The Book of Knowledge, the Great Book ("Garnesh-Rhun"), or Dead Lord's Book, definitely is among the most intriguing artifacts known to Santharian scholars. Whether it really ever existed is heavily debated of course like at most very powerful artifacts, but this Book especially always seems to have been the reason for many curious people to start adventuring in the most dangerous places possible in order to retrieve it from forsaken ruins or the claws of a monster. - What is so special about this Book is that the Book of Knowledge obviously was created with and still is maintained by extremely powerful magic. It is said to be capable of telling the reader practically anything - everything the reader knows, but has forgotten, what he/she will once know or might want to know. However, as with most artifacts of such great power, there is a price.

The Book of Knowledge

View picture in full size Picture description. The Garnesh-Rhun, the legendary Book of Knowledge provides knowledge - but for a price... Image drawn by Seeker.

Description. The Book of Knowledge is said to be quite large in appearance, though details are impossible to determine. Khal-Vhan, illustruous contemporary member of the Metamagic department of the Magical Academy of Ximax, who is collecting all useful hints regarding the most weird artifacts one can think of, suggests that the Books may actually be between 0.5 and 1 ped tall, by 0.35 to 0.5 peds wide. The hinged binding is reported in various descriptions as being made of beaten gold. All depictions of the Book show an image of a horned demon skull with ivory eyes at the Book's cover. It thus is very unlikely that the Book was made for good purposes... Return to the top

Usage. The Book is a scholar's dream. When it is first gazed upon, it might seem like some arcane grimoire, or perhaps even a troll's diary, but tales tell that when it is opened, each and every page is completely blank. This is said to have caused the Book to be shunned by many who are unaware of its powers. When a question is posed to the tome the pages are filled. The answers held within the Book are said to always be correct, though they are still enigmatic enough, and they can reveal things of the past, present, and even things of the future. But each enigmatic question can lead to other questions, and soon it becomes difficult, even impossible to leave the Book. It is also written that those who do manage to pull themselves away (or are pulled away by others) dream obsessively of the Book, and the weaker willed may even kill themselves if they are unable to get back to the Book in order to receive more answered. It is also rumoured that the Book can absorb the reader... literally. However, the sources on such occurrences are rather rare.
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Myth/Lore. The history behind the Dead Lord's Book is ancient and fragmented, as it seems to be more a myth than reality. Legends say the Book was created by Alteth the Tyrant, the first Eilenachian emperor (known as Alteth the Honorable to the Eilenachians), an infamous sorcerer of Northern Sarvonia. It is supposed that Alteth created the Book of Knowledge along with the notorious Twin Swords (the Gift of the Dragon and the Forsaken Blade) when he still was in his youth, so that he would never forget any components of his magnificent intellect should he grow older and lose his abilities.

But legends of this Book are not limited to its creation. Tharion Thulmock, former Archmage of Fire at Ximax, was a regular consulter of the Book during the time it was in his possession, or at least so it is told. When he went mad, leaving the city and abducing the leading apprentice of the Archmage of Xeuá Magic, it was the Book, not Thulmock himself that was largely blamed. (Note: Thulmock by the way has not been found to this day.)

The well-travelled Masterbard Judith of Bardavos tells the following details concerning the Book:

"This Book has indeed been known to absorb would-be masters and sages - literally. It is rumoured that in the artifact's earliest days more than one mage who closeted himself with the Book never came out of his tower. After the Book was moved to the Tower of Tomes in Ximax and guarded more closely, it was actually observed in the process of siphoning out an unwary fifth-ranker's consciousness. The mage in question had spent days mesmerized by the Book of Knowledge, moving only his hand to write down some of the answers to his questions, and swallowing reflexively as assistant wizards poured liquids down his throat to keep him hydrated.

Late in the evening of the sixth day, the mage ceased all movement but eye flickers, and it was suggested that he be roused. It was found to be impossible. Not only could he not be woken, he could not be moved, nor could the attendant wizards close or shield the Book to break eye contact. Just past the middle of the night, as mages kept vigil, his form was seen to shake violently, shimmer, and dissolve into a shower of silvery dust which was pulled downwards into the centre of the Book, to vanish into the surface of the pages. It seems that the Book somehow feast on others' cár'áll to maintain its own power.

It was claimed by the mages who were on vigil that the Book was thicker by a nailsbreath or so than it had been, but as no one had thought to take its dimensions prior to this horrific incident, this claim could not be verified.

At some point it was decided among the Ximaxians, that all questioners are strongly admonished of the dangers, required to swear that they will ask only one question of the Book, and contact is broken off through magical shielding after one candlehour of immersion. Despite these safety precautions, there have been further deaths attributed to the Book of Knowledge. Nonetheless, there will always be seekers who believe the Book to hold their only answers...

Well, nobody knows if the Book still can be found within the confines of the Ximaxian Academy, though. But wherever it is now, its powers have to be feared."

-- Excerpts from a conversation with Judy of Bardavos, 1652 b.S.

The Book's current whereabouts are widely debated. Some say it is still in Alteth's castle in the wasteland known as Modocia. Others claim that it is hidden in a vault in Linhir, and still others in the private library of the Santharian King. Ximaxian students also won't cease to spread rumours that it the Book is hidden deep below the Ximaxian Academy and that it has taken many lives of students who managed to find it... - but well, who knows? Return to the top

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