Urschlar Vohkavi's Journal
Black Dragon skin journal
The city of Saventh-Yhi had been in a slow but steady decline for years prior to the Earthfall. Many of its seers and mystics feared some great calamity was coming, and the fact that certain prognosticators within Azlant would not respond to their queries led them to believe that something was brewing about which they were not being told. Urschlar took it upon himself to save the city, anyway he could.
For many years Urschlar Vohkavi, Pharasma’s high priest of prophecy in Saventh-Yhi, had served as a powerful member of the city’s Council of Seven Spears. In the years leading up to Earthfall, he became more and more troubled by strange portents of some vague destruction and catastrophe looming in the near future. His attempts to divine the nature of this gruesome fate were stymied again and again by the menacing silence coming from his superiors in Azlant and the lack of direct answers from his deity.
He found himself consumed by a dread knowledge that he could not fully fathom and was unable to effectively communicate to those around him. After several years of beseeching his goddess for answers that were not forthcoming, he resolved to present his questions to her court personally. He gathered the necessary funds and magic to journey to the Boneyard itself to seek his answers.
In Pharasma’s Boneyard, Urschlar was unable to secure an audience with the Lady of Graves, for she was far too busy tending to her divine duties. Instead he found himself wandering aimlessly among the endless sepulchers of the Graveyard of Souls. There, among the bleached light and shadows of the death moon Groetus, Urschlar found a strange black flower growing within the partially unearthed bones of an ancient rib cage. When he plucked the flower, Urschlar heard a slippery, whispering voice that explained much of what he sought to know and gave him the means to make his people see it as well—the secret of midnight spores.
Shortly after Urschlar returned to Saventh-Yhi from his planar travels, Pharasma’s other two high priests of birth and death died under tragic circumstances, leaving the city stunned and bewildered, and granting Urschlar much greater influence than before. Using the strange circumstances as a staging position, he began publicly preaching of the still ill-defined disaster that threatened to overtake the city. To bolster the effects of his harangue, he began to secretly and slowly introduce the midnight spores he had begun cultivating into the city’s reservoir.
Within a few weeks, their maddening effects had increased the sense of foreboding already encompassing the city. Fears were heightened, but only those few who were particularly susceptible to the spores suffered actual mental breaks, exhibiting random acts of violence or sudden collapses. Because no one understood the cause of these subtle-yet-pervasive phenomena, no investigation was made into them.
At this point Urschlar starts writing that he might have come under the effects or the Midnight Spores and that his Heal spells seem to be able to cure the feelings of Paranoia that he was starting to feel.
With more and more of the masses heeding his prophecies of doom, Urschlar continued to seed the city’s water supply with the midnight spores while feeding the people’s minds with a growing sense of panic. Once the number of people attending his sermons reached a critical mass, Urschlar declared a major disaster was coming that would destroy the city if they were not prepared. He would not say what the calamity would be, but he assured the people and the city leaders that they must prepare or else be annihilated when disaster came.
Urschalar’s notes about curing his Paranoia seems to stop around this time. He doesn’t make any more comments about the effects of the Midnight Spores.
The city heeded Urschlar’s warnings and gave him free reign in the preparations for the city’s survival. First he ordered the excavation of deep vaults beneath the city’s seven districts, where the populace and their most valued possessions could be safely sequestered when disaster came. Then, into one of these he moved one of the city’s most powerful artifacts, the Argental Font—a magical fountain bestowed upon the city by the gods, whose waters were said to cure any ailment and were one of the few means of curing the infection of the midnight spores.
Construction continued on the seven vaults, and Urschlar installed many hidden rooms and traps, deflecting any questions as to their purpose with ambiguous prophetic pronouncements. Urschlar began secretly cultivating major growths of the midnight spores in these rooms, creating a vast storehouse of the mold with which he could continue the city’s paranoid reliance upon him, fearing that if the spores’ influence were broken, he would no longer be heeded and the city would be caught unprepared by the impending doom.