Monday, July 20, 2015

A Song and a Memory

From the writings of Ardil Fellar, on the destruction of the Spell Forge and the formation of Zook. 1508

… At first it was just the songs. They spread from small inn to small inn. Audiences claimed that the performer or performers ended with them. Interestingly, the performers themselves had no knowledge of performing the songs, not the first time. The songs were never the same, at the beginning, only being “normalized” when non-entranced bards learned them, and used their craft to refine them. However, the songs all featured similar elements, and the same cast of characters, telling the story of Zook and his party, discovering and destroying the Spell Forge at Wave Echo Cavern. The cast, now all famous in their own right, consisted of:

An Orc holy warrior with no name
An ex sea captain named Virgil
An elven druid named Elalanil "El"
A brave goblin named Droop
And Zook himself

    More curious were the performers who gave the first “tranced” performances. Days apart, all former members of a troupe called “The Clash at Tethyamar Keep” (a troupe who achieved some moderate renown along the Sword Coast) had each performed a version of the epic. Interviews later revealed that a long missing member of this troupe, whose full name was Glimzookfrugsindri "Fnippernim" Ningel-Nackle, occasionally went by “Zook”.

    After the songs spread through the Sword Coast, a curious discovery was made. At the Bard College in Waterdeep, amongst the stacks of books considered fiction, a new tome was found. “The Clash at Cragmaar Keep” was discovered by chance, when a librarian noticed (as their kind is wont to do) books out of place. The text describes in much greater detail the same story the songs told.

“...all he could think, as the sorcerer stormed into the room, is it must be destroyed. The gnome’s magicks were not enough alone. The answer lay in the fallen body of the traitorous Glasstaff. As the gnome ran, he dropped his notes. The only thing he had never let his companions see, it contained this story...their story.

“Run!” Zook yelled.

No One, Virgil, and El hesitated. They faced death from the sorcerer and his bugbear cadre on one side, and a companion whose actions weren’t clear on the other. Through everything they had done so far, surely together they could take this next threat? Soon it became clear, the Bard’s goal. The sorcerer saw this as well

The gnome streaked towards the orb, scooping it from the charred body of its former owner. Zook thought the burning would start immediately. It did not. Had he not the power to wield this artifact? The Sorcerer saw an opening in this hesitation, and signaled his attack. Throwing spells at the running gnome, while his guards advanced on the rest of the party. El replied in kind with arrows, as he and the others dove for the entrance to the cavern.

The room flashed, and Zook screamed. The gnome had activated the orb, and held it aloft over the Forge. His hands and arms to the elbow already blackened by the power of the orb. Zook screamed again, “You shall not have its power,” as he slammed the orb into the magical font.

The magical blast destroyed the cavern, the mountain containing it, and all in the vicinity. All, except Zook.

Through some fate, the gnome survived. Changed heavily, now a being of magical energy. Perhaps a god. As the dust settled, a green flame enshrouded figure shot through the rubble, and far into the sky…
[The Clash at Cragmaar Keep]

So, it is possible that the entity known as Zook is the very same who joined the adventuring party in seeking out Wave Echo Cavern, which led to the destruction of the long lost Spell Forge. It also seems likely that Zook placed both the songs, and the book into the material world. For now we can only speculate on the reasons why.