Make your own free website on Tripod.com
Balthasar's Archives
Home | Rowan Kingdom | The Rules | Oakenshield Documents | The Journal of Blaize Triestre | Green Circle Document | 98th Legion Document | The Minotaur and the Labyrinth | Memory Crystal Summaries | Death of Salvatore | Lexicon | Midpoint scroll | Maradas Graham | Maradas, part two | The Last Cry of the Swan | The Forsworn Knight | A Cup to Catch the Moonlight | The Soldier and the Coachman, Part One | The Soldier and the Coachman, Part Two | The Soldier and the Coachman, Part Three | Kethra's Stories | Mysteries Upon Mount Harakus | The Alchemist's Tale | Shipwreck Document | Crystal-Making Document | Durgia Ironhair | Junis 402 Proclamation | Truth and Reality | Juras and the Enslaver | A Mother's Love | Amulet of Shielding ceremony | Selections from Salvatore's Journal | Fragment of the Viper's Journal | Ceremony to Cure Lycanthropy | Spirit Anchoring Ceremony | Melody's Documents | Notes on the Labyrinth | Mathus' notes on Tal magic | Imperial Academy Documents | Imperial Academy documents, part two | General Pavarum letter | Walk in the Sun | Haitiane Letters | Master of War's Journal | Miscellaneous Master of War documents | Claudius and Ianthe Letters
Arikel Letter I

Arikel sent this letter to Aemelia.  I have preserved Aemelia's commentary.

Greetings Aemelia,

 

I write these pages from the Spirit Realm.  I believe myself fortunate to be able to pass on this information. Writing in this fashion suffers my a serious strain, however, and my letter shall be brief.

 

I know that there is much that you who come after seek (to) learn. Unfortunately there is only so much I can set down in these pages.  I suppose, as stories often do, I shall start at the beginning.  The Order of the Oakenshield has its origins before the Shadow War1 before the rise of the Empire.  It began as a defense against the coming darkness against the shadow that would soon envelop half the world.  The original founders of the order knew that the strength if diversity was needed. In those days only the Order of Light stood between the common folk and the rising shadow of the Dark Ones and the founders saw that others would be needed.  If civilization as they knew it were to survive, people from all walks of life would have to join together in defense to form a shield against the power of the Dark Ones.

 

The first of the Order and the founder was a sorcerer of the Order of Light. He saw the good that his Order could do, but he also saw the folly in their belief that they could stand against the darkness alone. The names of the original founders are unknown, but we do know that he was of the branch of the Order of Light known as the Oakenstaff 2 those who specialized in healing within the Order.  It is believed that it is from here that the name of the Oakenshield is derived. Though this unknown sorcerer wished to create a shield to protect the people of the world, rather than a staff for them to lean upon.  He gathered about him seven others who would become the core of the Oakenshield.  Warriors, rogues, alchemists and scholars all of their unique talents would be needed to fight in that battle that was to come.

 

Sadly, little is known of the deeds of the Oakenshield during the Shadow Wars.  The Order of Light lay claim to most of the glory for the defeat of the Shadow Masters the Order of Darkness.  Still, some stories remain, and it is almost certain that the Oakenshield was instrumental in the final destruction of the Order of Darkness, though apparently they were all killed in the process.  It is unknown exactly what happened in the final days of the Shadow War, but it is known that by the time it was over the Order of the Oakenshield was no more.3

 

Over three Millennia4 Passed before the Oakenshield was born once again.  It was in the year 3120, not long after the last of the gurtal were seen, another sorcerer, a young sorcerer by the name of Pavarrin Kresh cam across ancient documents concerning the Order. Pavarrin was a member of the Oakenstaff which had long split from the Order of Light.  He was fascinated by the histories he discovered and in time decided that the Order of the Oakenshield should be reborn.

 

This decision did not come without reason.  During this time, the Empire had begun to grow old and stagnant.  The last of the gurtal were destroyed or driven into the deepest caves.5  The Voldari Empire was in a state of relative peace. It was an age of exploration and discovery.  Yet Pavarrin feared that perhaps there were those who went too far in the name of discovery.  Pavarrin communicated regularly with several Alchemists who were concerned wit recent tampering with the ley lines and he himself was aware of experiments with the Talim that sent chills down his spine.  And so the Order of the Oakenshield was refounded.  This time not to defend against the dark shadow of a few tyrants, but against atrocities committed by all mankind, especially those of a magical nature.

 

The newly reborn Oakenshield began as a lose confederation of Sorcerers, Alchemists, and scholars who wished to see higher ethical standards for magical experimentation in their day. They were moderately successful in gaining licenses and permits from the Empire to set aside large areas of land where unusual magical properties could be found.  Such sites were often devastated by Alchemists and other sages who sought to exploit the intense magical power found in certain regions.6  They fought to have laws enacted that prohibited certain types of magical experimentation, especially on living beings.

 

In the early days of the Oakenshield the relationship between the ley lines and nature was less well understood.  It was through their research that it was proved that depleting the magical energies in a certain place can adversely affect the natural surroundings.  Their results in their research earned them a greater voice in the Empire, but it also gained them a fair number of enemies.  Pavarrin was reaching the end of his days by this time.  It was after (the death of) three members of the new Order dear friends of his that he came to understand the wisdom of the original founders of the the Oakenshield. Before retiring from active duty in the Oakenshield he set about restructuring the order.  He invited non-scholarly members to join the Order.  He did not find this as easy as he first thought. Warriors often have little interest in anything other than fighting wars and rogues wish to line their pockets with other peoples gold.  Still, there was work to be had for people of these professions.  The protected regions needed someone to protect them, and the scholards of the Oakenshield often found themselves in pursuit of some lost piece of knowledge or ancient relic that needed a rogues touch in regaining.

 

In the end, Pavarrin found those who he was seeking and he formed the original Council of Eight.  Two warriors one noble, one common born, two Alchemists one of followed one or more of the hard elements and of who followed the soft, two of what would be commonly called the roguish persuasion one familiar with the cities and one with the forests, on sorcerer and one scholar with no magical ability.7  Each would bring their own skills and each their own perspective. Pavarrin lived to see his council formed, but only just barely.  He died two months later in 3236.

 

For posteritys sake, I shall record the names of the original council here.  In truth they may not have (the) most accomplished, but they were the first.  The Sorcerer of course was Pavarrin Kresh.  The warrior of noble birth was a woman named Innara. The warrior of common birth was a Duergar named Gorrel Brightsteel.  The Alchemists were Jteira Bamache (one of the Arangori)8 and Delvin Hillelm.  The rogues and guide were Savius and Lethen Tiereiel (an elf). The scholar was Gavin Antarus (yes, named after the famous Gavin Forst).

 

The next few centuries saw the rise and growth of the Oakenshield.  By the late 3300s the Order had chapter houses in nearly every district of the Empire.9  The warriors stood watch over the protected districts, the rogues delved into ancient ruins and forbidden places to retrieve information required by the more scholarly types.  The Order became a well-oiled machine perhaps too well-oiled, for it became complacent.

 

About 400 Years later, less than fifty years before the event you call the SHattering, a Sorcerer by the name of Relfess began experimentation on living beings in Arinth Province.10 A member of the Oakenshield, Duke Marakai, used his influence within the Order to make sure that he was the one who was stationed in Arinth and was assigned to dealing with Relfess. He did this not out of altruism, however, but because he viewed Relfess as a rival. It seems that Marakai, an Alchemist of some magnitude,  was performing experiments of a similar sort and wished to learn Relfess secrets.  The two waged a secret war in the region for some time.

 

The results of their secret war pale in comparison to the damage our lack of attention in that region caused us and the world. Marakais secret experiments were eventually uncovered and it Oakenshield devoted much of its efforts to overthrowing Marakai and rounding up all of his creations.. It was soon discovered that many of is creations could not be easily destroyed, so in the end they were entombed in a magical cell in the northern region of this province.11  Much effort was expended by the Order in an attempt to capture Relfess, but he always managed to elude us.

 

All of this effort caused us to overlook the experimentation of a Sorcerer named Dragor Vashon.  Vashon was consumed with the desire to meld spirit with the elements. None of the Oakenshield ever learned the exact nature of his experimentation, though we were witness to the horrid results of many of his earlier experiments.12  He dabbled in altering the Talim and even merging one persons Talim with anothers.  One of the most horrific results apparently involved the attempt to merge elementals with living beings possibly even humans.

 

Unfortunately for us, Vashon had many friends in high places within the Empire and opposing him through legal means proved impossible.  In the end we had to resort to more desperate measures.  We tried to oppose him, but as your history shows we failed.  It is now up to you who follow to repair what we failed to protect and protect a world emerging into unspeakable dangers.13

 

So you see, what we truly wish for you and those friends and allies you have gathered to you, is to reestablish the Order of the Oakenshield as a lasting fixture, to serve as a guiding light in the coming days. You and those who follow you will need to be strong to resist the temptations that you will face.  Dragor Vashons legacy still lives on in the form of the maelstrom and its secrets are yet to be uncovered. I apologize if our secrecy has been vexing you have faced many tests and perils to prove your worthiness.  I hope that this letter helps you to see the necessity.  I do know a little of what is to come, but sadly I cannot speak of it.  One day you or those who follow you will understand my reasoning.  Like you, I am sometimes gifted (or perhaps cursed) with glimpses of the future or at least possible futures.  Yet, I have learned that sometimes the future is best not revealed.

 

The time has come forme to bid you farewell.  I have not the strength to write much more.  Know you that they destruction of Innismor greatly harmed what remains of our power and it is unlikely that you will see much of us in the future.  Should you have dire need of our council you can summon us as you have in the past, but I entreat you to save this for only the greatest emergency.  The rest of the mantles are within your reach perhaps closer than you expect.

 

I leave you with this book as my mantle, for all people and groups (especially those who stand against the shadow) have need of secrets.  May Fortune Guide you!

 

Arikel

 

 

1.       The Shadow War has been described by Ramerius (a contemporary of Arikel) as an ancient war of darkness  Few even now recall the result of that war.  It was during this war that the Gurtal were created to fight for the Order of Darkness.  He also said that is lasted over a century.  It is not clear when the war occurred, and we are not even sure of the date of the rise of the Empire, but as a point of reference, the earliest record I have of the ancient empire was at its height, PS 1298,  over 2300 years before the Shattering.

2.       Bridgette theorized that there might be a connection between her the orders, when she told me the story of Ashenstaff, which is the current incarnation of the Order of the Oakenstaff.

3.       Ours will be the third incarnation of Oakenshield, since it has been twice destroyed in the past.

4.       This would place the Shadow War around the year PS 1000, as a rough guess, which places the founding of the Empire in the one or two hundred years after the Shadow War.   The Gurtal War ended in PS 2278.  The Order was re-founded  545 years before the Shattering.      

5.       At that time, most people believed the gurtal to be extinct.  It is nteresting that Arikel was aware that they were not.

6.       Other Oakenshield documents say that Arinth was such a preserved region.

7.       It appears that the criteria for choosing the eight were originally much simpler than what we have assumed.  I think our archetypes may be more the result of our spirits personalities than of the original design of the council.  Still, our members seem to fit the original pattern as well.

8.       Arangori!

9.       This seems to further justify our intention to gather more members beyond the council of eight.  It seems that the old Order was quite large, based on this and Ramerius reports.

10.    She refers to Relfess as a sorcerer, but his creations, the Chitterlings, insist that he was not a Sorcerer.  I believe he simply had a powerful spirit bond and Arikel is mistaken.  How interesting (and tragic) that the infamous Marakai was an Oakenshield member!

11.    It seems likely that Marakais creations are loose in the world as the creatures that bear his name (also sometimes called elf-eaters) many such prisons were damaged in the Shattering or tampered with by ignorant treasure-seekers.  On the other hand, if there is a possibility that some other terrible creature is still imprisoned (something that, as Arikel put it, could not be easily destroyed) it might be wise to remove this paragraph before showing the document to anyone outside our order(s).  I do think that Earl Fenrick should be informed of the possibility.

12.    Oddly enough, a number of other sources have described Vashon as a well-meaning member of the Order of Light, whose only crime was trying an experiment which was beyond his power.  This account of his Relfass-like experiments on living beings is shocking.  I wonder whether Arikel is mistaken or if, for some reason, there was a post-shattering conspiracy to cover up his crimes.  I am also curious to know how much the council of eight knew of Ramerius conversations with Virgil, and how late it was when they were warned.  Arikel suggests that they were surprised by Vashon, yet Ramerius had time to prepare his elaborate legacy before the Shattering occurred.

13.    A tall order! (no pun intended)