Gendin’s Journal – The Carnith Stone
a page from the journal of Gendin, son of Arissa and Temone of the dwarven Clan Gilderlo
The Carnith Stone
November, 1443 AWR
I’ve mentioned the Carnith Stone and my quest to find it several times in my journal. This is a good time to explain what this is.
The Carnith Stone is an entity of Elemental Chaos. Various legends claim the Stone either existed before the creation of the multiverse or was created at the same time. Either or neither may be correct.
The Stone is a block of unique, variegated green mineral about seven feet long, three feet wide, and three feet high. It is not a true rectangle, having wavy edges that are somehow disturbing to the eye, although those who have viewed the Stone cannot explain why. It glows with a randomly pulsing inner light that sheds no illumination and is equally disturbing to those who view it.
Before continuing, I must comment on Elemental Chaos. Among the ethos of our world are Law, Neutrality, and Chaos. Intentionally or not, all intelligent creatures subscribe to one of these.
Elemental Law and Chaos are beyond mere ethos – sages theorize that when the multiverse was formed, regardless of its origin, the first two forces were in opposition: Creation and Entropy. Creation’s focus was the building of things, of growth and expansion. Entropy’s focus was the return of the multiverse to a static, unmoving state. In direct conflict with each other’s fundamental goal, these two powers have battled since the very beginning of time. Possibly even before then.
Our name for creation is Elemental Law and our name for entropy is Elemental Chaos. The Carnith Stone is entropy, destruction.
Any intelligent being possessing sufficient force of will can attempt to command the Stone.
Those who try to command the Stone and fail? The fortunate ones die in the attempt. The less fortunate are driven mad by the Stone, and exhibit any of a wide variety of symptoms ranging from feeblemind to homicidal rage.
Those that succeed may cause the Stone to manifest various abilities – the most famous is the ability to create a barrier between the plane it is on and all other planes. This greatly reduces available magical energy that is produced by the friction between planes.
Clerics within the field, which may cover tens of thousands of square miles, discover they have no contact with their deities. Spells beyond the 2nd rank may not be regained. Wizards discover that spells memorized before the shield is exacted work as expected, but all spells memorized while within the shield function at half their normal efficacy.
The shield also prevents the spirits of the dead from moving on and empowers malevolent spirits greater facility to possess dead bodies and animate them. The recent dead often rise with a malevolent spirit animating them. These animated corpses will be under the control of the one commanding the Stone – if he/she/it has sufficient will power to command it, otherwise they are uncontrolled and uninhibited in their actions. The only safe way to deal with the dead is to burn or otherwise destroy the body, although that is a common practice in most cultures, anyway. If the shield is enacted when the commanding creature dies, the shield ceases to exist.
Those who successfully command the Stone eventually succumb to madness, becoming paranoid and suffering from delusions of grandeur. They become more and more suspicious of everyone around them and react wildly to any suggestion that the Stone is a danger. Eventually they destroy all around them, friend and foe alike. Some have killed or driven away all others, then died of starvation as they would not leave the Stone, not even to preserve their own life.
The Carnith Stone is inimical to all living beings. Lawful creatures coming within a hundred feet or so of the Stone are driven insane, often in a matter of minutes, and flee until collapsing in exhaustion. Neutral beings suffer an identical fate, although it may take hours of exposure instead of minutes. Chaotic beings may be driven insane, much as Neutral beings are. The only way to prevent the madness is to move away from the Stone.
Chaotic and some Neutral beings that remain in proximity to the Stone become attracted to it. The longer they remain near it, the harder it is to break free. Eventually they attempt to command it. If they have sufficient force of will, they succeed and gain tremendous power until it demolishes them. Those that command the Stone must constantly maintain their will, else the Stone consumes them with madness. Each time they command it, it fights back, seeking to consume them. History indicates that all are eventually ruined by the Stone.
If it seems I repeat myself too much with that last statement, believe me, I have not. None who have even attempted to command the Stone have fared well.
Legend says the Stone cannot be destroyed. When a tremendous force is inflicted upon it, the Stone “explodes” with tremendous force, destroying everything within a mile, leaving a deep crater in the earth. Debris rains down in the surrounding area, inflicting horrendous damage to all creatures within as much as a mile of the crater.
Centuries or eons later the Stone reforms in a different place and waits until some unfortunate being finds it and tries to command it. Records indicate that the Stone has never formed on any of the Outer Planes, not even the chaotic ones. It typically forms on a Prime Material Plane and has been reported to have formed on an Elemental Plane.
Is the Stone intelligent? This is unknown. Some victims have acted as if they were controlled by a foreign intelligence, but this may simply be a symptom of their madness.
The Last Sighting of the Carnith Stone
In the year 1439 AWR, the exiled demon lordling Orusula found the Carnith Stone in a cavern deep under Mount Raimei in Trivana as he sought to escape pursuers sent by the demon lord Jxtl. [Orusula had instigated ill-advised movements against Jxtl and was forced to flee for his life.]
Orusula successfully commanded the Stone and used its powers to destroy his pursuers. Over the following year he attracted diverse followers and at last succeeded in blocking the world of Trivana from the multiverse.
A band led by myself successfully fought their way through the tunnels to the Carnith Stone. Three members of the band – the Archmage Livianus, my grandfather Thorin, and the woolabu Bel – held the cavern while the others, including the elven queen Leannah, escaped. They felt they could prevent the demon from re-taking possession of the Stone for a while, and there was no need for all to die. They made no promises regarding how long they could hold, and told us to run.
When overwhelming demonic reinforcements including Orusula arrived to re-take control of the Stone, Livianus screamed out the Word of Unbinding and sundered his staff across the Stone. The resulting explosion blew the top off the third highest peak of Mount Raimei and devastated an area ten miles in diameter. [Scrying by the Archmage Susafras revealed the end of that tale. At the time we knew they succeeded but knew no details.]
Livianus and the demonic forces were killed in the blast. Bel, whose mental powers exceed those of the strongest illithids, channeled power from the blast to escape across the planes, carrying Thorin with him. Their unexpected survival was unknown for several years until the duo made their way back to Trivana.
The Carnith Chalice
This object of Elemental Chaos appears to be made of the same material as the Carnith Stone – it’s an unknown, variegated green mineral that pulses sickly with an inner light. The Chalice stands about a foot tall, and its globular bowl holds about a pint of liquid.
[While I viewed the Carnith Stone for a few minutes, at a distance, I have not seen the Chalice myself and am using descriptions from those that have.]
This artifact is believed to be carved from a fragment of the legendary Carnith Stone, a relic of Elemental Chaos. How this is so remains open to conjecture as the Carnith Stone is believed to be indestructible, and the history of the Chalice indicates it also is indestructible. Others believe that the Chalice was carved from a larger piece from which the Carnith Stone was formed.
The material of the Chalice pulses irregularly with an inner light which creatures of normal (human) vision perceive as a sickly green. The pulsations make mortal creatures nauseous. Mortal creatures within thirty feet of the chalice often feel sickly, an effect that may last more than ten minutes after leaving the vicinity of the Chalice. Prolonged exposure eventually sickens all creatures, and Lawful creatures succumb much quicker than Chaotic.
Touching the Chalice has its dangers. Chaotic creatures find it uncomfortably hot the first time they touch it; apparently subsequent handling doesn’t affect them as much. Neutral creatures suffer mind burns with each touch, while Lawful beings suffer severe burns.
Any beverage poured into the Chalice and then drunk alters the imbiber, imbuing them with facets of Elemental Chaos. Imbibers may grow physically stronger and larger, may become quicker in reaction, and may grow additional limbs including tentacles. Or it may kill them, their guts devoured by the altered beverage.
Subsequent drinks from the Chalice change the imbiber more and more radically. After three or four drinks, arms and legs transform into tentacles, all of which may be used for movement or attack. Small tentacles grow from the face, and these are horrible, as the transformed creature will use them to bore into a victim’s head, pulling their brain out to be consumed.
Possession of Chalice eventually destroys the holder. As with all objects of Elemental Chaos, mortal creatures are eventually driven insane.
It is believed the Chalice is like its namesake and cannot be destroyed.
Update AWR 1499
The adventuring band known variously as “The Company from Kerr” and “The Reavers”, encountered the Carnith Chalice in a world call Shahrivar. Jake, grandson of Marissa and Trajan, of the Clan Gilderlo, hit it with the second Sword of Cieldren. The event occurred deep below the last bastion of the clerics of the Nameless one, and the resulting explosion blew upwards. The keep was completely shattered, and the debris rained down upon a nearby goblinoid city, inflicting massive damage and casualties.
The Reavers were shielded from the explosion and were unharmed, although this cemented their place in the folklore of all goblinoid tribes of Shahrivar. Goblinoid mothers will use the name “Reavers” to threaten their children into obedience for centuries to come.
It is not known if the Sword of Cieldren destroyed the Chalice completely, or if it will reform as the Carnith Stone does.