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The Graldara:

by Geoff Gander

The Graldara (or galithdoran as it is known in Lhomarrian) is an ancient artifact, possibly the oldest on Mystara, of ancient Lhomarrian manufacture. It resembles a squat grey stone pillar, measuring eight feet in diameter, with a two foot tall glass dome mounted in its centre. Rotating within the dome, and floating roughly one foot above a depression in the centre of the pillar, is a many-pointed golden star. Covering the entire top of the pillar are thousands of tiny runes, scrawled in Old Lhomarrian.

This artifact was created by the legendary Lhomarrian wizard, Jurandis, circa BC 7100. Fragmentary records existing among the Niscosenians relate the story of the Graldara's creation as one of Immortal inspiration. According to the tales, Jurandis received the instructions on how to create it while experiencing a vivid dream, and he immediately set about creating this great work. Although the legends say it was Xeron (otherwise known as Ixion) who commanded the Graldara's construction, some Niscosenian theologians are now beginning to doubt this, feeling that the instructions came from a difference source, not necessarily Xeron, or an Immortal for that matter.

After the Graldara's creation, the Lhomarrian colonies in the Lost Valley region began to prosper, as one side effect became known - that of allowing the much vaunted Wind Galleys to float. In those ancient days, the Lhomarrian colonies in that region had access to the sea, through the great ports of Thallios and Erkalion. In the centuries following the Sinking of Lhomarr, circa BC 7000, the surviving remnants of the Lhomarrian Empire began to drift apart. Some warred upon each other, and others were destroyed during the barbarian invasions that followed those tumultuous years. Those inland colonies occupying what is now the Lost Valley lost their access to the sea as Erkalion became belligerent and Thallios was destroyed by an eruption, but they needed a means to leave their territories, and communicate with each other quickly.

Thus it was that one enterprising Lhomarrian soldier, by the name of Arithia, while examining the Graldara, read one of the runs inscribed upon its surface aloud, and heard cries of shock. Outside, a small sailing vessel, which had long been resting on struts pending its eventual destruction, began to rise off of its supports! It became clear that the vessel floated thanks to the power of the Graldara, though the winds allowed it to move. So it was that the first wind galley was created.

Although the Graldara has several known powers, sages and wizards throughout Niscosenia are certain that more lie undiscovered, waiting for the proper word or gesture to trigger them. Among the known ones, which are constant once invoked, are the levitation of wind galleys, and a protective field surrounding the building in which the Graldara rests. This field defies all attempts at scrying, and the effects of all healing spells cast within its bounds doubles. Known powers which must be awakened by uttering the proper command word are:

1. Create a ball of light in the sky, illuminating everything within 5 miles of the Graldara for 12 hours.
2. Temporarily enchant all weapons, improving them by one "plus", within 1 mile of the Graldara for four hours (if the weapons go beyond this area, the enchantment is lost).

The Graldara has other powers, which have yet to be discovered:

1. Create a visible green aura around all willing servants of the Outer Beings, within four miles of the Graldara, for one hour.
2. Send out a pulse of energy, extending up to one mile away from the Graldara, which functions as power word stun against willing servants of the Outer Beings with four Hit Dice or less.
3. Produce one vial's worth of evilbane essence once per day (evilbane essence is deadly to servants of the Outer Beings, functioning as holy water, but doing 2d6 points of damage).