Tiny emerald sliver
This item was a prize from the Hunt for History.
A tiny emerald sliver
The sliver is a tiny jewel no larger than an arrowhead, its uneven facets imparting a jagged, blade-like look to its edges. Deep within its core, a shadow wavers back and forth, ever shifting when every stray beam of light crosses the surface of the sliver.
This is a fragment of a Luukosian temple.
As you sing, the facets of the emerald sliver shift to a dull, blood-red hue. As you gaze into it, you find yourself somewhere else entirely...
The creaking of an inn's sign accompanies the dull patter of rain. A salty scent hangs in the air as currents of wind from the distant bay whip around you. A hooded figure approaches the doorway and pushes it open, illuminating the stormy night with the gently flickering flames of amber candlelight.
The figure makes its way toward the only occupied table in the establishment and sits down with a grizzled man, his dirty hair falling around his shoulders in knotted braids.
Looking up from his drink, the man says, "Ye 'ave the money?" The clink of many heavy coins upon wood echoes around you as a large sack is tossed on the table.
The man nods and says, "And ye want that area sealed off, aye? The Guild was plannin' to use it fer some other business."
The figure makes no sign of moving, but its voice is like a blade's edge as it speaks, "There are to be no interferences there. You will be paid regularly for leaving well enough alone and encouraging others to do the same."
A strange look plays on the man's face, and the vision swirls into blurriness before it completely ends. You sink into the memories of the sliver, and your vision is replaced by the dark surroundings of the inn once again...
The man raises an eyebrow as he flips one of the coins from the sack and says, "Aye. That brings us to th' next matter. You ain't smugglers, is ya? The Guild ain't takin too kindly to others runnin' 'em outta business -- even if they do pay 'em nicely." The figure sits motionless for a moment, then says in the same cold, forced voice, "Your currency means nothing to us. We have been here for a long, long time and we wish our privacy. Your acquisitions will not be threatened."
The effects of the vague statement make themselves known on the man's face just before he says, "Oh... aye, aye. The Guild still wants ta take a peek on what ye got goin down there, eh? Ya mind showin me?"
You see the briefest shadow of a smile as faint light shows the slightest image of the figure's mouth, "Certainly," he replies.
The vision comes to a close as the heavy patter of rain echoes ceaselessly about you.
The emerald sliver shivers gently in your fingers, and the familiar luminescence flickers into your vision before you're whisked away into its memories...
The tangly-haired man and the hooded figure stand before a black marble dais surrounded by banners bearing green serpents. The man looks a tad shaken by the surroundings.
"You should know something," The figure says. "Yeh?" "Showing consideration for the Order shows consideration for your own well-being. And your organization's prosperity. Observe." The figure moves its hand, concealed by bell-sleeves, toward the back of the hallway.
Two similar hooded figures drag a grubby man of questionable background toward the altar atop the dais. Binding his wrists and ankles, they step back as the taller hooded figure that was speaking to the man steps ascends the dais. With a sweeping gesture of his hand, the candles ensconcing the altar come to life with emerald green flame. The wavering light reveals the form of a massive serpent cast in bronze, its fangs poised to strike the altar beneath it. With another fluid movement, the hooded figure produces a dagger and slices the jugular of the vagrant on the altar, leaving him time only to scream wetly before he dies.
The eyes of the serpent statue pulse a sickly green as a misty white, humanoid form rises toward its maw. As it reaches its gullet, you hear a faint, desperate scream that is the very rawest form of anguish -- and then the soul disappears into the endless blackness of the serpent's mouth. Almost immediately, the man's body crumbles into nothing but a fine ash.
The echoes of the man's scream fades mercifully from your mind as the vision comes to a close.
You weave your song precisely around the emerald sliver and coax the final memory from its faceted depths...
The rain comes down in sheets, echoing against the cobblestones and the docks far off in the murk. A man wearing a heavy leather coat stumbles into a nearby inn, its moody light serving only to cast things in half-shadow. He sits down next to a figure clad in a voluminous robe. The only sign of recognition it gives him is a faint nod. A voice comes from the shadows that hides the face of its wearer, "You have reached a decision on our agreement?"
The bedraggled man looks around nervously and leans close to whisper, "Aye, aye... the Guild'll accept it. But they ain't want no paperwork. No way to trace it to them, yeh? Gold, silver and jewels is th' only thing they'll be takin ta keep quiet about ya."
"That is acceptable." The figure reaches into its robe, and the man tenses up briefly before he sees the small pouch, "Consider this a gift in honor of the agreement." He tosses the pouch on the table and the man quickly retrieves it. "We are very..." The figure's voice changes noticeably, as if the one he was speaking with was a forced, changed version of what his true voice actually was, "...glad for your graciousssnesss in thissss matter." A flicker of the amber light in the inn causes it to play across the figure's once-hidden eyes, revealing reptilian slits staring out from under the hood.
The bedraggled wet man lets out a startled shriek and leaps out from his chair, spilling some of the pouch's contents before he nearly bolts out the doorway. A few tiny sliver drop alongside the figure's foot. Retrieving one, he smiles to himself and says, "No paperwork, indeed..." He tosses it idly over his shoulder and walks out of the inn and into the night.
The scene fades away entirely in your mind's eye as your song draws to a close.