Eyes of Koar

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The Eye of Koar (or "Eye of the Drake" more properly) referred to the sphere that leads into The Rift. It was originally sealed with a dragonsbreath sapphire floating over an ornate pedestal. The artifact dated back to the end of the Ur-Daemon War, when the Arkati constructed the Drake's Shrine for the Emperor Drake to slumber. It was destroyed in the final confrontation with the Vvrael, which were contained by Terate, who trapped them within The Rift rather than sealing it and healing the god king. The Rift was supposedly not sealed because not all of the Chosen had been true to that end, but it might really be because Risper was killed before she could use Eonak's mace on the Vvrael. "The Eye" may refer to the artifact or the portal itself, which the Vvrael wanted to expand to engulf the world.

The relationship between the Drake's Shrine and Koar is ambiguous. The implication was that Koar is the Emperor Drake and that he slumbers in Mount Aenatumgana, where the Eye of the Drake is the one eye he keeps open while sleeping. The Rift in this sense would be him having nightmares, and the Heart of the Rift would be his diseased heart. Koar as "Master of Mana" is related to the idea that all magic ultimately flows through it. However, Koar was supposedly referred to as a student who had wandered the planes in the Vvrael quest, rather than the Emperor Drake himself. Nevertheless, his theology is clearly based on the Drake's Shrine, and so is his symbol. It is unclear if the phrase "Emperor Drake" was ever actually used in a vision, but the "Great Drake" is a proper term that actually exists.

Eye of Koar emeralds are a special type of gem that can be found in The Rift. The phrase "Eye of the Drake" was used in the quest but does not appear in the game.

Lorminstra

When the Vvrael were trapped in The Rift, Lorminstra appeared in the Drake's Shrine. She warned the adventurers to be careful with the Eye of the Drake, because it is a gateway to unknown worlds and the Vvrael still exist within it. "Many" had gone mad crossing its circles, because they had entered by piercing the veil, rather than entering through Mount Aenatumgana.

A young lass glances at the sphere.

A young lass says, "But..."

A young lass says, "The Vvrael still exist..."

A young lass says, "This sphere..."

A young lass says, "Leads to worlds unknown."

A young lass says, "Only the bravest and strongest should even dare attempt to enter the Eye of the Drake"

A young lass says, "Many have crossed the circles only to go mad"

A young lass puts a clear vaalin orb pendant in its black satchel.

A young lass says, "I will leave you now to explore this most magnificent Shrine. "

A young lass touches a large set of golden keys.

A young lass says, "Be careful through the sphere..."

A young lass curtsies.

A young lass just went north.

Lorminstra gave her Chosen special orbs that allow them to teleport instantly to the Drake's Shrine from anywhere, which contain the following loresong illustrating its construction:

"Your eyes cloud over as a vision begins to flood in, cascading out of the small orb like a tidal wave. You see an immense mountain encased in vicious cold and savaged by roaming storms that carry death in their howling song. At the top of the peak, huge slabs of granite rise slowly up out of the snow, lifted by the mind power of a group of four individuals. The tall, lithe beings stand back to back, facing each of the four compass directions with a globe of power encircling them like a glowing sphere. Their faces are set in concentration. They stand motionless as a huge shrine rises into the clouds, granite slab settling on top of granite slab. Finally, the magic pulses a last time throwing reflections into the clouds, and as light settles back into the grey overcast sky, a monumental shrine stands majestically, topping the mountain like a gem."

"Your eyes cloud over as a vision begins to flood in, shooting out a snaking finger of images, which spread themselves across your sight like a panorama. A vast shrine sits atop a blizzard-wracked mountain, piercing the shifting clouds disdainfully. A group of four individuals stands before the temple, as silent and rigid as the building's ramparts. They send out an unwavering stream of power, which flickers over the structure like static electricity. Suddenly, immense wings descend from out of the clouds supporting a drake so large, it dwarfs the mountaintop. The energy immediately stops and the four entities nod, in perfect unison, to the leviathan crouched over them. Snow and wind then seem to pause motionless in the air, and in the next heartbeat, the dragon melts down into the shrine in a blurred funnel as the elements resume their onslaught. Four shapes silently fold into flat images and fade into nothing."
XXX peers intently into her vaalin orb. As she does, her expression goes slack and you begin to hear a strange whirring noise resonating on such a low frequency, it makes your teeth hurt. The hum disappears after a few moments.

XXX suddenly shudders slightly and goes deathly pale.

You see a long, veil iron chain, each heavy link obviously hand-forged and intricately etched with a scale pattern. Carried on the chain is an orb made of crystal-clear vaalin. The sphere appears to be hollow, for inside you see a minute cosmos, with twinkling stars and tiny planets surrounded by their orbiting moons. In the center of the amazing conglomeration floats an eye with a serpentine pupil, golden in color as a yellow sun. It hangs like the anchor in the midst of the surrounding firmament.

Behind the Scenes

The Eye of the Drake served more or less the same purpose as one of the Eyes of Utha in the I.C.E. Age, which was under siege by dark powers at the north pole of Shadow World. They were both floating gemstones over ornate pedestals, which was a Lord of Essaence style of gateway. The function of the Eyes of Utha was to seal the interdimensional rift, suppress flow storms, and separating the hemispheres so the world was not plagued with demons and servants of the Shadow. It was the seal for the "Gates of the Void" used by the Empress Kadaena. The relative absence of extra-planar incursions since the Age of Darkness may have been due to the Eye of the Drake, whose destruction has been suggested as an explanation for the major crises of the past few decades.

The Eye of the Drake was inaccessible for thousands of years due to the surrounding flow storms, whereas the Eye of Utha had a powerful essence barrier which most beings could not penetrate without killing themselves. This formed the Wall of Darkness in Shadow World, which does not exist in Elanthia. The Eye of Utha held the world on the edge of other realities, so that magic would still exist, but the world would not plunge into the chaos of pure essence realms. The corrupted Lord of Essaence Ondoval wished to destroy the world in this way, whereas the hybrid Essence Lord/Agothu Schrek wished the world to be sundered to the Outer Void. The Agoth was a singular extra-planar collective entity of annihilation, much like the Vvrael, except without the anti-mana premise of Unlife.

(A) Vvrael Quest Climax

The following is an excerpt from the end of the Vvrael Saga that portrays "The Eye" itself. Terate is the analog of Ondoval and Schrek.

You hear the quiet whisper of a young woman, "The time is upon us my Chosen, the Rift tears at the very fabric of our reality..."

[Breach, Cavern of Ages]
The chamber's walls are modulated with the same large recesses that pocket the walls of the chamber to the north. Inside each, the red stone is polished to an indulgent surface that highlights the striations in the rock. On the cavern's eastern wall however, something went horribly wrong. The undulating niches are blasted into shambles around a central oval just behind a golden pedestal. There, the rock looks like it has melted, running down the side of the cavern in eddies of molten stone. You also see a golden pedestal with a flawless dragonsbreath sapphire hovering above it.
Also in the room: Lord Berr, Lord Beldin, Lord Jala, Lord Krackenstar, Lady Merry, Lady Nyte, Lord Terate who is lying down, Lady Heathyr, Lady Risper
Obvious exits: north.

Merry reaches towards the floating sapphire. It bobbles in the air as it evades her, rotating slightly.

Beldin seems to be trying to figure out how to turn a golden pedestal with a flawless dragonsbreath sapphire hovering above it. 

Suddenly, the sapphire drops. Just as it is about to strike the pedestal beneath it, it stops, then slowly levitates back to its previous position. 

>l at sapp
Amazingly, the dragonsbreath sapphire hovers in mid-air over a golden pedestal near the center of the room. It has been cut with precision, forming it into a perfectly symmetrical octagonal sphere. Colored a pale, watery blue, the stone bears no blemishes to mar its beauty. Tiny sparks play within its core, kindling a soft light that illuminates the room. 

Before it can evade her, Risper grasps the dragonsbreath sapphire and gives it a good spin. It rotates freely in the air, quickly gathering momentum until it is nothing but a blur. A soft luminescence begins to emmanate from the spinning gem, bathing the room in light.

Without warning, the sapphire explodes with a brilliant flash, leaving you momentarily blinded! As your vision returns, you can no longer see the sapphire. Where it once was, a small nebulous sphere now hovers in mid-air. 

Terate exclaims, "ha!"

Beldin tries to manipulate the sphere.

The sphere flares, sending brilliant blue sparks arcing across the room! As the sparks flicker out, you notice that the sphere has shrunk a little. The nebulous sphere pulses with a red light. 

The sphere flares, sending brilliant blue sparks arcing across the room! As the sparks flicker out, you notice that the sphere has grown in size considerably.

[Breach, Cavern of Ages]
The chamber's walls are modulated with the same large recesses that pocket the walls of the chamber to the north. Inside each, the red stone is polished to an indulgent surface that highlights the striations in the rock. On the cavern's eastern wall however, something went horribly wrong. The undulating niches are blasted into shambles around a central oval just behind a golden pedestal. There, the rock looks like it has melted, running down the side of the cavern in eddies of molten stone.
You also see a golden pedestal with a nebulous sphere hovering above it.

>l at sphere
Glowing softly with a subtle radiance, the sphere hovers above a golden pedestal near the center of the chamber. Formed of a wispy cloud-like mass, it does not appear to have any solid structure. Looking into its depths, you can only see a swirling grey ether. 

Terate watches from the shadows, his face stoic. 

The sphere flares, sending brilliant blue sparks arcing across the room! As the sparks flicker out, you notice that the sphere has grown in size considerably.

The nebulous sphere pulses with a orange light. 

The sphere swells with power, leaving the air crackling with static! As the sphere's flare subsides, you notice that it has grown quite a bit in size. 

Black tendrils of anti-mana stream from the sphere! They wrap themselves about your body, chilling you with their touch. As the black wisps begin to fade away, you notice that the sphere has shrunk substantially. Suddenly, a bolt of radiant energy streams from the sphere! It strikes Heathyr square in the chest, sending her sprawling to the floor...

* Heathyr drops dead at your feet!

The sickening smell of burning flesh fills the air. 

Terate laughs!

Terate exclaims, "It is the gateway!" 

Terate says, "It is the way.. it is the Eye." 

(B) Mythological Subtext

The appearance of the Eye of the Drake is clearly based on the description of God at the end of Dante's Divine Comedy, which extends the explicit parallel to his Inferno in the layout of The Graveyard. The Vvrael quest featured a number of unambiguous allusions to mythology and literature, including Arthurian legends about the holy grail from Welsh, French, and German sources, as well as excerpts from the Book of Revelation and Celtic mythology regarding faeries. Risper quoted an obscure poem of the redemption of Satan at Judgment Day, as well as a line in Lord of the Rings in Henneth Annun featuring the ring bearers, playing off Castle Anwyn being based on the Welsh Otherworld Annwn. The poem Risper quoted was "A Poem on Mr. L'Estrange", the Royalist pamphleteer and censor who wrote polemics against John Milton, the author of Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained about the rebellion of Satan. Terate's last name Niebelun refers to the Nibelung dynasty, whose magic ring is taken by Siegfried the dragon slayer from the fairy dwarf Alberich, who is etymologically equivalent to Oberon the king of the faeries or equivalently Gwyn ap Nudd the king of Annwn. Terate quoted from stories of Perceval.

The Thirteen Chosen could have referred to Terate and twelve Knights of the Round Table, possibly alluded to with the "honor guard" of severed heads around his throne of bones. It most likely referred to the "Dream of Macsen Wledig" from the Mabinogion, the basis of Caernarfon Castle in Wales, where thirteen people are sent to the highest mountain in the world. It could also refer to the twelve tribes of Israel plus the supposed thirteenth lost one, possibly relevant to Castle Anwyn, and spoken of immediately after the quotes from the Book of Revelation in the loresong of the orbs Lorminstra gave the Chosen. The Chosen presumably refers to Perceval as the Grail knight. The thirteen could also be related to there being thirteen Lords of Liabo, though this may only be a coincidence given the other possibilities. The numerology would also fit Jesus and his twelve apostles, given the second coming premise of Revelation, which is literally about revealed prophecy from breaking the seals on a scroll containing forbidden knowledge. There is a recurring pattern of using subtexts involving dream visions, including the end of Paradiso, continuing the older trend of The Graveyard, Shadow Valley, and The Broken Lands.

The Rift itself contains a lot of subtle allusions to mythology and other things, though it is unclear how many of its rooms are merely illustration. Sometimes these involve the Titans of Greek mythology, where the queen of the faeries corresponding to Terate's mother is sometimes named Titania, and the ghostly bard Keat of Castle Anwyn likely refers to the poet John Keats whose dream vision poem "The Fall of Hyperion" is about the Titanomachy. It is unlikely to be a coincidence that one of the Stones of Virtue was found on a box from a slain titan on Glatoph. The spotted leapers might also be an allusion to the giant Ephialtes, the Greek demon of nightmares, whose name means "leaper" and whose story is cognate to the Norse giants and dragon in the story of Siegfried and the ring of the Nibelung. He is implicitly referenced by the blood eagle in the first room of The Rift. Other references include the horseman Death, Fortuna, Jacob's ladder, M.C. Escher, Herne the Hunter, and the Empress Kadaena.

The Judgment Day theme is in the form of Terate as Satan rebelling against God, but the theological position of apocatastasis is one of universal salvation, where Lucifer himself is redeemed. In the pagan context this refers to the "wasteland" myth where the ill or dying king restores the land by being healed, where there is a union between the vitality of a king and that of the god king. In this case Terate was the Grail King of Castle Anwyn who was corrupted by the Vvrael, just as the rift caused the corruption of anti-mana into the flows of essence, which in turn is a sickness infecting the heart of Koar whom is implied to be the heart of magic. This is represented by Terate dying of old age on the chair of bone, by analogy the Siege Perilous, but being reversed to his youthful form when not being corrupted by the Vvrael. The Vvrael were defeated when Terate expelled his anti-mana corruption at the Eye of the Drake, after which he died in his original youthful pure Elven form, which removed the key to expanding the rift. It is worth noting that Lorminstra was dying at one point in the Vvrael quest and had to be restored by her worshippers. As the goddess of annual death and rebirth, she is also representative of the "vegetation god" concept, which scholars have argued is the ancient root of the wasteland restoration mythology behind the Grail quest. This is represented also in the stories of The Graveyard and Shadow Valley.

References