Add a Journal
Q & A
Welcome to The Chosen's journals. Each character is invited to keep a
journal and write down the thoughts of their characters as they wander
through Nyternia. In addition, the DM has a journal which highlights
each session. The players are:
Malif's Journal, session #9
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March the Twenty-Second
I found Mother in the inventorying room of the Library, where she often is this time of the week. She was cataloging some sort of academic-looking work. Lots of hand-done drawings of insects. Boring, even for someone with her patience. "We are off on another Belar-decreed adventure, Mother," I told her. "Gems of Power, or some such ruse. They think we could be wandering for a year or more." Mother looked less than pleased, and so I quickly added, "Doesn.t mean we.ll be gone from Pavalar for all that time. I suspect we.ll be run up and down the Land a few times at least." She still didn.t look particularly pleased, but what she did next was intriguing.
"I assumed that soon you would strike out with your friends in search of riches or fame or more arcane knowledge. Heavens know you.ve been talking about it long enough!" She climbed a rolling ladder and reached back into the dusty recesses of the highest shelf in the inventorying room, pulling out a thin leather-bound volume. "Take this to pass the time." She handed it over, and to my surprise, it weighed considerably more than I assumed it would.
She caught the recognition of this fact in my eyes. "The pages are elarium, rare... most rare. Elven vellum of an ancient manufacture. Very thin, very strong, but heavy. The cover is dragonhide -- black, I think -- though only a bookworm like me would ever recognize it as anything more than boot leather." She smiled slightly and leaned closer. "This tome is ten times as strong as your spellbook. Water, fire, acid, these things are not a concern. This book was meant to survive."
"Why? And why are you giving this particular book to me?" I thumbed through the pages. It was true, the pages were as thin as spider web, yet light barely passed through them. A tiny, flowing script in an alphabet I'd never seen -- perhaps one thousand words to a page -- covered both sides of the sheets. They seemed to go on and on, hundreds and hundreds of pages in a book less than an inch thick, though the last hundred or so were blank. "A journal?" I asked.
"A report. The Report of Arduleyl, to be exact. I've only managed to translate a tiny portion of the text. A paragraph takes me a few weeks to decipher, and even then I'm not sure if I've gotten the gist of the author's words. I've used it as a diversion when I get bored, but I want you to have it now -- for the quiet times on your trip. You will do much better at translating than I, Malif. A little bit of the Art correctly applied, and you'll have no problem. Read carefully, though, not quickly. What you are seeing has not been glimpsed by anyone in thousands of years, and it was not meant for human eyes."
"But what is it? Where did you get it? Did you steal it from the Library? Who's had it before you? Who was Arduleyl?"
She laughed as she used to when I was young and I followed her around the Library asking every question that popped into my head.
"Where I got it is not something you need to know right now, and no, I did not steal it, but I did not tell the owner what he held, either. To him, it was a useless curiosity -- more a bit of fanciful artistic scribbling than a book. I knew better, though. In all the Belar's Library, there are less than one hundred tomes made of elarium. Whatever is written on it is invaluable to someone, this much I knew. So, I bought it, and hid it here, where a dusty old book never looks out of place. I'd read a word at a time, and work out the puzzle. It's written in an ancient Elven alphabet, and then encoded according to a very old Elven scheme, one not used for thousands of years. The Belar have a book or two on the method.
"Arduleyl was an 'opalumae'. In Old Elven the word translates literally to 'out-watcher' -- one who watches the world outside the sacred groves that are home to the Elves -- one who sacrifices oneself to provide information and early warning to his clan. Arduleyl was a spy on a suicide mission. The report survived; Arduleyl did not."
Without being able to help myself, I began turning the pages, staring at the perfectly formed and perfectly undecipherable script. "Upon whom did he spy?" I asked, looking up from the book.
"Ah... I knew you would be curious. But the correct question, Malif, is 'Upon whom did she spy?' Arduleyl was a female. It seems Arduleyl had the unusual misfortune of being born with a condition quite rare among Elves. I can imagine that her childhood was miserable, as Elves are among the least tolerant and most bigoted creatures to walk the Land. I can see why she would choose to become an opalumae. She had less to lose than those around her, and the rulers of her clan saw they had a priceless fortune to gain. You see, Malif, Arduleyl was born with the reverse of a condition sometimes found in humans. She was a reverse-albino, dark as night with hair like white gold! No elf, not even her parents, would accept her, but her clan elders would not allow her to be abandoned. They had her raised, taught, trained, indoctrinated with a single purpose: redeem yourself through sacrifice by abandoning the grove, infiltrating and betraying the Great Enemy!"
"They sent her to spy on the Drow!"
"They sent her to become a Drow, Malif. To live among them, rise in
power, and betray them utterly. Read the report. And tell me how well
she did. I'm dying to know."