|Spawn of the Churning Depths|
Lore[edit | edit source]
At twenty-two, Darvus was the youngest historian to be granted a letter of marque from the Academy of the Arcane in the City of Grimoires. To be selected by such a place as their lore seeker was a feather in Darvus' cap.
Today, Darvus would have given it all for a literal cap to put a feather in. His pale hair was no match for the harsh sun of the desert and the terrible heat it brought with it. The historian was on all fours in the sand of a dusty oasis, swaddled in silk, Sunspar fashion. He was carefully brushing the sand way from a dark green block of stone, once buried beneath the dune grass at the edge of the oasis.
He wiped the sweat from his brow and considered the stone before him. It was unlike stones from the region. Almost translucent, flecks of gold could be seen just beneath its surface, and a series of angular glyphs had been carved into the rock.
It was the glyphs that interested Darvus. His eyes narrowed as he concentrated on the symbols. They were Vadrean; he was sure of it. The lettering was strangely out of shape, lacking the sweeping curves of the modern form, but the basic ideograms were similar. That Vadre was a kingdom across the eastern sea, on the jungle continent of Egirah, was the most startling element of the discovery.
"Well lad?" Fharl's voice was grave. The tall archmage towered over Darvus, his look expectant.
"Early Vadrean, perhaps? This is clearly the symbol of water" he pointed to a series of alternating slash marks in the inscription, arranged in peaks and valleys, like the waves of an ocean.
"My people tell a story of the deep past. The story of the Seastarks, have you heard it?" he regarded Darvus as the young historian sat back on his legs, resting in the heat.
"The Seastarks?" Darvus asked, "No. I thought I knew all the legends of the desert. What makes you think of it?" He blinked in the sun, waiting for Fharl's answer.
The old man wore robes of white, embroidered in red and black silk that ran in a border along its edge. It was a unique design in the Academy, even Darvus knew that from his short time there. For the first time, Darvus realized the intricate interlocking lines weren't part of a geometric pattern at all, but a deep, dense script. In a way, he thought idly, it was sort of like this ancient Vadrean; all lines and angles.
"This was not always sand. Once, it was Alu'ehr, a paradise on a river." Fharl walked over to Darvus, his bones creaking as he sat beside the young lore seeker.
"There came a time when the world was plunged into darkness. Today we would say it was a time when Astaroth ruled, but there were no Titans in our legends then.
"Instead, the people had their queen, Sunspar. She earned that name in our legends. Two stars circled our world then, each hunting the other across the horizon and casting the world into perpetual twilight between them. When the darkness came, one of those stars became the moon while the other, our sun, was hidden away. The queen's first act of great magic was to find a way to bring the sun back, to channel its power and bring light to her kingdom's verdant river valley.
"But the light brought ills of its own. At first it drove the darkness away, but it was brighter than the twilight and it burned the land. There were fires in the fields. The river ran low. There was little water. So the Sunspar Queen, she performed another great work of magic. She opened a door."
The old man pointed to a glyph on the stone, eight intersecting lines forming an octagon at their center. As he did, the sun seemed to make the gold in their depths shimmer.
"It was a door to the Churning Depths, a world of water. As she held the portal open, those waters poured into our world and the river ran again. Crops thrived and the people rejoiced. A great temple was erected around this doorway. Once a year, at the dry time, the queen would open the great portal and bring forth the waters for her people, but the queen was not a Titan, and did not fully comprehend the shaping of the many worlds."
The old man smiled and poked at Darvus in a friendly way, "This is what I like about the tales of my people. Your people, they tell tales gods who know all, but my people? We speak of humanity, of the mistakes we make as we learn!
"This tale is no different. The Sunspar Queen made a mistake. It was a simple one, really. Her magic was new, her knowledge of the worlds beyond this one even newer. How could she know what sort of creatures dwelled in the Churning Depths?"
The old man looking grimly at the younger historian, "How could she know that the very waters of the Churnings Depths were alive?
"But some of those waters were alive, my friend. And over the years the living water, the Seastarks, had traveled the Churning Depths to the doorway and they had waited, growing in number, for the doorway to open again.
"I suppose we would call them water dragons now, but the Seastarks are literally water, Darvus. So, when the Queen opened the door again, they came pouring through. At first, no one realized anything was wrong; a wave of water rushed through the portal as always. But when that terrible wave of water took to the sky, they knew something had happened. Even still, no one was prepared for what was to come.
"These were not the noble wyrms of you northerners: They came to destroy and to revel in the terror they inflicted before finally descending on their prey to gorge. They were a flood, a rising tide that crested in a terrible wave as it scoured its way down the valley. In their depths, the corpses of those already eaten slowly dissolved away.
"Soon everything downriver was deluged. The Sunspar queen had closed the door, but those that had already come through were not yet done with her nation state. This was no mere flood of water, but a black wave of dragons that stalked the land and, having destroyed all that had lain before them, they turned back to raze the city itself. But, the legend goes, the Sunspar queen was ready."
Fharl pointed to another set of marks in the rock.
"This seems to echo the legend. She stood at the portal, clad in armor of stone, ready for the Seastarks' return. She carried no weapon save her magic and no protection but that armor, yet she stood resolute before them. With a word, she bound them in place, but that is when the battle began in earnest. A test of wills. One by one she entered their minds and with the right spells and words, bound each to her cause, all but one."
Fharl shook his head dismissively, "The Sunspar queen was the god of my people in a very real way, Darvus. She brought peace, but always on her terms. Stories such as these are meant to teach us that strong will seldom comes paired with wisdom. Strength of will can cast a long shadow over truth, smothering its light."
He stood up and brushed the sand from his robes. As he did, Darvus got a close look at the embroidery of Fharl's robes. The script of those robes did resemble the writings on the stone marker. He opened his mouth to speak, but Fharl simply spoke over him, continuing his lecture.
"This dragon escaping is an example of this. In her confidence, she had assumed her magic would hold and had not counted the minds she had bent to her will. She simply dominated the thoughts of each one in turn, sending them through the portal to return to the Churning Depths. Her confidence made her blind to its escape and only her armor saved her from the battle to come.
"With the portal sealed, the great queen returned to her people and set to repairing the damage she had accidently wrought. The armor kept her strong, and so the work of clearing the shattered homes and broken walls was easier for her than it was even for her strongest warriors, but as the day wore on, even she felt the burn of fatigue in her bones."
Fharl looked up to the skies once again, "It attacked her as she came to the water's edge. It had been waiting there, just on the surface and completely unseen, waiting for the woman to let her guard down and as she bent to gather water to drink, the moment came.
"The beast shot forward, forming great spheres of water to smash against her, driving her into the mud. The beast shot to the sky and became fluid water again, smashing down on the woman and instantly flooding the broad shores of the river.
"All around the Sunspar queen was water and mud, but her armor - the armor of magical stone - provided air to breathe and prevented the mud from crushing her. It infuriated the Seastark. The beast roared as it thrashed against her, coiling around her to crush the life from her, but that armor was unyielding. The beast took to the skies once more, this time with the Sunspar queen between its jaws and with one final scream, the beast swallowed her whole as it flew into the clouds. They say that it rained then; rained for days.
"Already damaged, the city was nearly ruined by the rains. There was no sun for the span of the tall grass harvest, only rain and thunder. Their queen's magic was no longer there to protect them, but she had taught her people well and they came together to save the city."
Darvus asked, "What happened then?"
"That was death of the nation of Sunspar. Oh, the city lasted awhile more, but when the rains finally ceased that was it; the rains never returned and neither did their queen. They built a great memorial tomb to her, but they abandoned the city when the work was done and became the nomads that were my ancestors."
"And the, what did you call it, Seastark? What of it?" Darvus asked.
Fharl nodded, "The Seastark was never seen again, but many in the city swore they would hunt it down and when they did, they would destroy it."
Darvus looked again at the old man's robes and this time, Fharl saw his gaze and answered the unasked question.
"They are a vow, Darvus. One that has yet to be fulfilled."
Darvus nodded, he had worked it out. "You're still looking for it. You convinced the headmistress to grant me marque. You wanted to bring me here."
It taken him months of research to find this site; there was no way Fharl had known this was where he had wanted to go, so how?
"Not exactly, but you have the spirit of it right, my friend. Before you stands a Sunspar stone. Shaped by the queen's magic. It is a powerful artifact, lost to us for many centuries. I started to hear word of your theories and I knew you would come to aid my cause."
"So then Sunspar really was the first place the Titans touched in our world?"
Fharl shook his head, "Oh no, your theories are totally wrong, I'm afraid. You saw it yourself: The script is Vadrean and we know that language comes from Egirah, not here. But your theories brought you to the fringes of Sunspar where powerful artifacts such as this are found."
He bowed his head in apology, "I did plant leads after the fact, I'm afraid. You had to look in the right places, after all. But now, thanks to you, the Vow can live on."
With a strong pressure that was as much will as it was the force of the old man's hands, Fharl pushed Darvus backwards, until he found himself standing awkwardly atop the stone marker.
"Darvus, the spawn of the Churning Depths were never meant for this world, but I am too old to see the last of them expunged. Will you take up the Vow? Will you seek the Seastark and purge it from the Lands Below?"
It was a ridiculous request and to Darvus, it seemed too sudden; foolish. He was no dragon hunter!
"I'm a historian, not some star-touched adventure!"
He moved to step off the stone, but Fharl held him there. For such a thin old man he was impossibly strong; Darvus could do nothing to escape his hold.
"Ah," the old man nodded apologetically, "In that case, I am truly sorry. Alef szaradim tfal'ahr."
As Fharl spoke, the stone beneath Darvus' feet lit up in a pale golden light. Each letter of the inscription flickering in golden flame. They gave off no heat, but the flames seemed to soften the stone and soon Darvus felt himself sink slowly into the marker as it became like tar.
"What have you done?!"
Darvus look at the old man in terror as he tried to lift his feet away, but the tar held him fast. It flowed over the top of his feet up his calves, slowly encasing him in the dark green ooze.
"I cannot allow the work to go undone my friend, and my time comes to an end." The old man pulled back the sleeve of his robe to reveal not the wrinkled and wizened frame of an old man, but an arm of cracked stone. It was a deep dark green, seemingly shot through with flecks of gold.
"Soon, my armor will release me and the years will catch up to me. I had to find a successor before it was too late."
As the armor encased his mouth, Darvus could only stare cold anger at the old man. If a look could call into being some dark god of murder, the look Darvus gave Fharl would have done so.
Fharl bowed in shame, "When the armor has bonded to you completely, you will feel the Seastark, as you feel the sun on your face. Find it and destroy it, Darvus. Only then will the armor release you, free of its cost."
Already bits of rock were falling from the old man's arm and he sat heavily in the sand, barely able to shoulder the weight of the stone upon him as it fell apart. Darvus' last sight as the armor encased him was of Fharl, the wizened old man he had assumed him to be, dying in a pile of dark green rocks.
Darvus could feel the liquid stone begin to harden. He seethed in rage as he waited for the transformation to complete itself, freeing him to act. As he felt a warmth upon his right temple, his anger turned cold. He'd started to formulate his revenge.
Oh I'll find your Seastark, you bastard. And when I do, I'll find which ever hell you ended up in and ride that monster through its gates to find you.
Tips[edit | edit source]
Know your time - In the early game, the Seastark is relatively weak fighter since Rushing Waters is not yet unlocked. Instead of trying to scrap toe to toe, focus on supporting your team mates with the healing power of Churning Seas.
Herd your bubbles - Churning Seas can be a very frustrating ability for players used to straight line or self-guiding attacks. Aiming the bubbles produced by the ability can be hard, but a smart player will learn how to "herd" them on their path. Backing up while you cast them so they can spread slightly, only to dash forward, imparting momentum to each bubble so it streaks forward. is one effective way of ding this.
Pair with... - The Seastark is an interesting beast since it sits squarely on the edge of the line between offense and support. When fully powered up, its Rushing Waters ability can do grievous damage, suggesting that it be paired with something to give you the mana to cast it with impunity. However, in the early game such a strategy might not be as useful, suggesting that you instead pair the dragon with a support based weapon such as Eir's Glory. A combination weapon that is both supportive and offensive might be a perfect echo of Seastark's own dual-purpose nature, but it won't compensate for the dragon's weaknesses, either. Decide which side of the line between support and offense that you prefer to stand on and choose your weapon from there.
Choose wisely when trying to take on a dragon. One dragon you should never take on is a Deepfiend, since Deepfiend's Geyser can be put far from your reach when you are using Rushing Waters, and can deal some very high damage to you. When having problems like this, use weapons like Doom Shards or Hammer of Sul.
Arcfury • Autodrake • Bilebite • Bladeforge • Blood Thief • Bogwraith • Briartove • Deepfiend • Direbone • Dragokin • Dreadnaught • Frostbane • Gemtalon • Goldenclaw • Gravelurker • Heartstone • Hellfire • Icemaul • Imperial • Lunaveil • Magmascale • Mistfallow • Netherdrake • Nightmare • Novastar • Noxwing • Quetzalcoatl • Rimrock • Ryujin • Seastark • Solreign • Spineback • Spinereaver • Stonepeak • Tanglewing • The dark One • Twinscale • Venomtail • Wardhammer • Wyrm-Mk1