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The Transcription


It was with some difficulty that Dharzhal T'Ar, the drow, completed the transcript of the tome at the ritual site. For one thing he was hounded by various hostile life forms and had to dispose of many. These broke his concentration, forcing him to once again focus on the matter at hand. As he was told by his sometime ally, Anthraxas, the inscriptions on the tome were in the dark elf tongue and the book itself was of drow make.

Casting a spell of recall he returned to his erstwhile home, ascended the stairs and went to his study quarters to begin translating the tome into the common tongue of humans.

Dhar's first impression was that the tome was a spell of summoning and it was, but not in the usual sense. It did not seem to be about bringing a powerful entity into the material plane, but rather bringing a curse upon the land. The essence of it was to begin a decay process that would eventually corrupt land for leagues around, perhaps even to the far reaches of the world in time and if not corrected. From what he could fathom of it, his kin, the drow concocted this curse to bring a vast swath of destruction upon the surface world that could take many forms: flames, blacked trees, elementals, polluted water, and would even attract creatures whose habitat seemed to match. He had already seen some of these creatures in the area and, as they were frenzied or hostile, had to destroy them. He shook his head; someone or some thing had already cast the spell and it was at work even now.

As he mulled over the information, he realized that if a tome having such spells was placed in other areas of the world and its spells cast properly, those places would become even as the blighted region near Yew. Someone had to be warned of this possibility.

Why the tome was left for all to view he could not say. Perhaps copies were made by others. Perhaps the tome itself was the key: as long as it existed in the area, the effects would continue. Certainly he had not been able to lift or move the book nor damage its pages in any way using either physical means or magical. It had some kind of wards placed on it that defeated all efforts. This would have to be investigated also.

He finished his work and sealed the book. Soon he was to meet with an official to deliver the transcript, someone whom he could trust to take it seriously and perhaps solve the mystery before it got out of hand. He could do no more with it, and he dare not seek out his kin to learn any counter spells for it. They were hunting him, seeking his life - the outcast who must die.
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The transaction was complete; the government official now had a copy of the tome complete and accurate as could be. It was now up to him to decide what further needed to be done. In his experience, humans could be just as deceptive and warped morally as were most of his own people. If there were no alerts, no general warnings issued, then mayhem would invariably ensue. No one had anything to gain by silence, unless it enabled someone to use the knowledge, and the subsequent events, as a power play for self-promotion or self-aggrandizement.

As he made his way home it occurred to Dhar that there was something he forgot to mention. He wondered if it might be important. While he was spending considerable time recording each page of the tome, he was aware of being watched. His keen senses told him a human was nearby, remaining hidden behind a nearby blackened tree. He could not tell who it was but whoever it was seemed only interested in observing him. This forced him to hurry in his work and he quickly finished. A simple invisibility spell allowed him to engage his innate stealth and he proceeded slowly to where the person stood. It was a human male, an armored warrior, a paladin perhaps. His face seemed kindly enough and soon the man left his hiding place to go to where he had recently stood himself. The man thumbed through the pages of the tome, picked up a few pieces of ash and blackened wood, and then departed on a summoned mount riding northeast toward Yew.

Did the information matter? Likely not. Whoever he was he knew a dark elf was at the scene and might surmise he was up to no good. Further identification would be difficult. Sighing, he returned to his study and his books.