The Treachery of Thronehold
A mysterious ancient box that seems to sow death and despair round it.
The item itself is an extremely old cedar box. Roughly one foot in each dimension, it appears to have been carved from a single piece of tree-trunk. The sides of the box are covered with runes in Davek, Rellanic, and then Common, each over the last, as if the carver had wanted to update translate the previous warnings, although the effects of time have made even the topmost characters barely readable.
It’s not clear where the box comes from originally. In all likelihood, it was found by some prospectors searching the Demon Wastes. From there it was brought to the Shadow Marches. It was then taken to Droaam and changed hands several times as many faction apparently wanted it. Kenkus of the spying network known as the Nightswift took the item to from the Great Crag in Droaam to Starilaskur, in Breland. In Starilaskur, it was taken by the Shadoweye’s Flock assassin guild, who contacted us and offered to sell the item. Maravakri agreed, and dispatched a team of three couriers to take the box to the ruins of Shadukar where Joel was to pick them up to bring the container here.
What others have to say about it:
“I wanted to have a first-hand look at that mysterious box that intrigued Maravakri so much. It had already cost the life of two couriers and the mental health of a third one; I was sincerely hoping whatever we’d recovered could make up for those tragedies. I didn’t try to open the box for fear that it was magically trapped, but I took notes about everything else I could observe.
First thing I noticed is that it’s old, extremely so. I’d say at least one or two thousand years old, much older than the kingdom of Galifar, possibly older than even the first human nations on Khorvaire.
Secondly, I’m no botanist and I’m more familiar with the flora of Thelanis than that of Eberron, but I’d say this kind of cedar only grows in tropical forests like those of Aerenal or the northern point of Xen’drik. You’d have to ask Syraen. She knows more than I do about plants, plus she does come Aerenal.
Last thing worth mentioning is those runes. The second layer seems elven, but there’s so little still visible that I would have needed weeks to clean it up and make any sense out of them. The topmost layer is the most legible, but I don’t recognize the runes at all. It’s not rellanic or davek, nor is it made of the characters of the common tongue. It’s definitely the most recent text, though it might easily be several centuriesw old."
“I did borrow the box and have studied it attentively, yet I never opened it. It is indeed locked magically, though I wouldn’t have opened it even if it weren’t. This box houses a powerful spirit, a spirit that is extremely old, ancient beyond words. A spirit that could by its mere presence give life back and take it away. It is a thing both worthy of our humblest respect and our direst terror. I once entered a trance while holding the item, and must have stayed this way for two or three days straight, awakening only when Javek broke in my locked study to see what was going on with the object supposed to be in his care. I long for the chance to hold the box again, yet I do not know if I would ever be strong enough to deserve the ordeal.”
“I took the box out for a while, that’s true. Supposedly there’s some sort of ancient magical lock on the thing and Fenmarel wanted to see if I couldn’t make sense of how to to break it open. I don’t think I can recall having ever seen something like that. There is no keyhole, no handle, no hinges, as though the lid was just stuck on top of it. I tried to lift it up but I couldn’t. No really because I wasn’t strong enough, but more like… You know when you know you could break something open by just using enough brute force but you don’t dare because you fear you’ll break it? That. Plus the box was constantly hot. Well, not exactly hot, more like warm. Warmer than any wooden object in the room should have been, anyway. I ended putting it on a shelf on the back of the workshop as I started working on something more urgent (that first set of blueprints you guys brought back if you want to know) but it was just a day or two later when I started getting sick. Sweating, shaking, vomiting a bit, too. Plus I just couldn’t stop thinking about that box sitting on a shelf behind me, almost like an obsession or something. At least, enough that I couldn’t even concentrate on what was in front of me. I ended up taking the box back to Javek and started getting better just the next day. As far as I can tell, it was all just a coincidence, but that makes for pretty lame story.”
“Ah, yes. That strange box. I had a magical vault ready for it long before it got here. Of course, what happened to those poor couriers does account to a big part of the lateness. I know Keldamir spent a great while toying with the box after you brought it back before bringing it to the Kundarak outlet. he made it after closing time actually. Technically, I could have told him to come back the next day but, since he’s a friend, I made an exception. Syraen borrowed it first. Now Fenmarel had told me not to allow anyone to take the box for more than a week, and the elf witch kept it well past that limit. The next day I walked up to her study. Her doors were closed but there’s no lock stronger than us Kundarak folk, if you know what I mean,” he says, showing the dragonmark in the palm of his right hand. "Can you believe the witch had fallen asleep, sitting on the floor as those elves do, clutching the box to her chest? I gave her a good wake-up call and took back the box to its vault.
Pascaline also came to take the box a few weeks later, and this time Fenmarel told me not to worry if it stayed borrowed for more than a week and that he would bring it back himself. In the end, he really didn’t have to. Pascaline brought her back too me herself, although she wasn’t in a pretty shape. I guess she’d fallen sick and had to take a break from studying the box. At least, that’s what I understood.
I guess that’s about it. It was really taken out of the outlet those two times. And you know the odd part? Maravakri, well, not once in the past three months has she made even the slightest sidelong glanced reference to that box. And yet she did visit the outlet regularly to deposit or withdraw hefty sums of money – we’re talking four figures here. I guess either she didn’t know about the box or, more likely, she simply didn’t give a damn about it."