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Codex of Xalz

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The Codex of Xalz is a purportedly historical document that claims to contain the history of a city on the island of Akvatar named Sinala. The city was supposed to have been populated by a mysterious race called the Aalsi, whose songs could charm the very gods themselves. Sinala, according to the Codex, was entirely annihilated during the Valterrian. The author, from whom the title of the document is taken, is listed as Coldai Xalz in a signature on the last page, and claims to have been a survivor of the Valterrian who had firsthand knowledge of Sinala.

No mention of the Codex is found in any historical sources until it is listed among the University of Zeltiva's holdings in an inventory taken in 386. It is noted as "damaged" in the inventory; in its current state, it is missing an unknown number of pages at the beginning, as well as three sheets in the middle.

The Codex is generally considered to be a 2nd century AV forgery, but a few fringe scholars have opined that it may be genuine.

Text of the Codex

Several pages are missing; the Codex begins in mid-sentence.

...harbor in Mizahar. But this was a regular part of my travels. Simply because I was a man of Suva did not prevent me from traveling widely. Though the Suvans and the Alaheans were both loathe to admit it, they needed traders, and so the embargo was never truly enforced on either side. The guards required some bribing, but it was quite reasonable, as their superiors would frown heavily on informal tariffs sufficient to truly impact the flow of commerce.

However, moving across the mountains, even in the best weather, was beginning to require more logistical expertise than I wished to employ. And so, in the fifth year before the disaster, shortly after my fortieth birthday, I sold all of my wagons, caravans, and supplies, and used the proceeds to purchase a seagoing vessel.

There was no point in purchasing it from anyone other than the Zeltivans. Years and decades of having the Royal Navy of Alahea headquartered in their city had made them the unsurpassed masters of the craft of boatbuilding. I waited six months in the city, reading books by Caurter or Marie Sendlant, and counting the days until my vessel would be finished. News of the ongoing war filtered in, but the Navy censored information heavily, and it was difficult to tell what was true, though we had the sense that the Alahean Empire was straining.

Near the beginning of winter, just before the watchtower changed, the ship was finished. It held a crew of twenty, and the cargo hold was as spacious as possible in a boat of that description. I recruited sailors and set off fifteen days later. Because the weather had turned unpleasant, we sailed not northward toward the mines and the industrial centers, but southward, hoping for fairer seas. Hence, our first trip brought us, as our first port of call, to Sinala.

I think of Sinala often now, three and a half decades later as I lay here, a dying man in a world I often cannot recognize. It seems, in my memory, not to have been of this world at all. The spires, the towers, the great and wondrous ampitheatres, all carved of white marble and adorned with coral! It was on the western coast of an island called Aqwittah, which had the most moderate temperatures in the entirety of Mizahar. Never cold, never hot, but always a paradisiacal perfection. Perhaps that is why it is gone now. The gods no longer grant us perfection.

We were greeted warmly by the Aalsi. They had lived on the island for centuries, developing their society to its highest pinnacle. They wore shimmering robes of white, against which the long hair favored by both men and women stood out strikingly. Unique among the races I ever knew, they were winged, with a pair of such appendages springing from their backs. Also, they were renowned as the finest pearl-divers and spear-fishers, due to their affinity for the water. It was indeed as if the sea itself and the infinite sky had both stood watch over their cradle.

I would return there again, four more times before the destruction began. Each time, I would stroll by the wharf, and, if I saw any of the Aalsi willing to speak, I would entreat them to tell me of their stories, their land and culture. Often, someone would speak, and I would listen enraptured as the hours slipped away into the evening.

They had, it should be noted, the greatest skill in arts, in crafts, in metallurgy and literature. We traded there not only because of their goodness, but because their work was greatly in demand and fetched high prices in Lisnar or in Suva. I once exchanged a gold figurine of Cheva for a country estate, simply because the woman had such a desire for something of Sinala. This was, however, far to the north, and Lidanette had, I must confess, some fondness for me that may have prompted her to pay me more than the proper value. Although the markets in Suvan, excluding those hampered by the Myrian influence, often were willing to...

Three sheets are missing here.

...during the night. At first sun, he began singing, joined by his wife. Their voices reached to the heavens, so sweet and poignant that all who heard it wept, unable to take themselves away from it. And, so it happened, the singing reached the ears of Nikali herself, who was so charmed , so enthralled, that she returned Volitrix to her parents, ending the curse.

I asked the man if the story told by the frieze was a folktale or an embellished fiction, to which he replied with a most emphatic negative. These events, he insisted, had actually happened, and a few of the older Aalsi could remember when Volitrix and Nikali returned to the Plaza of Tears, which was renamed the Plaza of Reunion thereafter. And the song...the song...

He sang the beginning, low and sad, and as he started, I found myself helpless to interrupt or remark on it. The sound was so pure, so terrifying in its power, that I could not but listen, and listen on. I am no god, but resisting its entreaties would have been beyond my power. Laugh if you will, but I was there.

There for the last time, as it happened. We set sail the next day, planning to return to Lisnar to complete the exchange. Two days in, however, the sky turned the most dreadful black. It was then crossed with fire, and then more fire. And the sound...none of us could say what the sound might have been, but it cried of death, destruction, the end of everything. The waves rose, and we feared for ourselves, but the force of the unnatural storm seemed to be directed at the land.

I cannot tell how long. A day, two days, a year? Time had no meaning during the cataclysm. When it finally ended, we tried to continue northward. The entire coastline seemed to have shifted; our maps were worse than useless, and none of us recognized any landmarks. By simply following the shoreline, we managed to reach Zeltiva, only to find it utterly flattened, save and except for portions of the Eastern City. We abandoned the ship and tried to return home, but I doubt any of us ever found such a place. Alton and I hiked west, spending a full three seasons on foot, only to find that a vast, salty lake stood where our city had once been. It was then, and only then that I wept.

Trade still occurred, even among the broken. Alton and I eventually sailed again, and in the tenth year after the disaster, we returned to Aqwittah. But of Sinala there was no trace, and the vegetation on the island had disappeared, leaving only sand and dull rock behind. We sailed entirely around, looking for the Aalsi, but we saw nothing except the occasional seagull and a pack of seals, off in the distance.

I could write more, had I the time, but my time is gone, and Lhex is waiting. Farewell.

Coldai Xalz