Hello everyone, this is Asclepius. I am delighted to once again welcome Sharm to the microphone;
There is a very old story, all but forgotten. They say at least half of it is true. Knowing the man, that seems about right.
An offworlder strolls into town, jaunty and unafraid. He claimed to have visited more than one world in his time, and perhaps this one before but he wasn’t sure. These lands were familiar he mused, but a husk of what he remembered. His supposed command of magic (if not a ruse to woo the ladies) was gone, but in truth magic was all but lost to most of this world.
He claimed to have seen something on his way into this world, treasures from the heavens falling to the earth. People laughed at his tales until he reached into a pouch and produced gems unlike any they had seen before. He wanted to hire every available caravan in town to procure these riches.
But the rogue that he was, he sent each caravan in a different direction while he stole away in the night with but a single merchant vessel into the open sea. By sending everyone else away with any ability to carry cargo, he ensured that none could follow him or compete for his prize. He needed but a single crew and he promised them each they’d all be rich.
Though he didn’t have sea legs, he knew how to use a sextant and read charts of the stars like an experienced sailor. There were few lines on his face, but he spoke with wisdom and secrets of many lives over. He taught them to put lime in their grog and the most vulgar sea shanties that they ever had heard. Just hours previously he had merely been a paying customer commandeering a ride, but soon enough the crew was in the palm of his hand. They called him Flynn, but I doubt that was ever his name for more than a week.
All he brought aboard the ship was a single chest. Flynn opened it and pulled out a device unlike one the crew had ever seen before. It had interconnected rings and orbs, one looking like a sun. He consulted with the device in a manner no man could devise and then directed them where to sail.
They reached landfall on a mostly deserted coast where he had led them and rode inland but a few miles on mules. There it was said man laid eyes on the first Shardfall. How he knew where it would be, he would not say.
This leader of theirs spoke of danger, and the men heeded his words for they saw and felt things that they had never before. He approached alone with a small pick in hand, dropping from his mule in dramatic fashion just as lighting raced across the sky. It was almost as if he planned it. He swung his pick a few times to remove a piece, and while it moved a bit and almost seemed like it wanted to come out of its own volition, he could not quite find adequate purchase to loose it fully from the earth.
Sticking one end of the pick at the edge, and stepping on the other end of the pick to provide leverage, he could feel it was close as it began to wriggle free. He reached down with his hand to finish the task when they all felt a blast knocking them off their feet.
The shard shattered sending pieces jutting into his outstretched hand. Flynn reached to cover the wound with his other hand, but as he touched it further the world seemed to shake. He saw double and triple vision. But it wasn’t quite that.
He saw ghosts, copies of this spot both past and future. As his crew looked to each other and him in terror and confusion, he began to see different possibilities unfold around him. Each was like a different world and a different life. He saw different paths each of these men might take with the slightest push or guidance in varying ways.
And he saw far, far more than that. He heard a silent song of Daedalus. He saw how cataclysmic fire cleansed this land and how yet another storm on the horizon might wipe it clean once more.
While most of these men were scared, one knew there was something not quite right with the leader of this expedition. He decided to be an opportunist, lunging with his sword into the back of Flynn. But his sword caught only the flapping of his coat. Flynn, blind to the attack had somehow seen it coming and stepped to the side just in time. The assailant tripped over an outcropping of these shards and fell on his own blade.
While most men might be shaken if they brushed with death so closely, Flynn turned calmly to face his crew.
“I am not surprised he sought to increase his share by reducing our numbers, but you would do well to listen to me now. There is treasure greater even than these shards, and a prize greater than you can imagine.” Flynn smiled broadly. “We have work to do.”
Awakened, many of the shards began to free themselves from the ground and hover miraculously in the air.
Flynn held out his hand. To their surprise, there was no blood, nor any type of wound that they could tell. But 4 thin shards had crossed each other in his palm and were now firmly under his skin, forming two-overlapping crosses. They pointed in 8 different directions at once. That symbol is known to many today who do not follow a singular direction, but rather the course of Chaos.
From him, some claim magic was reborn or perhaps rediscovered. Some trace Chaos magic at least to this unlikely progenitor. Rumor has it, they strapped large floating shards to the ship and sailed off into the air. But I know aggrandizement when I hear it.
Thus the legend of Darkstarr was born. He travelled the land, weaving in and out, bending both peasants and Lords to his whim, but never merely for obvious power and wealth. No one knew what he was getting at, or what his endgame might be. Some say he vanished, more myth than man. Others say he only existed in the voices of bards trying new material, sick of typical heroic tales.
Equally impossible to all of these claims is that while these things happened ages ago, I’ve met this man who ages but a breath each year it would seem. And while I am usually the one telling tales to others, and hoping to help people on their path, he sought to advise me. He whispered in my ear an impossible secret, so terrifying and magical that I knew it instantly to be true.