The night sky above Lusternia, dark, and as mysterious as the First World itself. Host to the great movements of the Sun and the Moon. To the dance of quick Eroee and slow Aapek; of Sidiak, Tarox, and Papaxi. To the eternal twinkling of the stars upon the firmanent.
Except… not all the stars were quite to be seen. So observed Galaphyrae of Serenwilde in the very early months of the year 654, for in the sign of the Spider, there was an occlusion. Consulting with other astrologers in both her commune and across the Basin, little was initially determined save some circular object was traveling within the sign of the Spider. With little to go on, some became concerned about what omens and portents may come from an object in this sign, often representing the forces of death and transformation.
As the days passed, diligent astrologers observed the circular object getting closer, its speed and size indeterminate. Approaching the Basin of Life, lights began to glow from, or perhaps reflect off of, its edges. Soon, it was close enough where its movements could be better understood as tumbling, as a winking star on the object’s edges belied the nature of its shape.
The unknown object entering the atmosphere to the west of the Basin, flames engulfing it as it descends. Hear the deafening roar resound followed by an equally loud boom as the object crashes into the Razine Mountains, sending it spinning in the sky again towards Oleanvir Valley. Hear another crash from within Oleanvir Valley, this time sending it flying towards the City of New Celest.
Instead of crashing once more, the great beacons of Celest flared up in response to the threat, altering its course to a more southernly direction as they deflect the flaming object from harming Celestians. Great gouts of steam sizzle upwards with each hit of the flaming object upon the Inner Sea, its movements now more akin to a skipping rock than a descending threat. Twice, thrice, a fourth time it skips before spinning upwards in a high arc, the extinguished flame replaced by droplets of water sent flying in its wake. As it descends for the last time, the still unknown object lands south of the Southern Highway.
As all this happened, many within the Basin sprung to action. Some sought shelter, others sought to defend against this potential threat. Lendren Starfall of Serenwilde sought to follow the path the burning object had taken, making sure to douse the flames from where it landed. Others still anticipated the object’s landing in Oleanvir, putting their very lives in danger by rushing to the valley as the then-flaming object was beginning to descend upon it.
But as the dust settled, many still made their way south to see where the object had ended its journey across the Basin of Life. Nefertem of Gaudiguch was truthfully the first to stumble upon the object, but did not realize it was the same as had fallen from the sky. It was Barrin of Serenwilde who came upon the rhombicosidodecahedron-shaped beacon and put together that this beacon was the same object which had been travelling through the sign of the Spider these past months and had gone bouncing across the land.
Barrin was soon joined by Esei of Glomdoring, Freja of Magnagora, Lendren, Machlana of New Celest, Sondayga of Serenwilde, Cerosir of Celest, and Xiran of Serenwilde, who all worked together to study the beacon and the scrap of cloth that was tucked inside of it. Not much was forthcoming from the beacon itself, save for how it reacted to touch. As for the scrap of cloth, at first it seemed as unhelpful as the beacon, the writing upon it suffering from burns and melted patches; it was not until those gathered had passed the scrap amongst themselves and discussed it that they realized perhaps it was written in the Divine language. Studying the cloth with this new possibility, the bookbinders present were able to make out possible words based on the writing still discernable. Led by Lendren Starfall, the effort to puzzle out the original writing was able to make enough progress to figure out an initial rought draft of the writing: “Unknown anomaly detected. Lost track of … something. Way back distorted. Sending homing beacons. Cannot risk … something. Needs to be activated.” Sondayga and Xiran were able to suggest possible answers for the unknown “somethings”, positing “Cannot risk essence” and “Lost track of Nohaji” respectively.
Although still filled with questions about the beacon’s origins, efforts were made to activate the beacon itself. Based on the cryptic scrap of cloth and the way the beacon reacted, it was identified that the beacon needed essence to be charged, and once fully charged to be activated with aetheric power. Huskii of Serenwilde was the first to activate the beacon, causing it to send a piercing beam of light into the sky! But the beacon could only last for so long on the essence and power given it before fading, and so many across the Basin took turns to keep the beacon powered over several days, representatives of each organization bringing essence both light and dark, cloudy and fiery, silvery and shadowy. Between the bursts of light when the beacon was fully charged and operating, some even tried putting foodstuffs of rice, carrots, and the like into it to gauge how it responded, to no apparent avail.
And so the beacon was largely kept powered, although not all were sure this was the wisest course of action. Nearly a month and a half had passed before poor Tikki of Hallifax went to charge the beacon, only for it to explode in his face! More than a little shaken, Tikki was very concerned that he had somehow been the reason for the beacon’s explosion. A passing thoughtful scholar, who had previously visited the beacon, attempted to offer some comfort by reasoning that perhaps the beacon was likely not meant to be powered on and off so much as it had been. But within a day’s time…
Lord Darvellan, the Navigator, returned to the First World by following the light of the beacon He had sent!
Initially, His arrival was met with some suspicion, as there were those who were concerned that perhaps this was yet another trick of the Enchantress; or perhaps Nohaji, the Face-Thief, had consumed the Navigator in the Void and was now taking His form. Proof was boldy requested of Lord Darvellan of who He was, but how to prove this in a manner which neither the Enchantress or Nohaji could imitate?
Proof was provided through visits of other Elders who came as They learned of the arrival of the Navigator, or someone claiming to be Him. First was Lady Maylea, the Bloom of Serenity, to welcome Him back, though initially She was not fully sure whether it was truly Lord Darvellan. Quite soon after, Lady Drocilla, the Enchantress, interrupted the two Elders as She had learned of Lord Darvellan’s arrival; whatever Her motive may have been for meeting with Darvellan and Maylea, “welcoming” was probably not it. Her visit short, the Enchantress judged from the reaction of a bracelet She wore that this was truly the Navigator returned; a bracelet that the Navigator claimed to have given Her and seemed pleased She was still wearing, despite their unfriendly attitudes towards each Other.
Having made Her determination and offering both charm and mockery in equal measure, Drocilla quickly departed. Maylea stayed for a bit longer to talk to Darvellan, now more convinced it was truly Him, before departing Herself. Soon after Her departure, Lord Nocht, the Silent, came to see His Brother returned, though as was His nature not much was said between the two of Them. Soon, Nocht departed as well.
During this time, many from across the Basin had gathered since the Navigator’s arrival. From the conversations that Darvellan had with His Cousins, and from His talking with the mortals present, the tale of His trip in the Void began to take shape: Decades ago, Darvellan had led Nohaji the Face-Thief away from the First World, and notably at the time away from Ladies Lantra and Terentia. Leading Nohaji on, keeping him baited to keep chaising the Navigator while not getting too close to warrant danger, Darvellan lost a sense of time while so deep within the Void. How long the chase had gone on was not known, but it was interrupted by an unknown anomaly. The Lord Navigator could only describe it as a sense of warmth and loss rushing over him, and a disorientation. When He had come to His senses, Nohaji was nowhere to be seen, but neither was any way back to the First World. Perhaps whatever had caused His disorientation had also disrupted His way back, but who was to say?
To find His way back, the Navigator had constructed several homing beacons, crafting them similarly to how He crafted any of His stars which floated about it. Except this time, once crafted, He drained the beacons of their essence, His essence, so as not to risk them. Tearing His satin shirt asunder, He left messages upon each scrap, somewhat cryptic due to the limited space to write on. Putting a scrap into each beacon, He tossed them in different directions and lingered in the depths of the Void, waiting for one beacon to find its way to the Basin of Life and be activated to guide Him home.
But what caused the anomaly which disoriented Darvellan? What happened to Nohaji, the Face-Thief, who would surely have taken advantage of a disoriented Elder?
And what of the other beacons the Lord Navigator cast forth? Are they perhaps still hurtling through the depths of the Void, eternal in their journey? Or have they been found by one of the many horrific entities which are said to travel the Void?