Shattered Shard

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jmecha
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Shattered Shard

Post by jmecha »

The winds howled through the tree tops and Shalus Silvershadow stepped lightly along the swaying walk ways suspended high above the forest floor. He had come to Renvanna seeking Magolir of the Manthor, a witnesses of the Hypnodancer's memorizing performance. Unfortunately the defender of the forest was away from the community and upon a long range patrol and it maybe days before he returned. It was in an effort to make a productive use of his time waiting for Magolir's return that Shalus Silvershadow came to be a top the dangerous walk ways prowling slowly through the night. The local High Priestess of Angharradh expressed the need for Golden Pheasant Feathers for arrow fletching, and it was in his interests to be of service to the community of elves.

There had been warnings of phase spiders that were known to prey upon the golden pheasants, but their ambushes we easily detected and avoided once he focused his mind to amplify his innate ability to harness the potent preceptive enhancing powers of clairsentience. His decades of rigorous mental training and physical conditioning have made calling upon such as much a part of his very being as breathing or his heart beating. This well developed psionic power was so well honed it was difficult for him to tell at times where his natural senses ended, and his psionic senses began. So long as he remained focused, no phase spider could surprise him. All he needed was to maintain pure mental clarity and focus, allowing his mind's eye to augment all of the sensory information the world provided him. It was not known to many, but the truth is that what one perceives is not so much a matter of what they can actually sense, so much as it is what their mental capabilities to process and refine what they can sense into that which should be given attention and that which can be ignored.

The night grew darker, as the hunter's satchel Sahlus wore grew heavier with the bounty of his success. The weight of the half a dozen golden pheasants did not slow his steps, but thoughts of how fine a feast they may provide began to insidiously creep into his mind. With the right application of butter, open flame, and a herb crust coating, the pheasants would provide a delicious feast for members of the Renvanna community. Sahlus himself would not partake, he had not consumed the flesh of any bird or beast in decades. It was an important part of his continued training that he abstain from the distraction of indulging such banal pursuits and pleasures as the taste of well buttered roasted game covered in a smothering of wild herbs. Such indulgences would only prevent him from the mental clarity and focus needed to unlock his true potential.

"CAW CAW!"

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The Golden Pheasant Rooster caught Shalus Silvershadow by surprise, for no reason other then he was so well focused upon the predatory phase spiders, that he inadvertently made himself venerable to the unexpected violent reprisal of the scorned lover of the half a dozen dead golden pheasants he carried in his hunter's satchel. With steel drawn and his mind focused upon the rooster clawing at his eyes, Sahlus Silvershadow was ready for battle.
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jmecha
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Re: Shattered Shard

Post by jmecha »

*Deep beneath Evereska in a private sanctum a Psion stored his formal thoughts upon a recording crystal so they someday may be known to his eventually successor. While many of the private thoughts stored here could prove disasterious if released in to the wrong minds, it would be important that the future leaders of the Hall of the Kalisesh'erai know the truth of those who came before them.*

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Program Shattered Shards Evaluation Report wrote: Date of Evaluation: First of Alturiak, 1402 Dale Reckoning Year of the Exorcised Helm
Subject: Sahlus Silvershadow
Purpose of Evaluation: Program Completion

Psionic Potential: Negligible.
Despite initial testing confirming the potential for psionics, subject Sahlus Silvershadow has after nearly three decades of indoctrination, conditioning, exposure therapy, immersion, training, and mentoring has proven incapable of manifesting psionic potential besides very limited Psychometabolism which have proven difficult to measure due to how miniscule they are. It is at the time of this evaluation my opinion it is difficult to tell if the subject has developed enhanced reflexes and physical prowess through the internalizing of low energy Psychometabolism and Clairsentience, or if if the subject is simply blessed through the grace of the Seldarine with above average natural reflexes and instincts.

Morale Fiber: Substandard.
Subject Sahlus Silvershadow is a victim of his own sense of entitlement due to his linage and the morally flexibility introduced to him during his youthful courting with the Knaves of the Missing Page before being properly recruited to Program Shattered Shards. While not verbally expressed, telepathic readings have time and time again revealed that Subject Sahlus Silvershadow believes himself to be special, and feels as if existence owes him for the losses suffered by his family during the Phaerimm attacks of 1371 D.R. which left him an orphan after his parents who were both slain serving as Swords of Everska. It is this reviewer's suspicion that the only thing that has allowed Subject Sahlus Silvershadow to progress as far as he has through his training is his deeply ingrained delusional belief that he is different and special, and that if only he continues to follow the strict protocols and training exercises he will someday unlock his true potential. This coupled with his youthful affiliations with the Knaves of the Missing Page, make him a liability prone to self justifications and the rationalizing of poor life choices, with an inclination towards justifiable larceny and lawlessness, for what the subject may perceive as a greater good.

Comprehensive Fitness: Adequate.
Subject Sahlus Silvershadow as previously mentioned maybe born with the blessing of the Seldarine in regards to above average physical prowess, but nothing in regards to his physical evaluations has in noticeable way shown him an exception above or below the standards set by the other youthful able bodied subjects of Program Shattered Shards.

Intellect & Problem Solving: Minimal.
The subject has shown a measure of keen intellect as is expected by the linage of the First of the Seldarine's chosen, but lacks any exceptional wisdom which is not unexpected for the subject's youth. Unfortunately Subject Sahlus is prone to immediately working to solve the immediate problems before him instead of taking the time to determine their root cause and or evaluate multiple avenues of approach. It is this reviewer's opinion that this maybe due to his under whelming lack of psionic ability that has left him with the mental capabilities of a simple soldier.

Communication: Substandard.
While not an unlikable individual, and on occasion capable of being perceived as charming, Subject Sahlus Silvershadow has failed to develop any of the tools we would expect a Kaliesh'erai influencer to exert over others through means both enhanced and mundane.

Summary: PASSING FAILURE
It is this reviewer's opinion that subject Sahlus Silvershadow is a Failure and of no significant value to the Kaliesh'erai. The resources and time spent upon him over the last three decades can be written off as a charitable loss. In an effort to salvage some minimal value from the resources invested, and to appease the voice of the dissident Dalthoeneir Delthoenoth, I will be Passing Subject Sahlus Silvershadow through the Program and assigning him to her pool of motley Field Agents. At worst he will will be Delthoenoth's problem moving forward, and at best he may miraculously prove capable of following simple commands and accomplishing mundane tasks on our accord elsewhere in the Realms.

I will recommend Waterdeep as his first assignment abroad, for in that city of chaos there is no harm he can do to us or others that is not already being done. Let Subject Sahlus Silvershadow chase rumors of the "Hypnodancer".

Reviewer: Theldir Whitemoon, Psion of the Kaliesh'erai
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Re: Shattered Shard

Post by jmecha »

The Waterhavian Bardic Adventurers had a plan in place to put an end to the Hypnodancer's antics, and so Shalus Silvershadow tuned his mind to more immediately pressing matters. The mystery of who had been painting lewd nudes and leaving them scattered about the Adventurer's Guild consumed a completely appropriate and well measured amount of his thoughts. It was not that he was out for justice or even wanted to stop the artist from continuing their unique form of expression, so much as he wanted to know who they were and what motivated them.

After having studied the lewd nudes for an undetermined amount of time, he felt that perhaps they were created with the equivalent of a child's level of artistic quality. This conclusion was based solely upon his own impression of the works, completely uninfluenced and ununiformed by any form of formal or informal fine art related education. This meant the intuition was pure, and possibly accurate.

Unfortunately there was only so much that could be gleamed from simply studying the lewd nudes, to learn more, Sahlus would have to do more. Even with a keenly focused psionic mind open to possibilities and potential, often efforts needed to be made, and so Sahlus Silvershadow set out to purchase art supplies. To know the Artist, he would himself need to be an Artist. There was no way to know how many inches of genitalia he may have to draw in detail, but he knew the journey of one thousand miles always started with the first step.

With his mind open and ready to receive, he stepped out into Kerrigan Court and was almost immediately overwhelmed by the severe intensity of the invisable and undetectable psionic vibrations that he could both see and detect thanks to his mind's eye. Also in part Luva Si'nede throwing herself to the ground in the rain while screaming her professed love for Ikari Anem'Hotep while other members of the House of Wonders stood by armed and ready for violence also alerted him that something was afoot.

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What followed was difficult to follow as Luva continued to perform emotional and physical calisthenics as she screamed jumping up to her feet to very loudly pronounce her current emotional state, before once again collapsing to the mud to sob and beg. Any lesser trained mind might suspect Luva was insane, but thanks to his years of dedication to cerebral studies and well developed understandings of the secrets of the mind, he knew better. What was on display here was not necessarily insanity, but potentially a very disturbing display of exceptionally stunted emotional and mental development.

A tantrum, temper tantrum, meltdown, fit or hissy fit is an emotional outburst, usually associated with those in emotional distress, that is typically characterized by stubbornness, crying, screaming, violence, defiance, angry ranting, a resistance to attempts at pacification, and, in some cases, hitting and other physically violent behavior. Physical control may be lost; the person may be unable to remain still; and even if the "goal" of the person is met, they may not be calmed.

Luva unleashing her sorcery to attack Sir Delcan with a barrage of Magic Missles mid-conversation, only further reinforced Shalus's diagnostic certainty. There would be no reasoning with Luva currently and the potential for the current tensions becoming increasingly violent were very real. When the sorceress eventually slumped into a sobbing mess in the mud beside the trash barrel, it may have been for the very best for all involved.

As for the others, they were far more difficult to properly read, in part perhaps to the psionic noise Luva was emitting make it increasingly difficult to properly find the signal of the other minds involved. At best Sahlus could only guess as to the true intentions of the others involved.

Sir Delcan appeared to be ready and waiting for any semblance of justification to put the self proclaiming Sharren to the Sword. At one point in the conversation he even began speaking in what can only be suspected to be some form of religious mantra or vows.

"I protect the Weave"

"Mystra is my truth"


These statements were spoken as if Sir Delcan was mostly declaring such to himself, and perhaps as a warning for anyone else who was listening to him. They seemed vague and undefined to Shalus's mind, and left him wondering what such statements might mean to the holy warrior repeating them.

Priestess Starmane of Mystra arrived later then the others to the unfolding scene and appeared near glowing in the potent divine wardings of her Godess as she approached Luva and Ikari. The Priestess to her credit did appear sincerely concerned for the safety of all involved and did what she could to try and reason with Luva and Ikari to keep the potential for escalation to a minimal. Unfortunately she was dealing with a Child in the throws of extreme emotional turmoil and a Sharren, who are not known for their attachments to such things as reason or logic.

The final major player in the melodrama of the square was Ikari who in traditional Sharren fashion had a very large chip upon her shoulder and did her very best to make said chip everyone else's burden and responsibility. To her credit she did very admirably well in what was the equivalent of verbal sparring with the others. She manage to very successfully blame shift various affairs and short comings upon the shoulders of the others while making repeated and pointed counter accusations against everyone present. It was a masterful display of well executed Sharren drivel that to lesser refined mind's, might have appeared deeply meaningful. Most curious though was the missive a simple messenger boy delivered to Ikari during the earlier stages of the developing dramatics. Something she read appeared to renew her sense of purpose and enthusiasm to shift her focus from arguing to make herself a focus of pity, to instead arguing to make all comers who dared engage with her appear the villans who needed to be taught the harshest lessons.

Ultimately in the end several members of the House of Wonders escorted Ikari to the Adventurer's Quarter Watch House. Even though Ikari did not appear to have actually committed any crimes, there was the chance that due to her religious inclinations she maybe jailed and so in parting Sahlus said the only thing he thought might make any difference.

"KEEP THE BOOKS!"

Upon learning some days earlier that Ikari despite her elven heritage was ignorant of Elven culture, Shalus Silvershadow thought that first giving her access to the language of the People through study materials and language lessons might be the first steps towards allowing her the opportunity to learn of The People. No doubt feeling persecution and the enemy of so many, Shalus thought best to let her know that the books were hers to keep and he hoped that if she was to spend time in a prison she may have the opportunity to at a minimal do something productive and educational. It was painfully obvious that those of The People who broke so far from the ways of The People were lost and needed all the help they could get to return to the fold of family.

One need look no further then Luva slumped beside a barrel of trash in the mud and Ikari publicly professing her devoution to Shar to see how very poorly elves removed from the love and guidance of the Seldarine devolved into pitiful husks of their true potential.
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jmecha
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Re: Shattered Shard

Post by jmecha »

The House of Wonders was in need of a point man, and Sahlus Silvershadow's mind's eye always pointed him in the right direction. There were reports of a Fey Blooded Shadow Weaver cloaked in Red who was last seen outside of Amphail, where she easily dispatched several Harper Scouts who confronted her. Only one lived to tell the tale, and High Priest of the House of Wonders Meleghost Starseer was sending those he could to acquire Cold Iron from a Duergar occupied mine deep in the Sword Mountains. Fey Blooded Shadow Weavers while concerning, were not the true concern of the Kaliesh'erai, but Sahlus Silvershadow sensed the House of Wonders maybe a valuable ally, and intuited that where there were Duergar there may exist Psionic Artifacts he had best see stewarded.

Despite the House of Wonders having recently suffered some internal strife due to their trusting and reliance upon a Sharren who they had invited into their most sacred of places and had treated as not only a welcomed guest but a valued member of their fellowship, they were not deterred from the duty assigned them. With the Temple Artifact entrusted to them by the High Priest that would allow them to pass Giant Kin undetected, and with an exceptionally self confident Hin Guide named Jack and his faithful pack pony Billy as their navigator, the impossible journey through the frost bitten stone peaks of the Sword Mountains was only painful and long, instead of short and deadly. During their ascension, Sahlus contemplated the words of Sir Peartlin Loafrusher.

"How glorious, we have a new scout!"

This after much reflection, definitely implied to Sahlus that there had been previous scouts, and he suspected they had not retired from their position because of old age or to enjoy the fruits of their labors. Those previous scouts were like, dead. This realization did little to keep Sahlus Silvershaodw warm during the march through the rugged peaks of the Sword Mountains, but it did inspire him to be the best scout the House of Wonders had ever had, because to do only as well as the others would be a death sentence.

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The Mine entrance had a track and rail system that snaked it's way through narrow tunnels and larger chambers carved out of the stone, always leading deeper into the mountain. This gave Sahlus the impression that the mine had once traded with the surface world, and may have once been Clan Melairkyn's mines, before their fall. Before what evil was beneath them rose up to slowly devour them. Before they encountered the Drow and Duergar of the depths. Once long long ago, some two thousand years ago these mines might have been home to hard working dwarves of noble intent, instead of the demons who haunted the darkness now. Instead of the tyrannical and grim Duergar or the murderously insane and sadistic Derro that dwelled there now. The Champions of the House of Wonders rather quickly dispatched the demons that were encountered, and fought well against the Duergar's warriors, and even endured the psionic onslaught of the Derro.

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That is until the stone slab bridge of the lava moat that gave the Duergar defenders all the advantages they needed to leverage their crossbows and axes against the House of Wonder's Champions. They had all the advantages and the Champions of Wonder lead by Priestess Starmane suffered pain and casualties for it. Hiromi Takeda was the first to fall to Duergar bolts fired from across the lava moat with deadly accuracy from heavy crossbows with over lapping fields of fire intended to cut down any who dared cross the stone slab that crossed the defensive moat of lava. The beautiful woman of foreign lands had done nothing wrong, she had made no misstep. She stood beside her allies and worked her bow to drive arrow after arrow into the enemy ranks, and it was Sahlus's suspension the Duergar Crossbows targeted her intentionally because they in their cold grey hearts could not help but resent her and hate her beauty. A beauty for which they had likely never before encountered in their lives of joyless toil in the depths of dark stone. The fall of Hiromi Takeda was felt by all of the Champions of Wonder, for she was one of them and they were less without.

The weakening injury of the casualty was not an opportunity the Duergar failed to capitalize upon. Their crossbows increased their rate of fire and their axes swung harder and without mercy into the front ranks of Wonder. The entire Temple Team near collapse under the unrelenting violence. In truth the entire team buckled and bent, and would have broken if not for Priestess Anovallis Starmane unleashing magically constructed constructs and leading a self sacrificing charge into the enemy ranks while shielded only by her faith and Mystra's favor. It gave the rest of the team the time they needed to rally, and together they pressed forward to take the Duergar mining camp, avenging their fallen, removing a knot of vile evil from the Realms, and claiming the hard won Cold Iron ores they would need to forge weapons to combat the Red Robed Shadow Weaver.

After wounds were licked, the fallen carried, and the Duergar mining encampment searched there were two things of particular interest to Shalus Silvershadow. The first being what appeared to be a dark tunnel leading even deeper beneath the mountain, a tunnel in which no mining cart tracks were ever laid, a tunnel in which only a deeper darkness awaited. The second being what he knew to be a relic of unknown psionic potential.

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Re: Shattered Shard

Post by jmecha »

Sometimes the answer begs the question, and Sahlus Silvershadow dared to ask. The curious case of the lewd nudes was once more upon his mind, and he thought to investigate the Adventurer's Guild for any clues or insights he could find. He began with inspecting the contents of the drop box beside Vana Swift's desk, and within he found a small collection of paints and some blank pages. No sooner then the hunter's smile began to spread across his face, his mind reeled with the warning of incoming danger before his other senses could even perceive the threat. The velocity of the attack would have surprised anyone limited to only five senses, and even with his sixth and seventh senses tuned in to the matter at hand, not even Sahlus would have predicted Vana Swift herself was the source of the threat.

“BRAAAP.”

Slowly he raised his gaze from the contents of the chest to Vana Swift who's shame at her own body's betrayal had turned her face three shades of red. There may have been words to share, to perhaps relieve the tension of her embarrassment, but she had relived more then enough in his opinion and so he merely shook his head. As the foul air cleared, and conversation began, it quickly became apparent Vana Swift knew nothing about the mysterious paintings or paints, or the artist responsible. The closest she had for valuable information was the memory of a disgusting dwarf named Daladin who smelled of acid and was once a member of the Guild who on occasion indulged in the artist pursuit of painting.

Moving forward Sahlus Silvershadow carefully inspected the lounge where he found another pair of paintings stored inside the cabinets behind the bar. The first was an artistically done watercolor painting of multiple nude elves of a variety of genders, and the second was almost disturbingly familiar. The first painting was signed with the expected "I" the mysterious artist normally used, and the second and strangely familiar painting was lacking the signature, signature. Yet the second painting of a nude male elf with a head of silvery hair who was visibly excited in the aroused sense of the meaning, was lacking the tell tale signature "I." So lost in his study of the new paintings, he was almost startled when Vana Swift spoke up to offer her insight.

"I'll give you a hint. Most likely those did not originate at the Orphanage."

"Is it because Helm's Hall can not afford an Art's Program? The Arts are important."

It was then that Sahlus Silvershadow realized the paintings may only be one aspect of a larger performance art on display here. The paintings themselves, while artfully done, were not necessarily the art the artist wanted us to discover. Provocative lewd nudes left to be found, yet with no signs of who or what was leaving them to be found, and the mysterious signature. Perhaps the artist, wanted us to ask one of the most important questions Art can inspire an individual or a society to ask themselves.

"Who could I be?"

It was after this realization, it was decided that questioning the local asylum's staff if they recognized the artist's work. This might very well be a mad genius, and Saint Idalene's Gentle Repository might be the ideal place to find someone familiar with such. Most unexpectedly paths were crossed with both Ikari Anem'Hotep the Sharren and Sir Declan Johanson Paladin of Mystra in Kerrington Court. Not knowing how to interpret this convergence of personalities and energies, Sahlus Silvershadow decided to inform the pair of the matter at hand, and invite them both to the ayslum. Despite their differences, the pair agreed to travel together, because the siren song of this particular mystery was one strong enough to united everyone who heard it's call, under the same universal banner of asking the important question.

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"Who could I be?"

For a brief moment in time the three of them were an unstoppable force. They were three, and they were one, they were ordained by all of existence to come together as a team united in singular purpose to learn the truth, if only for a moment. By the time they reached Saint Idalene's Gentle Repository, Sir Declan was drawn away by his duties elsewhere and Sahlus Silvershadow failed to properly intuit the warning that this was. The Power of Three had been lost, their moment of universal unity had passed. The energies of existence had shifted and to flow against them, would be to cut across the grain of the multiverse. Ignorant of these warnings, those that were once Three, and were now only Two, descended deep into the mouth of madness, in search of answers.

"We must not go into the asylum sounding like crazy people."

Only a few minutes later Sahlus Silvershadow stood alone in the street, slowly working over everything that had come to pass. He had specifically warned her before they went inside. Yet here he was, and inside she remained. The Three had become Two, and now they were all separated. Sir Declan off tending to his duties, Sahlus with his arms full of the trade bars the gnomish Doctor Meybar Fiddlepatch had paid him for the paintings, and Ikari inside the Asylum working hard to argue and fight her way into becoming a resident of the Repository.
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Re: Shattered Shard

Post by jmecha »

The Champions of Wonder had decided how best to divide the spoils taken from the Duergar Mines, and Sahlus Silvershadow came to collect his prize. The Hin, Sir Peartlin Loafrusher was there receive him, and together they ascended the stairs of the House of Wonder Temple to where the hard won treasures awaited behind several locked doors, and inside a locked trunk inside a room crowded with various work stations for the creation of all manner of magical devices and items. Sir Peartlin had mentioned it was best that they were together for the taking of their shares, so each of them may bear witness to the actions of the other to insure that neither took more then what was theirs for the taking.

This struck some part of Sahlus Silvershadow as a very strange statement to make, for it implied that no one individual was to be trusted with such treasures alone, but only together with eyes of each other watching might someone behave in a manner lacking larceny. He could not help but think that if Sir Peartlin had larcenous intentions, he could easily access the trunk full of treasures at any time and take whatever plunders he desired, for he had the key. Was the valiant Hin perhaps feeling Sahlus out to see if he would suggest that the pair of them take advantage of the situation and take more then their share, or was this some new procedure the Champions of Wonder have restricted themselves with since realizing they had a Sharren living inside their inner sanctum?

Regardless if the Hin was reaffirming the new restrictions he was living under, or probing his intentions, the only item of interest to Shalus was the Derro crafted helm.

The strange race was not one of his areas of expertise, but they were one that were covered by his education during his time within the Kaliesh'erai Hall. They appeared to resemble small dwarves with blue-gray skin, and their hair was often white, yellow, or pale tan in color. They lacked both irises and pupils, showing uniformly pale eyes. Most Derro looked haggard and wore shabby clothing, appearing pitiable to unsuspecting victims, which they used to lure those they could into dangers traps and violent ambushes. The eyes of these creatures were capable of seeing in total darkness as well as the ultraviolet spectrum out to a range of 120 feet. They often suffered nausea while in sunlight. These remembered facts though were only of importance though because the Derro were a race that was once suspected to have been enslaved beneath the rule of the Illithid Empire and to have either developed some measure of psionics due to their generation proximity to the aberrant beings, enforced breeding protocols upon their species, or perhaps even more sinister experimentations that left the race physically twisted, psionically gifted, and insane. He had witnessed them wield the psionic powers of their minds in battle like weapons, and it was his responsibility as an agent of the Kaliesh'erai to properly catalog what psionic properties and potential manifestations this strange helm of Derro craft was capable of. He could not help but wonder if this particular device was dangerous to any who dared to don it upon their heads, it would not be outside the realm of unreasonable thought that the insane Derro created was willing to accept some measure of permanent crippling brain damage in exchange for some small boost in psionic potential.

When the cheerful Hin handed the helm to Sahlus from the trunk, the thought of the helm being exceptionally dangerous lingered. To safe guard against any possible harm to his mind, he was very careful to carry the helm with both hands and arms extended to keep any potentially dangerous psionic waves the helm emitted as far from his head as he could while transporting it back to his quarters inside the Adventurer's Guild. For now though, best to treat it like a chamber pot filled to the brim with foul fluids. Keep as far away from your senses as your arms will allow, use both hands to hold it steady and level, take balanced careful steps, and for the love of all that is good in this world and others, take care not to drop it. This oddity could be powered by fractured crystals infused with unstable mental energies and dropping it or damaging it in anyway could literally set of a mind bomb. Everything could seem possible when you were ignorant enough to not know any better, and so Shalus instinctively errored on the side of caution.

Marching carefully down the stairs he had previously quickly and easily ascended, the thought of the device slipping from his hands and shattering the minds of everyone inside the House of Wonders almost made it slip from his hands. It never ceased to amaze what the smallest stray thought could do, though thankfully due to his internal discipline the device was not dropped, and not everyone's mind inside an undetermined radius was put at risk of being turned to so much sludge. It was very possible Sir Peartlin offered a friendly and sincere farewell that Shalus ignored and did not bother to reply to. Carrying this potential mind shattering device safely back to his private quarters inside the Adventurer's Guild where he could safely study it was the sole focus of his being at that very moment. The psionic energy the device was generating was potent enough it warmed his hands and caused them to sweat, which only made not dropping the device a larger challenge. Was the device sentient and using it's psionic abilities to make his hands sweat? Was it trying to escape?

Every cobblestone was felt upon the cart ride back to the Adventurer's Quarter as Sahlus Silvershadow carefully cradled the device in his lap. There was the threat of becoming impotent due to the proximity of the device in his lap and any harmful psionic vibrations it was emitting but chances had to be taken. Once the cart came to a stop he began a spirited but very deliberate shuffle up to his room inside the Adventurer's Guild. Here he would have the privacy to carefully experiment with this Derro crafted device uninterrupted. If worse came to worse, eventually the stink of his corpse would alert the others of the Guild that something was amiss.

Setting the peculiar Helm upon his bed, he carefully stripped his body of all potential conflicting sources of energy and tucked them away inside a sturdy chest. This was done to keep the experiment pure and unspoiled by any Arcane auras or other influencing energies that might be clinging to his personal effects.

Then and only then did he take the Helm in his hands and kneel upon the floor to very carefully examine it. The helm weighted roughly two pounds and appeared to be made out of rothe leather carefully shaped and roughly sewn together to reassemble an Illithid head. Most of the Helms weight seemed to be that of the fake tentacles extending forward, and he imagined wearing the Helm would be ill for his or anyone's posture. It would incline the wearer's head forward and down, either causing inevitable neck pains or making the head an easy target. Most curious though was the thin metallic lining inside the core of the Helm. The metal appeared to be some very light weight alloy that shined brightly and light shined upon it. It was some sort of foil lining, and Shalus suspected that due to the shape of the Helm and the foil lining the Helm likely had one of two purposes. Either the Foil was a conducting material that would allow energy to be drawn from the mind of the wearer to unleas psionic energy blasts from the fax Illthid tentacles or it was shaped as it was to inform other Derro that the foil lining was a shield from Illithid attacks.

The time had come to learn which if any of his theories were true were true. Either the Helm would allow him to fuel psionic energy blasts with his mind power, potentially doing irreversible brain damage in the process, or it would shield his mind from external threats, or something else all together. With the Helm above his head held aloft with both hands, Shalus Silvershadow closed his eyes and opened his mind. Slowly the lowered Derro crafted psionic device onto his head. He was almost certain this would be fine.

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Re: Shattered Shard

Post by jmecha »

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Telepathic Correspondance wrote:
Metamind Monitor of Shattered Shard Subjects: "High Mind Theldir Whitemoon, the Psicrystal Tether attached to Subject Sahlus Silvershadow assigned to Waterdeep has gone dark."

High Mind Psion Theldir Whitemoon:"Elaborate."

Metamind Monitor of Shattered Shard Subjects: "The Psicrystal Tehter responsible for reinforcing the subject's conditioning and monitoring has gone dark because the psionic tether has been severed."

High Mind Psion Theldir Whitemoon:"What was the subject doing prior to the severing?"

Metamind Monitor of Shattered Shard Subjects: "I do not know, High Mind. You marked this subject a non-priority. My attention was on priority subjects."

High Mind Psion Theldir Whitemoon:"I am familiar with the subject's lack of priority, as I am the one who assigned it."

Kaliesh'erai Metamind Monitor of Shattered Shard Subjects: "High Mind, should I inform Wilder Dalthoeneir Delthoenoth that she has likely lost a field agent?"

High Mind Psion Theldir Whitemoon:"No. The Psicrystal Tethers attached to the Shattered Shard Subjects, for now, will remain our confidential matter."

Kaliesh'erai Metamind Monitor of Shattered Shard Subjects:"Understood, High Mind."

High Mind Psion Theldir Whitemoon: "For now continue to monitor the Psicrystal Tethers attached to the remaining Shattered Shard Subjects, and report only to me."

Kaliesh'erai Metamind Monitor of Shattered Shard Subjects:"Understood, High Mind."

High Mind Psion Theldir Whitemoon: "May you always keep a diamond in your mind."

Kaliesh'erai Metamind Monitor of Shattered Shard Subjects: "May you always keep a diamond in your mind, High Mind.
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Re: Shattered Shard

Post by jmecha »

With the Derro Crafted Helm upon his head, all was dark for Shalus Silvershadow had his eyes closed and his mind open. The first thought he had was as clear as crystal, he should have washed the helm before donning it for the inside of the helm smelled of the body odor of the Derro who wore it last. His second thought was more of a sensation of absolute freedom, with the helm upon his head he felt his mind open and able to explore his own thoughts in any direction without restriction. It was as if the road of infinite possibilities had opened before him so wide that in contrast he could not help but realize he had previously been walking a very narrow trail. It was as if his imagination had crested a mountain top climbed for so long, the sudden scope of the horizon in all directions was overwhelming, and beautiful to behold.

Wearing the Derro Device was disturbingly liberating. The last time he could remember feeling this unencumbered and free was before the Sharn Wall fell, before the following attacks ravaged Evereska and left him an orphan. His mind felt so weightless and free, Sahlus lost track of time as he simply basked in what felt like, simply being alone with his own thoughts in decades. His thoughts and memories played and teased with his past, exploring old feelings and experiences from his newly found untethered perspective. He remembered his joyful youth, and the love of his parents who gave their lives as Swords of Evereska during the worst of the Phaerimm attacks upon his home. He remembered feeling so lost and alone when the dust settled and the fighting came to an end, and he remembered the sense of purpose joining the Hall of the Kaliesh'erai provided him. In time though, his thoughts turned to the Derro Crafted device upon his head, and the question that needed to be asked.

What would become of his new found mental clarity if he was to remove the device?

There was only one way to find out.

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Re: Shattered Shard

Post by jmecha »

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Telepathic Correspondance wrote:
Metamind Monitor of Shattered Shard Subjects: "High Mind Theldir Whitemoon, I have been able to partially reactivate the Psicrystal Tether to Subject Sahlus Silvershadow."

High Mind Psion Theldir Whitemoon:"Elaborate, on what you mean by partially."

Metamind Monitor of Shattered Shard Subjects: "The Psicrystal Tehter connection has been damaged and while we are no longer able to continue the subject's conditioning, we can resume monitoring."

High Mind Psion Theldir Whitemoon:"Have you been monitoring Subject Sahlus Silvershadow?"

Metamind Monitor of Shattered Shard Subjects: "I have, High Mind."

High Mind Psion Theldir Whitemoon:"Elaborate."

Kaliesh'erai Metamind Monitor of Shattered Shard Subjects: "High Mind, it is difficult to explain what I have witnessed"

High Mind Psion Theldir Whitemoon:"Make an effort."

Kaliesh'erai Metamind Monitor of Shattered Shard Subjects:"Understood, High Mind."

High Mind Psion Theldir Whitemoon: "..."

Kaliesh'erai Metamind Monitor of Shattered Shard Subjects:"Subject Shalus Silvershadow has been day drinking wine, and selling nude water color paintings of himself to senior staff of an Ilmater Mental Facility. "

High Mind Psion Theldir Whitemoon: "..."

Kaliesh'erai Metamind Monitor of Shattered Shard Subjects: "The Subject has been doing these things while both keeping the company of a Sharren and a Paladin of Mystra."

High Mind Psion Theldir Whitemoon: "..."

Kaliesh'erai Metamind Monitor of Shattered Shard Subjects: "As I said previously, High Mind, it is difficult to put to words what I have witnessed."


High Mind Psion Theldir Whitemoon: "When is the last time you allowed yourself proper cycles of rest?"

Kaliesh'erai Metamind Monitor of Shattered Shard Subjects: "High Mind, my rest cycles are proper."

High Mind Psion Theldir Whitemoon: "Very well, continue to observe and report, but remember Subject Shalus Silvershadow is not a priority, maybe even less so now."

Kaliesh'erai Metamind Monitor of Shattered Shard Subjects: "Understood, High Mind. May your mind diamond always shine, High Mind."

High Mind Psion Theldir Whitemoon: "May your mind diamond always shine."

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Re: Shattered Shard

Post by jmecha »

The unsolved mysteries kept stacking up, and Sahlus Silvershadow poured himself another glass of wine. It was difficult to imagine he had gone decades without indulging in the fruit of the vine. The last drink he had the pleasure of sharing before his arrival to Waterdeep had been with his parents as an adolescent. He understood the importance of the strict diets and rigorous practices that were placed upon him and the others of his class, but as a field agent certainly it would do no harm for him to occasionally enjoy one of life's finest delights.

Reminiscing over his drink, he could not help but smile at how very grating his initial days amongst the Kaliesh'erai were. Everything was so rigidly structured from what they ate, when they ate, when they could rest, what they wore, and everything else one might imagine. The thought of those earliest days almost was enough to make his skin crawl in revulsion, but he managed to endure and he could not argue their methods. Without their guidance and protocols, he may never have developed his Psionic potential, and for that he would always be indebted to the Hall of the Kaliesh'erai.

Now that his training was complete though, what harm was there in wine, or indulging in other carnal delights? He had a very rare talent, and had spent decades developing it, honing it to a razors edge....what harm would there be in actually allowing himself to live, a little?

What point was there in enhanced senses, if you did not use them to taste the world and live life to the fullest?
Surely it would be a waste of his enhanced reflexes to spend all his life in quiet contemplation?

There was so very much to see and do, and the further into the bottle Sahlus found himself, the more he was curious to see what all could be done.


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Re: Shattered Shard

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Sir Ambrose Illance of House Illance of Cormyr, Knight in service to the Princess of Passions wanted to hunt Gnolls from horse back, and Sahlus Silvershadow had no horse. What he did have was a tongue that taste of vinegar, and an ample dusting of body powder and glitter adorning his otherwise black on black ensemble. In retrospect, enjoying the entire evening at the Copper Cup spending the gold Meleghost Starseer had paid him for his report, before the hunting trip was perhaps not the wisest course of action. When the pair reached Rassalantar, Sahlus stopped to wash the previous evening's revelry from his face in the stream. The cold water sounded like an alarm in the nerve endings of his hands and face. It was what he needed.

Sir Illance in his good natured manner, playfully asked if perhaps there was a bit to much elven revelry in Sahlus's evening. In his following breath, he used his noble born manner to not so subtly boasted that due to his enhanced constitution from the blessings of Lady Firehair he was immune to such aches and pains the morning after a celebration. The truth is, Sir Illance could have been speaking in tongues for all it mattered to Sahlus in the moment. There was only the cold refreshing water and his deep breaths of the crisp northern air that he was focused upon.

The hills south of Amphail proved only a challenge to Shalus's legs as he crested one rugged hill after another stalking along as Sir Illance trotted behind him. The pair decided to take their uneventful outing to Westwood where they encountered packs of roving Worgs and eventually decided to head back to the city as night fell across the lands. The pair parted ways at the caravan camp fire, Sir Illance trotting ahead to the Temple of Beauty, and Sahlus Silvershadow stopping to rest his weary legs.

It was deep in the night when Sahlus decided to pick himself up and carry on. The various guards at the Troll Gate greeted and questioned him as they would any lone figure entering the city at such an hour. It was merely a formality and an exchange of pleasantries. He had nothing to hide from them, and they no reason to suspect he did.

Once inside the city though, Shalus Silvershadow's demeanor changed from that of the courteous and innocent traveler, to the well honed psionic warrior the Kaliesh'erai had trained him to be. Slipping discreetly into the shadows, he donned the device of the Derro and began stalking the streets, for he was on the hunt.

For sometime he suspected the Derro device could shield his mind from the predatory practices of the Wilora. Between gathering intelligence for Meleghost Starseer of the House of Wonder, serving as a Scout for the Champions of Wonder, entertaining Ikari's suspension the Gentle Repository was an Ayslum of Horrors, tracking the ever elusive watercolor creator of the lewd nudes, preparing for the Hypnodancer, and the occasional evening of indulge....there were not many evenings to spend testing his theory.

Due to the Derro Device being fashioned to look like the head of an Illithid, roaming the streets in such during the light of day was, simply not an option. Well, it was not an option unless he wanted to answer inane questions about why he was dressed like some sort macabre squid man, or worse mistaken for some sort of walkibg advertisement for the Spouting Fish. That establishment did not need a second barker, let alone one wandering the Northern Wards, and that was something every Waterhavian could agree upon.

Tonight would be the night....he could sense it.

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Re: Shattered Shard

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The Wilora's gaze was undeterred by the Derro Device, and Shalus Silvershadow quickly found himself in a violent situation with himself. There was no time to stop and ponder how the Derro Device had failed him, as he launched a series of deadly attacks against himself. Even though both fought for Sahlus Silvershadow's life, they did so as adversaries. In the end only one of them would be left alive.

As a Sahlus stood in the darkened street watching the Waterhavian rain fall upon the corpse before him, he needed a moment to gather himself. The suddenness of the violence as the pair of them fought to the death, combined with their familiarity with each other, left him reeling. The entire experience was overwhelming and surreal. If not for the rain slick and blood soaked Wilora Skull he held in his hands, he could imagine being less certain of who had won the fight for his life.

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There were two questions before him, one of which he was curious to see properly answer, and the other he was in a sense horrified needed to be asked....

How had the Derro Device failed to shield his mind from the predations of this psionic predatory?

Even if the Wilora was capable of overcoming the Derro Device's provenly flawed defenses, how had it managed to penetrate his own mind deep enough to assume his form and fight with his prowess?
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Re: Shattered Shard

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The sear on the venison had done well to lock in the wine and herbs it had been marinated in to flavor and tenderize it, and Sahlus Silvershadow worked his cutting knife and fork with precision and anticipation of the savory flavors to come. It was a extravagant pleasure, not one he regularly indulged, but one he truely cherished on the occasions he did treat himself. It was a meal that reminded him of his childhood in Evereska, before the Sharn Wall fell, before he had experienced death and loss.

With each bite he carefully raised to his mouth to chew, he reflected upon those happy childhood decades in the Vale of Everska and the life he had shared with his family and friends. Having been born a Silvershadow, it was his place to volunteer for the Swords of Evereska when he came of age, no different then his noble parents, nor their parents before them. The Swords of Evereska was a militia formed of noble-born elven warriors and mages of Evereska. It symbolized that no elf, no matter how high born, was above serving in defense of the elven Last Home. It was a responsibility of prestige and honor he had always looked forward to undertaking. One that he never achieved.

The attacks that spared no family of the Last Home, left their mark upon the linage of Silvershadows as deeply as any other. When the dust had settled Sahlus Silvershadow was nothing more then an orphan left to inherit a family estate of shattered ruins. Like so many others he was to hollowed out and overwhelmed to feel anything but confused. The Last Home had been saves, but so many of those that made it a home had been lost, the entire city fell more like a burial ground decorated with monuments to what was, and was no more.

Like so many others of his generation, the bitterness and resentment of what had been lost eventually crept into him and anger was what he felt. An impotent rage with no target to lash out at, he had become a fist clenched so tightly it served no purpose other then the self harm of muscles tensed needlessly and tendons strained to the point of pain. This is the state if his youthful existence when the Kaliesh'erai informed him of his potential. The potential to harness his psionic abilities and become something more, to become a weapon that could fight back against such threats as those that came after the Sharn Wall had fallen.

The life he lived within the Hall of the Kaliesh'erai was an antithesis to all he had known before and all he felt. If not for his unrelenting bitterness and desire to become someone or something capable of fighting back against those that had taken so much from him, he would never have endured the endless trials and tribulations he would be subjected to. The irony of which he savored with a smile as he took another bite of his venison steak.

Those trials and tribulations he endured were in truth the only reasons he had in time, learned to let go of the impotent rage that had consumed him and initially motivated him within the Hall of the Kaliesh'erai. There was no magical moment there that irrevocable changed him, but slowly over the days and decades, all that he had been was slowly eroded away and even more slowly replaced with what they trained and mentored him to be. He would always be grateful to them for that, for slowly teaching him the lesson of letting go of what is lost is the only way not to completely lose yourself to loss.

Water fasting and sensory deprivation therapy, an ascetic life slowly stripped void of personal desires and pleasures. Ritually guided meditations, crystal harmonizing, continuous physical and mental conditioning slowly but surely let his metaphorically overly clenched fists that could not possibly hold on to a past that had been lost, slowly open to the possibilities of the now that was. It changed him, it saved him from himself.

After finishing the last bite of the delicious meal, he reached out to the mind of the passing waitress. It was a reflexive gesture, nothing intrusive. He merely manifest his desire for her attention with the focus of his eyes and mind, and she felt it instinctively and turned to approach his table with a smile. Sahlus Silvershadow ordered himself a cup of Evermead for dessert.

There were only a few hours between now and when he was to rendezvous with the others to strike at the sahuagin smugglers who had been profiting from the "lost" cargo of dock hands and sailors feeding them near priceless cargo. Mephis had pieced together the details of how the cargo had been ending up in the hands of the sahuagin, and now it was time for House Illance to strike against such, and perhaps learn who if anyone the sahuagin maybe in league with or subservient to.

This was never the life he envisioned for himself as a child, but here he was living it all the same. Once the last taste of the sweet Evermead was had, and his bones felt well warmed and ready to combat the coastal weather, Sahlus Silvershadow left a generous tip for the staff of the Elf Stone, and traveled north to rally with his friends and companions at the Temple of Beauty before they would set out into the depths to combat the black eyed evils of the deep.
Last edited by jmecha on Mon May 16, 2022 11:59 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Shattered Shard

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