Notes by Lord Rikantus Everling
The greatest prisons are those we make for ourselves. My prison begins with my love of my daughters. My beloved daughters have been slaughtered by the accursed guardians that once cared for them. These six were once bound to my family by their curse, but the stench of betrayal is strong within this manor and such villainy soon sets into all who dwell within. Betrayal became necessary to acquire the wondrous artifacts of my family and betrayal will tear us apart and piece us back together in the shape of blasphemy.
My daughters have been cut and my sentries have fallen to blades. In this bloodbath I am imprisoned, never able to leave. No door could be opened, no window broken down. How such magic could be wielded by Pelleas is beyond my understanding. But there I found myself, alone in a house of death. But I am an Everling and the gift of the occult is my trade. I can find a way to save my daughters because I have studied with the House of Varsoon and have heard the name of Ethernere.
Ethernere is said to be a place where the dead go before they are allowed into the eternal halls of the pantheons. It is not a plane as we know planes to be. This is a dimension, a realm that exists all around us, in this space and not. Here in Ethernere is where I knew I could find my daughters and return them to the land of the living. I raced to gather my research notes taken from my time with Varsoon. These notes will craft my path and allow me to rescue my beloved daughters.
Key among Varsoon’s research was the ancient rune. It had no name, for it existed long before names. It was an ancient whisper from times unknown, but it is what he believes to be the first key to Ethernere. At the time, his goals in Ethernere were not mine, but it was a path to the unknown, the stock of my trade. We studied notes and studied the rune, a peculiar glyph rules by what looked like two intersecting triangles. Eventually, this time of research ended in failure, or so I thought. Reports soon told me that Varsoon lied and he had breached the barricades of Ethernere.
That was then and now I am placed within the blood soaked castle. It was at this time that I knew my notes could be deciphered and a way to Ethernere could be made. If I could reach such a place then I could retrieve the souls of my daughters before they moved on to eternal realms. Having done my studying, I realized I needed to piece my daughters back together. Employing my art in flesh constructs, I went about sewing together the parts of my beloved daughters. The creations were not as accurate as I had hoped, but would be sufficient as vessels until I could acquire new ones.
Performing the final steps of the arcane ritual, I began to realize that I am about to enter the realm between death’s door and the eternal gates. But I was wrong. The research undergone so very long ago within the Keep of Immortality was flawed. It was either flawed or Lord Varsoon had fed me lies on purpose. I believed the latter at first, but soon realized it would be near impossible to corrupt every one of my notes. Perhaps the destination was not the one we believed it to be. Perhaps is no more, as I soon learn.
Through powerful rituals I have opened a gateway to the unknown, a gateway to oblivion. I set foot upon the surface of a rock hurtling through a maelstrom of astronomical anomalies. I see the emptiness around me filled with flotsam and jetsam made of other hunks of rock. All is being sucked towards a blinding center as if we were in a universal whirlpool. The rocky moons about me seem lifeless, but the one I am atop is different. A tower rises from this lifeless rock. Could this be Ethernere and could this be the mythical Deathtoll Belltower? It was not.
The tower was crackling with arcane forces. The sound created boomed across the silence of this world, feeling as though it could destroy the ears of a god. Massive streams of energy burst out of the top of the tower and arced off into the void. I noticed something that nearly was lost among the many wonders. This place is close to the center of the vortex universe, but somehow fighting the speed of other bodies around it. I wondered if the arcs of light were anchoring it down in some fashion, anchoring it to what?
Having no where to go, I ventured forth towards the tower. The walk was much longer than I had estimated. The rocky terrain made the journey far more difficult as well. Luckily, I happened upon a stairwell. The brickwork was amazing and the minerals used unknown. I decided that the stairwell was just as safe as the tower and being so close, I descended. I may have chosen wrong, the descent was long, longer than the trek to the tower would have been. Suddenly, it ended and I found myself within a massive cavern.
Inside the titanic cavern I could see another tower far off across the uneven landscape. The air was brilliant and blue. Dazzling lights danced about this air as if they were schools of fish. I could see swirling vortices of arcane origins bursting forth from high on the cavern walls. Suddenly, I heard a rumbling sound. I hid. Peeking out from behind my rocky refuge I spotted a large lumbering beast. This beast was like a massive burly minotaur with eyes of red that pierced the darkness. I turned to sneak back up the stairwell, but there was no stairwell!
Having no where to retreat to, I was forced to trudge onward. I darted from shadow to shadow, outcropping to outcropping. I managed to elude the horned behemoths and draw closer to the tower, the only place I could see as a possible release to this mystery. Looking at the tower I noticed something very eerie etched onto its crown, the rune that brought me here! There atop this tower in a realm unknown was the same symbol that Varsoon had chased. It was this rune that brought us here, or did it call?
Varsoon and I traded knowledge gathered from history and across Norrath. We believed this to be a passage to Ethernere, but was it truly? Neither of us could say for sure unless we ever made it here, and here I am. Did Varsoon also find this place? The ethereal chain that bound me to Norrath tugged tight. I must find my answers soon or be forced to return empty handed, never seeing my beloved daughters again. I must enter the tower and find my answers if they do exist. Enter I did.
(The final page contains two sketches of two runes. They appear as follows: 1. The Rune of Ethernere – There is an image of two triangles turned upon each other and intersecting to create a diamond at the center. 2. The Rune of Sunder – There is an image of a swirling line such as a whirlpool would create when viewed overhead or a spiraled serpent. The Rune of Sunder has a hurried note scribbled in blood over it. “Look to the stone of the Shissar.”)