All secrets require sacrifice. All mysteries lead forward.
The Gate of Bones is a collection of thaumaturgic knowledge written across thirteen skulls of ancient origins. Despite the limited space on each skull, readers find that new text will be waiting whenever they twist and turn the skull around to continue, and hold text is lost. It has made the skulls difficult to use for reference material, though some claim they have unlocked the secrets to reading the Gate of Bones. Every skull holds just a piece of the puzzle, and it is believed that the mystery that can be unlocked by having all thirteen skulls will lead the reader to great power - or damnation.
Cast the bones into water, and follow them.
Each Skull in the Gate of Bones is treated by an expert Shikei
, with exacting inscriptions that have resisted all attempts by time or violence to erase them. Some are gilded with metals or precious gems, adorned with horns and Chitin
. Though no name is ever given to the skulls within the inscriptions, those who know about the Gate call them by their general appearance. Each have been worked with Thaumaturgy
, melding bone and twisting matter into impossible shapes.
Skull of the Warrior
A robust, heavy skull with a jaw of iron and the horns of a Suryō Spider
melded into the bone. It is generally accepted to be the first part of the narrative, though some argue otherwise.
The Warrior draws strife to it and has changed hands more than any other Skull.
Skull of the Sacrifice
Sparsely adorned, the Sacrifice shows signs of abuse, central of which is a fist-sized hole at the top of the skull, ringed with teeth of gold that have been merged with the skull.
The skull of the Sacrifice speaks of how to engrave the thaumaturgic runes on flesh.
Skull of the Scholar
The most heavily engraved Skull of the Gate, every surface of bone carry minute runes and hieroglyphs, including the bloated shell of chitin attached to it.
Many of the other Skulls are impossible to read without the ciphers on the Scholar.
Only seven out of the thirteen skulls are accounted for, with the others lost to the dark wilds of Araea.
Skull of the Magistrate
Richly decorated with gold, silver, and unknown, vibrant metal, the Magistrate serves as another cipher along with the Scholar.
In addition, it contains advice and thoughts on leadership and administration mixed with the arcane.
Skull of the Monster
A horribly malformed skull that looks more at home among the beasts of the Far Deep than a human, the Monster's vicious fangs is ringed with metal and notations.
Some fanciful scholars claim it to be the skull of the author.
Skull of the Kaia
Somewhere in the middle, the Kaia picks up in the middle of a sentence and ends with no particular conclusion.
Without its brother and sisters, it can be maddingly baffling to those who study it.
Skull of the Slave
Attached to a loop of heavy chain and with studs of metal hammered into the bone, the skull of the Slave is said to be the final chapter in the Gate of Bones. Even when undisturbed, the chains rattle ever so often when out of sight.
No one knows what form the lost Skulls take or what knowledge is hidden on them. Every so often, fake reproductions reappear here and there as someone tries to make money on the legend, though most people would rather not anger a thaumaturge.