Broken Shard Stories
Chains that unleash cannot hope to bind
The Broken Shard seeks to consume the whole
And shadows walk across the face of the sun
Emerge then, from the Conclave’s shelter
And shine again on this blighted land
Translation Notes of the Oracle Dahlia
With the news coming out of the tundra, it seems fairly clear now that the Broken Shard refers to the island of the same name by the Jakei lands, not an object as previously thought by my predecessor. • There is still some ambiguity as to the real meaning of “shine” as the original Fae word also has connotations of cleansing. At the same time, “shadows,” while not inaccurate, does somewhat downplay the implications of the original text which uses the possessive form of the word for reasons I have yet to decipher. Regardless, the instructions here are clear – it is time to end our isolation.
Something terrible has begun to awaken below our monastery. The fishermens’ sightings of walking corpses; the recent murder of a novice acolyte; the constant whispers I hear. These are all connected, and from the ancient texts I have studied I am certain it must be confronted.
My Yeti companion’s tales were remarkably accurate in their description of the Kassyek Monastery’s foundation and tunnels. The horrors his tale described are too similar to the ancient ice statues we found to be a coincidence.
Even contemplating these actions is enough to have me expelled from the Order, and perhaps ostracized from Jakei society. I am certain I will be branded a heretic and insane for what I am about to do, but I have no choice. And although I tremble with fear at what we will find in the deeper tunnels, the very survival of our people is at stake and laws whose origins we no longer recall won’t stop me.
Xulos examined the specimen with great interest. To the fallible gaze of the living, it would appear like just another reanimated corpse, in this case, of a Jakei. But Xulos knew better.
The creature, suspended in a tank filled with crystal clear water, continued to uselessly pound on the thick glass. It had done so ceaselessly since Xulos put it there three weeks ago. The Tortun corsairs who had sold it to a Elsari trader said it had been captured on a northern arctic island. They had been given the usual fee Elsarin paid for undead specimens created by the Strig. Had the corsairs known how special this particular creature was, they could have demanded enough to retire in luxury.
Xulos leaned his head in closer to the tank, hoping against all odds that he had missed something in his previous dozen inspections. Finally, with a sigh, he turned back to his scroll, gently dipped his finger in the bloodwell and began to write.
Not of necrotic origin. Not consistent with any known Strig magical technique. Not consistent with any known technique – magical or otherwise. It is time to organize an expedition to the Isle of the Broken Shard to look for clues.
King Feofil’s fists shook with anger. Inquisitor Isran had never seen the new King so agitated.
“You did what?!”
Inquisitor Isran had faced down demons from lower Sheoul and Serkan’s worst horrors, but nothing could prepare her for the anxiety of having her lord and master’s fury directed squarely at her. Her demeanor did not show it, but she began to wonder if the stress and tension would result in her stomach’s contents being ejected on the King’s new boots.
“I sent the newly-formed Griffin Corp to the Isle of the Broken Shard to assist our Jakei Allies…”
“NO! You sent the King’s new army to the farthest corner of the world, away from the war on our doorsteps, to investigate the mirages in the head of a lunatic Jakei outcast!”
Inquisitor Isran’s heart sank – she had assumed the King would not yet know about Elder Vallassa’s ostracism. She had expected her actions would lead to being stripped of command; now she hoped it wouldn’t also lead her to the gallows.
For several minutes, the King said nothing. Isran dared not look into his face. Instead, she focused her eyes on the tapestry behind the King’s imposing stone throne. The tapestry depicted a sunrise over the Ironfist Mountains – an oddly peaceful scene for a room in which nothing but war was ever discussed.
For several seconds, there was complete silence. Isran realized she was holding her breath, and forced herself to slowly inhale.
“Isran,” the King’s voice was remarkably gentle. “I know Elder Vallassa saved many Ironfist lives during the war on Maljara. I also know that loyalty forged on the battlefield is stronger than steel. It is too late to order our warriors back. For your sake, I hope Vallassa is not insane and that she is right.” His gaze wandered to the far window. “For the sake of our warriors going to the frozen north, I hope she is wrong.”
Lord Randgal slowly ground the blunt tip of his axe into the human’s hand. Like his son, Price Malandur, Lord Randgal routinely tortured his captives. Unlike his son who used torture to obtain information, for Randgal it was merely sport.
The human scout’s eyes, bruised shut from the beating he had endured, could not open. He could not even summon the strength of scream. That’s disappointing, thought the Minotaur monarch.
Lord Randgal pulled his axe up from the blood-covered palm and prepared to finally end the miserable creature’s existence, but the glint of gold caught his eye. The human scout had a trinket in his hand – a medallion he had somehow kept hidden until now.
The Minotaur Lord reached down and picked up the medallion. His eyes opened wide and a huge grin formed on his face.
“Well, if this isn’t my lucky day. Not only will your Ironfist allies be blind to the danger, but I believe I may have found a new friend,” Lord Randgal mumbled in a low voice. The human had already died. For a second time, Lord Randgal felt disappointment. He would have enjoyed seeing the look on the human’s face. What would the scout have looked like if he had lived to realize his final sacrifice was in vain?
The medallion was the unmistakable sigil of a power thought long gone.
“Enjoy your days as the sole master of Sheoul, Maxxarek, because they are numbered.”
From the deck of his galley, Captain Gharzard looked down at shore were the Yeti tribe had decided to make their last stand. It was bad enough that he had to sail into the icy waters of the north in search of the perfection serum, but now this tribe of brutes had fought off his mercenary band for days. One had even wounded the tumor-covered Draksar, with a bolt of ice.
As his ship carefully sailed closer to the shore of the bay, the pulsing Draksar captain lifted his head and began reciting a speech in a booming voice that could be heard for miles. A speech he had rehearsed all morning.
“I am disappointed. I did not seek this fight. It is you who have forced me to resort to violence.
I take no pleasure in striking your warriors down, or seeing my crew injured or killed. But your actions have forced my hand.
Why? Because you are all selfish! You hoard the perfection serum for yourselves!
But I am an honorable captain of the honorable Valdacian navy. And so, although you deserve no mercy for resisting us, I offer you this one chance at life.
Give me the perfection serum, and I'll spare your lives.
Just give me the perfection serum, and I give you my word that you will leave here unharmed.”