Dragonknights: Into the Birthright Frontier
Soren of Anuurn
Last Oracle of Anuurn
From the journal of Soren Half-Orc, Last Oracle of Anuurn. That’s AnuuRN, not Anuum.
Grandpa’s tales always started out the same way. “Thousands of years ago,” he would say, “the Oracles of Anuurn ruled a vast kingdom.” He would tell of the feats of the great Oracles of old, of their wisdom and justice. He would describe the city of Anuurn, the enormous marble-and-silver Library Vaults gleaming in the sunlight, the knowledge contained inside freely available to all. He told tales of the Halls of Healing, massive columns of jade-streaked quartz carved in the shape of oak trees, the branches meeting overhead to form the roof. He told of the Astronomers, with their eyes turned ever skyward, atop their tower – a tower so tall that on cloudy days, a man standing at the bottom could see no more than half. He told of the Travelers, of the Wavewalkers, of the Wings of Wind, of the Arcanofactories, each tale more fanciful than the last, and yet we all knew in our hearts that every word was true. We were the remnant of the Oracles, a thousand generations removed from the greatness told to us.
Storyteller that he was, there was one thing Grandpa did not speak of – the Chaos. You had to ask him about it yourself, and then – but only after swearing you to secrecy – would he tell you of the fate that befell the Oracles, and why we live in a secluded village instead of a wondrous city.
I asked him when I realized I had the gift. The gift is rare, very rare – sometimes as rare as one in ten generations, Grandpa says – and that is a blessing. The gift comes with a curse, different for every Oracle, which eventually puts the Oracle and those around him in danger. That, Grandpa says, was the problem; it wasn’t always like that, and when the gift began manifesting itself in unpredictable ways – when the Oracles themselves were weakened, corrupted, and driven insane by the very power they relied upon – the decline and fall of the Oracles, and Anuurn itself, followed swiftly.
I haven’t noticed much of the curse, but Grandpa says it gets worse over time. I am fortunate that my gift helps, instead of harming; the parts of forest seared to cinders nearly one hundred years ago by the last Oracle, before she turned her gift on herself, have yet to fully recover. I will hopefully be spared that fate. Still, I will not sit and wait, accepting what will come; my destiny is clear. I will go out into the world we left all those years ago; I will find the heritage of the Oracles, and I will free myself, and those who come after, from the burden of this curse. The Oracles will return to the golden age of our forebears.
My task is simple. The stories are true. The ruins of Anuurn beckon.