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Salamander, Travia 1029 BF
Archmage Delves Deep Into Arcane History
Lizard expert Rakorium Muntagonus active again
BRABAK/PUNIN. "Rakorium is on the road!" Thus cried many a young adventurer in years gone by when the daring but aged Rakorium Muntagonus, former dean of Quicksilver Hall and guardian of the legendary Codex Sauris, set out on one of his famous expeditions. Perilous adventures and arcane secrets awaited those chosen to join Rakorium on his journeys. But let us not get ahead of ourselves. In the past 50 years Rakorium Muntagonus has been one of the few who have risen to the office of Archmage. He was first aroused attention in academic circles with an expedition to the Sea of Pearls, undertaken in 985 BF together with the King of Swords Raidri Conchobair and the seafarer Ruban ibn Dhachmani. Together the trio hoped to discover the legendary aquatic empire of Wahjad. But to this day all three have remained silent about their true findings. Critics have noted that this was not the first time that Rakorium had run off in search of a "mere flight of fancy". In 992 BF he led several other expeditions - all of which were either rubbished or politely ignored by his peers. In 996 BF he set out with a handful of diehards to rescue the famous Seven Magical Goblets from the clutches of a group of cultists in the Lizard city of H'Rabaal. In the years that followed he conducted a number of expeditions, one of which led him into the jungles of Maraskan in 1014 BF. By this time Rakorium was known simply as "The Lizard Man" and was well-known for his belief in the existence of a sinister web of Lizard-Dragon conspiracies. His travels and expeditions to far away places took their toll on his work as dean of the academy, but in spite of his reputation as a 'difficult character', Rakorium's knowledge of Arcane Lore played key roles in the reconstruction of an ancient Tulamidian magical barrier called Bastrabun's Curse in 1019 and the re-forging in 1021BF of the legendary sword Sevenstroke. The Lizard incursions in the spring of 1024 BF and autumn 1025 BF seemed to confirm Rakorium's theory of a secret alliance among the scaled creatures. But this once brilliant scholar of Arcane Lore was changed forever when he was kidnapped by Dragon Cultists in 1025 BF. Rakorium became a recluse following his desperate escape. When he ventured into public (such as his meeting with the Salamander in 1026 BF) then it was only to warn of the imminent threat posed to Aventuria by the Lizardfolk and Dragons. Whether or not the aged Archmage undertook yet another expedition to the south to explore the ruins of the city of Ractulswall in 1027 BF is matter of some controversy in arcane circles. According to sources within the Punin Academy of Magic, the renowned scholar of Lizard Studies reached the Alamadian capital several months ago after spending a period of time in the Academy for Artifacts in Khunchom. While Rakorium's intentions in the capital are unknown, rumor has it that in spite of his poor physical condition and the setbacks of the last years, the aging scholar hopes to set out on a new 'expedition'. While the expedition's destination remains unknown, a confidential meeting with the Salamander revealed that Rakorium believes that the 'Lizard conspiracy' is about to reach its climax. The Archmage has, of course, been making these claims for decades and he is yet to offer any credible proof. Rakorium has spent most of the last months studying ancient tomes and scrolls in the library at the Punin Academy of Magic. One of our sources was fortunate enough to speak with one of the three young novices that have accompanied the Archmage on his most recent travels. After enjoying a sumptuous feast and plenty of wine - at the expense of the Salamander's Punin office - the young novice was happy to report on his master's current interests. We have attempted to recount his report in as orderly a fashion as possible: Rakorium is seeking to prove the existence of a "treacherous cult that seeks to extend its power throughout Aventuria and which prays not to the Gods but to scaly primal creatures." Like the ominous "Society of Flames" and the Pyrdacor Cultists of Raschtulswall, this secret society has existed for centuries and possesses "ancient arcane knowledge of Lizards, Worms and Dragons". The Arch-mage has been seeking a way to 'fight the scaly peril' for years. In a desperate attempt to make use of the unique insight possessed by dragons, he has even sought to "question the spirits of dead Dragons at rest in their rubies". Needless to say the very discovery of a Dragon Ruby is a rare enough event and most of the dragon stones retrieved thus far were wrested from the skull of a slain dragon by one of the great Dragonslayers such as Geron the One-handed, Festo of Aldyra, Dschadir the Bold or Fendral the Fleet. But even Rakorium's novices know little of his ultimate goal and the great master speaks of his true intentions only in vague comments and mutterings. The Salamander, however, corresponds regularly with Hilbert of Puspereiken, a former assistant and student of the dean of Festum and a renowned scholar of Lizard Studies in his own right. According to Puspereiken, Rakorium's true intentions could create quite a sensation in the arcane-scientific world. As many of our readers will know, the more intelligent dragons reach a considerable age - and it would seem that the Archmage's interest is directed primarily towards these creatures. Dragons such as these see the centuries come and go; they witness the rise and fall of kingdoms, the discovery of now long lost inventions and many such arcane mysteries. The knowledge that we might tap into, if we were ever able to communicate with a living dragon soul is simply unimaginable. And that is exactly what Rakorium is seeking to do: It is commonly believed that upon its death a dragon's soul does not pass on to the realm of Boron, but rests forever in its Ruby Stone - silent, awe-inspiring and hauntingly beautiful. Dwarven folk smash a Dragon Ruby to pieces if they come across one, hoping thus to banish forever its soul from the Third Sphere. But time and again, rumors arise of the existence of powerful Dragon Rubies, hidden from sight and guarded from all too curious adventurers by their owners. One of the best known examples is the ancient ruby believed to exist below the Dragon's Egg Academy in Khunchom - Rakorium's last known place of residence before he arrived in Punin. No doubt an Archmage of Rakorium's caliber possesses the ways and means to bring such a stone under his control. It would appear that the Archmage has concluded his recent studies and is now headed for the Principality of Kosh. No doubt the halls of the academy will soon ring again with cries of: "Rakorium is on the road!"
Aventurian Herald, Number 120