Faith and others were treated to breakfast by the Bauersons.
"It would all be over for us if that crystal had been broken! Praise the Flame and eat up. You let me know if you want seconds," said Ingrid.
The group felt their various wounds and bruises from the conflict healing as they ate the warm cornmeal porridge. Other staff, students and villagers started to trickle in for their breakfast and the gossip about the break-in at the crystal storehouse was rampant.
"How did you whelps get that job?" asked a human male wearing plate armor from the next table. "Me and my buddy shoulda been called for guard duty."
His buddy was a particularly nasty-looking dark elf, a drow with long white hair and dull red eyes who was seated next to him sharpening a wicked-looking curved blade. At the breakfast table.
"Right place, right time I guess," said Twila. She then turned her back to the complainer to see Malut staring dangerously at the human who was insulting them. The human was distracted by a blob of cornmeal on Malut's tusk and lifted a hand to point at it, but apparently thought better of it and lowered his hand before the words came out.
"It's just not right," the plate armor guy grumbled. Then he caught sight of Thysmac. "I've been here a month and they are giving jobs to rogues and thieves pretending to be sorcerers. I'm gonna talk to someone."
Thysmac flushed red.
"Shut up, Rodryn," Thysmac warned. "I will pound you flat."
"Yeah, I'm scared now, Essory," Rodryn smirked. "You and what army?"
His drow friend turned his attention to the exchange, watching with cool red eyes. Malut stood up.
"This army," growled Malut.
"Anyone else attending Master Dern's history lecture this morning?" asked Twila. "It's time to head over to the Union Hall."
"I'm not gonna fight you," said Rodryn. "I wouldn't want to get your trog stink on me."
He and the drow quickly left the tavern, trying to look casual. Thysmac was seething with anger.
"Are you ok?" asked Faith.
"I went to school with that guy. His father works for the Coin Lords. He's always been a weasel, now he's a paladin weasel. I'm not sure it gets any worse than that," he told her.
The Guild Hall main room was no longer set up in the L-shape it had been yesterday. The two tables were now set parallel to each other, one in front and one in back with chairs facing the front of the room. A podium and what looked like a guild board were set up at the front of the room. On the guild board in large gold letters it said, "History of Xen'drik."
Faith and her group sat at the table in the back and soon all the chairs were full of students. Master Dern walked down the stairs a few minutes later and welcomed them.
"Good morning and thank you for coming today. This is a required lesson for successful completion of the Guild training program so you must see me to have your guild rune updated before you leave, or you'll have to take this lecture again.
We'll be talking today about the continent of Xen'drik with a very brief overview of the evolution of civilization on this land. I highly recommend you pay attention and ask questions because while there is no test, life as an adventurer in Xen'drik will test you greatly."
The arcanist said something quietly and waved a hand at the board behind him. It shimmered slightly then a gold outline of a map appeared on the dark background. Master Dern continued on.
"We are here, on Korthos Island, located in Shargon's Teeth. Korthos Island is between the continents of Khorvaire and Xen'drik making it a convenient stopover for ships traveling between the continents. It is one of the few islands large enough to support a community in Shargon's Teeth."
He indicated a small dot of an island in a cluster of dots north of the large continent beneath it. A little red x appeared where he pointed, showing the students which dot was Korthos Island.
"Now, the continent of Xen'drik extends from the equator to the south pole. It is a huge continent that is largely unexplored by modern people. We still have a lot to learn from Xen'drik. The primary temperate areas are the jungles in the north and west, the desert to the east and the frozen wastelands to the south. Most civilization is in the tropical jungle area nearest the equator, not only because it is the best at supporting life but also because that is where most of the Siberys dragonshards fall.
As you may or may not know, Siberys dragonshards are Xen'drik's most valuable export. They fall from the Ring of Siberys that encircles the planet, mostly around the equator. While Eberron dragonshards are found primarily on Khorvaire and Khyber dragonshards can be mined anywhere deep caverns are exposed, Siberys dragonshards mostly fall into the ocean except for here in the landmass of Xen' Drik.
Can anyone briefly tell me the uses of dragonshards?"
A blond human on the front row waved his arm madly.
"Me! Me! I know!" he said.
Master Dern waited to see if anyone else was going to raise their hand.
"Yes, Mr. Malcanus?"
The human stood up.
"Eberron dragonshards are used to power most everyday magic. They power things like lights and magic items. People think that the Eberron dragonshards are what cased people to develop dragonmarks since you can mostly only find 'em on Khorvaire and dragonmarks only happened on people in Khorvaire. Lots of 'em are found the Shadow Marches, in the swamps there.
Kyber dragonshards are used for binding items, to make them more powerful. They are often used in dark magic for things like trapping souls. They are also used to bind elementals to things like airships or weapons. They are generally pretty dangerous to mine because they come from the underworld of Khyber which is full of fiends but you can find some on the ground sometimes.
Siberys dragonshards are the most rare dragonshards, like you said. They are used to make magical items more powerful and can enhance dragonmark abilities, if you have a dragonmark. Obviously, the dragonmarked houses want a lot of them.
Xen'drik has a lot of Khyber and Siberys dragonshards. Many people keep dragonshards in their chests to trade for things they need."
He sat back down abruptly.
"Very nicely said, Mr. Malcanus," said Master Dern with a nod.
"Now back to history.
What we know about Xen'drik is that in ancient times, the giants had great civilizations here. Even today, we continue to learn from the ruins they left behind. The giants captured the nomadic elves who had migrated here from Thelanis, the Faerie Plane. The elves were forced into slavery.
The dragons of Argonessen viewed the giants as the only civilized race at that time and decided to teach them magic. They apparently were extremely good students. Arcane magic spread far and wide on this continent and allowed the giants to build advanced cities and structures that the world has never seen since. It was a golden time for Xen'drik.
However, some the giants started to dabble in blood magic, sacrifices of living creatures combining it with planar magic, most commonly the summoning of creatures from another plane. The Sul'atar giants created a distillation of the very essence of Khyber that they administered to their elf slaves. These elves' skin turned dark and they became drow elves, many of whom were fiercely loyal to their giant masters. The giants' experimentation with sacrifices or possibly the grandness of their cities built with arcane magic is likely what led to their downfall.
No one knows why, but the Quori, dream creatures of the Plane of Dal Quor, came to the material plane of Eberron, specifically to Xen'drik and attempted to exterminate the giants. A long and brutal war ensued for 100 years. The giants asked the dragons for help. The dragons however, had mostly retreated back to the continent of Argonessen when the giants started experimenting with forbidden magic and refused to help. They read and study the Draconic Prophecy, which is displayed all around us in dragonshards and dragonmarks and other places like cave walls. Apparently, they did not feel it was their role to intervene on the giants' behalf.
Miss Fayrehold, did you have a question?"
Faith didn't realize her confusion was showing on her face. She blushed.
"I'm sorry," she said. "I don't know what planes are. So I'm lost."
"Ah, right, ok," said Dern. "It's a bigger scope than today's class but I'll give a quick overview of the lore. The story is that the world of Eberron was made by three proginator wyrms (sometimes called dragons.) Siberys, Eberron and Khyber were the original creators of our world and each made a series of smaller worlds or planes that orbit the material plane, where we live. In a fight for who would dominate the primary or material plane, Khyber (the dark wyrm) killed Siberys (the light wyrm) who became a ring of broken shards encircling the planet. Eberron was unable to defeat Khyber so she wrapped herself around him to trap him in the underworld. She herself became the material plane. Some people refer to Siberys as the Dragon Above, Khyber as the Dragon Below and Eberron as the Dragon Between.
There are thirteen planes and thirteen moons, although one was destroyed- the one tied to Dal Quor. The moons don't house the planes... if you went to the moon you wouldn't be on the plane... but each plane is tied to a moon and in some ways, its orbit. When a moon is close to Eberron, it's associated plane is also close or coterminious, as they say.
Dal Quor is the plane of dreams and the dream creatures. The Quori, live there. Thelanis, as I mentioned, is the plane of the faerie court and houses the Eladrin, ancestors of elves. I don't have time to go into all the different planes but each plane has a tie to Eberron. When the plane is close to Eberron, or coterminious, creatures can pass more easily between Eberron and the plane. When they are far apart, we say the plane is remote and travel between Eberron and the plane is generally not possible although special people called planescallers can still transport people between some planes.
Some places on Eberron are manifest zones for a plane and regardless of how near or far the plane is, creatures can pass from one to the other. The Vale of Twilight in Xen'drik is a manifest zone for Lamannia, the Twilight Forest for example. The manifest zone looks much like the plane itself looks.
Does that help?"
Faith wasn't sure she really understood what he meant but did not intend to hold the class up, so she smiled and nodded. Twila looked at her, raised her eyebrows and gave a small shrug. Then she elbowed Malut who was sitting next to her to wake him up. He had fallen asleep. He jerked awake with a snort.
"Am I boring you, Mr. Zughan?"
"No sir," Malut said. "Late night, sir."
"Oh right, you were one of the ones protecting the crystal last night. Good job. But do try to pay attention, please," Dern said.
The human in plate armor turned to look at Malut with a sneer. Malut stared him in the eye and gave a low, barely audible growl and he quickly turned back around.
"Ok, so back to the giants.
History and astronomy tell us that Dal Quor became coterminious with Eberron and Xen'Drik became a manifest zone for Dal Quor. The Quori invaded and attacked the giants. Quori can't be killed as they are simply reborn back on their home plane, so the giants were at a great disadvantage and being slaughtered.
Although the dragons of Argonessen would not help the giants, several dragons had made Xen'drik their home, turning their backs on the rulings of Argonessen. One dragon who still lived in Xen'drik with the giants was a friend to the great giant general, the one we only know today as the Stormreaver. The dragon's name is lost and now known only to us as The Truthful One. He convinced the Stormreaver to give up his life to sever the tie to Dal Quor, the only way to save the giants. The Truthful One was supposed to give up his life as well for the magic to work, but instead he gave up only his body. His soul instead took the body of another dragon.
Their spell was cast. The moon was destroyed, raining debris down on Xen'drik for more than a decade and causing many disturbances throughout the planes. Dal Quor became remote and unable to become coterminious with Eberron ever again. The spell was successful in blocking the Quori, but at a great cost to the continent of Xen'drik.
The giant civilization was greatly weakened. They had lost a great many giants to the war and still more to the physical disasters caused by the explosion of the moon. The giants blamed the Truthful One for the destruction on their continent. The dragons also held the Truthful One responsible for interfering with the prophecy. His act of taking of the body of another turned him into a dracolich and he became bitter and cruel.
Over the next hundred years, the giants were unable to rebuild their civilizations. The elves, sensing weakness, used the blood magic they had learned from their giant masters to revolt and escape. The difference is that the elves had discovered the power of positive energy in blood magic, channeling the power of the plane of Irian, the Eternal Day to become the Undying. This power was so strong, the giants could not overcome it. Many elves willingly sacrificed themselves to allow their people to escape and in the process, became the first Undying Court of Aerenal.
The giants planned to use a spell similar to the one used by the Stormreaver and the Truthful One (possibly taught to them by the Truthful One himself, who seemed determined to destroy those who now rejected him) to destroy the continent of Aerenal, an island continent settled by the escaped elves. It is thought that they meant to prevent their remaining elf slaves from escaping to Aerenal.
This time, the dragons of Argonessen did act. They could not allow mass destruction on the planet. They massed an army and quickly wiped out what was left of the giants on Xen'drik, placing many arcane curses on the land so that the giants could never come to power again. And the time of the giants was over.
Giants you see in Xen'drik today are lesser giants, decended from remote and rural giants who escaped the mass extinction of centuries ago. They know very little magic, although there are some with basic elemental magic still, like the power of fire or frost.
After the time of the giants, new races tried to settle the ancient Cul 'Sir city that would become Stormreach. Because the area is tropical and rich in Siberys dragonshard fragments, over the centuries many different settlements were attempted in and around the ancient giant ruins. You can still see the remains of Cul 'Sir as modern Stormreach is simply built around the existing walls and rubble. The lighthouse and the beacon of the Emperor of Cul 'Sir still shine as brightly as they did forty thousand years ago and remains of ancient towers still float magically over the city.
Each race that tried to settle the area came to a bad end, according to research. After the Dragon Destruction, some of the remaining giants tried to rebuild the area but were gripped by homicidal madness and killed each other. Many years later, the Sahuagin attempted to colonize the sewers and tunnels of the area but were also gripped by madness and then driven from the area by the Fallen Stone giants. The Fallen Stone giants were wiped out in a plague that was unable to be treated.
Apparently, the next to move in was a thriving colony of thri-keen, the mantis people. Tens of thousands of thri-keen lived in the area according to records that have been found, then abruptly disappeared. There is no evidence of death... they simply disappeared.
Zilargo gnomes have records of a settlement in the Stormreach area that did not last long. Stories recorded from the survivors who returned to Zilargo speak of a darkness that enveloped the soul. Although you will find some gnomes in Xen'drik, you won't find many as they generally still believe the land to be cursed.
The current city of Stormreach was officially established in 800YK, so it nearing it's 200th anniversary. Starting in about 750 YK, pirates moved inland from the island of Three Barrel Cove looking for more solid ground to expand and do business. The city grew and the piracy became more dangerous. The rulers of the Five Nations of Khorvaire wanted an end to the piracy as well as a piece of the lucrative Siberys dragonshard trade and petitioned King Galifar II of Khorvaire to invade Stormreach. Before they could attack, five of the leading pirates of the area traveled to Galifar's court and signed a treaty to remain independent and rule themselves. Piracy is now outlawed in Stormreach but that doesn't mean it doesn't happen anymore, simply that it is illegal.
The decendants of these five original rulers are still ruling Stormreach today. They are referred to as the Coin Lords, although they would prefer to be called the Storm Lords. You may see official documents referring to the Storm Lords so be aware that is another name for the Coin Lords.
Politics and ruling authority will be covered in another class, so that's all I have for you today. Any questions?"
A dark haired halfling at the end of Faith's table raised his hand.
"Yes, Mr. Stoutfield?"
"Can you explain what the Draconic Prophecy that you mentioned is about? I've heard it mentioned before but have no idea what it means," asked Mr. Stoutfield.
"Ah, interesting question but no, I cannot," answered Master Dern.
The students all shifted in their seats and looked surprised.
"The Draconic Prophecy is not a concept covered in your Adventurer's Union training as the Union does not believe it exists and does not wish to promote legends or fantasies," explained Dern.
"I do however, know the lore of the Draconic Prophecy and I sometimes like to talk about philosophy after dinner. Any other questions?"
There were no other questions.
"Do not forget to see me before you leave so I can update your training. Most of you should have skill training with your trainer this afternoon and don't forget your Weapons and Weaknesses class with Master Braam tomorrow morning."
Master Dern wrote something on a piece of parchment then as each student walked by, he waved one hand over the parchment and the other hand in the vicinity of the student's neck. Classroom training was done for the day.