Artifacts of Darkness by Mordra Introduction: I am not of Skara Brae. I was not born of this place. As a child, I came from a darker place. Many believe I came from Umbra, but I know I came from much further away: Morgaelin. Some power carelessly pulled a child through the Ethereal Void to leave me here. It has been difficult being a stranger in this bright land, but I have some to thank for helping me find a place. I would most like to thank Horance who inspired me to write this catalog. -Mordra Volume I: Most magical artifacts are neutral, used for good or for ill. However, some sources of power are so tainted by their creators that to toy with such power is to risk everything. Gem of Immortality - The gem, formerly known as the Sun Ruby, dates back millennia. There are stories of the gem harnessing the power of the Sosarian sun against demon armies. A little over five hundred years ago, the Lost King Wolfgang, promised the gem to his son Mondain when he came of age. Mondain did not wish to wait and killed his father. Blood and raw elemental evil from the act corrupted the gem, allowing it to darken and control the world. The gem itself was destroyed by a Stranger from a far off land. Its pieces moved around for several centuries, but were eventually removed from Britannia by Lord British. Mondain’s Skull - After the destruction of the Gem of Immortality and the death of Mondain, some of the dark magic infused the dying mage’s body with power. Because of the skull’s mystical importance, Mondain’s skull is a nexus for this dark power, whispering terrible secrets to other creatures. The skull itself was smashed into pieces soon after Mondain’s death five centuries ago, but the pieces have been collected and melded together in recent history. Fortunately or unfortunately depending on one’s view, the skull was imprisoned by an unknown party somewhere in the Ethereal Void. Mondain’s Embrace - Before his death, Mondain infused a lesser gem with some power for his lover Minax, allowing her access to some areas of magic she was incapable of. After his death, it is said she put the gem into a necklace with a clasp made from her lover’s finger bones. Minax used the necklace for several hundred years before it was stolen by her own servant and held by a stranger named Odric. Minax’s Crystal Ring - Not to be confused with the lesser crystalline rings desired by mages, this ring is rumored to be able to create powerful fields of magical force. Its other properties are unknown. The ring has not been seen in recent decades, and there are rumors that it was destroyed in an altercation with Anon during the early faction battles. Doom Kiss - This bladed staff used by Minax during her attacks on Britannia has the power to slay any living person outright. A few who have survived confrontation with Minax have observed that the weapon is likely very old, and its name may indicate that it came from the dark denizens of Doom. Dark Core of Exodus - There was an artifact at the heart of Exodus, named only the Dark Core. It was crafted by Minax and Mondain and resulted in an intelligent and powerful magical being. While the Core is at least five hundred years old, its greatest activity was a few hundred years later. It is likely the Core was learning during this time. It is rumored that the core disappeared from this world for a time. Crown of the Lich King - The Moonshade Crown, also known as the Crown of the Lich King, is a powerful artifact that grants life eternal. While constant use over a century may result in undeath and the creation of a lich, shorter use may be able to save the critically ill and allow a normal life span. The artifact dates back at least eight hundred years. The crown was enchanted by Vasculio, a denizen of Moonshade. Vasculio dabbled with necromancy and pain magics, powers which he poured into the crown. The crown itself was made from stoneheart and a large moonstone. Stoneheart is the rare component of the forbidden reagent, bloodspawn. Bloodspawn increases the power of harmful and necromantic spells and is made from crushing the stone into a fine powder and mixing it with one’s own blood. A crown’s power likely comes from blood then. Moonshade was likely east of Humility. Maps from that age show a tower at the center of Moonshade that may still be visible after the rest of the city has been buried for hundreds of years. Who knows what lives there now? Principia Daemonis - This demonic history and book of prophecy is said to have been stolen from the demons in the distant past. It is said to contain rituals used in demonic practices, such as those that originally made the gargoyles of Hythloth. Weak-willed people who read the book often go insane. It is believed that the tome was once held by the gargoyles of the “Enemy Brotherhood.” Volume 2: The Black Sword - The Black Sword is a weapon of legend, sometimes called the Shade Blade or the Blackrock Sword. The origin of the blade varies greatly. Some say it was a gift from a demon lord or dragon to a worthy hero. Other myths claim, it was forged at a castle of fire by the mad sage Erethian who bound a demon in an ether gem in the hilt. The blade is likely made from blackrock; the stories say the blade shared properties with the material, including the ability to repel or parry many magics. The blade is certainly possessed by a daemon and could kill many mortal beings with a single strike, draining the victim’s life to heal the wielder. There are also stories where the sword could reign fire down on entire armies. The sword passed out of story and legend about a hundred years ago. It is believed to be lost. While the sword has connections to the Isle of Fire, no expeditions to the Isle have recovered it. Blackrock Prisms (Set of 8 ) - This collection of eight blackrock baubles are said to come from eight other worlds and allow travel to each. While no one knows who made the prisms, many have tried to collect the set over the centuries for a variety of reasons from curiosity to security. Collectors of such relics believe the full set was found decades ago by Lady Tessa, Lord British, and Lord Blackthorn. It is unknown what the trio did with them or where they are kept. Vortex Cube - Crafted in the distant past at Stonegate, the Vortex Cube has the ability to harness the power of particular moonstones to move things across a world, but also through the Ethereal Void. A capable mage can use it for other rituals of space and time, as was the case with the ill-fated Blackrock Detector in Moonglow. The Cube was part of the explosion in Moonglow that opened a rift between Britannia and the Void. Whether it survived is a matter for rumor and debate. The Well of Souls - Found near Skara Brae, the Well itself is not a source of evil, but those who seek to control or manipulate the well generally are. The Well is a place of passage for the spirits of the dead into whatever comes next. It is part of Skara Brae’s connection to Spirituality and what lies beyond the world of flesh and matter. Because of this, lichkind and mortal necromancers have often tried to tap into the power of the Well, often to be forced away by the rangers of Skara Brae. Normally, there is no physical manifestation of the Well as it exists beyond most people’s vision. Only the most sensitive mediums can even sense the Well. Those who wish to manipulate the Well, to feast on the power and knowledge of the dead, may need to construct a physical representation to focus such necromancy.