“Years ago, I traveled to the Obsidian Coast in search of the Glass Flame – a large shard of obsidian that, somehow, still had embers burning inside it. There were rumors of it being able to instill magical power in those who could channel it. When Mount Vorg erupted, and lava spewed into the sea, the resulting coastline was covered in black glass – thus forming the namesake of the Obsidian Coast. One remaining piece of the coastal obsidian shards, the Glass Flame, remained glowing as bright as a lantern, and could heat a room fifty times this size” Ulric motioned to the tavern’s main area, now a bit emptier with some of the patrons having left.
“So did you find it?”, Kira inquired, eyes wide with wonder.
Ulfric took a long slow sip from his tankard. “In a manner of speaking, aye. It’s not what anyone thought it was though. Further back from the coastline, there’s a series of caves that run deep underground, back towards the volcano. That was where I met Arwen the Red and the Obsidian Clan.”
“Aren’t they supposedly elves? I thought elves were mostly forest folk”, Anachron piped up with a slightly puzzled look. “What were they doing in the caves?”
“Well, the roots of the trees in the grove of the Obsidian Coast run deep and hollow, forming beautiful, shimmering caves. I think that’s where they found the Glass Flame in the first place. Once one traverses deep enough, the caves become a sprawling maze of networked tunnels that run far across the land of the Snorfkingdom. There is no telling what sorts of creatures and treasures exist down there. Anyway, as I delved deeper into the caves, I was surprised when I bumped into a few elves down there myself. They were none too happy to see, well, someone like me” Ulfric laughed, gesturing to his very non-elven body. “I suspect the reason they saw fit to share the pyromancy knowledge and a piece of the Glass Flame with me was a twisted experiment or out of a morbid curiousity on their end.”
“You mean the Glass Flame is real? How’d they share it – you mean you have a piece of it?!” Bee was at the edge of her seat waiting for Ulfric’s answer.
With a sigh, Ulfric downed the rest of the ale in the tankard. He rolled back his right sleeve to expose a glowing black stone embedded in his arm. “Like I said, they saw it as an experiment. Arwen the Red made me a deal – accept the Glass Fire shard and leave, never to return. Or, the Obsidian Clan puts me on trial for trespassing – you can imagine how that’d go. I went with the former, aside from the immense pain of the glass going in, it turned out alright.”
Ulfric rolled his sleeve back down, snapped his fingers, and held a dancing flame in his palm. “You see, the Obsidian Clan … “worships” the Glass Flame for lack of better words. Arwen the Red saw it as an immense source of power that could be a powerful tool for her kin. The elven elders told her to leave it be, but she ignored them. Upon hearing this, the elders banished Arwen, and she then set out to form the Obsidian Clan, which explains why you might be surprised to find the elves there. They’re not normal High Elves, or even Dark Elves really, but more of a patchwork group of many outcasts.” Ulfric looked towards Anachron, who was nodding in understanding.
“Well, that’s certainly a…unique tribe of elves.” he said, his initial idea of what elves could be, shattering. “So, Arwen the Red, she’s more of a…cult leader you’d say?”
Staring at the dancing flame in his hand, Ulfric answered, “Perhaps. I think she understood the gravity of what she discovered. See, pyromancy requires a flame. You’ll see that most pyromancers can’t start a fire, only control an existing one. They’ll often carry matches or a lantern as a way of having one on hand. But with the Glass Flame embedded in one’s self…”
“You have the fire right there, in your arm”, Kira completed Ulfric’s sentence for him. “That’s how you’re able to do…that”, pointing to the tiny dancing flame in Ulfric’s palm.
“Exactly.” Ulfric quickly closed his fist, extinguishing the flame in a dazzling array of sparks. “It takes a bit more out of me, as though I’m feeding the stone itself, but it’s waterproof and far easier.” Ulfric turned to Sir Snorfkin, who was smiling after seeing the pyrotechnic display. “So Snorf, you mentioned this could all be of use to you, here in the Vale?”
“Yes Ulfric, old friend” Sir Snorfkin nodded, and looked around at the group. “You have been helping me power the forge’s minting press, but your mastery of pyromancy is also highly valuable for adventures throughout the vale. Perhaps it’s best we tell the others about the rest of the Vale first, so they are more familiar with the surroundings. What do you say?”
“Aye, Snorf.” stated Ulfric. He grabbed another round of ale from Bjorn, and sat back down. After passing out the round, Ulfric lit a few more candles as the storm raged on outside and the darkness continued to envelop the tavern.