News for Zarantyr 27th, 998

Morgrave sage says Karrn the Conqueror employed necromancy

THRANE—In the final days of his regime, Karrn the Conqueror employed necromantic magic to trap the souls of suspected conspirators against his rule, according to controversial research from Adele Corsinian, a historian formerly located at Morgrave University who specializes in Karrn’s era.

A critical reevaluation of period documents suggests that the conspirators executed in the “purge of Shekesaal” in the last year of Karrn’s reign remained animate after their execution. The bodies were beheaded before their bodies were burned, and Corsinian contends that the heads were kept alive with necromancy so that Karrn could maintain contact of sorts with the conspirators.

“It’s important to consider Karrn’s mindset at the time,” Corsinian said at a symposium on Wir. “He could see his empire fraying at the edges already, and he’d seen proof that some of his closest advisors—his most trusted inner circle—were conspiring against him. He did what he had to do, but then he secretly kept them alive.”

The exact nature of the necromantic magic is lost to time, Corsinian said, but would likely have ensured the conspirators’ loyalty as well as restoring a semblance of life.

Conventional histories of the era record the executions of twelve conspirators. “But the executions were beheadings, and they weren’t public. That makes the purge of Shekesaal unprecedented in at least two aspects. Why didn’t General Shekesaal and his alleged co-conspirators get the gory public executions that every other traitor received?” said Corsinian.

Corsinian further notes that among Karrn’s funerary gifts, twelve lacquered boxes are listed. “Amid all these artistic treasures and powerful receptacles of magic, why list twelve boxes? I contend it’s because they held the necromantic remains of Shekesaal and the other conspirators, and that Karrn intended to be buried with them.”

Few of Karrn’s funerary gifts were actually buried with him because relatives descended on his palace shortly after the Conqueror’s death, stripping it nearly bare, Corsinian said. The lacquered boxes were undoubtedly taken by one or more of those relatives, then lost in the chaos following the fall of Karrn’s empire, he said.

Corsinian’s declarations at the symposium did not go uncontested. Ghaul ir’Jurchek, master historian at Korth’s Shrine of the Conqueror, said the necromantic survival of the Shekesaal conspirators was “a fairy tale that isn’t true just because it isn’t directly contradicted by anything in the historical record.”

While Karrn the Conquerer employed talented magicians of all sorts and had no particular dislike for necromancy, that doesn’t mean he kept the heads of condemned criminals alive after death, ir’Jurchek said.

A more interesting historical question, ir’Jurchek said, is whether all twelve of the conspirators were guilty of treason. Many believe that General Shekesaal’s interest in continuity of rule was tragically misinterpreted by court gossips, ir’Jurchek said. Two of the executed warlords, Kau and Hujiri, were far from the capital at the time and evinced no interest in court politics. And trial records shed little light on what role Yahina the concubine and Vlohr the alchemist played in the conspiracy, if any.

“Historians like myself and Corsinian have been going back and forth over the purge of Shekesaal for centuries, and we’ll still be arguing in centuries to come,” ir’Jurchek said. “As much as I’d like to ask Shekesaal’s animated head whether he was really guilty or not, real-world history doesn’t work that way.”

The Sharn Inquisitive is pleased to say we are up and running again within a week of being forced out of Sharn. We will continue to deliver only the finest new to our erudite subscribers.



News for Zarantyr 19th, 998

More than 30 people have been killed and 100 injured in four distinct terrorist attacks in the Precarious district of Lower Dura, sources at the Sharn Watch have disclosed.

Two attacks targeted key factories and warehouses, including those of large healing potion and weapons manufacturers that supply much of Sharn’s police force. The attacks left several guards and many late-night factory workers dead, with more wounded. All four attacks have been attributed to warforged terrorists possibly belonging to the cult known as “the Blades.”

These attacks are the deadliest in recent memory, and the property damage caused is estimated to be in the tens of thousands of gold pieces. However, many are more concerned for the long-term implications that the destruction of these facilities could have for Sharn security, as the loss of these factories could impede the ability of the Sharn Watch and the King’s Citadel to perform their jobs. Furthermore, factories in related industries may need to increase security, the added cost of which will be passed on to consumers.

Grieving families
“Why couldn’t the guards stop them?” asked one grieving widow of a dead factory worker. “They had security at my husband’s workplace—good security, I thought.” Unfortunately, the guards were apparently not enough to stop these warforged terrorists, who brutally beaten and killed several security detainments monitoring these locations. And although most guards were found dead due to physical trauma, at least two were found with strange black scorchmarks indicative of some kind of magical attack. One anonymous magewright said they looked like negative energy effects.

The Sharn inquisitive will be posting obituary notices for the dead factory workers and security forces in the days ahead.

Blades claim responsibility
At three of the four locations, warforged were seen fleeing the scene. Although the Watch attempted to stop them, the living constructs escaped while shouting slogans of hate and racial superiority, espousing the divinity of their supposed “warforged god,” the Lord of Blades (also see last week’s editorial).

Blades activity has seen a sharp increase in Sharn recently, but until now peaceful rallies were the extent of the disturbance. The doctrine of the Blades seems to be one of racial superiority and a belief in the divinity of their so-called messiah. Many warforged disavow this cult as preachers of hate, or even lunatics; however, others have been inspired by the recent street sermons to take up the Blades cause.

Increased security immiment?
Knight-Marshall Banarak Tithon, commander of the King’s Citadel, declined to comment on the attacks, saying only that “we take such matters very seriously.” Viorr Maelek of the Dark Lanterns was surprisingly more forthcoming, however: “We have been monitoring these warforged gatherings for some time now, and are very concerned that they may have a connection to recent attacks. We will be increasing security in several locations in response.”

Citizens of Sharn should remember that refusing to help agents of the Citadel is considered an act of treason against the Brelish crown.

It is unknown whether the recent investigations of House Cannith by the King’s Citadel have any connection to these attacks or warforged activity in general.

Editorial for Zarantyr 15th, 998

There comes a time in the life of every worldly warforged when he must take a stand on the Lord of Blades. This single figure assumes a place in the public life of a warforged at the conjunction of religion and politics, evoking all the passions of a king or demigod. Even if one avoids it, the question will come to him.

Some see the Lord of Blades as a great prophet, one who has founded a new religion for our fleshless race. He brings us to a clearer understanding of ourselves, as some changelings seek the Perfect Form. For a people left rudderless by the end of the Last War, the reason for our very existence, he provides a new cause for which to exist and fight.

Some see the Lord of Blades as a god himself, not just the prophet. These warforged have seen their Perfect Form, their final cause, their great destiny in the world. This destiny has a voice, and they long to be his mighty arm. There is dispute amongst those in this camp about whether there is a physical person of the Lord of Blades. Is he a divine figure like Dol Dorn? Perhaps something similar to the Silver Flame, present but not incarnate?

Perhaps the most interesting variation on these beliefs is that the Lord of Blades is the avatar of some forgotten power. Our designs lay inert on Xen’drik for millennia, and so perhaps a god of our own has lain in wait for us. Does a reawakened deity who granted our divine spark now seek to guide our paths?

Some see the Lord of Blades as a myth. There is no hero, they say, there is no god. There is just a story. The warforged lack a history or legends. The rudderless are simply pretending that someone is steering the boat. Perhaps the myth was well-intentioned, perhaps it is someone trying to manipulate the warforged, but there is no metal messiah in the Mournland.

Some see the Lord of Blades as an emerging leader. The most earthbound perspective, they believe that someone by that name is clearly out there in the Mournland, and he is trying to form a nation on the ruins of Cyre. The warforged are just as likely to have charismatic leaders as anyone else, and this happens to be the one of the moment. He could build a nation to rival the Five Kingdoms, or perhaps he will just turn out to be another bandit lord.

Some see the Lord of Blades as a rising tyrant. He is a racial supremacist, drunk on the delusion of his own divinity; he has gathered a cult of impressionable warforged in a gambit to forge an empire of physical might. Under whatever philosophy he espouses, his goal is nothing less than the subjugation of the living races. He hopes to rule as an immortal tyrant over the people who were so foolish as to build him and his metal army.

Some see the Lord of Blades as something far worse. Something caused the Day of Mourning, and who has benefited more than the one who has built his empire in its unending shadow? What if the Lord of Blades can do it again, bringing Mourning to each of the Five Nations and leaving the world fit only for the warforged? This view tends to be long on speculation, since no one really knows what caused the destruction of Cyre. It is that fear of the unknown that perhaps gives the conspiracy theory is strength.

Our guest columnist, Freeman, is one of the defining warforged philosophers in the post-Last War age. We at the Sharn Inquisitive thank him for his contribution of prose and time.


News for Zarantyr 8th, 998

MOONWATCH—A regiment of Brelish infantry lost since 972 marched into Moonwatch from the southwest, ending a 26-year mystery into their disappearance during a routine troop transfer to a garrison on the southwest coast.

According to numerous eyewitness accounts, the soldiers expressed amazement at the current date. Nor had they noticeably aged during their disappearance of more than two decades.

The regiment will board sea vessels tomorrow for the journey to Sharn. Once there, they’ll be questioned about their missing time, then ceremonially mustered out of the crown’s service.

“At this point, we believe that the 39th was the victim of some sort of fey enchantment, and we hope to get more details in the next few days,” said King’s Citadel captain Rollis ir’Ondric, deferring further comment until the 39th Regiment arrives.

Morgrave University arcanist Gillan Luhensia said that episodes of “elastic time” are characteristic of fey magic.

“Both traditional folklore and more academic sources are full of episodes where someone will fall asleep amid a faerie circle and wake up a month or a year later,” she said. “But for hundreds of soldiers to simultaneously undergo elastic time represents a watershed for our understanding of the phenomenon.”

Folk tales about time slowing down or speeding up are common in southwest Breland, Luhensia said, and many even reference the Talorn region specifically. But thus far, arcanists have been unable to duplicate or observe the phenomenon directly.

“If we can’t figure out the conditions under which it occurs, that often means that it’s not the place itself that’s altering time. It’s probably a powerful fey creature or creatures within the Talorn,” she said.

Why a creature would trap a regiment within elastic time, then free them unharmed is “a matter for others to speculate on,” Luhensia said.

Because many members of the 39th Regiment were recruited from Sharn, a homecoming parade is planned for two weeks time. City officials said a parade time and designated route would be ready in time for next week’s Sharn Inquisitive.

The Talorn is a known home of many dangers, including flesh-eating satyrs and strange fey tricksters. While it contains thousands of acres of theoretically arable farmlands, past efforts to settle it have fallen victim to strange mishaps, unusual weather—and perhaps the superstitious fears of the settlers.