Key of the Black Star
It whispers of the stars above and of things far below
Find it. Burn it. Make sure it stays ash this time.The Key was once a single complete tome about the darkest, strangest secrets that Araea hides within its depths and above in the void between stars. It rewrites itself endlessly, working towards some blasphemous or dark end, with the Key changed every time it is found. No matter how many times it is consigned to flames or the darkness of endless chasms, the book has always reappeared, found in some forgotten heap of garbage or tucked away at the very rear of that bookstore no one really goes to.
Once a book, the Key has been shattered into seventeen fragments in the only known successful attempt to permanently damage it. Bound with the leather of some Far Deep creature and written on pressed vellum, the fragment are old and and worn journals. The fragments vary in size, with the smallest being only a dozen or two pages long of writing and illustration while the largest is a volume all on its own. The text shows signs of having gone through several authors, with the handwriting and language shifting dramatically even between pages with notes and annotations scrawled on the margins. It is heavily illustrated, ranging from elaborate and incredibly detailed drawing of creatures, charts and stranger things to crude pictograms. Many of the illustrations are of things unknown... At least to most. The Key is always different each time it is found. Sentences or entire chapters are added, rewritten or annotated. In at least three recorded instances text has been removed or crudely redacted. Exactly how it changes, nobody truly knows but every iteration struggles towards some conclusion that is ever just out of reach of the unknown authors. Half mad prophecy and half crazed research, the Key holds secrets to things dark and occult. Even a single fragment has put people on paths to power... Or damnation.
There have been copies and translations made of the fragments, though these tend to be incomplete at best. Due to the rarity of the original fragments, the devout occultist is more likely to hold one of these copies (or in the worst case, forgeries) then an actual fragment. Copied by hand, they are plagued by errors and distortions, but are still highly sought after. The original has been so heavily annotated and so much text has been added to the margins that these copies can often be significantly longer volumes then the fragments. But every time it emerges again, the Key holds new changes and strange insights, and new copies are made. While owning the Tome is often not strictly speaking illegal, owing to its relative obscurity, it is greatly sought after by those privy to its existence. Those who find themselves in possession of one of the fragment of the books will find themselves harried by others who seek the book. Some to claim it for themselves, others to attempt yet again to destroy it. Much of the tome's reputation as cursed and a bringer bad luck comes from the fact that people are willing to fight and kill to have it.
Don't fear the dark.