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The Thorn is an ancient elven artifact, a dagger grown from translucent crystal. Its most distinguishing feature is the rose in the heart of the crystal blade.  An illusion causes this rose to close at sunset and slowly unfurl throughout the day.  Elven legend claims that the rose will glow with red light if the dagger sheds a traitor’s blood.

Though this is undoubtedly an elf-crafted weapon, many dwarves believe they have a claim to it.  The dagger’s grip is fashioned from carmite, a rare stone that attracts and amplifies certain types of magic.  In particular, it can change the shape or even the very nature of stone. In the hands of a dwarf stoneshifter, the Thorn could be a powerful tool or deadly weapon.

The legends of these two races differ in their accounts of how elves acquired the carmite for the Thorn, and certainly they disagree on who rightfully owns it, but they agree on one thing:  the dagger cannot be allowed to fall into human hands.  Dwarves might not always like or understand elves, but they have no fear that the forrest people will use the Thorn to invade dwarven fortresses or collapse dwarven tunnels.  They have less faith in the motives of any human sorcerer.


Elves are fearsome fighters, particularly known for cat-like bursts of speed and strength. Their ability to perform feats that lie far beyond their apparent physical limits is generally attributed to magic.

That depends, of course,  upon one’s definition of magic.

Elves and humans are different in many fundamental ways. One of these is among the most carefully guarded secrets of the elven people.

They understand that all bones are composed of minerals. The human skeleton  is  largely made up of calcium and phosphates, while an elf’s is primarily a rare form of quartz, the mineral that is commonly known as crystal.

Elves have always been secretive, but the recent flowering of alchemy among humans has made this secrecy imperative.  Alchemists have been experimenting with new uses for crystals, seeking ways to utilize two important properties:  Crystals vibrate when exposed to sources of energy, and they don’t expand much when heated, which means the resulting pitch remains true.

All crystals have a natural pitch, or frequency of vibration.  When crystal is exposed to something that vibrates at the same frequency, the two will resonate.  An elf’s bones sing in silent harmony with the natural world, and an elf’s body is designed to absorb, store, and utilize the energy that results from these “duets.”

Humans have long told tales of elves dancing beneath the stars. They do not realize that stars emit sounds–complex music that is highly congenial to the living crystal of the elven people.  The changing night sky produces different songs, each of which requires a specific dance by a specific number of elves.

Sometimes the effect of these rituals is universal, giving all the elves participating in the dance a reserve of additional strength and energy. These are commonly performed before battles, hunts, and harvests. Other dances raise energy that flows to a single elf–the designated Starsinger.

This energy can be used to heal, to amplify spells and potions, or to focus the energy into a burst of power.  Humans do not know the term “starsinger,” but they assume elves who wield this power are wizards and sorcerers.

There may indeed be some similarities, but no elf has yet expressed an opinion on this topic.