A studious owl

The earth shakes and the stone breaks. As the Underrealm barrier weakened by the effort of some unknown collaborator working hand in hand with the reviled Tsol’teth, fragments of shattered stone fell across Achaea, empowering denizens and adventurers alike as conflict erupted for control of the remnants.

It shone in the black. A blinding beacon, a light seemingly alone in the night, surrounded by myriad others all adrift in the darkness, all together as one. A single, united whole, its existence determined by the nature of its task, set down in the moment of its creation and imbuement. 

Then from whence came the pressure? At first it was small. Probing. Weak, even. But then it grew. And grew until abruptly, suddenly, there was a mind directing the aberration upon the beacon. A falsehood, a trick. And something was wrong. Something had lessened it, weakened the strength of the beacon, without any noticing. It had come from elsewhere. This was in error. This was not meant to be. 

But it was too late.

The earthquake rocked Sapience, all the more dangerous in how it ranged from no one single point, but from multiple origins all acting in concert. Likewise, the effects of the earthquake were felt across the full span of the continent, a disaster that altered the lives of many. And as the earthquake finally stilled, the ominous absence of aftershocks a palpable one, the first Achaeans stumbled across the quicksilver fragments of shattered stone left behind.

As the first blows were struck in a burgeoning, bloody conflict over possession of the mysterious fragments, information was sought as much or more than the stone shards themselves. Whether it was the agreement struck between Targossas and Zsarachnor, advice sought from Ezekial by Ashtan, or Jirken’s mad experimentation in the depths of Baelgrim, adventurers searched high and low for clues to what had happened, and what might come next.

Hycanthus says, “Have you considered attempting to shatter one? The release of energies would no doubt, if adequately measured, provide all manner of detailed information about their origin and purpose.”

Lyaeus, the travelling bard says, “Why, what would I know? We live in interesting times. Yes, interesting times indeed!”

Apollonia says, “Whence five doth rule, and earth’s bared maw, gapes to consume the mule, all returns to naught.”

A fisherman says, “Look see here, fancy lizard man, I ain’t got time to discuss no weird rocks. If I don’t get my fish, then I don’t eat dinner.”

A crying child exclaims, “I want my mummy back!”

Angela, the Theran mayor says, “No, I’m not interested in handing it over. This might be the key to destroying Tir Murann!”

Zsarachnor, the Vampire Lord says, “A bargain was made. I am nobility, and nobility keeps its word.”

A fishwife says, “The sky is falling, obviously! Now if you’d stop bothering me, I’m going to go and make an offering to the proper God. I just want my family to be safe.”

Yudhishthira says, “Get out.”

Penelope roars fiercely.
A dedicated scribe has suffered the fatal consequences of facing a weretigress in the ritual of the hunt.