Journal of Urschlar Vohkavi
I have seen the doom that comes to Saventh-Yhi, but the Council remains unconvinced. Fools, all of them, jealous of my work! Fortunately, the midnight spores I introduced into the reservoi r are havi ng the desired effect on the populace, and more and more people are attending my sermons and heeding my words, fearing the future that is to come. The
seven vaults are almost ready—I have seeded them wi th even greater concentrations of the spores and moved the Argental Font into one of them for safekeeping, but I know the Council is tryi ng to interfere with my work. If Saventh-Yhi falls, it wi ll be their fault, not mine!
—Excerpt from the journal of Urschlar Vohkavi, high priest of Pharasma
Translation from Journal
The city of Saventh-Yhi had been in a slow but steady decline for years prior to the Earthfall. Many of its seers and mystics feared some great calamity was coming,
and the fact that certain prognosticators within Azlant would not respond to their queries led them to believe that something was brewing about which they were not being told. With their focus looking outward at the vague warnings and inscrutable portents that preceded
Earthfall, they failed to look inward at a more immediate danger that faced them in the form of a lone madman bent on “saving” the city in his own twisted way.
For many years Urschlar Vohkavi, Pharasma’s high priest of prophecy in Saventh-Yhi, had served as a powerful member of the city’s Council of Seven Spears. In the years leading up to Earthfall, he became more and more troubled by strange portents of some vague destruction and catastrophe looming in the near future. His attempts to divine the nature of this gruesome fate were stymied again and again by the menacing silence coming from his superiors in Azlant and the lack of direct answers from his deity.
Like many of his peers among the high priests of prophecy and fate in Pharasma’s church, Urschlar had particular sensitivities that made him none too stable and more susceptible to stresses on the psyche. He found himself consumed by a dread knowledge that he could not
fully fathom and was unable to effectively communicate to those around him, and this pushed him ever deeper into his eccentricities. After several years of beseeching his goddess for answers that were not forthcoming, he resolved to present his questions to her court personally.
He gathered the necessary funds and magic to journey to the Boneyard itself to seek his answers.
In Pharasma’s Boneyard, Urschlar was unable to secure an audience with the Lady of Graves, for she was far too busy tending to her divine duties. Instead he found himself wandering aimlessly among the endless sepulchers of the Graveyard of Souls. There, among the bleached light and shadows of the death moon Groetus, Urschlar found a strange black f lower growing within the partially unearthed bones of an ancient rib cage.
When he plucked the f lower, Urschlar heard a slippery, whispering voice that explained much of what he sought to know and gave him the means to make his people see it as well—the secret of midnight spores. Shortly after Urschlar returned to Saventh-Yhi from his planar travels, Pharasma’s other two high priests of birth and death died under tragic circumstances, leaving the city stunned and bewildered, and granting Urschlar much greater inf luence than before. Using the strange circumstances as a staging position, he began publicly preaching of the still ill-defined disaster that threatened to overtake the city. To bolster the effects of
his harangue, he began to secretly and slowly introduce the midnight spores he had begun cultivating into the city’s reservoir.
Although Urschlar’s own concentrated exposure to them had driven him irrevocably insane with paranoia, the midnight spores were not sufficiently concentrated to have overt effects on the city’s populace. Within a few weeks, however, their maddening effects had increased the sense of foreboding already encompassing the city.
Fears were heightened, but only those few who were particularly susceptible to the spores suffered actual mental breaks, exhibiting random acts of violence or sudden collapses. Because no one understood the cause of these subtle-yet-pervasive phenomena, no investigation
was made into them, and the city continued to suffer.
With more and more of the masses heeding his prophecies of doom, Urschlar continued to seed the city’s water supply with the midnight spores while poisoning the people’s minds with a growing sense of panic. Once the number of people attending his sermons reached a critical mass, Urschlar declared a major disaster was coming that would destroy the city if they were not prepared. He would not say what the calamity would be, but he assured the people and the city leaders that they must prepare or else be annihilated when disaster came.
The city heeded Urschlar’s warnings and gave him free reign in the preparations for the city’s survival. First he ordered the excavation of deep vaults beneath the city’s seven districts, where the populace and their most valued possessions could be safely sequestered when disaster came. Then, into one of these he moved one of the city’s most powerful artefacts, the Argental Font—a magical fountain bestowed upon the city by the gods, whose waters were said to cure any ailment and were one of the few means of curing the infection of the midnight spores.
Construction continued on the seven vaults, and Urschlar installed many hidden rooms and traps, deflecting any questions as to their purpose with ambiguous prophetic pronouncements. Urschlar began secretly cultivating major growths of the midnight spores in these rooms, creating a vast storehouse of the mold with which he could continue the city’s paranoid
reliance upon him, fearing that if the spores’ influence were broken, he would no longer be heeded and the city would be caught unprepared by the impending doom.
In his own advanced lunacy, Urschlar could not see that his own actions in infesting the city’s populace with the madness-inducing spores were only ushering in the doom he was trying to avoid.
Earthfall’s sudden impacts on Golarion caused great upheaval and shifts in the earth, and as one particularly powerful tremor engulfed Saventh-Yhi, it disturbed the cultivating chambers of the midnight spore growths and vented the spores over the entire city through newly
created fissures and cracks. The black cloud of deadly spores caused the city to erupt in a violent spasm of chaos, and in a single night Saventh-Yhi tore itself apart. Those few who survived the initial turmoil within the city stumbled dazedly into the surrounding jungle, consumed from within by spore-induced insanity, and died horribly among the jungle’s natural dangers. With the death of these last few maddened survivors, so too died all direct knowledge of the city of triumphant Savith, deep in the heart of Garund.
Urschlar himself was not spared the calamity. The disaster had arrived much sooner than his own maddened prophecies had predicted, and proved greater than even his own fevered imaginings. When the tremors struck the city, he found himself inadvertently exposed to a
toxic concentration of the purified midnight spores. His only hope lay with the enchanted waters of the Argental Font that he had locked away…