7/10/2022 at 22:45
The Chime of the Wayward Mariner
It began with the fall of Kelsys, all those years ago. While the explosive emergence of the vortex wiped out almost all Kelysian life, a distant fishing fleet bore witness to the horrific, unspeakably terrible downfall of their underwater home. Flung into the far reaches of the eastern ocean by the shockwave, the last they saw was the towering form of Almighty Kerrithrim, turning its attention to the mainland.
These brave few survivors would come to be the founders of a new Kelki homestead known as Keltund, a distant island spared from the havoc wreaking the rest of the ocean. For the centuries after Saayar's catastrophic gambit, the Castes of Keltund held fast to the belief that the mainland had been completely destroyed in the chaos. The thick fog blanketing the island only served to reinforce this belief, inspiring countless Keltundian myths and forming the basis for much of the island population's folklore.
Over the years, Keltund's culture developed and new generations formed without the raw memories of Kelsys or the fear of the encroaching fog. Many of the young Kelki believed the mainland had persisted, and that their isolation on Keltund was unnecessary. Named mad by the Castes and shunned by most of common society, the belief nevertheless persisted. So it was that in Midsummer of the Year 503 of the Midnight Age, with a crew of true believers and under the guidance of the lone Tidesage they could convince to join their cause, the Vindicator took its leave from the eastern island, aiming to prove the truth of Sapience's survival.
Disturbances on the ocean alerted Sapience at large to the vessel's presence by way of churning fog banks. But it was not until Lanosian that the mainlanders actually saw it: out of control and cresting erratically over the waves, the crewless, tattered sails of the Vindicator collided violently with the walls of Enorian's Harbour. As citizens of the Beacon rushed aboard to investigate, haunted mistwraiths poured out.
Swift battle ensued, the ghostly spirits claiming a handful of lives before the combined strength of the adventurers sent them to their final rest. Fanning out to inspect the rest of the ship, they found it completely deserted, the food spoiling and the equipment poorly maintained. When they encountered a massive, bolted doorway at the vessel's rear, it took the combined strength of some dozen people throwing their weight against it to force it open. But open it eventually did.
In the beaten-down captain's cabin, the adventurers found two things: a logbook detailing the Vindicator's doomed maiden voyage, and a crazed deckhand by the name of Ramneze. Madness held the Kelki man in its grip and he gibbered inanely, his face etched with abject horror. Perusing the logbook revealed the purpose of the journey and hinted at what had sent it awry, talks of sickness and superstition among the crew and references to an obscure 'fog'.
Conversation with Ramneze proceeded, as one might expect, slowly and painfully. The combined efforts of the Ascendril Kaiara and Jhura, both wielding harmonious spirit magic, eased the Kelki man for a time, but he soon lapsed back into madness the moment the fog was mentioned. "PEARL!" he screamed over and over and over, until he was finally brought one. Accepting it with delight, he raved and babbled and demanded more, and more came.
Over the week that followed, the efforts of Rasani, Roux, Jhura, Kalena, Kaiara, Eliadon, Sryaen, Aloli, Xavin, and Damonicus furnished Ramneze with hundreds upon hundreds of pearls, each of which he accepted with as much delight as the first. Having gathered them into a massive heap, the mariner had begun shaping them into refined crystals, attempting to form something out of the rapidly growing mass.
Success came with a resonant chime heard by all. Standing beside Ramneze in that self-same cabin was now a synthetic elemental, forged entirely from refined crystals with glistening pearls for eyes. Its presence seemed to steady Ramneze and, with the continued aid of spirit-based healing, his maladies began to soothe. Speaking coherently for the first time, Ramneze regaled all present with the story of his voyage, how he and his companions were mocked and derided, and his joy at discovering the continued existence of the mainland.
Revealed to be a Tidesage and not a mere deckhand as originally thought, he went on to explain the role of the Sages in Keltund society - as navigators and guides, as mages and researchers working with the eldritch fog. The magic used to create the elemental, he explained, was similar to the crystallism used by Magi of old. Mistaking Jhura and Kaiara as said Magi, he was pleased to learn of the Ascendril Order, and his story soon turned to renewed purpose.
He expressed a desire to return home with the knowledge he had gained, but remained terror-stricken at the prospect of another voyage through the fog. Though the Enorianites eagerly offered the services of their mighty Dawnbreaker while Sryaen posited the idea of a ship made wholly of pearls, Ramneze insisted it was too dangerous. Instead, he asked for more information on the Ascendril, offering to share knowledge with them in exchange for helping to research a safe way through the fog. With promises of new lands to discover and strange powers to study, Archmage Kaiara gave her assent and the bargain was struck.
Ramneze began his tutelage immediately, preferring to stay on board the Vindicator but promising to come ashore when it was time to get to work. And so it was that the first Tidesages of Sapience came into their power, selkachoar and apparition ready at their fingertips...
Penned by my hand on Quensday, the 20th of Lanosian, in the year 503 MA.