I’d say it wasn’t supposed to be there, but how would I know what is and isn’t “supposed” to be tucked away inside a chain of hollow nightmare islands steeped in umbral aether and filled with reality-warping Behemoths? The point is, it’s there. It’s powerful. But skies only know what it might actually do. For that I’ll need a bit of help from Old Arkan.
—From the Umbral Deeps Expedition Field Notes of Dr. Priyani
Observations Report ADD.2844/Commentary/On Recent Umbral Disturbances
Watcher Arkan Drew recording. Watchword One-Maas-Insight-Asylum.
Devana, I hope this message finds you in good health and better spirits.
If I have done my job, the attached report will make clear to you and our fellow Watchers the significance of the most recent umbral surge detected near the central aetheric singularity field of Persistent Cyclonic Vortex 22, colloquially known as the Maelstrom. I believe we are witnessing what can only be the emergence of another aetheric micro-singularity. This singularity is likely contained within a small but hypercharged chain of orbital bodies — what the local Slayers call “escalation islands.”
I believe we are witnessing what can only be the emergence of another aetheric micro-singularity.
As you know, of all aetheric frequencies, umbral possesses unique properties. These properties present significant risk of another catastrophic event on a scale far greater than Aetheric Disturbance 89 (the so-called “Skyquake”) we experienced not so long ago. We might even see something on the scale of a second Upheaval should too many umbral rifts form in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I am speaking with Dr. Priyani of the Behemoth Studies school to arrange an expedition to this new island chain. That is the level of confidence I have in my prediction. I trust the necessary resources will be made available as soon as possible.
Observations Report ADD.2878/Commentary/On Class-F Major Aetheric Artifact UD-SP-003
Watcher Arkan Drew recording. Watchword One-Maas-Echo-Inspector.
Devana, my apologies. This report is long overdue, but when I elaborate on the discoveries detailed in the attached report you will see the delay is entirely justified. As I still await your response to my previous report, I shall simply bring you up to date.
Dr. Priyani’s expedition has prompted new questions about the Umbral Deeps — the rather dramatic name used by the first airship crews to land on the umbral chain. Those crews, unlike the good doctor’s team, merely stayed long enough to see these isles are home to some twisted Behemoth evolutions suffused with umbral aether — and that the islands themselves were riddled with tunnels and caverns that don’t seem like entirely natural permutations. These hollows themselves are filled with the well-preserved ruins of an ancient culture who thought themselves masters of the umbral frequency. The absence of any living examples of these “Void Runners” would seem to indicate that thinking to be premature at best.
Which brings me in particular to the aetheric artifact described on pages 11 through 14 of the report. I realize that a Class-F designation for any relic must be examined by a team of Orrery specialists. I hope you understand, however, that I cannot wait for further analysis before I take action. My city is under threat of destruction and this relic — if it is what I believe it to be — may offer the solution to a dilemma that grows more urgent by the day. And while the Void Runners may not have ultimately proven to be the masters of umbral aether they thought they were, all of the doctor’s initial data makes me think they may have gotten very close. The power contained within it, Devana … I think this relic itself may be the micro-singularity I expected.
Devana, I welcome any assistance the Orrery wishes to provide, but I will not be dissuaded from my course of action. I accept any consequences that may result and have balanced them against the consequences of doing nothing. It’s the only choice I can live with.
Observations Report ADD.2903/Commentary/On a Theory of Aetheric Equilibrium
Watcher Arkan Drew recording. Watchword One-Maas-Factor-Precedent.
Devana, under the circumstances I trust you’d agree I should skip the pleasantries and get right to the point.
I sincerely hope the Orrery’s lack of response to my previous two reports indicates tacit approval of my plans. At this point, if you’ll excuse me for saying so, it hardly matters. We — me, my friends and colleagues, my city, have a plan. We intend to carry out to the best of our ability. I haven’t included a summary of that plan or any of the details for reasons I hope are obvious. You will know by the time you receive this report whether we succeeded. Therefore, I would like to offer a few additional thoughts on the subject of aetheric equilibrium.
In the earliest days of the Orrery, mere years after its formation, a coterie of scholars made certain future generations would always possess a basic understanding of the aetheric spectrum by —
Operations Report DND.3249/Summary/Remote Comms Break: Ramsgate
Watcher Devana Drew recording. Watchword Two-Maas-Vision-Century.
It is here the transmission was interrupted, colleagues. By what we are not certain, and we cannot simply assume the worst. Attempts to restore contact have not yet been successful but will continue until lantern communication is restored or we have confirmation of Watcher Maas-One’s demise. I intend to remain focused on this singular task as my research permits.
Additional reports will be provided as warranted and required.