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Lady Yula and the Eldrich Crystal

Once upon a time....

So long ago that even to Elves it is merely a folk story, there was a Queen who ruled in a land long since reclaimed, renamed, and reclaimed again. The Queen was quite powerful, a natural magician of extraordinary ability, and seemingly immortal, but Human in appearance. Some stories go so far as to say she was a god; if this is so, she is worshipped no more, at least not as she was known then. If she was Human, she lived a long, long time.

As it so happened, the Queen possessed a crystal sphere that was a gift to her by one of the hidden mages of time. The sphere granted the ability to create worlds within it, so that whoever used it could create new places -- places they may have only dreamed of -- and wander them in a fashion like unto a god.

The sphere was also blessed with a strange quirk -- it had always existed, always would exist, and could not be destroyed because it would always be present in the future. Though awesome in magic, to a Queen with countless other rare and unusual objects (as well as a kingdom to run and no spare time for flights of fancy) it was little more than a bauble.

The Queen had a son who was her heir, and to whom she gave the bauble to play with. As it could not be destroyed, it was the ideal plaything for a child, and she enjoyed watching him roll the sphere across the floors of her palace, the light from the sun glinting off its many-faceted surface.

As is wont to happen with boys, though, he eventually grew up, and the sphere became little more than an objet d'art on his dresser, where he kept it as a fond reminder of his childhood.

As is also wont to happen with boys, he met a young woman in his mother's court who he fell for. The two had known each other since youth, and were quite in love with each other when the Queen announced to her son that he would be needing to leave to go to distant lands and learn to become a wizard.

The Prince argued with his mother, to no avail. To console his love during his time apart from her, the young man gave to her his crystal bauble, and endowed unto her full power of control over it while he was gone. And before he left, he promised her he would return and marry her as soon as his training was done.

The training was far from his mother's reach, so far that missives took forever to get to him. The young man was a good student, learning quickly and amazing his teachers. Even so, it was nearly five years before he finally was announced fit to wear the title of mage, and so began the long journey home.

In the years while he was away, he had been approached by a secret college of magicians who had offered to teach him the secrets of time magic. The ultimate price for the teachings, however, required that he remove himself completely from the world he lived in to avoid the temptation of dabbling with the past or present of those he loved or hated. He deemed this price too steep, and so declined the offer.

Alas, upon his arrival back to his mother's home he found that her palace had been shattered and razed and that she had been murdered. As to who had done this -- that was uncertain.

Stumbling through the ruins, the young man found the body of his beloved amidst the ashes. The crystal sphere was still in her cold hands, but when he picked it up he found it to be warm. Morever, he discovered that the sphere refused to revert back to him as the owner -- implying that the one to whom he had given it still, somehow, lived.

The Prince concluded that there was a possibility -- however dim -- that his love had been inside the crystal when she died, or that she had tried to flee there when the attacks began. Though he could enter the crystal and walk around in the places that existed therein, he had relinquished the secrets of total control over its magic to his love who, it seemed, still retained that power. He realized then that there was the chance she could very well be lost in the finite -- but vast -- empty spaces inside the crystal.

He tried to fill the spaces by creating some new lands of his own, but while the space inside it was limited, it was also incredibly vast. No one person could ever hope to completely fill it; it was just too big.

With the sphere in his hand, the Prince left his former homeland behind and sought out the college of the time mages he had met before. Declaring himself fit to enter their ranks, he removed himself from the rest of the world and began to explore the secrets of the fabric of time itself, drawing himself through the aether of time and dimension as easily as a needle slips through cloth.

Though he had sworn never to use what he knew toward altering the future, he still felt within him the last vestige of his ties to Elanthia -- his love for Lady Yula. One day, as he observed the world he had left behind, he chanced to see two adventurers squabbling over (of all things) a small, bean-shaped confection. One was willing to pay the other an extraordinary amount of money for the ridiculously simplistic trifle. They seemed to not only be quite affluent -- but they seemed to have a lot of free time, as well.

Which was when it finally occured to him. Why not use them to help him find his lost love?

With this in mind, he spent considerable time mulling the thought over, and gradually began to develop tools that worked with the magic inherent to the crystal sphere. He created a book, a ball, a compass, a mirror, a box, a key, a conch shell, a tablet and a hammer, and, when his work was complete, he reappeared within the timestream and set up shop as a merchant who plied the crystal's powers off to the curious and the idle rich. The result was a renewed hope for him, as well as a fat purse.

In an effort to recover his love, the curious mage, son and heir of a time that has long since faded into the oblivion of the past, has reappeared in many points across the broad map of Elanthia's timeline. That he will appear at some point again is only a matter of what time he chooses to reappear in next.

Whether he will ever recover his lost Lady Yula, however, is not so certain.

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