"WHAT? BY THE EIGHT GREAT ONES, I... I SUPPOSE I COULD SPEAK A BIT MORE SOFTLY, YES. THIS IS HIGHLY IRREGULAR, PEOPLE REQUESTING THINGS WITHOUT GOING THROUGH THE MEDIATOR. IS THIS HOW IT'S GOING TO BE FROM NOW ON? CHAOTIC INTRUSIONS BY PEOPLE WITHOUT THE PROPER DECORUM TO DO THINGS CORRECTLY? WHEN THE ORDER WAS STILL HERE WE HAD...WELL, ORDER! SEEMS LIKE I HAVE TO EXPLAIN THE RULES AGAIN EACH TIME I'M AWAKENED." The head has reduced its volume to a dull roar, but still much too loud for a conversation within these confines. You're just grateful that whatever it is that keeps the conversation private also keeps its voice from echoing off the walls of the place.
Please forgive our ignorance. The world is not as it once was. Much has been forgotten and lost. We are ignorant of the protocols and rules necessary access your knowledge, due to the oppression of humans everywhere and all that is not Baal. Is this the Sanctum of Mimir?
My words are respectful, yet filled with wonder at that potential treasure trove to be unlocked.
Grand Archive, I have five questions whose answers would do much to remove the shroud of ignorance. First, would it be possible to move the Grand Archive to a new location, one housing those dedicated to the preservation and guardianship of knowledge? Second, if it is possible to move the Grand Archive, how would this be accomplished? Third, is there any record within the repository that can explain human flight to these dwarven lands? If so, what happened? Fifth and finally, where lies Fardusk?
The entire time my voice is even and measured, filled with respect.
"YES, WELL...LET US TAKE THEM IN THE ORDER ASKED. FIRST, MOVING WOULD THEORETICALLY BE POSSIBLE. HOWEVER, I AM CARVED FROM A STONE OF PRODIGIOUS WEIGHT. IT WOULD TAKE ROPES, PULLEYS, A MIGHTILY REINFORCED WAGON, AND MANY MEN AND BEASTS OF BURDEN. THE TASK WOULD BE ARDUOUS. HOWEVER, SUFFICIENTLY POWERFUL MAGICS WOULD ALSO SUFFICE."
"THE SECOND QUESTION CANNOT BE ANSWERED AS ASKED, BECAUSE IT STEMS FROM A FALSE PREMISE. HUMANS DID NOT FLEE HERE; THEY HAVE ALWAYS LIVED HERE, AS HAVE THE DWARVES. TWIN KINGS RULED KINGDOMS BOTH NORTH AND SOUTH. THE DWARVES LIVED IN THEIR FORTRESSES IN THE MOUNTAINS AND BENEATH THE EARTH, FREE AND EQUAL. WITH THE PASSING OF KING JORIN, THE DWARVEN KINGS ASSUMED REGENCY UNTIL SUCH TIME AS A NEW KING WAS CROWNED."
"ULTIMATELY, THIS NAME 'FARDUSK' IS NOT KNOWN TO THE ARCHIVE. I SHALL CONSULT... FARDUSK IS A CITY THAT LIES LEAGUES TO THE WEST, BEYOND AN INLAND SEA FED BY A GREAT GLACIER. IT LIES ATOP THE RUINS OF WHAT WAS ONCE THE WESTERNMOST SETTLEMENT IN JORIN'S LANDS."
"THEY WERE TRAVELERS THAT CAME UPON THIS PLACE BY CHANCE, MUCH LIKE YOU IF I AM NOT MISTAKEN. THEY ASKED MANY QUESTIONS, SOME OF WHICH I NEEDED TO COMMUNE TO ANSWER. THEY ASKED FOR THE IDENTITY OF THE MURDERER OF THE SON OF THANE IRONFIST OF DUNSHALE. THEY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT TIME, WHICH I HAVE LITTLE CONCEPT OF WHERE IT PERTAINS TO ME. I COULD ONLY CONJECTURE I HAVE SAT HERE UNNEEDED FOR A GREAT WHILE...LONG ENOUGH FOR THE UNATTENDED LIBRARY HERE TO FALL INTO DECAY FROM DISUSE AND NEGLECT. THEY ALSO ASKED ABOUT MOVING ME, OR AT LEAST RESTORING THE KNOWLEDGE I HOLD TO WRITTEN WORKS. ONE ASKED WHETHER THE DWARVES' ORDER OF THE FLAME HAD SENT ASSAILANTS TO KILL THEM. FINALLY, ANOTHER ASKED WHERE THE CLOSEST LIVING DESCENDENT OF THOSE WHO CARED FOR THE ARCHIVE COULD BE FOUND."
My eyes open wide in surprise at the revelations provided by the Grand Archive.
I thank you for the information Grand Archive, but alas they have lead to the necessity of more questions. To move the grand archive, would it have to be the whole of the stone from which you are carved? Or would there be a smaller portion that could be taken and moved to a new location without causing the archive to deteriorate as the library? Perhaps maybe even transfering the Grand Archive into a temporary living vessel within which to be transported to the new location and then transferred into another more suitable housing? Who is and where does the closest living descendent of King Jorin reside? Is there some physical proof of this? Are the dwarves aware of the descendents existence? What exactly happened to the world that has resulted in it being the way it is now?
"WHAT?! WHAT SORT OF QUESTION IS THAT? IF ONE WERE TO, SAY, SEVER YOUR LEG AND TAKE IT TO ANOTHER VALE IN THESE MOUNTAINS, WOULD IT BE SAID THAT YOU HAD MOVED TO THE NEXT VALLEY? NO. THE ESSENCE OF WHO I ONCE WAS AND WHAT I NOW AM ARE INFUSED IN THE STONE. IF ONE WERE TO FIND A TALENTED WIZARD KNOWLEDGEABLE IN SUCH ARTS, I SUPPOSE SUCH A TRANSFER AS YOU SUGGEST COULD BE POSSIBLE. THERE ARE MANY TREATISES ON THE THEORY BEHIND IT..." At this point the Grand Archive begins quoting obtuse magical academia from some of the various works contained in its memory, until you are able to assure him you know of no wizards capable of such a feat and that it should move on to your other questions.
"YOU SHALL HAVE TO ASK AGAIN LATER. BETWEEN YOU AND THE OTHERS THAT CAME BEFORE I HAVE EXHAUSTED MY ABILITIES TO CONTACT THE POWERS WHICH PROVIDE MY INFORMATION. HAD YOU BEEN STUDENTS OF THE ORDER, YOU WOULD REALIZE THAT SUCH POWER IS LIMITED, IN ORDER FOR YOU TO NOT RELY ON SUCH SOURCES. RESEARCH, YOUNG ONE, AND EXPERIENCE ARE THE PUREST SOURCES FROM WHICH TO QUENCH THE THIRST FOR KNOWLEDGE. IF YOUR QUESTIONS CANNOT BE ANSWERED IN A MOON'S TIME, YOU MAY RETURN AND I SHALL HAVE THE ABILITY TO PUT YOUR QUERY TO THE POWERS ONCE AGAIN"
"I CAN, HOWEVER, PUT FORTH SOME CONJECTURE. IT IS POSSIBLE THAT THE DWARVES WOULD BE ABLE TO IDENTIFY A DESCENDENT OF JORIN. IN AGES PAST, THE FIRST KING, ARGENTUS, MARRIED THE DAUGHTER OF THE WINGED PRINCE OF HIGH JANKAL. THE PRINCE WAS BORN OF THE UNION OF MORTAL AND ANGEL. THUS HIS PROGENY CARRY THE BLESSED BLOOD OF THE HEAVENS. LATER GENERATIONS MIGHT SHOW SIGNS, DILUTED THOUGH THE BLOODLINE MIGHT BE. DWARVES ARE KNOWN FOR THEIR FOLLOWING OF AND ADHERENCE TO THE FAMILY LINE. IF THEY ARE UNABLE TO TRACE THE LINEAGE, THEY WOULD KNOW OF THE SIGNS OF CELESTIAL BLOOD AND USE THAT AS A MARKER THAT AN INDIVIDUAL MIGHT CARRY THE ROYAL BLOOD."
"TO YOUR FINAL QUESTION, AGAIN I AM BLINDED BY MY INABILITY TO PERCEIVE THE PASSAGE OF TIME AS YOU DO. I DO NOT KNOW THE WORLD AS IT IS, SO I HAVE NO COMPARISON TO THE WORLD THAT WAS. AGAIN, I MUST MERELY SPECULATE. THERE WAS A GREAT WAR, SPANNING THE WORLD. DURING THAT WAR, DARK POWERS WERE BROUGHT INTO PLAY. ON THE SIDE OF THE ENEMY, THE DEMONIC FORCES OF THE ABYSS WERE UNLEASHED. WHEN THE TWIN KINGS FELL, THE LORDS OF THE LAND SUCCUMBED TO TEMPTATION AND SUMMONED DARK FORCES OF THEIR OWN TO COMBAT THE THREAT. THE TWO THREATENED TO TEAR THE WORLD ASUNDER. IT WAS THEN THAT BAAL LAID DOWN THE INTERDICTION, CUTTING OFF ALL ACCESS TO THE LOWER PLANES AND STOPPING THE FLOOD OF EVIL INTO THE WORLD, SAVING IT. ANYTHING THAT HAS HAPPENED SINCE IS LIKELY A RESULT OF THE INFLUX BEFORE THE INTERDICTION WAS LAID DOWN."
Thank you Grand Archive. It is my hope to move you to another location. Knowing what it entails now, though the task will be difficult in the extreme, I would see it done, so long as no undue harm or destruction were to befall you.
I reach into a pouch within my shirt, pulling forth the key that the Baron gifted me, One last question Grand Archive. Would you be able to provide some insight into the purpose of this key? It was a gift granted to me, said to be the key to the Sanctum of Mimir. This is the Grand Archive, but what of the Sanctum?
"THE GRAND ARCHIVE LIES WITHIN THE SANCTUM. KEYS OF THAT SORT OPENED ALL DOORS WITHIN THE COMPLEX, EXCEPT THOSE ONLY FOR THE EYES OF THE GRAND ARCHIVIST. SADLY, THE RUIN OF THE PLACE HAS CUT OFF ACCESS TO THE OTHER AREAS."
True to its statement, there are archways that once led from this room, now choked off with fallen stone.
So, there is more, just...unavailable at this time. You have my thanks for answering our questions.
I bow and then step from the circle. Looking to Auric, Jon, William, and Kalaya, This is a truly magnificent find. I will have to consult with the members of my Order about the possibility of moving the Archive. This has been atruly magnificent find.
I then gesture to the rubble, I would be remiss if I did not at least try to see if there were not some way to clear a small passage through the rubble. However, though I am lacking in knowledge with regards to tunneling and stonework, I would also be remiss if I did not consult with others who may have knowledge I do not. If any of you know anything of tunneling, looking at the fallen rubble blocking the rest of the Sanctum, does there exist the likelihood of working some of the rubble free and creating an opening?
As it becomes apparent that we all lack knowledge of stonework, I sigh before saying, It seems the rest of the rest of the Sanctum shall have to wait for another day before uncovering, at least as things sit now, what other items of antiquity have been forgotten. I'm not sure there is much more to explore, it won't hurt to look I'm sure. However, it may be better to return to more civilized accommodations for the remainder of the winter. I am truly sorry that there was not more.
"It's not like you could have known. And we did meet a giant talking head, which is not at all what any of us expected. Do you all want to take a quick look down the other passage there or should we just head back?"
The other passage takes the group to a cathedral-like cavern, long, narrow, and tall. Shafts of light from above indicate exits to the outside somewhere above. The floor is coated with guano, some of it lying in heaps and piles about the place. Lying on the floor near the center of the cave you find the mostly skeletal remains of a great bat, about the size of a pony.
Jon is fairly sure these are the remains of a dire bat. Judging by the state of the remains, the fire beetles picked over it well before they died, leaving the rest to the smaller regular inhabitants of the cave. From the amount of guano here, there were probably several roosting in this cave at one time.
He recalls that the nocturne have an affinity for bats, and often use these giants to ride when carrying out raids on other humanoids.
Auric fans the air in front if his face, grimacing with disgust.
"Ugh. The beauty of the natural world."
Nonetheless, he paces the hall, searching for other entrances or exits.
Perception: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (8) + 3 = 11
While you can hear the twittering and squeaks of bats above, there is no sign of any more of these giants lurking about. While they may have roosted here once, that no longer seems to be the case. Perhaps they left with any nocturne that survived the attack which killed the ones back in the other room.
The party takes turns peering down the shaft, but sees nothing out of the ordinary. Gendo is sure that if the group was capable of descending they would find another cave, but cannot make out any significant details with the limited field of view.
In a hesitant voice, I would not wish for you to be placed in danger.
My voice becoming more certain, We know there is another cavern, but not what lies below. It could be more bats - large and small or quite possibly where the beatles are nesting. As much as I'd like to know, I do not believe the risks are worthwhile at this time. Better we explore the rest of this cavern and see if there are any other passages, leading off of this cavern.