The Gemstone of Life
I stood barefoot in the ash, the black flecks that had been my enemies disappearing in my hands. I felt invincible.Throughout history, the continents of Valathe and Xin-Jiyu have been shadowed by mentions of an immense gemstone. It has worn many names - and indeed, many shapes - but its final epithet prior to its destruction was the 'Gemstone of Life'. It was one of the Shards of the Void: immensely powerful items that could exert incredible influence over the planet and her inhabitants. Research done by the suggests that the gemstone, like the other shards, may have held sentience - and even godhood - at one time. The Gemstone of Life was destroyed in 5622 by Kazric Szithna of the aforementioned Lost Ones; the reincarnated drow had used the Spiritblade against it after the full adventuring party - with the dubious aid of Elias - had fought to weaken it and dismantle its defences. Its destruction via the Spiritblade caused an explosion that should rightly have killed all consumed in it; only the intervention of the deity Pharasma, Lady of Graves, rescued the heroes. Worryingly, the destruction of the Unbroken March - another Shard - casts doubt on the final fate of the Gemstone. The March's destruction indicated that when a Shard is destroyed by a deity's power made manifest, it is instead consumed by that deity - and lives on within them, though no longer with unrestrained power. Due to this, it is assumed that the Spiritblade did not fully destroy the Gemstone and instead consumed it and its powers. As of yet, it is unknown how much this increases the Spiritblade's own danger.
Historical AppearancesThe Gemstone of Life had always had a habit of appearing at beginnings and endings. It is rumoured that it belonged to the Lost Empire of Meihua at the Empire's initial founding, and that it was stolen away by Galasthin's forces in a power struggle shortly before the Empire's fall. The nation of Eivanfalr - which eventually fell to the Aletheian Empire and became Dhun Volkulgar in the Everfall Mountains - reportedly claimed the Gemstone from Vaermyrhel shortly after attaining dominance... and the Gemstone disappeared in a conflict years later versus the then-nation of Ilendras. It should be noted that the Gemstone's final appearance in the open was considered the sole catalyst for the birth of Champions. Thus, poetically, its own end marked a new beginning to what the dwarves refer to as the Age of Champions. Unlike the other Shards, the Gemstone rarely showed itself with any kind of wielder. Instead, it almost always appeared as an aberrant gemstone of enormous size - and if not, in the unusual cases where the Gemstone made itself known in some other way, then it appeared as the gleaming emerald gemstone at the forefront of a piece of jewellery.
One cannot have life without death.The Gemstone of Life was rarely overt in its use of power, taking more of a passive, patient approach. Still, all life around it seemed to be able to be affected by it - much like the Unbroken March could affect all written works in its affected area. It was first observed by utilising its powers of death: despite the fact that physically it sat below Ilendras and close to the gates of Yuethin'tar, any who died as far away as Port Amarin dissolved into a black mist. This was later learnt to be the Shard absorbing all life that passed away within it, and as the Shard grew more obvious, it began to drain the life from the entirety of Serendel Forest. Not only did it demonstrate these powers of death, but in its final battle, it presented terrifying powers of life. It revealed itself to have infested the land with tendrils of strange magic, taking control of the dead that it had left behind, and surrounded itself with glowing crystals of odd colours. As the attacking adventurers struck at it, the crystals erupted into living beings - adventurers, equal if not stronger, than those it stood against. From this, it can be surmised that the Gemstone was somewhat cyclical in nature. It could likely absorb life and recreate them however it liked, leaving death in its wake, all the while passively absorbing the power of death around it. Due to its pattern of appearances, current research suggests that the Gemstone was also able to passively assist those living within its area of influence in return for their increased status. When their civilisations finally fell, it would draw from the death presented and gain power enough to let out a flood of its despairing magics. This would explain why it seemed to reappear towards the end of significant factions and events: behind the scenes, it was influencing those events. With this coming to light, connections can be drawn between sudden plagues and disasters that have afflicted various areas across the Eastern and Western continents.
As mentioned before, this does add some weighty concern to the idea that the Spiritblade has absorbed the Gemstone: the blade already has the ability to touch souls. What more can they do together, in the hands of Riven Drast?