A Short Insight Into Several Books

A Short Insight Into Several Books, Scrolls and Tomes

Written by Nerris Petharenn, Historian, Mystic Tower of Ataya

There have been many great literary works created in our world over the centuries, and while I can only claim to have encountered and read a fraction of them, I have become somewhat an authority on several. That is, of course, at least in Weissland. I would of course dearly love to meet the famed Loremaster of the White Realm, Ariakas. To even have a short conversation with him would be most illuminating. This short article details a number of books, scrolls and other documents, giving information about them, their authors and related histories. For it is in history that we find our greatest achievements and lowest ebbs, truly the best and worst of all existence.

The Aglar Fragments

The Aglar Fragments, also commonly known as the Sirth Fragments, as this was where they were found, are the remains of a magic manuscript some seven hundred years old. The Aglar Fragments, as the name suggests, are incomplete. There are seven pages and twenty-one partial pages of varying degrees of completion. The author of the fragments is assumed to be an individual called Aglar, as it is written informally in first person perspective. This cannot be confirmed as the first page of the fragments is only partial. It is most likely a surname, given its use as a title and a number of similar surnames in Weissland, although once more this is only conjecture. The Aglar Fragments deal with a number of magical lores, with basic shields and quite advanced transmutation being the two topics covered by the majority of the fragments. Given the level of expertise displayed in the later segments on transmutation it is rather disappointing that more of the fragments have never been uncovered. Complete, the manuscript would likely have seen use as an instructional text for the training of mages for two to three centuries after it was written. After this is would have become slightly out of date compared to other texts. It is clearly a shame that in its incomplete form it was not the revolutionary manuscript it could have been and instead has been relegated to a footnote in the history of magic.

The Bechaudu Grimoire

The Bechaudu Grimoire was a book of magic written by a powerful demon by the name of Bechaudu. It was full of necromancy and demonology as well as other dark arts and rituals. More than this, it was full of strange, vague verses which could drive any who read the book mad unless they were powerful enough to overcome it. It had long been an important item for the mages of Weissland to find and lock away in the tower of Ataya. Several years ago it was discovered and placed within a shipment of minor magical items and treasure. It was to be hidden there, amongst rubbish, so that it could be brought to Ataya in secret. Unfortunately a group of criminals stole the book and some other items and it was subsequently destroyed by ‘persons unknown’. That is the information we have gathered about the incident. I would take this time to note, that not all grimoires are evil books. A grimoire is simply a generic term for a book of magic or spells. It is due to the fevered imaginings of fiction writers, that much of this comes about. As several grimoires dealing in black magic and necromancy have gained notoriety because of the events surrounding their finding, loss, capture and so on, the general citizenry are under the misconception that any book called a grimoire is evil.

The Tome of Lasvionen

Lasvionen was an elven mage lord who lived several centuries ago. His tome is an expansive journal which details his time as a Weissland mage. Falrath Lasvionen detailed his training, early missions alongside other mages of the time, his work on increasing knowledge of fire magic and illusion, and many events he took part in. He was given the rank of mage lord for his control over magic rather than raw power, plus Lasvionen was very intelligent. Lasvionen fought against several undead incursions from the Defiled Kingdom mainly because he served on the Great Wall for a few years. He also did battle with a powerful demon by the name of Bechaudu and managed to defeat the demon. Unfortunately he was never able to uncover the grimoire which the demon had written. Lasvionen’s life was cut short at the age of one hundred and ninety-two. The final entry in his journal read “I have been entrusted a dangerous mission by the Archmage. I will return from this mission with an epic story, no doubt, and then I shall retire to take up training duties at the tower of Ataya permanently.” Lasvionen was killed on this mission, and no records know what he was tasked to do, or what occurred during the mission to cause his death. He had left his journal in the tower of Ataya and this is how he is remembered. The tome is a perfect example of how a mage should act and the loyalty we have for Weissland.

The Mykelannel Apocrypha

The Mykelannel Apocrypha is a fictional book about a group of heroes and the various trials they face throughout their lives and how they come to be intrinsically linked together through these events. While I usually stay away from fiction and focus on history, it is the history behind this book which is the most interesting point. An Apocrypha is a book where the authenticity or authorship of the book is unclear or disputed. Mykelannel was an author from Weissland. Before the book was written, he travelled to the Realm of Purity. While there, he was invited to a gathering of numerous authors in the Realm of Purity. At the gathering he was introduced to a writer by the name of Thoramen, who also focussed on writing books about small groups of heroic individuals. Both men found a great deal in common and seemed to becoming fast friends. As they sat and drank, they discussed their previous works, writing styles, and new ideas. It is here that the dispute of the authorship appears. Some claim that Mykelannel spoke about the idea he was forming for his next book, while others say that Thoramen described an idea he had come up with and Mykelannel liked it so much he decided to write the book first. A few weeks later Mykelannel left the Realm of Purity for his home in northern Weissland. A year after this, the book was published. There are records which show that Mykelannel and Thoramen had kept in touch, sharing news of their writings and giving each other critique on the work. The dispute never came up until after both men had died, but their descendants started it. Thoramen’s family claimed he had been writing the book and had sent a copy of the manuscript to Mykelannel as a gift, but the Weisslander had published it as his own work. Mykelannel’s family denied this, but could not disprove it either. The whole argument went on for several years, but no definitive proof could be provided by either family.

An Examination of Transformations

An Examination of Transformations is an instructional text on the magic of transformation. It deals with the transformation of ones self, other beings and inanimate objects. Transformation is one of the more difficult types of spell and requires a great deal of practise. More than this it needs a discerning eye for size and mass as things can only be transformed into something of roughly equal size. The classic example which has been used for centuries is turning an opponent’s staff into a snake. It is quite humorous when done in a practise duel and very effective when done in a real battle. Transforming yourself is often much easier than the other forms of transformation. Generally when you transform yourself, you are doing it voluntarily for some benefit to yourself. This makes the process much smoother and less complex. When a magic user attempts to transform someone else, especially against their will, it is much more difficult as they are actively fighting and straining against the change. That is why such transformations are usually temporary and so draining for the one casting the spell. The transformation of inanimate objects is not as difficult as transforming a foe, but usually more complex than transforming yourself. In most cases, when a mage transforms an inanimate object, it is into something which is animate, like an animal. The text gives many examples and promotes a healthy level of experimentation.

A Tome of Conjurations

A Tome of Conjurations was written by a human mage by the name of Ovarl Sigald. This is interesting as many of the books dealing with magic, at least those written in Weissland are usually authored by elven mages. Due to their much longer lifespan, it is the elves that normally have the discipline and experience to advance our collective knowledge of magic and its uses. Ovarl Sigald was extremely skilled in the conjuring of elementals and other summoned entities. He ascribes this skill to an overactive imagination and a great deal of practice. Obviously this concentration on conjuration came at a price, as Ovarl’s experience in the use of many other forms of magic was limited, but not necessarily weak. After all, it might have been easier to break through his magical shields and defences, but with powerful elementals blocking your path attacking you; it was not as easy as it would first appear. The tome is still widely considered one of the pre-eminent works on conjuration. Ovarl would often conjure massive hosts of insects to completely overwhelm opponents. One of his signature attacks against enemy magic users was to conjure up a ferocious mass of termites around the enemies’ staff to destroy it rapidly before dispelling them. Then with his opponent weakened and distracted, conjure a number of fire ants at their feet. Nobody could ever stamp on enough of them. The tome details various specific spells for conjuring different things, as well as tactics for using the spells effectively. It also has chapters on the best ways to practice conjuration and testing new conjurations. Sigald is quoted as saying “A good imagination is the best tool for conjuration, but a good memory can be equally as good. Remember everything you see, everything you read about nature and it can be used for conjuration.”

Sayings of Illuminating Silence

Another magical book which is very popular, although difficult to master, is Sayings of Illuminating Silence. The title is perhaps a little flowery, but the content is very useful. It is a concise book which deals with casting spells without speaking the spell words. It is a very difficult technique to use and most mages can only ever perform very minor or simple spells in this way. Few have the patience to train with the book and so there are even less mages who can cast spells of any degree of power without speaking the words to do so. Still, with practice and skill, the book could be used to increase ones ability perhaps ten times over. Magic requires time to cast, and the time it takes a magic user to properly verbalise the spell could be the difference between victory and defeat. To be able to raise magical defences and shields without speaking, only thinking, would be of great use to many mages. It is most difficult to fend off an attack you do not know is coming, and the words of spells are the greatest warning an enemy well-versed in magic can receive. The book also contains philosophy which emphasises the spell techniques. The best such phrase from this book is “The eye which sees best, is that which looks inward.”

A Study of the Minor Battles of Weissland

This book was written by General Alun Black around two hundred years ago. The main distinguishing feature to this book compared to many other military texts is the use of history not related to battle as a supplement to tactics and strategy. Each battle is detailed including all known combatants, maps and a step by step run-through of the battle. The unrelated history of the area follows, along with the general’s discussion on how this history could inform the tactics of those fighting there, and how it could aid future military leaders who might fight there. I find it remarkable that Black would find the time to be both an accomplished military officer and a historian with such knowledge about areas all across Weissland. Some of the battles discussed in the book include one of the battles on the outskirts of Valoruin, a battle at the Great Wall, the defence of Harrin’s Drift, and the pitched battle of Ordail Plains.

The Nioneston Tablets

The Nioneston Tablets are three stone tablets which relate to a prophecy laid down by the prophet Nioneston. They are quite interesting as most prophecies focus on an individual being or event, while the Nioneston tablets are about a confluence of events and beings. As with many prophecies the tablets are fairly vague, although Nioneston was quite a powerful and reputable seer. She carved the tablets three hundred and twenty-four years ago. There is no sense of time in the tablets, so there is no clear way to tell when much of the prophecy will take place, the time between the events, or how intrinsically linked the events and people are. This has made it very difficult for historians to discover exactly what the prophecy is all about. It is rather disappointing, as should the prophecy prove true, it would lead much of the known world into a time of great darkness, where the outcome is undecided and the fate of many great realms hang in the balance.

Lanionyonn’s Book of Legendary Weapons

This book was compiled and written thirty-nine years ago by a Weissland elf by the name of Malrik Lanionyonn. It contains a great deal of detail and history of legendary weapons. It covers not only magical weapons but unique or expertly made weapons as well as ordinary weapons wielded by great heroes from many realms regardless of the weapon’s qualities. Lanionyonn even travelled to several places in search of these lands’ legends. In the case of some weapons which were still in use, Lanionyonn met with the owners to get their input for the book. The book includes illustrations of many of the weapons, although for some of the more ancient and lost weapons, such illustrations are only based on whatever details historical texts could provide. Lanionyonn made a point of describing battles where such weapons were used and what affect the weapon and its wielder had on the battle. He believed that a hero and that hero’s weapon in the right place at the right time could turn the tide of any battle and write the course of history.

The Blessed Book of Habalthor

Here is a strange book I came across in one of the libraries in the tower of Ataya. It is a holy book from some uncharted land. As far as my research has gone, this land is somewhere east or north-east of Weissland on the same coastline as the Eastern Empire and the book was brought here by a merchant ship which stopped there after being blown off-course from the Eastern Empire. The merchant passed the book on to a mage around two decades ago, who brought it to the tower. Since then we have been studying it, translating it from the language of the land into the common tongue. It is a difficult process, but once the most common symbols were worked out, becoming the vowels of our language, everything else began to fall into place. Within three years their alphabet was translated and we began the work on translating the book itself. As mentioned it is a long and difficult process and I was not the first mage to work on it. With my help, three of us were able to finish the translation a few years ago. The book describes the beliefs and history of the religion as well as tenants of faith and holy verses. The text is greatly ambiguous, partly down to the strange wording the language uses and partly to the translation. They worship one deity, but one who has many different facets. Given the history, with this god being a creator who is set against another deity who seeks only destruction, it shares startling similarities with Aracen. Habalthor is the name of their deity and it seems to be synonymous with the word God.

The Compendium of the Planes

The Compendium of the Planes, also commonly referred to as the Planes Compendium, is a massive work written by numerous mages. It is the sum knowledge on the various planes written in a concise and comprehensive way. Each section deals with a different plane and is effectively a book in itself. Numerous mages have added to the compendium over the long years. There is of course only one copy of the compendium and it is stored in the Mystic Tower of Ataya. More than this certain portions of the compendium are restricted to only those authorised by the Archmage. This is especially true of the section on the plane of death. Its purpose is to begin to understand the world around us, the laws which govern it and perhaps, to learn to understand ourselves and each other better as well.

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