Relearn the past to write the future.
The other Keepers call us the Eye. We patch together tattered ancient records to recover knowledge lost in the collapse of Bab’el. We support the Keeper mission by preserving the secrets of inscribing new incantations and of adjusting those inscriptions for each tonal shift. We maintain the Vaults, that cache of dangerous artifacts that cannot be unmade. We share our knowledge with anyone who demonstrates the self-discipline to handle it.
Archivist Dumain walked slowly down the worn stone steps which spiraled into the large inner chamber of the keep. The Sacred of the Site had made sure the Archivist was the only one there and knew the repercussions should his work be interrupted. Walking to the table in the center of the room, he placed his ornate codex down. He opened it to a blank page and summoned a capturing plane, which glided into place above its waiting surface.
Beams of early morning sun shone through the lancet windows, lightly illuminating the dust motes which drifted through the cold stone chamber. Dumain breathed deeply, closed his eyes and opened himself to the energies of the Site.
He could see the etheric energy pulsing from the ley lines around him and intensifying within the node upon which this Site was built eons ago. After attuning himself to the fluctuations in the energy, he intoned the selected incantation, in perfect harmony with the site, repeating the tonality of the spell, until it coalesced into being, the pattern held within the energies of the node.
Opening his eyes he walked around the incantation made manifest, taking the time to study the architecture of the spell. Shimmering layers created a three dimensional geometric pattern of intersecting points suspended in space before him.
“A simple form to build upon.”
With full concentration, he held his arms up and began to disassemble the layers with subtle movements of his hands. While holding a strand of energy, he spoke the Words and shifted the pattern, touching and turning each piece. Once he was satisfied with the new placement, he relinked the strands, orchestrating and remastering each section until it met the vision in his mind.
With the mastery that comes from many incarnations of experience, Dumain spoke the Words once again and released the newly formed incantation. It flashed then shot down into the capturing plane below. One by one, geometric layers pierced the plane and inscribed their patterned glyph on the page. Once the glyph was fully inscribed, the plane flashed and dissipated.
Dumain gazed down at the page. There above the glyph was the inscribed shadow of the now released geometric energy, its subtle nuances creating the Awatum that had formed upon its surface.
“Perfect. Now I’m ready.”
A few days later, Dumain stood at the unearthed opening of the tomb that the Archivist’s had discovered earlier that week. Looking back over his shoulder he could see the narrow path he had cut disappearing up over the rise. Although the scouting party had been here a scant week before, the wide swath they had cleared through the jungle had already become overgrown, as if the jungle itself didn’t want its secrets revealed. He stepped towards the opening and the oppressive humid heat of the tropical sun was broken by a rush of cool earthy air from the darkened vine covered entrance of the tomb.
He scanned the threshold to make sure there were no active traps left. Pulling a small crystal from his bag, he tossed it into the air and willed it to light. The crystal stopped mid-air and hovered in front of him, casting a blue-white light ahead of him as he entered the steep passageway that led down to the tomb.
He hunched over and slowly began the long decent into the cramped passage. The crystal’s light illuminated the crumbling stone walls and uneven root entangled dirt floor directly below him, allowing him to descend the passage with a minimum of missteps.
Finally the floor leveled out and the passageway opened up into a large circular room constructed of carved stone blocks which rose up to a ceiling double in height to the cramped passage. With a sigh of relief he stood up straight and walked over to the sigil of the Archivists the scouting party had placed to mark the spot for him. He pulled his codex from his bag and opened it to the newly inscribed incantation.
As he spoke the Words, the chamber responded. Fragments of energy shot forth from the bricks of the walls into the center of the room where his incantation waited. The fragments spun and rebounded off each other until they found a proper fit to one another… pieces of an ancient puzzle.
The Archivist stared in wonder at the long sought message revealed in the language of Creation. “All these years…” He whispered then kept reading.
Deciphering the Language was almost instinctual to him by now. There was a certain ease and elegance in the translating of The Tongue which had become second nature for the Archivist. Suddenly he stopped.
“Why, what have we here?”
There within the center of the message was an empty space. Or was it? As he changed his viewing angle, the area shimmered, but he could not resolve it into a shape. Slowly he walked around the message that was suspended in midair. Again that empty area shimmered, even more so when he changed his pace, but it still remained nebulous.
After making a full rotation, Dumain came back to his starting point. He knew there was something there and yet that one spot still remained unreadable. He walked closer towards the message and attempted to manipulate the magick to bring it into focus. At first the subtle gesticulations of his hands seemed to have an impact, but then the magick snapped away from him and back into its original state. He stared at the uncooperative center for a few moments, then, with the empty space directly in front of him, he reached out and touched it.
Upon contact, a deep thrum resounded throughout the chamber and the message shattered and dispersed, each etheric fragment shooting back to its initial place on the wall. But rather than dissipating, the markings began to glow, shuddering with intensifying energy until the stones upon which the markings were etched broke free from the walls with a series of loud cracks.
The chunks of stone shot to the center of the room, amassing in a pile of spinning stones. Like the message created before, the rocks turned and twisted of their own accord, joining to each other through the magicks that empowered them. Within moments a roughened humanoid form stood in the center of the room. Dirt fell from its newly created body and a deep thrum emitted from the Guardian, before it turned and began to advance upon the intruder.
At first Archivist Dumain stood in utter fascination, watching the Guardian form in response to his impulsive action. But as the massive stone Guardian drew closer, he began to take note of the danger he was in. He backed away and threw up a Wall of Force between him and the Guardian. The Guardian slowed slightly, then the stones that made up its body flickered as it walked through the field, and the energy dissipated.
“How did you….? Fine, let us try something else.”
Stepping back to the edge of the doorway, Dumain spoke again. In answer, a pool of darkness in the far corner of the room pulsed and flowed up the wall behind the Guardian. Instantly a myriad of tenebrous Chains of Shadow arced from within the rippling black and solidified as they ensnared the Guardians limbs and body, pulling him back and momentarily halting his advance.
In response, the Guardian’s form flashed in repeated succession. With each pulse one of the coils of darkness holding him in place ceased to be.
“Interesting.” Dumain mentally catalogued the response and began considering other ways to contain the being.
When the last chain was nullified, the Guardian lurched forward menacingly.
Quickly, the Archivist retreated up the cramped passageway towards the surface to gain a little time. As he negotiated the steep ascent, he could hear the Guardian’s stone body scraping and grinding against the narrow opening below as it attempted to continue its pursuit.
He squinted against painful brightness of the midday sun until his eyes became reaccustomed to the light. Then as he stood just inside the entrance to the tomb, he sensed another presence. A group of magi, bearing the discordant signature of the Disciples, had made the rise and were slashing their way through the jungle plants that had already snaked across the narrow path he had so recently hewn.
“If I only had more time.” He was so close. But with the Disciples bearing down on him he knew he probably wouldn’t have time to neutralize the Guardian and decipher the rest of the message. “No. I can’t risk it. Not all are ready for where this knowledge may lead us.”
Before he could reconsider his decision, he opened his codex and began to speak the Words, his voice wavering slightly as he cast the incantation. The ground beneath him began to shake and Dumain fought to hold his balance and concentration, as each Word he spoke caused the tremors to intensify. The instant he was finished Speaking, he sprinted across the heaving ground until he was a safe distance away. Then, with heavy heart, he turned and forced himself to watch the destruction, by his own words, of that which he had sought after for so long.
There was a rumble as the tomb collapsed in upon itself and billows of ancient dust clouded the air. Uprooted by the shaking earth, the trees that had previously hidden the tomb’s location were pulled into the cavity with a series of branch ripping crashes.
In silence, Dumain turned away from the ruined tomb, put away his codex, and headed back towards civilization.
Note: Traditional inscription (transcription through pen and ink infusion) while extremely time intensive, is standard practice. The method used by Dumain requires a high level of mastery that can only be achieved by the very talented after countless incarnations of dedication. While this method may require a fraction of the time, the slightest mistake can have catastrophic consequences.
Written by Gregory “Lahzarel” Krywusha
With Becky “Bekira” Tilly and Justin “Beeromancer” Wawrzonek
The Archivists Key Points:
- The Archivists maintain The Archives, a library housed in parts all around the world.
- They alone hold the secret of inscribing new spells. They have tomes that record a wider vocabulary of Sehimu Thinara than any other faction. Their fidelity with the language lets them edit existing inscriptions to keep them functional as the tonal shifts.
- Archivists secure The Vaults, a Keeper place where Artifacts may be studied, checked out, or simply hidden if necessary. Like the Archives, there are many branches of the Vaults globally. The largest cache is rumored, even by other Keepers, to be Rome. Archivists smirk when this is mentioned but say no more.
- The trade of new spells and artifacts for favors is strong between Archivists and Arx Novum, a trade that Catholica knows little about.
- The Archivists are the most rabid of the Keepers about defectors. Those who try to leave (with their memories intact) are hunted viciously… but Archivists do tend to be more judicious about the memories that they strip from defectors. They wield information scalpels, not memory swords.
- Although they like to portray themselves as inoffensive librarians who keep to themselves, The Archivists are frequently out in the world in pursuit of their research: interviewing Magi, exploring archeological sites and validating the theorized effects of new inscriptions.