“So, you want to know the origins of the body of water we call Rothlora Bay, do you?” asked Carron, the local lore expert of the western area of Easton Prairie.
“Yeah. I was just curious how it got that name.” inquired Warlen, a close friend of Carron.
“I have no idea, Warlen.” Carron says matter-of-factly.
“What do you mean you have no idea? I thought you were the resident lore specialists here in western Easton Prairie?”
“I am, but I don’t have the faintest clue how that bay got the name Rothlora. Perhaps if you’re so curious about it, Carron, you should pack up some gear, head east to the Monolith and find out! If they don’t have the answer, no one will.” Carron states firmly.
Warlen pauses a moment, and looks as if he’s about to say something in return, but notices Carron’s look and decides against saying what he was going to say.
“You think it could be named for a person?” Warlen says, still trying to keep the conversation going.
“It could be. It could also be named after a creature. Rothlora. That sounds like something someone would name a creature to me. Or, it could be named after a famous sailor of the past that was the first to navigate across the bay to Shadowmoor.” Carron pauses as if he’s trying to think of more possible explanations, and no more are coming.
“All of those sound plausible to me. I think I will gather up supplies and make a trip to the Monolith. This is going to bother me until I find out the answer. Wanna come along?” Warlen inquires.
“No, not really. It’s not really bothering as much as it seems to be bothering you.” Carron quips. “You have a good time over there. If you let me know the answer when you return, I’ll cook you up a batch of those dragonling kababobs you love so much. Deal?” Carron teases.
“Deal! Hey, when did you get more dragonlings?” Warlen wonders.
“Yesterday. A warrior type came into town with three hatchling dragonling corpses in tow, and I was the first one he offered them to. Of course, I bought them all so he could repair his gear and weapons. A good trade I think.” Carron grins widely.
“I’ll say. I’m going to go pack now. See ya soon, Carron.” Warlen speaks. “I should be back in a couple days if all goes well.”
“Then, I best get busying preparing those ‘lings so they’re finished by the time you get back. Safe journey, my friend.” Carron says.
The trip was uneventful for Warlen to the Monolith. Once he got within sight of the gigantic structure, he felt safer, and naturally so.
Just up ahead, as Warlen approached the Monolith, he noticed three men along the trail. As he approached, he spotted something laying on the ground near the men. The three men looked like warrior types to him, but he’s never really been very good at appraising people. As he got closer, it became quite obvious what the “something” on the ground was: a corpse. Warlen thought about not saying anything, which was probably the wise and prudent thing to do, but curiosity got the better of him.
“Hello. Can I help?”
The three men turned to see Warlen, and immediately brandished weapons.
“Whoa, whoa! Hold on! I’m just a traveler to the Monolith. I’m barely even armed.” Warlen flashes a dagger at his waist to the men. “Besides, you really don’t want to do that.”
“Mind your own business then, and move along.” One of the men, a silver-haired fellow, uttered darkly.
“Yes sir.” Warlen utters confidently as he passes the men and corpse. Apparently, his confidence wasn’t wasted on the men.
“Hey kid, hold up there a minute.” The silver-haired man says.
Warlen pauses. He slowly spins around to look at the three men. “Yes?”
“You come to the Monolith a lot?”
“Yes, I do actually. I’m a scholar and lore collector, and this is definitely the place to get it. Why?” Warlen questions.
“This is our first time here, and well, we’re a bit puzzled how, or rather why, our friend here was killed by the Monolith.” The silver-haired man says.
“Oh. That. Yeah, since you’re new here, I’ll let you in on a secret. Aggression of any kind here is forbidden. I take it your dead friend there did something hostile then?” Warlen inquires.
“Yes he did. He tried to shoot a bird, and he got struck by some kind energy beam. Dead on the spot.”
“I’m sorry for your loss. The Monolith is a place of peace, study, reflection and harmony. It bides no hostile intent of any kind towards anything. Please be more careful and reflect on that.” Warlen advises. “Well, I must be going.”
“What’s the range of this structure’s power?” The silver-haired man shouts as Warlen turns to leave.
“I don’t know. No one knows. My advice is if you can see the Monolith, you’re within range.” Warlen grins evilly, and proceeds to walk down the trail towards the Monolith.
Warlen approaches the entrance to the Monolith, and he pauses and looks up just before going in and gets goose bumps. He always does this every time. He enjoys the feeling of awe and immensity. Smiling, he enters the structure and a loremaster approaches him.
“My name is Renna. Can I help you?” says the fairly young, red-haired woman.
“Yes, thank you. My name is Warlen and I’m looking for information on Rothlora Bay.”
“Yes, of course. Please follow me.”
Warlen follows the lovely lass up three flights of stairs to the third floor. The entire journey only takes a couple minutes, but he’s always amazed at the sheer volume of volumes this magnificent structure holds. Bookshelves upon bookshelves upon tables upon more bookshelves line the walls of the Monolith. Loremasters and visitors alike mingle and discuss all manner of topics. Ongoing conversations give this place a humming atmosphere.
Approaching one set of large bookshelves, Renna snaps her fingers and one young boy slides over those strange ladders that seem to be a permanent fixture on the bookshelves.
“I never get tired of seeing that.” Warlen utters, thinking out loud.
“What’s that?” Renna replies.
“Oh, those bookshelf ladders, and the way they slide so effortlessly and smoothly across all those bookshelves. They’re truly a wonderful innovation, whomever came up with them.” Warlen says admiringly.
“Yes. Before the days of the slide ladders, getting source material from the upper shelves was a scary job, and one only for the most dexterous to attempt.” Renna mentions, pointing up to a younger boy on the ladder. “Ahh, there we go. Rothlora Bay. Yes, Jacob, they should be right there at L1405.”
“I only see one tome, Renna.” Jacob says abruptly.
“Well, bring it down please.” Renna says. Taking the book from Jacob as the boy reaches the floor, Jacob quickly spins the ladder off in another direction at the snap of another loremaster’s fingers.
“Here you go, Mr. Warlen. Please bring the book to me when you are finished. Stay as long as you desire.”
Warlen finds a nice soft couch upon which to curl up, open the book titled “Ostenhaller’s Tome of Little Known Facts”, and starts reading. He checks the table of contents, and doesn’t see an entry for Rothlora Bay.
“I guess I’ll have to do this the hard way.”
Warlen starts reading through the tome, finding interesting notes and curiosities mentioned by this Ostenhaller fellow, but no references to Rothlora. He begins to wonder if Renna’s assistant gave him the right book, when he finally comes across a reference to Rothlora on page 349.
Little Known Fact, number 2944 of the 7455th, Age of Shadows
Those of the region known as Easton Prairie eke out a hard existence on crops grown and fish harvested from Rothlora Bay. The primary fish caught in the nets of fishermen in Rothlora Bay are known as Rothlora, a vicious kind of piranha about 2 palms long and one palm high with a mouth filled with razor sharp teeth. Locals never swim within Rothlora Bay for this reason. Livestock and pets have been lost and never found within this region occasionally, and many suspect the reason are these vicious little fish. The local fishermen have learned how to catch the Rothlora by using some kind of metal fishing nets that the little beasts cannot chew through, as well as some fine tasting recipes for them I can personally vouch for.
Warlen finds no other references to Rothlora Bay throughout the rest of the tome.
“That’s it? Our bay is named after a fish? Carron is never going to believe me.”
Warlen makes his way back home the next morning. Upon arriving, he approaches his friend Carron with a smile.
“Hello my friend! How was the trip to the Monolith?” Carron shouts.
“Eventful, Carron, and quite fun actually.”
“So, did you find out what Rothlora Bay is named after?” Carron inquires curiously.
“Yes, I did. Have you finished those kababobs yet?” Warlen asks, equally curious.
“Of course. They’ve all prepped on skewers and ready for the campfire.” Carron beams. “So, are you going to tell me, or am I going to have to skewer you with a stick? Carron chuckles, and Marlon flinches away from Carron’s poke.
“Alright, alright, but you might just be disappointed at the source.”
“I don’t care. I just want to know.” Carron urges.
“Rothlora Bay is named after a fish.” Warlen says flatly and without emotion.
Carron blinks. “A fish? You’ve got to be kidding me.” A FISH?” Carron begins to laugh loudly. Warlen joins him.
“So, what kind of fish? “Carron stutters out between chuckles.
“Some kind of piranha-like horror with razor teeth that reportedly can eat an entire cow!” Warlen grins widely.
“I don’t believe it. It’s obviously a fairy tale told by fishermen to keep their kids out of the water when they can’t swim yet.” Carron states confidently. “After we cook these kababobs, I say we grab our nets and go test this rumor out and see if any still remain! What do you say, Warlen?”
“Sounds good my friend, but I think we’ll need something stronger than your fiber nets if they’re as vicious as the story claims.” Warlen says.
“I don’t care. I just want to try and catch one to see if we can.” Carron says. “Be a pal and start a campfire for us, would you?