Gems of the Ethergaunt -- Ethergems
The Condensed Geniuses
Pre-DematalystIn times before the Dematalyst, Ethergaunts lived as an unseen race of highly intelligent beings occupying the Ethereal Plane. The lack of magic preceding the Dematalyst allowed the people of Sonnerand and the Ethergaunts to live in harmony. Though the people could not see the Ethergaunts, the Ethergaunts could see the reflections of people. Using their advantage of sight, the Ethergaunts subtly influenced the Material world over the centuries. Pre-Dematalyst ghost stories, the ones with any credibility at least, can be linked to Ethergaunt activity. The average Ethergaunt is nearly x6 times more intelligent than an average human. An Ethergaunt's brain works like its own supercomputer, able to invent and craft solutions, items, prose, etc. at a moment's notice. They are beings of purely negative energy and their origin lies (unsurprisingly) in the Negative Energy Plane. With their amazing intellect Ethergaunt society was leaps and bounds ahead of Material society. However, what Ethergaunts have in raw intellectual processing power, they lack in areas such as strength and health. Ethergaunts are effectively immortal, long ago solving the simply conundrum of aging and growing old. They also do not get sick, save for rare diseases brought about by denizens of the Positive Energy Plane. Ethergaunts have claimed that they discovered magic, beating the Dematalyst to it. They are regarded as the supreme masters of spellcrafting and spelltheory.
The Collapse of Ethergaunt SocietyEthergaunts may be the only beings who can fully process and tell what occured during the event that was the Dematalyst. Seldom do they speak of this time, however, and seldom are the Ethergaunts that remain to tell the tale at all. Of all the regrettable tragedies and unspeakable happenings of the Dematalyst, one stands as a particularly cruel outcome: the Binding of the Ethergaunt. Sometime during the swirling roiling chaos following the Dematalyst, the Ethergaunts were discovered. In that confusion there was a short war between humans and Ethergaunt (dudded, though lost now, "The War of the Ghost"). The humans were shocked and awed at the magical prowess of the Ethergaunt and many humans saw their fellows become incinerated in waves of vaporizing spellfire. Yet, the Ethergaunts were equally shocked by the raw courage, tenacity, and might of the humans. Clusters of Ethergaunt society were overwhelmed by waves of humans as their mana was exhausted. A mighty Ethergaunt fortress could fall to just one well-placed shot by a human-made cannon. Every account of this conflict has feuding accounts for how long it took, though it ended in the total elimination and genocide of the Ethergaunt. But during that time a cabal of newly-realized wizards, Archmage Dainway of Dellwind among them, somehow found a way to capture twenty of the most intelligent Ethergaunts.
EthergemsThese twenty Ethergaunts captured by the mages underwent a horrific change. Their 9-foot-tall bodies were reduced and condensed into apple-sized spherical gemstones. The chitinous plating of the Ethergaunt formed the gleaming shells of these gems; which at the moment of their creation became the most powerful magic items in Sonnerand. The Twenty Ethergems were created to harness the intelligence of the Ethergaunt. The sentient spirit a unique Ethergaunt inhabits each of the Ethergems. A skilled mage can call upon this spirit and will the Ethergaunt to provide information on any subject or question. This is, to use the previous comparison, like having a supercomputer on your person at all times. This one ability alone is enough to make Ethergems extremely powerful. Indeed, many spells used today are the machinations and whispered ideas of Ethergaunts. Yet, the gems contain another awe-inspiring ability: global communcation. The Ethergems operate like their own closed network. Each gem is inextricably linked to its nineteen different partners. Within the dreams of the attuned an Ethergem can bestow vivid visions of what its partners are up to. That is, if an Ethergem is set to transmit its surroundings. Ethergems have three modes:
- Transmit and Receive: In which they transmit their surroundings and can receive the transmissions of other gems.
- Receive Only: In which they only receive any transmissions from other gems.
- Go Dark: In which the communication feature of the Ethergem is indefinitely suppressed.
Flaw of ForgettingThere have been many quests to unite all twenty gems. Sometimes it is from an altruistic knight that wishes to free the Ethergaunt from their binding, othertimes it is from a wizard who seeks divinity through the gems use, and othertimes still it is from an adventuring party looking to complete a grand quest. Every attempt to unite the gems has ended in failure, and efforts to keep the quest going are usually doomed to fail. This is due to the defense mechanism built into the Ethergems. Whenever someone stops touching an Ethergem, or when an attuned user unattuned from the gem, they lose all memories they had of talking to the Ethergaunt or having the gem in the first place. This has, at times, led to years of work and effort being instantly lost.
Gem of KislekOne storied and (relatively) famous Ethergem is the Gem of Kislek. This Ethergem has been passed from Lord Steward to Lord Steward for centuries in the grand city of Dellwind. The gem appears as a dark green, as does the Ethergaunt, Kislek. Kislek's attitudes have been shaped by its time spent as a tool for Dellwind. It harbors no animosity towards its position (gave it lots of time to think, it would say) but, like all Ethergaunts, wishes it wasn't a gemstone. Kislek is the unknown architect of the city's multiple perimeter wards, the unnaturally calm waters of Dainway Bay, and dozens of spells used in the upper Assembled Trade States. Kislek is also the one of the only beings that knows the entrance to the Vault of Dellwind. In recent times, Kislek sat undisturbed and untouched on the vacant desk of Lord Steward Jackson Varrik (the gems are never taken into battle). When Kane Faircrest began an aggressive campaign towards Meistership, he raided the Lord Steward's office and found the Gem of Kislek. Using the item, Kane sowed a degree of discontent into the citizens of Dellwind by removing many of the city's wards for his own purposes. During a slated attack on his own playhouse, the Gem of Kislek fell from Faircrest's possessions and was touched by another being-- the half-orc Ri'Orio O'Connell. This caused Kane Faircrest's memories of the gem to become wiped and led to his eventual arrest. Now, the gem is in the unique care of Tinker, a poor young Kenku refugee from Dellwind's Outerdock. This is the first time Kislek has been attuned to an avianoid, and the first time any Ethergem has been attuned to a Kenku. Already, the Gem of Kislek has revealed more special abilities the Ethergaunt possess, such as Kislek allowing Tinker the Kenku to formulate entirely free thoughts not influenced by the mimicry of other beings. Time will tell the fate of Kislek and the rest of his species.