8/20/2022 at 14:42
The Second War of Night, Part XVII: Progress
Irgech's dark star continued to grow as time wound on, the once-familiar Howling now perpetually drowned out by the Shadow General's work far above in the heavens. Incursions into the cities of Sapience became more frequent and more deadly, but still the people persisted, growing more efficient and organised with every sortie launched against their walls. Despite the looming threat of invasion, the waning sun, and the lack of news or useful information on the lost Sword of Truth, Sapience pressed on in their efforts, their ingenuity and resolve yielding several fresh developments.
In Enorian, Roux Aquila worked with Commander Verok on an idea originally put forward by Ardent Riahl that Roux had run with and developed further. Diligently they experimented with the ouabain venom and an infusion of spirit, hoping to synthesise a new poison to defeat the shadowspawn. With the aid of the Maelstrom lending some of Their essence, the research was successful, and the city soon began fabricating what they now dubbed 'shadowbane darts', highly effective at slowing Ohlsana's minions in their tracks and leaving them vulnerable to deadly strikes.
Studies in Bloodloch centred around the shadowrot and its relation to the lesser disease of shaderot practised by the Sciomancers. Overseen by Bulrok and supported by Paxe, Tetchta, Taj, Asaraii, Qelres, and Almol, the Empire painstakingly conducted experiments into the affliction, combining their abilities to keep the subjects alive in order to learn as much as they could. After numerous failed attempts that inched them closer to a successful result, their research finally bore fruit, and, by combining a concentrated panacea recipe developed by Paxe with ambient spirit in a secret technique involving fermentation in the earth, they produced a spirit-infused panacea paste, able to prevent them suffering harm when standing in the shadowrot.
The Ascendril, meanwhile, had similar ideas, but vastly different methods. While Docent Eliadon worked himself to the bone syphoning raw spirit into bulbs to power the Spirean anti-shadowspawn technology, he still found time to work with Archmage Kaiara and Jhura Gallant on their own research into surviving the rot. Kaiara conceived of something she termed 'spirit shrouds' - specially woven cloaks imbued with raw spirit. For weeks the Ascendril performed experiments and conducted studies on how to make their vision a reality. Though their initial techniques failed, suggestions from Aeraisentesh combined with Iernos' resourceful procurement of a tailor - a refugee from Attica - yielded success from an unlikely source: Tidesage Ramneze. Working with Iernos, the Mages combined the elemental spirit with freezing fog and found the shrouds able to provide resistance - for a time.
In Spinesreach, Wjoltyr Arcan and Raynia Riahl devoted themselves to research of a different kind, hoping to discover a method of actually turning back Ohlsana's rot and ridding locations of its taint. The Sciomancers put various theories to the test, some involving foci from their master crystal, some requiring judicious use of gravitation, others combining Gnomish enchantments with Magi crystals of old, and yet more still. Many setbacks befell them, but the theory of syphoning the rot into crystals persisted. Wjoltyr diligently recorded all of his findings and presented them to Litrix for review, hoping to find a way forward.
The Xorali scientist then performed several of his own experiments, attempting to replicate Wjoltyr's results and, with any luck, take the research a step further. After yet more setbacks and failures, they at last stumbled on a plausible method, one requiring four Sciomancers, a Revenant, and an Archivist to carry out. Presenting to them a newly devised enchanting technique to create what Litrix called shadowbinding crystals, a group composed of Feirenz, Rhyot, Raynia, Legyn, Lenoriel, and Wjoltyr made haste to the tundra to put the theory into practice. In a highly meticulous and difficult process that required the Revenant to singlehandedly shield the Mages from the rot using a new riving style originated by Meyondu, the Sciomancers channeled shadow and joined their wills as one, passing control of the link between them as they assiduously syphoned the rot from the location into the binding crystal they had gravitated to hover in the air.
After immense effort and significant time, their work garnered success, and the crystal, filled with the rot, found itself unmade by Numerological collapse. The toil left them exhausted but elated - a single patch of rot had been cleared. Left behind however was little to truly celebrate - where once tundral snow had fallen, now only an empty vacuum remained, a bleak swath of nothingness deprived of the ambient elemental presence required to shape tangible existence. Shadow had simply devoured it, explained Litrix, and the task of reconstruction would not be an easy one, nor an immediate undertaking. This was a positive, Litrix assured them, since the absence of anything to consume would almost certainly prevent the rot spreading back into the vacuum. Thus, with fatigue rendering them unable to repeat the process immediately, the Spireans swiftly began to organise plans for 'shadowbreaks', strategic purging of the rot from key locations to minimise its further expansion.
Penned by my hand on Tisday, the 14th of Midsummer, in the year 504 MA.