pirates were just idiots for not attacking else where.

While the book was full of views it was clear that the recent attack was only the latest in centuries of attack on the manor.

word count: 678
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Re: Light Returns to the Darkness (Doran)

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When the Mortalborn found the librarian, she was on a ladder and trying to shelf a book. For that reason, he waited a little bit before he addressed her so as to not scare her and, possibly, cause her to fall off the ladder in the process. As he watched her, he noticed that she seemed to have a trouble with a particular book. It refused to go where it was supposed to go. For just a moment, a smile was visible on his face before his expression abruptly grew more serious again. The poor woman’s book troubles weren’t really anything to be amused about, after all.

“I did, thank you”, he replied in a polite tone of voice when the librarian remarked that she hoped he had gotten some good rest the night before he cast a glance at the disobedient book. The words on the cover, he noticed, were similar to Common, but they weren’t really Common, and what more, he couldn’t remember reading that particular book which made him wonder how it had ended up among his previous reading material. He looked at the statue of Xiur questioningly for a moment and inclined his head, before he focused on the book once more.

One of the words on the cover resembled “Faldress” which caused him to furrow his brow thoughtfully. The title of the other book that had been in the way – “Children’s Tales for Star Gazing” – increased his curiosity further. Faldrass was an important aspect of his research, and Xiur was one of his patrons – and he and the stars that he had ruled over had already played a part several times.

He needed to take a closer look.

“Since the book isn’t in the right spot, anyway, may I borrow it? May I actually borrow both books?” he inquired politely. “I’ll help you figure out where it actually belongs afterwards”, he offered. Provided that she agreed, he would take the books and leaf through them before he turned to look at her once more, attentively. Matters of naval strategy were not entirely foreign to him. A couple of arcs earlier, he had been the ambassador of Etzos in Rynmere, and he had been tasked with meeting with House Gawyne and arranging a navy for Etzos. As he had discovered when he had met his grand-nephew, Caius, Duke Jason Gawyne was a Mortalborn of Ziell, just like he was, but that was beside the point now.

The fact that there had been a naval siege of Faldrass didn’t surprise him, considering what he had learned so far, and he followed the librarian quickly. He had not considered looking in that particular part of the library – he had mostly been focused on history, geography and religion, for obvious reasons. Perhaps, he considered, as he let his gaze drift across the shelf that she had taken him to, he needed to expand his horizon. He needed to move beyond what he was used to and consider other avenues of research.

“Thank you”, he spoke to the librarian when she handed him the book that she had mentioned before he wanted to know, because he couldn’t help but be curious, “By the way, may I ask you what your name is?” She likely already knew who he was – he was a somewhat public figure in Viden due to his inventions and his position as a professor, among other things – and besides, it would be impolite not to ask the woman who had already helped him to such an extent who she was.

Before long, he began to take a look at the book that her colleague had suggested, checking the date it had been published and the name of the author as such things might provide valuable clues before he delved deeper. The pirates, he noticed, seemed to have been almost fanatical about trying to take Faldrass. Unlike the author himself, it didn’t surprise him that they had targeted a specific part of the island.

The admiral had come to the conclusion that Baron Enri Von Smooglenuff had either been a genius, or the pirates had been idiots. There was a third possibility in his opinion though, as he had already theorized before. Baron Enri Von Smooglenuff had protected something or someone, and the pirates had wanted it. He just needed to figure out what exactly it was, if it was the Heart, or perhaps one of the other elements, provided that his assumption was in any way correct.

That was something that would look into more closely, and he would also see if he could find out any more about the attacks on the manor. The admiral had made it clear that the attack that he had mentioned had only been the last. Was there any information on previous attacks?

He pondered that question when something suddenly occurred to him, and his eyes widened in the process. He glanced at the admiral’s book again – and a certain name in particular - before he quickly picked Faith’s letter up and reread it. She had wondered why Violunne had put “Mrs.” in there. She had considered it to be odd. He had not thought much of it when he had first read her letter, but now, he couldn’t help but wonder.

He still believed that his previous theory – that Mrs. Violunne Guffone was a woman that was connected to both Xiur and Ziell, perhaps even Xiur’s Mortalborn daughter – was more likely; but that was no reason to dismiss this new theory right away, no matter how absurd it sounded. Names often held some sort of meaning, but what, if that meaning was not the obvious one? Matters of cryptography eluded him, but he had a decent grasp of onomatology and linguistics nowadays, and he knew that you could form new words by rearranging the letters of an existing word, among other things.

Perhaps, he considered, he was dealing with an anagram.

He began by counting the letters of Violunne’s full name – eighteen – took his pen and opened his notebook before he looked at the admiral’s book yet again. He wrote down the name ENRI VON SMOOGLENUFF and MRS VIOLUNNE GUFFONE and tried to match each and every letter, crossing out the letters that he had already used:

MRS VIOLUNNE GUFFONE

ENRI VON SMOOGLENUFF

ENRI V...N SMOOGLENUFF

ENRI VUN SMOOGLENUFF?


It was a close match, he decided, a very close match, perhaps too close a match for it to be mere coincidence, apart from the fact that he was apparently lacking an “o” and had an “u” too much. Spelling errors were a common occurrence though, and names could change over the course of time. Perhaps … could it be that Enri Von Smooglenuff himself had written the book with the star? What about Violunne’s father though? He had been called Richard. Richard was the name that Xiur had used during the Mummer’s Ball. Was Enri Xiur’s son?

Or was that yet another code?

And what about the husband that Violunne had mentioned in her dedication in the book with the star? Had Enri Von Smooglenuff been married … to a man? He furrowed his brow fractionally as he wondered how much sense that alternative theory of his made yet again. Enri Von Smooglenuff had clearly had descendants, such as the Baron that had died in 720, and he was not sure how likely it was that he had been married to a Becomer like Llyr that could change sex at will – before he decided to ponder the matter of Enri Von Smooglenuff’s potential marriage later. There were more pressing questions right now in his opinion.

Violunne’s book had, as he had already found out the trial before, been written two-hundred arcs before the Pirate Lords had arrived. The Pirate Lords had arrived in 616. The book had to have been written in 416 – or around 416, at least – then. That would be his next research question, he decided. He needed to find out what had happened in Scalvoris in 416, if anything unusual had happened on Faldrass – and if there was any mention of Enri Von (or Vun) Smooglenuff in that regard. The admiral had mentioned previous attacks on Faldrass. Had any attacks or any unusual occurences taken place in 416? Besides that, he would look into Enri’s background – and if there were any links to the Immortals, especially Xiur and Ziell – and take a closer look at “Children’s Tales for Star Gazing” and the book with "Faldress" on the cover, provided that the librarian had given him permission to take that book.

He still hadn’t found an answer to the Albarech’s question either, he realized, and briefly rubbed his forehead before he abruptly straightened himself again and continued his research. His conversation with the librarian and the book that she had given to him had raised an entire series of new question, but in the end, he decided, that was encouraging rather than discouraging. If there were questions, it meant that there was something that could be discovered in his opinion, and he would get to the source, one way or another.

And if he didn’t find anything, or not enough, he would ask the helpful librarian once more, provided that she had time – she might already be annoyed by now – or one of her colleagues, if she was busy. She was not the only one that worked in the Prime Atheneum, after all.

Research Questions
1. When was the admiral’s book written, and what was the admiral’s name?
2. Is there any information on previous attacks on Faldrass/the manor and why those attacks happened?
3. What happened in Scalvoris in 416? Were there any attacks on Faldrass?
4. What did Enri Von (or Vun) Smooglenuff do in 416, and is there any information on his background? Is he linked to the Immortals, especially Xiur and Ziell, in anyway?
5. Leftover research question: Kura’s question regarding connections between the Heart and Sweetwine Woods, Faldrass Volcano, Ishallr, The Immortals Tongue and Slag’s Deep itself.
6. Take a look at "Children’s Tales for Star Gazing" and the "Faldress" book.
word count: 1719

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Re: Light Returns to the Darkness (Doran)

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Light Returns To The Darkness.
Cylus 7, Arc 721


The middle aged woman paused at the question about her name not having realized she hadn’t given it. Actually most people just accepted the librarians as kind of a faceless institution. She smiled at him and said. “I am Delinna.” She said and looked to see if Doran needed anything else before she said “I will be around if you need anything else. This section is on navel endeavors, those shelves over there are about land battles, and those over there are about actual military campaigns. If you want to browse and see if there is anything useful there.” She then turned and bustled away. It was truly impressive the way she could appear busy even while just walking.

There where so many facts and thoughts now dancing around that it was hard to keep all of the questions straight. The Admiral doesn’t give specific arcs for the raids he mentioned but the span of time seems to cover from 408 to 430. The Admiral was one Charles Mosra, and he claimed to be an admiral of Ne’haer. Unlike Violunne as Doreen found upon his return to the navel section of the shelf the admiral had a number of books written about navel warfare. The admiral lived and wrote during the 6th century but he appeared to focus mostly on stuff during the 5th century. Doran would count five books right in a row, ranging from subjects such as the navel battles book he had already taken, to comparisons of different warships of the time to a training manual on navigation using a sexton and compass. The admiral had seemed to have done a very good job with the books and there were all high quality and he apparently believed in maps.

As he continued to browse the navel section he would find other books that talked about raids that took place all over the Scalvoris and on Faldress. The admirals original book seemed to have the most detail but others did talk about a series of raids over the years. It a lot of details were really given but it seemed that part of why the pirates were able to take over was because different people seemed to be taking over different part and then other people would take over. Faldress seemed to be the only part that stayed consistently in the same hands until the exit ring of the Barons line in recent arcs. Most of the authors seemed either not to care about Scalvoris or where more concerned with the great battles of the southern countries. Dismissing them as barbaric raids.

Doran once he moved over to Kura’s question wouldn’t find any direct answers he discovered for two reasons for that. First and foremost was that before the pirates came no one really recorded much on the island. So everything then was at best hearsay. The second was that the pirates actively opposed mapping and recording about the island. Doran found one report that clearly that Rynmere training was being so affected that there was a plan to actually try and kick the pirates out of their strong hold. He actually found their feeble attempts at maps in the invasion sections. One of them were any where near complete. But their half drawn maps made it very clear. Ever place Kura asked about was to be avoided according to the invasion plans. There wasn’t much actual data but the fact was clear people historically avoid those places. Also people tended to avoid settling in those places at least in recent times.

Also as he looked in the books left on his desk earlier he would discover a whole library of legends about each on of those places. The legends where varied and contradictory. But the bulk were about those locations.

Upon picking up the first of the two mysterious books he discovered one huge issues with one. The one that had the name of the volcanic island wasn’t in common. And while it had a similar script Doran couldn’t tell right away what language it was.

Just then he heard the bell rolling that it was the meal hour. The other book he could tell was in common, but was composed of a series of stories. They would take a while to read but with it being the lunch hour it was an ideal time to find groups of his colleges out of their offices and one of them might recognize the language. Choices, choices so much to learn.

word count: 769
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Re: Light Returns to the Darkness (Doran)

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"Thank you, Delinna. Your help is truly invaluable", Doran replied in a polite tone of voice when the librarian explained what kinds of books he would be able to find in the section of the Prime Atheneum that they were currently in in more detail before he watched her take her leave. There was something truly impressive about the way that the middle-aged mortal woman went about her work. She even seemed to be busy when she was just walking. He couldn't help but wonder if she knew that what she had done for him that trial - and what she might still do for him - might help save an entire island.

He decided then and there that he would show his gratitude, with more than just words, when this here was over.

For the time being, he decided to focus on his research again though. There were so many pieces of information that he struggled to keep track of all of them for a moment, but a moment later, he grasped his pen again and started to take notes. Writing what he learned - as well as his thoughts on what he learned and his theories in that regard - would help.

Admiral Mosra, he learned as he read his book, seemed to cover the raids that had taken place from 408 to 430. That meant that the 416th arc that played an important part in the current conflict if there was any truth to his theory had likely been mentioned somewhere - which caused him to return to the naval section and take a look at the rest of his works. There were five books in a row, covering different aspects of naval warfare as well as navigation. Some of his colleagues would without a doubt have dismissed anything pertaining to training and warships as unimportant, but the son of Ziell did not.

Even a book that dealt with a slightly different topic might contain important clues.

He decided to try and find out if the admiral's books said anything about the arc 416, or at least events that had taken place around that time first before he examined the maps, trying to find out if there were any maps that pertained to Scalvoris, Faldrass or Faldress (If there were, he would take a look at them as they might reveal just as much as written words, and in some cases more than them).

He checked the table of the contents and the index, provided that those books had one, first, and if he couldn’t find anything that sounded promising, he would leaf through them. The admiral’s books were of high quality, from what he could tell, so, hopefully they were written in a way that made them easy to use. He did so with the utmost care, despite the urgency of the matter at hand. Books that might be a couple of centuries old deserved to be treated with respect.

Eventually, he decided to continue to browse the naval section though. The admiral’s original book seemed to contain the most detail, but there were others that talked about a series of raids of the course of the arcs. It seemed as if part of the reason for why the pirates had been able to take over had been the constant changes in leadership – which was something that made sense to him. Every leader handled things at least slightly differently, some things got overlooked, secrets were kept, and even in the best case, there was an adjustment period.

Faldrass seemed to have been different in that regard, which made him more concerned than ever about what would happen now that the latest Baron was gone. He didn’t think that he had had children – at least he hadn’t heard of any. The Smooglenuff Barony seemed to play an essential part in this. Why had the people of Scalvoris not done more? Why had they not focused more of their efforts on saving him when the volcano had erupted?

For a moment, he couldn’t help but wonder if people like Balthazar Black who had not exactly impressed him with his common sense were the norm rather than the exception, but a moment later, he decided to focus on his research once more as there was no point in wondering what could have been if things had gone differently. Besides, he hadn’t been there, and thus, making assumptions about the people of Scalvoris might be at least slightly arrogant. Perhaps, he was not dealing with a case of negligence, perhaps those brave souls had done their best, and there had been no other way.

His research might make a difference as far as the future was concerned, provided that he managed to get to the bottom of things, and that was what really mattered right now.

With that thought in mind, he turned to try and answer the Albarech’s question. There were as he discovered, no direct answers, but that did not discourage him in the least. Every little piece of information helped and would bring him a step closer to uncovering the truth in his opinion. Before the pirates had arrived, no one seemed to have recorded much, but there might be people – or beings – who knew, nevertheless, people that were still alive today. And afterwards, the pirates seemed to have been actively opposed to mapping and recording the island – which was another important discovery.

Most of the maps that he managed to find were lacking for that reason, but one thing became clear regardless: All of the places that the Albarech had mentioned were to be avoided according to the invasion plans. People had in fact historically avoided those places and not settled there until recently. That, he decided, would be the next matter that he would look into. He would try and see if he could find out more about why people had avoided those places – and approximately when they had begun settling in them – and why they had done something that stood in contrast to their previous views. Had something changed?

He decided to start with the books that had been left on his desk in that regard. There were varied and contradictory, but that didn’t mean that they didn’t contain a grain of truth. He would compare them and see if they had anything in common, and if certain legends were mentioned more frequently than others (which could be a sign that they were closer to the truth).

Eventually, he turned to the two mysterious books that he had gotten from Delinna again. What he had assumed was simply a spelling error or perhaps a dialect of sorts, wasn’t actually written in Common at all. He was dealing with a different language, a language that used a similar script, but that was different enough from Common that he could not decipher it.

Furrowing his brow slightly as he wondered how he should deal with this new and most likely temporary setback, he glanced at the notes that he had taken again. Enri Von Smooglenuff and his descendants played a central part in this; that much was clear now. He couldn’t help but wonder if Enri had been the first Baron, or if there had been others before him – and why there had always been Smooglenuffs on Faldrass.

That was another matter that he would look into, he decided, although he was not sure how much information the Prime Atheneum would contain in that regard. There was, he realized, only so much he could learn in a library, even if it was the biggest library in the world, but it constituted a perfect starting point, in any case. With that thought in mind, he grasped his pen again and started to list his next set of research questions just as he heard a bell. The sound was so unexpected after what seemed to have been an eternity of silence that he stopped writing quite abruptly, sat up a little straighter and turned his head.

He had considered taking a look at "Children’s Tales for Star Gazing" while he figured out how to go about deciphering the other book, but as he realized that it was apparently already time for lunch, he changed his mind. He didn’t recognize the language that the “Faldress” book was written in, but it looked close enough to Common that he would likely be able to find someone that would help him out, a colleague of his.

He rose from his chair, put his notebook and his pen back into his bookbag – he would not leave such things here, at his desk, even though Delinna would without a doubt do their best to ensure that nothing got stolen – and got the “Faldress” book before he approached the kind librarian once more, provided that she was not doing anything important. “I’ll need to show this book to someone and borrow it for a bit”, he told her in a polite tone of voice. “I’ll be back before long. Could you make sure that the books stay at my table? I haven’t had the opportunity to take a look at all of them yet”, he admitted. Provided that she agreed, he tucked the “Faldress” book into his bookbag where it would be safe, retrieve his coat from the coatroom and be on his way.

He walked relatively quickly towards the tavern near the Academy where his colleagues often met for lunch, where he occasionally ate his lunch as well in fact. There were a group of them, gathered at a table near the entrance. He inclined his head in a greeting before he asked, gesturing at the single empty chair at their table, “Do you mind if I join you, ladies and gentlemen? I am currently working on an important new research project, and one of the books that I have come across is written in a language that I do not understand. I was wondering if one of you could help me out and tell me what it says, especially about Faldress. I will of course reciprocate”, he added. They might be able to help him quite willingly if they learned what exactly he was working on, but he would reciprocate their gift, nevertheless – for time was a gift. Paying for their lunch was the least that he could do for them, provided that they agreed (Some people might refuse, he realized).

He would also order some tea as well as a light meal that would not take a lot of time to make for himself, provided that his colleagues allowed him to join them. It might be his only opportunity to eat something before he continued his research – for he planned on finally reading "Children’s Tales for Star Gazing" when he returned, no matter how this particular meeting turned out, and he didn’t plan on going home until his most pressing questions had been answered.
Doran’s research objectives/questions
1. Check Admiral Morsa’s books – and see if there is anything on the arc 416 in particular. Check the maps.
2. Try to find why people avoided the places that Kura mentioned – and when they first started settling in them – and what changed. Doran will check the legends in the books on his desk first and compare them.
3. Find out if Enri had been the first Baron Smooglenuffs and why there have always bee Smooglenuffs on Faldrass.
4. Ask his colleagues at the tavern if they’d be willing to help him with the “Faldress” book, if they know what it says and if they know which language it has been written in. In exchange, Doran will pay their lunch.
5. When he returns to the Prime Atheneum, Doran will finally take a look at "Children’s Tales for Star Gazing".
word count: 1987

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Re: Light Returns to the Darkness (Doran)

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Light Returns To The Darkness.
Cylus 7, Arc 721


Searching the Admirals books were educational, but not particular helpful on the subjects Doran was looking for. At least not until he came to the navigation book. The admiral was rambling on about how even a slight shift could adjust the position of stars. Frankly while the guy actually was fairly entertaining in his history books. Teaching navigation was clearly not where he had a strong point. As far as Doran could tell the captain was correct, but ehh so boring.

It was during this latest ramble that Doran would notice the Admiral once again say Enri’s name. ”The Baron Enri from Faldrass or Faldress, depending on your accent, was, in my very educated opinion, one of the finest star cartographers I have ever seen. I actually found this small booklet that rambled on about using the charts to find a great treasure. Sadly one of my idiot aids caught my desk on fire while trying to clean my desk. Needless to say I flogged the boy to within an inch of his life, but Baron Enri’s original book went up in smoke. I with much foresight had already transcribed the star maps for this book. Sadly any treasure hunters will have only these clues to work from. Though the star maps are so good that you can find these exact locations with time.” He continued to rambling on about how despite how close there were that the little difference really made a difference.

At the end of the book there was a section of the book held five start maps on them. The admiral was completely serious when he said that he had transcribed the maps. Doran would be able to tell that they were exact copies of the map, but apparently before it had come into the admiral’s hand’s the conner labeling the locations had been taken sliced off.

Once having finished the admiral’s books he turned his focus on the questions about the locations. Faldrass has always had a small settlement, but the actual volcano, well people just avoid them, and based on the other reports he had seen of the recent destructions, peoples hesitation seemed merited. Most of the other locations never really got a settlement even to this day. Slags Deep’s is mentioned but do to its nature as a prison there just isn’t any information in the library.

Delinna was at that time talking with a student about a book that the student had just read. The middle age woman smiled at Doran, and wrapped up her current conversation with student with a expression of appreciation that she had enjoyed the book. Turning her full attention to Doran she listened, and then said. “Since you are a professor I can let you take it out of a couple of trials,” she took the book and looked at it, “but when you find someone please have them come back here to study it. I don’t speak the language but my suspicion is this is a journal and most likely can’t be replaced.” She handed it back.

Doran found some of his fellow professors eating their lunch. They respectfully listened and then actually pointed to another table. “Those are the language professors over there.” Repeating the same question to them the group of professors crowded to see the book. Well all except one who by her age was mostly likely some grade student who was almost done but not quiet. There was some muttering among them self and finally one of them raised his head. “Sarah.” He called. The grade student looked from her food. “Unless we missed our basic this is in Scalveen, and its old. Maybe before the pirates.” There was some laughter at that point, but the young woman almost dived across the table to get a look at the book. “Ehh wipe your hands.” One rather old professor called. The grade student looked with horror at her grease one her hands which were inches from the book, and then made sure they were clean before taking the book. She motioned for Doran to sit by here.

“I am original from Scalvoris, and so speak the language.” She looked the book and then flipped it open and squealed in excitement. Her eyes were wide as she looked at Doran. “You don’t owe me anything. This book proves my theory that Scalveen predates the pirates, and it isn’t some degenerate of common.” She looked it over. “This is the personal memories of Xad Von Smooglenuff, though he as an adult he changed it to Xad Moogle.” She began to read through it. “I actually am having some trouble with some of the words but that just proves how old it is.”

While Doran ate she read, her food having been removed far out of her reach. Her eyes were wide and her mouth grinning. She would pause ever once and a while. “So Xad was one of Enri’s younger children. He grew up on Faldrass, and remembers the manor being built by his father. He says before Baron came to the island it was basically abandoned.” She continued to read. “I wish my dad had been like this. Apparently the baron loved puzzles. He would leave notes for his children using anagrams.” She gave a good chuckle. “Apparently for a few arcs of his childhood, he was convinced there was a monster names Mrs. Guffone hiding in the manor.”

She continued to read but it took her much longer then it did Doran’s lunch. Sarah was more then willing to come with him an read in the library. So the two settled in for the afternoon devouring there books.

Reading Notes
Here is what is found in those books. At this point really there is anything else to be discovered in this library (well on these subjects lol)
Faldress Book
Xad hated living on the island, they rarely left and if they did it was always to placed on the main island itself.
Enri often talked about his father, Xad was never introduced to his grandfather.
There was one time when a family friend Richard, was almost introduced as Enri's father.
The manor was attacked repeatedly, just the manor. People left other parts of the island alone.
Enri REALLY loves puzzles, and spent rediouclus amount of time training his children in them.

Bedtime Stories
Basically it is more of the same as the first book Doran read about keep locations safe. this is just the story version. Though each of the authors of the different stories is another anagram for Enri's name.[sptitle]
word count: 1123
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Re: Light Returns to the Darkness (Doran)

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Admiral Mosra’s books, the Mortalborn decided when he took a closer look at them, were educational, but they weren’t particularly helpful when it came to the subjects that he was trying to find out more about – at least not until he reached the book on navigation. As he read the man’s ramblings about how even a slight shift could adjust the position of the stars, he could not help but furrow his brow slightly and subsequently wonder.

What the man had written about history had been interesting and entertaining, to say the least; teaching navigation on the other hand was very obviously not his strong point. Even he could tell that, and he knew very little about matters of navigation, apart from where navigating the world of dreams was concerned (Which had happened to be one of the topics that Xiur and he had talked about on that fateful evening in Rharne).

He continued looking through that particular book regardless, because it might yet contain some sort of useful information, and because this matter was too important to not pursue every avenue. And then, he noticed Enri’s name again and immediately grasped his pen once more in order to take notes on what the admiral had written about him. He mentioned a treasure. Normally, he didn’t care about treasure particularly – he craved knowledge more than any material goods; knowledge was the one thing that remained after everything had been reduced to dust – but this particular treasure might be of some interest. The mention of Enri being one of the finest star cartographers caught his attention even more than that though.

He had theorized that Mrs. Violunne Guffone was connected to Xiur before he had realized that her name might just be an anagram, that she might even be his patron’s daughter. Perhaps Enri Von Smooglenuff had been connected to Xiur in some way instead?

He thought about that for a bit before he inspected the star maps. The locations on them were not labelled, but someone who was knowledgeable on matters of geography and cartography might be able to figure out where the locations were, regardless. For that reason, he decided to take notes in that regard. He considered his other findings to be more important, but the treasure might merit future investigation regardless in his opinion.

His research into why certain locations on Scalvoris had been avoided, led to results that were somewhat unsatisfactory in his opinion. People had avoided the volcano, which made sense, of course. Slag’s Deep was mentioned as well, but there was not any actual information on it in the library, and there had not been any settlements in most of the other locations. The lack of satisfactory information in that regard did again, not discourage him in the least though. It was a beginning, and he would be able to continue from there.

~~~

When his colleagues listened to him and subsequently directed him to another table, he inclined his head and thanked them before he approached the language professors and repeated his request. Soon, they crowded around the book and muttered among themselves, apart from a young woman who was either a student or a junior professor, judging by her age. He looked at her for a moment and smiled encouragingly at her, in case she was simply shy. He did not say anything in order not to disturb his fellow professors’ concentration though, but waited patiently and quietly, his arms crossed in front of his chest.

When one of them identified the language in the book as Scalveen, he raised an eyebrow fractionally and questioningly. He knew of the language – he had been on Scalvoris before, after all, and he had even heard people speak on occasion while he had been there – but he had not known much about it. He had not known that it was so closely related to Common, at least. The fact that it might even predate the pirates, piqued his curiosity further. When the young woman – Sarah – who had stayed back so far, almost dived for the book and had to be warned about wiping her hands, he could not help but smirk a little.

A few moments later, he took the offered seat next to her. When she informed him that he didn’t owe her anything, he inclined his head in acceptance. “So, just in order to make sure I understand what you said correctly – Scalveen is a language of its own rather than a dialect of Common then?” he inquired. He knew little about Scalveen, having never learned the language, but he possessed some familiarity with matters of linguistics and knew that the difference between a language and a dialect was not always clear. In light of that, he couldn’t help but share her excitement. This was, he decided, an important realization.

When a waitress brought him his food, he started to eat, but most of his attention was on Sarah and what she talked about regardless, and he looked at her regularly, grinning a bit as while because he couldn’t help but find her excitement slightly contagious. Delinna had suspected that the book was a journal. Apparently, he realized, she had been correct. It was a journal – the journal of one of Enri Von Smooglenuff’s children.

A less disciplined man might have been unable to contain his excitement and even have jumped up from his chair upon realizing just how important that book truly was; the son of Ziell did not though. The light grin that he had exchanged with Sarah before returned though. He had already known that Enri Von Smogglenuff played a central role before, of course – Faith had mentioned that he had saved the island, among other things – but up until that point, he had not been aware of the fact that he had actually built the manor.

He could not help but wonder why Xad had changed his name though – and if he might be able to find any information on Xad Moogle. And then there was the fact that Xad had apparently never been introduced to his grandfather, but there had been a family friend named Richard that had almost been introduced as Enri’s father at one point. Was Enri Von Smooglenuff Xiur’s son – and was it possible that he was still alive today somewhere?

His eyes widened slightly as he considered the possible implications of that.

When he asked Sarah if she would be willing to come with him and join him in the Prime Atheneum – Delinna had told him to come back to the library to study the book as it most likely couldn’t be replaced – she was more than willing, and so, they sat down at the table where the rest of his books were still waiting for him, reading, talking and taking notes.

The Mortalborn had already found out several important things during his research session the trial before, but he felt like he had made a real breakthrough now. As Sarah and he devoured book upon book, one thing became clear – the book with the star had indeed been written by Enri Von Smooglenuff who had apparently loved riddles and anagrams, just like “Children’s Tales for Star Gazing". Each of the authors of the latter – that talked about keeping locations safe – turned out to be another anagram for Enri’s name.

When the time for them to part ways finally came, Doran thanked Sarah sincerely – the young woman had been most helpful – and bade her farewell, but not before encouraging her to publish her theory on Scalveen as it seemed as if it might be of considerable importance in the field of linguistics. Having done that, he approached Delinna in order to exchange a few more words with her – and tell her that he appreciated her help once more – and then he made his way back to his apartment in the Obsidian Prism.

He did not spend the evening relaxing though – although he did enjoy the dinner that his mortal cook had made for him – but retreated into his study, to organize the notes that he had made that trial and ponder his findings – and the new questions that had arisen from them. He did not go to bed until very late in the evening, looking out of the window and at Xiur’s stars that shone brightly in the sky before he finally fell into a deep sleep – only to continue his research, as soon as he had finished his classes at the Academy the following trial.
word count: 1438

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Re: Light Returns to the Darkness (Doran)

Your Review
Doran

Overview

Research threads are a difficult one to keep entertaining, but you not only made it enjoyable to made it look easy. I loved how you included the world and environment around you to include those little things that make relatable, and they way his train of thoughts explored things was fun and believable. Thank you for the journey through Viden’s library

Points

XP: 15
Renown: 5

Loot

IC: Copies of Start Charts

Knowledge

Skills: Appropriate to level

Knowledge
Linguistics (Scalveen): A separate Language from common.
Linguistics (Scalveen): Modern scalveen influenced by pirate occupation.
Investigation: Telling the local Librarian what specifically you are looking for.
Investigation: When you find a good source checking out similar sources.
Investigation: Pulling and outside expert when you don’t know the language.
Research: Names, spelling, and even languages change over time.
Detection: Sometimes the information is actually a riddle.
Navigation: The basics to reading a star map.

Non-Skill knowledge
- Xad was the family black sheep and left them
- Xad Changed his name because he felt "Smooglenuff" sounds like some type of exotic pillow



If you have any questions or concerns regarding this review - drop me a PM.
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