The Fall of Barrowald
Artifacts of the Old World
It has often been noted that after the Fall of Brenton’s Fair, original home of the Elves, and the establishment of the new age of magic, there has not been a way to replicate the strange artifacts that litter the deep caverns and quiet places of our world.
These artifacts, or permanent sources of magic, are known to house forces that make them stronger than even the most masterfully crafted weapons and armor. They are often made of strange materials and radiate with types of energy that do not seem to be identifiable with New Magic, but never the less have come to be highly sought after by Adventurer and Scholar alike.
Ur-Materials and Their Uses
The first variety of artifact are classified by scholars as Ur-Material Artifacts. They do not seem to radiate magical energy, and do not exhibit limits or wear, but are still unreplicatable by even the most skill artisan. Often these items tend to be left in the backrooms of merchants or forgotten in an armory as they do not initially draw attention to themselves by magical means, but they are distinctive in their unusual designs and makeshift appearance.
Many Ur-Material weapons have simple wooden handles and guards, leaving only the cutting edge itself as an extraordinary material. These should not imply that the weapons themselves are of shoddy make, as the blades themselves are infinitely sharper and lighter than any material found today. In the hands of a skilled swordsman, an Ur-Material blade could easily rend armors and flesh alike.
Ur-Material Armors are much rarer than weaponry as the pieces of material must be of sufficient size and shape to facilitate armor production. Bracers and Guards are the most common because of this. They are usually centered around large pieces of Ur-Material held in place by leather or lesser metals. There has yet to be a strength or magic strong enough to pierce these shells, but their limited coverage means that they are not a fail-proof measure.
Radiant Sources and Their Forms
Radiant Artifacts are documented significantly rarer than Ur-Material items. Part of this reason is that they are often limited in their energies before they are expended and become lumps of leaded stone. Rods that can produce bursts of flame or ice, medallions that mend wounds and stop bleeding, and even weapons that are tinged with elemental fury: these are the powers that normally take powerful Wizards to wield properly.
The Invoked items of this group, or items whose power must be activated in a very specific way, are usually the longest lasting in dormant states. They are also burn up the quickest after being used for an extended period of time. No one is really clear on what powers these artifacts, but it is almost impossible to tell how much energy remains in an artifact when it is encountered. Special care should be taken with them, as they will often fail unexpectedly.
The Persistent items, or items that produce a constant magical aura, are usually found in the oldest ruins of the Old World, and will slowly expire after being taken from their resting place. Again, it is presumed that somehow the Old Magic present in these places keeps the Persistent items from slowly decaying. There are some radical items, such as the Great Light of Barrowald, that are taken back to their original resting place to replenished, though it has been noted that there may be a slow deplenishment of the resting place as well. This may be a mark of the slow recession of Old Magic from our world.
The Shimmer and Their Appearance
Shimmer artifacts are unique. They do not seem to age like Radiant sources and seem on par with the sheer strength of Ur-Material. Common features do exist: extremely light weight, highly ornamental in an unknown design, the ability to remain suspended in mid-air, and the emission of a strong blue light, though there are controversies on their origins with such strong unifying features.
Many are known to be highly intelligent, and some even have personal agendas. Those that choose to use them can only hope that the Shimmer is pliant with their demands. They do not seem to speak any known languages, however. Currently out of the fifteen known in the world, only five can be currently accounted for and most exist locked up in vaults of collectors or scholars. Others seem to have hidden themselves away after extraordinary encounters.
The Giddeon Stone is one of the most famous Shimmer artifacts. A flat stone rumored of reflecting a location after simply thinking about it. Though it is currently in the possession of the pitchblende dragon Maale currently roosting below Barrowald, recovery is thought to be currently impossible.
Replication of Their Effects with New Magic
So far, there has been no success in solidifying spells in items like artifacts represent. Such spells, such as Permanence, are thought to be charlatan schemes that do nothing more than extend the length of a spell for a day or so. Acquisition of these items is difficult, both economically and logistically. Ur-Material, the most common artifact type, is often priced at eight times it’s volume in gold. Radiant and Shimmer artifacts are not known to be sold in any way, and even use of them is highly restricted.
Conclusion and Ponderings
It is still unknown how the Old Magic was employed to create such items, though their difference in style and construction leads the hypothesis that such items were not only common but made by a variety of methods in the Old World. Though it is the opinion of this old Scholar that such endeavors to awaken such magic should be forgotten. The fall of the Old World should be lesson enough that these strange and dangerous items should be allowed to fade into the night of the past.
Scholar and Great Grandson of Marroiv Giddeon