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After much searching in the library, poring over musty tomes of ancient history, mariners logs, folklore, theological treatises, and diaries of the original Puddleby settlers; I believe I have pieced together a definition of how the Lok Groton Island Chain differs from the rest of the Realms of the Earth. We have long questioned our ability to survive each day in a hostile land than dying as our friends and family on the mainland.

Puddleby theologians believe that there are three planes of existence, the Earth plane, the Sun plane, and the Moon plane. The Earth plane is neutral and contains the Realms of the Earth, including the Lok Groton Island Chain. The Sun plane is the positive plane and holds the misnamed Purgatory, a place of light and clouds. The Moon plane is the negative plane contains the Void, a dark lifeless place. The definition of a plane's alignment is general since everything that exists contains neutral, positive, and negative aspects. When the Sun and the Moon gave a piece of themselves to the Earth for the creation of the children races, this was manifested as a physical presence on the Realms of the Earth. They created the Lok Groton island chain as an isolated place from which to focus their energies and to later observe the progress of their children as they developed. Due to the presence of the elder gods over the eons, the veil between the planes is especially transparent in the Lok Groton Island Chain.

The Astral Planes, Abyss, and Adytum are interconnected realms that are outside of normal existence in a chaotic mixture of the three planes. This gray area between the planes is known as the Shadow Lands and is populated by the nightmares of the negative plane.

Those living in the Realms of the Earth are in the neutral plane, but we exiles are of a positive alignment within that plane. When seriously injured, we reach a state between the neutral and positive. This state is referred to as "fallen". We can be seen by those of an alignment similar to ours and healed back to the neutral plane. This healing requires increasing amounts of energy as our transition from the neutral plane towards the positive plane increases.

Once a fallen exile becomes resigned to the fate of becoming a part of the positive plane, that resignation is completed in the action know as departing. (This act cannot be performed by will alone; one must already be in the transition phase approaching the positive plane.) We become a part of the positive plane and remain in Purgatory until we have enough life energy and will to pierce the veil and return to our own plane. This transition between planes allows us to keep our worldly possessions; however, it impacts our psyche making it harder to learn for a time. We return to the neutral plane at an altar location since our subconscious mind makes the theological connection between Purgatory and the altar as a religious icon.

It is theorized that the residents of Puddle become attuned to the positive plane and are able to maintain that connection after they leave the isles. This would allow a former exile to retain the ability to lie fallen and depart from outside the islands, rather than die. This has not been conclusively demonstrated since few have tried to leave Puddleby and none have ever returned.

Beasts are of the neutral plane, but are of negative alignment and lacking in souls. Once we fall and reach the half state between the neutral and positive planes, they no longer see our physical form and lose interest in attacking. However, beasts are attuned to our spirits and will not pass through our fallen forms. Since they are of a negative alignment and without souls, they pass through the void in an instant on the way to non-existence.

Darshaks are of the neutral plane, but the initiation process in which their spirit is drained changes their alignment to negative. When fallen they could only be seen and raised by a negative alignment healer. Darshak priests have no interest in the healing arts, since that is a positive use of energy from the Moon plane. It is theorized that Darshaks may be able to depart and transition to the void, but it is doubtful that they have the will required for this action. More likely, they are the source of the material that the Darshak priests and Greater Undine use to create the lesser undine. Many exiles believe that slaying the lesser undine releases the souls from the bondage, but the soul is merely transitioned to a state from which it must be reanimated.

The Vampire is one who operates outside the normal definition of existence. His alignment consists of equal parts the neutral, positive, and negative and allows him to transition between the planes with ease. The balance of alignment manifests in his ability to follow his own agenda, aligning himself with whatever plane and cause suits his current purposes. He should be approached with caution since his alliances and purposes are suspect.

The Lok Groton Island chain is rich with minerals and gems, perhaps another result of the essence of the elder gods becoming absorbed within the environment. Moonstones, sunstones, blue baubles, and other minerals are more abundant than in the rest of the world, though copper seems to be in the same proportions. The early settlers did not discover this since these resources can only found in the various caverns, caves, and passes. It took several generations before the population was of a sufficient size to allow exploration of these areas safely; long after the Emperor had turned the isles into a place of exile. Once discovered, their presence was hidden in order to prevent the Ascendancy from using them to further exploit the people of the world. Of course, concealing this fact was easily accomplished since there is no outward contact with the Empire, only incoming waves of exiles.

Moonstones, while more common in the Lok Groton island chain than in the rest of the world, are still scarce and must be cut, polished, and tuned by the healers' guild. Therefore they are not available to those of the fighter or mystic profession. Moonstones are grudgingly handed out by the healer guild and only to those who have promised to devote their lives to the healing profession.

Moonstones are able to channel the positive energy from the Moon plane through the healer and replenish the life energy of an injured exile. The original moonstones discovered on the isle were of higher quality than is currently available or may ever be available again. This explains why healers are slightly damaged during the healing process. Hopefully, further refinements to the tuning process will be able to overcome the inferior quality of the stones. It is theorized that at some point in the future moonstone shards, also called moonpebbles, may be available to those fighters or mystics who have proven themselves worthy and are ready to devote themselves to the disciplines of the healing arts. These stones would be of lesser size and quality and therefore limited in their healing ability.

The islands are also suffused with sunstone material; this was not originally discovered when the Puddleby was founded. Sunstones are not common in the realms and therefore were not readily recognized for their value and uses. There are a few sunstones in the Ascendancy, but they are under the tight control of the most powerful Mystics in the Empire. One is rumored to have been used in spying on the Darshak theocracy, but was lost when Otalla the Mystic was presumably discovered and executed. Only a few remain and Mobius would eradicate the Lok Grotan residents if it were known that they exist here.

The naturally occurring sunstone material in the islands creates a subconscious mental bond between all exiles in the Lok Groton Island Chain. Early residents of the islands reported periodic feelings of unease, as if their souls were being tugged. Over time, it was discovered that these feelings coincided with other exiles falling. Spirit pulses from anguish due to falling causes a burst that ripples through the naturally occurring sunstone materials and causes us to know when other exiles have fallen. Over time, the population became attuned to the ripples and can now determine which exile has fallen; though the exact location cannot be determined. There is no related feeling when an exile is raised since there is not the corresponding spirit pulse from anguish.

A benefit of the sunstone linking of exiles lies in the ability to link subconscious thoughts and experiences to other exiles. This link, called sharing or spirit linking, allows other exiles to gain knowledge from your travels and travails. Of course, since they do not actually live them, they gain only a fraction of the knowledge that you gain. This mental linking also allow the sharer to subconsciously evaluate the experience, thus providing a knowledge from the actions. An exile can only link their spirit with five individuals at any one time; this is the limit our subconscious mind can handle. An attempt to link an additional spirit causes the oldest link to be broken.

Another effect of this spirit linking is that the focus of the healer on the Moon plane is made stronger, allowing for quicker healing and the healer being less damaged in the process. This link is so strong that powerful healers can transmit healing energy over short distances in the form of spirit pulses.

Personal communication via sunstone was not possible until a researcher, a self-titled apprentice mystic, named Elendil Far'ril discovered how to tune them to allow thoughts to be transmitted to another. This process is thought to be lost to the empire since sunstones are such a rarity there. Little is known about this secretive figure, he is shrouded in myth and can be evasive at best. Some surmise that Elendil did not discover this process, but is profiting from the work of a much wiser, but eccentric mystic. This explains why all the sunstones are tuned to the same frequency and we all hear the thoughts of others unless concentrated to a specific exile. Research is being conducted in an attempt to tune the existing sunstones to allow more specific applications, such as, locating fallen exiles, messages per clan affiliation, and communication within a quest team.

The minerals have been hidden from the Empire, but there are others who have discovered the raw gems. The centaurs, being a highly solitary species, may have discovered the use of sunstones for communication and moonstones for healing, but have need for them living on the Peaceful Isle. Certainly the centaurs have not tuned sunstones in the same way as Elendil Far'ril or we would have heard their thoughts as well. The Darshaks have discovered the materials, but they use the negative aspects of the gems. The priests use the moonstones to extract energy from the initiates during rituals to increase their own power, eventually transforming themselves into greater undine. Sunstones are used to communicate with spirits and to control the lesser undine, instead of each other.

It has long been theorized that a mysterious third material must exist since sunstones are of the Sun's essence and Moonstones are of the Moon's essence. A third material containing the Earth's essence must exist. Since the Earth is the source of creation and the focus of energy, this mineral or gem would contain great power and diversity. It may allow the storing of life energy focused into it by the moonstone for use at a later time, or the focusing of energy for destructive purposes. It may be the means by which the Apprentice Mystics are able to mysteriously appear and disappear; though they are too secretive to reveal the process.

Unfortunately, the existence of this third material has been confirmed by the use of its negative aspect by the Darshaks. It is the perverted turning of this material that created the Soulglass. Instead of retaining or focusing force, it forcibly removes almost all of it all in one burst and simultaneously transports one to the Darshak vision of death, the Void. A greater application of the same power must be the means by which the Darshak have created the voids that threaten our community. We are hopeful that our studies of the samples of this material may hold the key to stopping the Darshak plan before it engulfs Puddleby and indeed, the entire world.

Perhaps, once the Darshaks are defeated, we will be able to study further uses for the sunstone, moonstone, and Earth materials. There also may be other gems with properties we have not even dreamed of as yet.

\ponder How did this simple thought become several paragraphs?

Remle of Puddleby

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Page last modified on March 12, 2009, at 10:35 AM