A journey into Darkness - The Creation of The Null Staff
A journey into Darkness - The Creation of The Null Staff
By Emilia Birdsong
Late in the winter of the year 1396, a group ventured out on a important mission, to create a tool to battle the darkness to come. Lead by Ignatius Pike, House Magician of House Eagleguard, a group of selected adventurers, battletested and determined to see their mission through, whatever the costs. They travelled to the shadow ravaged ruins of Tilverton, and close to a tavern once dedicated to Selune, Pike opened a portal to The Shadowrealm. Each participant on the mission had a purpose, and had been selected due to their different abilities. A paladin of Mystra, was to assist in the creation of the Null staff. Retainer Barrett of House Hardcastle, because he had prior and vast knowledge of how the shadowrealm functioned. Gherren and Syra, two of the greatest warriors of their time, were in charge of protection. As was Thifur Thunderhammer, and Toman Hull, both powerful priests, and Gabrielle of The Knights Solar. And I, Emilia Birdsong, was invited to record, and ensure that the story was never lost to the passing of time.
To whomever might read this, you should know that the Realm of Shadow, is a weird place. Every part of it, is made of a shadowy substance. The land, seems to try and kill any life it can, with winds of negative energy. It is cold, barren, I saw no trees, no life except that of shadow and death. It is a sin to create light within the lands, a crime punishable by death to any who do. Shadow Jinns, or Janns, travel the lands, as do many forms of undeath. The creatures can sense warmth, sense life, and insulation, as we discovered, holds the body warm, so it might not be the best use of a spell. Because of its unique landscap, the surface is very slippery, making it impossible to climb. Levitation and flying spells are the most used form of transportation in the realm itself.
We stepped through the portal, and were soon greeted by first a shadowwrath, a construct of shadow illusions. It was send as a messnger, of which we later learned was a Mimir, a bodiless floating head, said to function as guides and messengers. The Mimir had been hired by an unknown patron, to ensure our mission was a success. And so, with our guide, we travelled through the shadow lands. The Mimir warned us, that we had entered the realm of Alaha, an ancient and very powerful shadow dragon, and that if not careful, we would be accosted by its minions. We continued on, and were befallen by Nighthaunts, a very powerful mix of shadow and death, and lost to the first attack Gabrielle, and to the second attack we lost retainer Barrett. The battle was fierce, as the brave companions used spells of holy power to fight their way through, swords blessed by divine light, and I even used a Harp to create magical sunlight once or twice, but it was not enough to spare the lives of our companions.
But all were warned of the danger, that if we should perish, we would not be able to return to the lands of the living, for such is the terms for mortals travelling the shadow lands. As we travelled, the Mimir informed us that it had previously seen the creation of a similar staff by the Empire of Loross. It also informed us, that the Empire had once held a city in the shadow lands, and that they had brokered a peace with Alaha the shadow dragon. Using cold magic to conceal our steps, and hide our body warmth from the many shadows that sought to slay us, we journeyed on, mourning in silence the death of our comrades.
We continued on, and were attacked by the most powerful form of shadows I have ever in my travels encountered. A shadow Lord, lead the attack, and despite a terribly dangerous and hard battle, the companions using all their might and all their prowess, first fell Syra, and shortly after Gherren, taking with him in death the shadow lord. The Mimir informed us that with the death of Alaha's lieutenant, others would be more cautious of approaching us.
We found an even ground useful for the ritual, and myself, Toman and Thifur stood guard, as Maria and Pike began the ritual. Here, we were approached by another resident, who said it would ward us against scrying from the dragon, in return for a favor. Not wanting to fight a dragon, we agreed to help it remove a rival at a later date. The shadow entity cloaked us, and the ritual began.
To protect the knowledge of the ritual itself, such shall be recorded in secret, and stored away from any who would think that to replicate it. But all I can say, is that the magic drew more and more attention from Alaha, sending minions after minions to discover what occurred. Eventually, she send a small wyrmling, a messenger, and to buy time, I attempted to be part of the Empire of Loross. I do not think my portrayal was successful, for it did not take long for the consort of Alaha to appear. I tried once more to seem netherese, and it informed us, that it would commune with the empire, to decipher truth from lie of our story. As Pike finished his ritual with success, we look upwards, and saw two enormous shapes approach from the air, the winds grew fierce, and a strange fear took hold of me. Unable to move, I only stood to look, as the two, many houses tall dragons landed, and drew breath, to slay us all. Just as the one dragon sought to snap its City Gate large jaws around me, magic swirled around me, and the landscape changed. I, Pike, The Mystran paladin, Toman and Fhifur stood once more in Arabel, in the Spire of Maleen, the bodies of our fallen in front of us, and in his hands, Pike held the Null Staff, a staff that can harness the powers of shadow, a weapon against The Shade of Thunderholme, against the Shadow Dragon of Darkhold, and perhaps the one hope we have of returning Tilverton fully, to the lands of the living. I leave it to the minds of whomever reads this book, to decide if the sacrifice of four good souls, is worth what we created that day, in the hill landscape of The Shadow Realm.