Disks of Mishakal
Article written by Joe Mashuga
The Disks of Mishakal, or Peripas Mishakas in the Istaran tongue, are a set of 160 platinum disks, each one-sixteenth of an inch thick and eighteen inches in diameter and weigh fifteen pounds. Words of an unknown language are beaten into both sides of each disk, and a golden ring binds the disks together in such a way that each disk can swivel out to be read. The translated words of a single disk can easily fill dozens of pages.
Good-hearted individuals can safely handle and read the disks; all others receive a shock upon merely touching them. A good-hearted individual who reads the disks gains knowledge about six of the Gods of Light: Branchala, Habbakuk, Kiri-Jolith, Majere, Mishakal, Paladine. This knowledge is sufficient to start the individual down the path to becoming a true cleric of one of the Gods of Light.
Two possible histories have come to light regarding the Disks:
One History of the Disks
One history begins with a simple legend – that the Disks were given to humans thousands of years ago so that they may free themselves from ogre slavery, and that they were the impetus for the humans' ability to read and write. The Disks were captured by the forces of darkness in the Battle of Gods' Tears during the Second Dragon War and were lost until Dario, a minor nobleman of the then-city-state of Istar, found them while searching for plunder in a cave. Dario read the Disks, returned to the city-state, declared himself the First Son of Paladine and founded the church of Istar.
Many years later, First Son Amiad declared that the scripture within the Disks should be available to all, and ordered the Great Translation whereby a dozen Istaran scribes & scholars translated the Disks to Church Istaran. When Amiad died twenty years later, his successor Regidan stopped the Great Translation, resulting in seven incomplete copies. Regidan was not a pious man, and ordered that all copies of the Disks' writings be burned. Six of the copies were destroyed, but the last escaped Regidan's grasp and made its way from monastery to monastery. Monks copied what they could before sending the "original copy" along, and soon there were over one hundred copies of the incomplete text. These copies were in various languages including Old Solamnic, the languages of Ergoth and Kharolis, dwarven, elven, and possibly others.
There arose a debate within the church of Istar concerning the copies. The Reductionists, headed by First Son Symeon, claimed that the Disks were not fully translated because of some divine purpose, and the Completists argued that the Disks' full translations should be available. When the Reductionists' view won out, the Completists attempted to steal the Disks from the Lordcity of Istar in order to make a complete translation. They were stopped, and Symeon declared that the Disks would not be safe in the hands of men. He ordered that a shrine be built above the cave where Dario found the Disks. Symeon placed the Disks within the Vault, closed its golden doors and declared that no living man or woman will survive entry into the Vault. Shortly thereafter, Symeon would throw down Emperor Vemior the Fierce, don the Miceram and become the first Kingpriest of Istar. The shrine – and the cave beneath it – become known as the Vault of the Kingpriests.
The Disks remained within the Vault until the spring of 1 PC, when Kingpriest Beldinas Pilofiro sought to use their knowledge to aid in his misguided attempt to command the gods of Light. Cathan MarSevrin, a man dead yet living, was able to enter the Vault and return with the Disks. Cathan and others attempted to betray the Kingpriest but failed in their attempt, and Beldinas took the Disks back to the Lordcity.
Cathan was a prisoner in the imperial dungeons for many months, and realized that the Disks must leave Istar if they were to survive the coming Cataclysm. He was mysteriously released in autumn of 1 PC and fled the Lordcity with both the Disks (which were stolen from the Kingpriest's chambers) and a night-blue spellbook given to him by Fistandantilus. Cathan eventually made his way to Xak Tsaroth, swam out to a nearby island, and watched the Cataclysm fall upon Istar. As the city began crumbling, Cathan hurled the Disks of Mishakal and the night-blue spellbook into a gaping whirlpool before jumping in after them, where he was presumably killed. The Disks survived and were guarded by the black dragon Khisanth until their recovery by the Innfellows.
Another Possible History of the Disks
Another source indicates that the Disks were created by Erial Caladon ne Tempus and three Silvanesti Elf clerics at the request of Karthay Pah early in the Age of Might. The Silvanesti elves sent the Disks to Qualinesti to keep them away from the Kingpriests, but they were stolen before they could reach the western elven nation.
Some Zhakar dwarves briefly recovered the Disks in 255 PC but lost them soon afterward. Kingpriest Symeon II heard of their brief recovery and offered a bounty for their safe return, but this would prove unsuccessful. Roughly a century later, a Qué-Shu plainsman known as Clearbrook brought the Disks to the Temple of Mishakal in Xak Tsaroth.
After Xak Tsaroth
The Innfellows recovered the Disks of Mishakal in autumn of 351 AC from Khisanth's lair, but could not read them. Goldmoon (who had just become a cleric of Mishakal) realized that her duty was to give the Disks to a worthy individual. When they entered Pax Tharkas to free refugees from the Dragon Highlord Verminaard, Goldmoon found that individual in the sickly Elistan, a former Highseeker from Haven. Goldmoon cured Elistan's ailment, and he vowed to learn more about the ancient gods. Elistan was able to read the Disks and became a cleric of Paladine.
The Innfellows freed Elistan and the other refugees, who were able to make a temporary home for themselves in Thorbardin in exchange for the Innfellows recovering the legendary Hammer of Kharas. Elistan carried the Disks with him to Tarsis, Icewall and Qualimori, where he stayed to prove to the elves that he was a true cleric of Paladine. Elistan built the Temple of Paladine in Palanthas after the War of the Lance, and the Disks were kept there for decades until their eventual move to the Spiritualism Lyceum of the Citadel of Light, where they remain to this day.
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