The Empty Keg
Blood of Khyber
An ominous looking irregular oval which seems to almost completely absorb, rather than reflect, available light. However, at times it seems as if there is almost something liquid in the center of the gem. It has the consistency of stone and is roughly the size of a human fist, but is extremely dense. It is impervious to normal weapons and to lava. It seems to be inert.
The Empty Keg first encounter the Blood of Khyber deep within the Mournland. It was powering some kind of House Cannith forge that created artifical Dragonmarks, including the forbidden Mark of Death. When conventional methods of destroying the item failed, the company took possession of it instead.
According to the Old Man on the Mountain, the item is the mythical Blood of Khyber. Rumored to be an actual drop of blood from a dragon involved in the world’s creation myth, it is said to be the seed of all evil in the world. Some arcanists even theorize that the gem comes from a world before this one came into being.
The Old Man theorized that the Broken Crown may have once contained additional settings for other gemstones – including the Blood of Khyber and the Tear of Siberys – and may have had additional powers.
The old myths tell of a race of vile entities that presided over the remains of a dying universe. As their hunger drained their realm of all life and power, they knew their days were numbered. So it was that in the last age of their race, they breached the barrier between their realm and another, pushing a shard of uttermost evil through the fissure between realities. With the power of the shard, they hoped to corrupt the most powerful beings in this new realm.
Eons passed. These entities slowly died. When only a handful remained, an opportunity presented itself and their plan came to fruition. Khyber, hungry for power in the battle against his siblings, found and seized upon this shard of evil. He found his mind and spirit opened to these entities, trapped in their dying darkness.
They demanded that Khyber plant the seed of evil within himself, promising him total domination of them all in exchange for fealty. Even within his madness, he realized that his brothers would turn on him before he could fully seize the power the entities promised. Instead, he swallowed the seed of evil himself and unleashed a power that had never before been seen. The nascent evil of the dying realm flared one last time as a black flame, exploding through a vortex that formed where the seed was swallowed. Thus did the realm of Khyber come into being, even as Khyber himself slept or died.
Drawn by whispers promising power and dominion, the first Lords of Dust came into being. The shattered realm they observed was corrupt, but these creatures were unconcerned with morality as they pressed on, beckoned by the whispering of Khyber’s evil heart. As they explored farther, they came upon a great, blood-red ocean and they knew they had reached that heart at last. Floating there in the shadows of a sea of blood, the shard of evil called out for one strong enough to step forward and claim it.
The first to set forth was a being of pure unbridled fury with wings of black fire, but soon another and another challenged him for possession of the seed. As they fought, a loathsome and putrescent being crawled up from an unseen pit to claim the shard as his own. Bel Shalor had become the first Prince of Demons.
To this day no one is certain where the seed has gone, or what powers it grants the Lord of Dust who possesses it. Some say that it makes the bearer immune the the bondage imposed on the demons by the sacrifice of the coatls, others say that it gives the holder unbridled control over demonkind, while yet others whisper that it is the key between the world of the living and the dead and the secret to true immortality. Who can say?