One Star, Two Princes, Three Dragons
A scholar from Morgrave University with a terrifying secret...
A Nightmare Begins…
“Where I come from, who I was before I learned the truth, all meaningless in light of the secrets I have seen. Harlan Lagrasse, the young, naive scholar from Morgrave University is nothing but a memory in consideration of what I would later learn.” The strange man takes a deep breath from his pipe, slowly exhaling a large cloud of smoke. He looks across the table.
“Let me put it for you this way, young one. Have you ever looked deep into the shadows? Deep into the darkness? The frightful secrets that lay within?” He cracks a sly smile. “But who am I to rush you into this? The secrets I hold, the horrors I have seen, should never be rushed into.”
He reaches for the glass of whiskey and raises it to his lips. He tilts his head back, quaffing the glass in a single swallow. “I find that those who seek to know about the Far Realm should steady themselves with a bit of liquid courage.” His smile quickly fades as his mind refocuses on the question before him.
“Where it began, I will never know. The truths behind the horrors of the universe can never be truly understood.” He looks sternly and slowly closes his eyes. “For me, it began with a book. A seemingly simple book, bound in the bones and dried hide of some long forgotten horror. Maybe worse, I could never be sure.” His eyes slowly open. “What I knew is that one day, in the late hours of the night, I found the book as I sorted through a cache of relics from the Old World. Or, maybe, it found me…”
The First Nightmare
“It started several years ago, when I was still a young associate at Morgrave University. Really nothing more than a research assistant, I was.” Harlan looks across the table, slowly fixing his view on the empty glass sitting before him. “It happened that a shipment came from a Xen’drik. What was left of a failed expedition to explore the Continent of Mysteries had found its way to my little corner of Morgrave.” Harlan shutters a little.
Harlan reaches into his pocket and withdraws a tattered diary. He carefully opens in, turns a few pages in, and places it on the table. His hand quickly points to a terrifying illustration on the page. “This book. Made of bone, bound in flesh. This book held terrifying secrets, truths about the world around us. This book was the most horrible thing that I found in that crate from Xen’drik.” He pauses, taking a deep breath. “Most horrifying…”
After a few moments, the strange fellow reaches over the table and grabs hold of the tattered diary. He pulls it back towards him, stares into its pages, and begins slowly flipping through it. “The first night I found the book, I was enthralled. I read as much of it as my stomach could stand. Page after page, I uncovered the truth about Khorvaire and it’s relationship with Xoriat, the horrors that attempted to enter our world and the chaos that they brought with them…” Harlan looks up, his eyes full of fear yet surprisingly calm. “I could not have known then the terror that would envelop my being.”
Harlan sits in silence for several moments, the same strange look in his eyes. Eventually, he reaches within his robes and pulls out a strange rod and a scroll case, placing them on the table next to the diary. “The world is not safe. Terrible creatures from beyond the realm of understanding seek to dominate our world and make it their haven. From this terrible tome I learned the truth of things and discovered how so much of what we know… is nothing but lies to promote the plans of the Old Ones.” As the words pass his lips, he stops, as if he said something unacceptable. “The Old Ones…” He practically whispers the words.
“The world is under constant attack, my friends.” Harlan flips through a few more pages of the tattered diary and quickly slams it shut. “The Old Ones grow restless. The time of their coming finally draws near.”
Uncovering the Power
Harlan furls his brow. “It was not an easy choice.” As he turns the pages of his diary, he stops on a blank page. He reaches his hand across the page, tracing a strange shape. “I searched through tomes and books, seeking to find something that I could use.” As he finger completes a final stroke across the page, a grim rune appears. “The powers of the Old Ones are great.” Harlan looks up from the page, across the table. “Too great for one man.”
The runes page glows with power, filling the room with a grim, dark light. “What I learned was a terrible thing. Yet, in terror, I found power.” Mysterious forms appear in the shadows around the room. Harlan puts the pipe to his lips and draws a draft of smoke. As he exhales, the smoke swirls around the table. “The only power capable of challenging an Old One … is another Old One.” Shapes in the shadows coalesce into horrifying forms. A muffled scream calls out from the shadows.
“I realized that I had to control this power.”&