Once in Sharn, you (Astrid) bid Omega farewell, exchanging your Sivis contact box information so contact can be made if anything new develops. You then make way to the nearest Orien house and secure quick passage back to the school.
When you return to your superior to report, she is at a loss for what to say. She excuses herself to relay your report to the council of the Twelve. You are excused and make your way back to your chambers. It isn’t until the next day that you are summoned to the council. As you stand before the representatives of each major house, you start to actually feel a little anxious. This must be big. The representative of house Phiarlan (your house) is the only one to address you, however, which eases some of that tension.
He questions you on many of the relayed reports to corroborate what they were told. Satisfied, he and the other members nod and he continues. He tells you the events that have transpired are grim at best. A Rakshasa wouldn’t be so careless to reveal himself that way unless one of two things was afoot. Either he’s mad/arrogant beyond repair, or he’s so near his goal he doesn’t care for subtlety anymore. In the case of the latter, we have a potential crisis on our hands. The Artifact that you pursued, as you know, is a component of a larger artifact which we know very little about, except that it is unknown when it actually was crafted. It could be as old as magic, itself. The stolen piece was the only one whose whereabouts were known, and it seems as though we now know the location of the remaining pieces. But to get back there will be a challenge. Portals in Khyber don’t necessarily correlate to your proximity when you enter them. You could enter one from Lhazaar (far east coast) and end up beneath Aundair (very far west). So, it’s impossible to know exactly where that portal would lead.
He continues to say, first they would like you to dig up as much info on this artifact as you can find and suggest starting at Morgrave University in Sharn. From there, we’ll decide the proper next steps.
Making your way back to Morgrave, you hunker down for an extended stay. Digging up information on this kind of artifact, as you well know, will be ridiculously difficult. You scour the University archives and uncover a few leads, but nothing concrete. One of the leads ushers you to an elderly Human historian named Ben. Ben is cordial and hospitable and gives you some information on the item, but none of it is hard fact. Just things he’s heard in all his years working around the Morgrave expeditionary reports. In various diaries some explorers tell of tales in Xen’drik about an artifact that was potentially the cause of the downfall of Giants. Supposedly the Giants unwittingly crafted an artifact that could rip the fabric of space, opening gates to other worlds. The first dimension they opened was the Dreaming Dark, and the Quori Invasion that ensued was apparently the result. The tales go on to speculate that the destruction of this artifact was the cataclysm that ended the Giant civilization. Ben admits this seems a stretch. Much of the Giants’ history is speculation, as it wasn’t recorded the same way we do today. But the more of Xen’drik that is explored, the more mysteries are revealed and uncovered. So, he believes there might be some truth in the story, but embellishment is always possible. However, the name Keeper’s Key was specific in the story. He believes that name originated in Xen’drik. Possibly an explorer or scholar’s rough interpretation of something they found.
Ben apologizes for not knowing more. He suggests you hit the Korranberg library in Karrnath, or even make way to the docks and see if any of the captains and scholars who make regular trips to Xen’drik might have more information.
You do follow his advice on going to the docks, as one of your other leads is a Stormship captain known only as “Skipper.” And while plenty of captains go by that call name, there are very few, if any, Stormships in the harbor on a regular basis. So finding him won’t be an issue. When you reach the ship, Skipper is standing at the base of the gangplank waiting on something. You approach him immediately inquiring about his knowledge of such an artifact. He claims to have heard stories, but he’s never encountered it, himself. However, he does lend you a name of someone who claims to. He gives you the name Shanul Icybrook. He says there’s no way of him knowing where to find Shanul. It’s been a decade or more since She had passage on his ship. But he adds, what’s 10 years to you elves, though, right? And he laughs, implying that Shanul is an elf, herself. He goes on to tell you that Shanul never gave the reason why she sought the artifact, only that she “needed” it. She came away from Xen’drik empty-handed, though. When they got back to Sharn, she asked if he could take her to the Lhazaar Principalities. It was the last he saw of her. He says you could look for her there. It sounded like she knew more than anyone about the item. But the chances of her still being there after 10 years aren’t great.
You leave Skipper and head back to Morgrave one last time with this new bit of information. The search on Shanul brings up a hair more than the search on Keeper’s Key, but it is most definitely enlightening. Shanul Icybrook was a revered member of the Undying Court on Aerenal. Marrying into the house Jhaelian, she held a very high status there. But her fascination with undeath became morbid and the Undying Court cast her out for her twisted practices. Now an outcast in her own land, the elf stole away to Khorvaire for refuge. There she stumbled upon a new religion, one that fed life from life. That believed blood, itself, is the key to life and thus sacred. Seeing this new philosophy as the way to reach her undying goal, she adopted the Blood of Vol as her new spiritual path. The last records of her in Morgrave indicate she served in a Vol sect in Karrnath for over a decade before she went on a pilgrimage to Xen’drik. When she returned from Xen’drik, she made for Lhazaar and was never heard from again.
When you report back to the council, a few members give a knowing nod to the mention of Shanul’s name, but offer no further information. The council decides your next course of action would be to seek out this Shanul and see if you can’t uncover more. So they usher you to Lhazaar.