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Opal of Alkanda

Flaxen Catacomb, Vizier to the Tri-Kahn of Chiaroscuro writes:

There are almost more "definitive" versions of the Opal of Alkanda's powers, description and whereabouts than there are scholars who write them. It has been accused of being just about everything: a powerful hearthstone, the heart of a dead god, the imagination of lunatic, the concentrated essence of a vanished region, the grace of a powerful Fair Folk, the list goes on. Some have even claimed it is actually the Eye of Autochthon. Nearly all of these scholarly attempts to depict the Opal share only one commonality: they were all written after both the disappearance of Malachite and the publication of the now discredited Whence the Green, which mentioned the Opal as the cause of the region's mysterious fate.

There are, however, two references that predate this event that may lend credence to both its existence and its use at Malachite. The oldest comes from a very flat fragment of orichalcum, a small section of what appears to have once been a page in a book. I acquired the fragment from Grandmother Bright, who claims to have been given it by a traveller who received it as a gift from a water spirit, who claimed she found it in the sands "just above an evil trench in the southwest sea". (Though impossible to verify, if true, this may be a fragment of the mysterious book with orichalcum pages that is mentioned in several places in the Record of the Consuming Sea.) While the provenance of this item is somewhat suspect, its contents are not. Writing appears on the page fragment, most definitely created by the "illuminon B" process, which has not been reproducible since the source of the main reagent that made it possible, the illuminon toucan, went extinct in the high First Age.

The Old Realm engravings on the page mention the death of a nameless Primordial during the Great War, at a place called "A'kunda". Another Primordial is also present, although to much of the fragment is missing to really make sense of which one or why. The fragment does, however, mention the Primordial shed a lone tear over the fallen one before vanishing. The tear, however, remained, hitting the ground as "a fist-sized opal of most unusual pattern, with colors that seem to entrance and shift".

While not given a name, a similar sounding opal is mentioned much later in a letter between two post-Usurpation scholars. In RY 526, Yushoto Baradis, a scholar in Lookshy, wrote a very long missive to Sesus Alon Marova, an Imperial doing research in Chiaroscuro at the time. This letter makes the argument (and claimed the evidence to support) that much of the Fugazi Jyhad could be explained as a secret war over possession of "a large opal with almost hypnotic coloring", presumably an artifact of some power. Yushoto claimed that Glorious Sun Blade initially uncovered this opal, but it was stolen from him by the lunar Six Claws Striding, leading to the outbreak of hostilities. Further, he claims that the fire elementals that joined Glorious Sun Blade did so out of fear of what the lunar would do with the opal. Much of the letter goes on to discuss minutia of the war itself, but it ends with an interesting bit of speculation. Having poured over the legends, Yushoto suggests much of them read as if building to a great battle at a specific location or as the aftermath of such a battle; however, where the details and location of the battle should logically be, instead the legends suddenly degenerate into a babble of confused details. He writes that one can understand the war only if you assume the existence of a large battle that no one can actually remember. "It is", he says, "as if some force has simply erased the location from the face of Creation and the memories of those within it, leaving only a jumbled mess of half-memory in its wake."

See also:

- Wordman