Night had fallen in Cerulean Hills and the moons were rising. She thought she saw Twila and Thysmac walking up the hill towards a ruined plaza and followed quickly. She climbed up to the white marble plaza but did not see the two of them anywhere. As she looked for them in vain, she realized the view from the plaza was incredible. She stood on a crumbling section of wall and looked out over the valley. In the bright moonlight, the river flowing through the valley sparkled where it flowed quickly and reflected the moons in the deeper pools. She could see a waterfall close by, tumbling over the remains of an ancient dam and on the higher ground beyond that she could just make out a vineyard.
That must be Talloak's vineyards, she thought.
A ring of rocky volcanic mountains were outlined in the distance and piercing the night as ever, were the beams of the Emperor and the lighthouse in the harbor nearby. She listened for Twila and Thysmac, for danger... but only heard rushing water. The plaza around her contained a number of short pedestals lined up on each side, some empty, some topped with crouching stone gargoyles carved from stone turned dark and grey over the years.
Those are pretty creepy, she thought as a chill ran down her spine. Imagine if they were alive!
Just then, the stone gargoyle standing at the end of the plaza moved. Faith stifled a shriek and the urge to run.
It was just the moonlight, a trick of the light, she told herself. Don't be a baby, they are just carved statues. She forced herself to walk right up to the end gargoyle, a creature carved from tan stone and standing upright. She reached out and touched the creature's wing.
"Who wakes Lotigath?" the gargoyle asked.
Faith jumped back, her heart beating wildly. It's alive! I'm so stupid! OK, act brave...
"I am Faith Fayrehold."
"Have you come to challenge me, Faith Fayrehold or do you seek knowledge?"
"I seek knowledge."
"Have you brought an offering?"
"I, um... no. What offering do you require?"
"I am a child of Eberron, carved from the very rock of Eberron herself. I require Eberron dragonshards if you wish to know what I know."
"What can you tell me if I bring you these dragonshards?"
"I can tell you your story, empty vessel. Or I can tell you the story of other mortals who have lived and died on this planet."
"What did you call me?"
"Why? Are we all empty vessels?"
"You are the first I have met."
"What does that mean?"
"Bring me Eberron dragonshards. Or seek out Toligath at Yaoteco and bring me a heartstone and I will tell you all you wish to know."
With that, the gargoyle hunched down, his wings wrapped around him and would not respond to her. She heard quiet voices behind her and whirled around. Shadows moving along the line of trees turned out to be Thysmac and Twila. Thysmac looked angry still and Twila was looking sympathetic.
"There you are," Faith ran up to them. "Come here, look! There's a gargoyle over here."
They followed her onto the plaza, clear and sharp in the moonlight with well-defined shadows.
"Yes, there are lots of gargoyles here, Faith. They are very... interesting," Thysmac said.
"No, not these, down on the end... I... it's gone. It was just here. I'm not kidding, there was a gargoyle here at the end and it talked to me. It offered to tell me about myself if I brought it some Eberron dragonshards."
They looked at her skeptically. "We'd better get back inside, no point asking for trouble out here," suggested Twila.
Back inside the secret cave, Ardan and Thaalan were interested in Faith's story about the gargoyle.
"Lotigath is sort of a legend around here. Have you heard the story before?" Ardan asked her.
"Interesting. Lotigath is an ancient stone gargoyle who's been around since the earliest days of Eberron, back when the fiends of Khyber ruled the land. He is rumored to know all of Eberron's history, but few have ever seen him. All of the gargoyles you see up there are supposed to have been his 'cluster', the ones who served him. But their life force ran out for some reason. They are just inanimate stone now."
"He offered to tell me my story. He called me an empty vessel."
No one had an answer for that or even an idea of what it might mean. They had never heard of Toligath or Yaoteco either.
"You might have missed your chance, Faith. Lotigath sightings are pretty rare."
"Next time I come out here, I'll have Eberron dragonshards just in case."