To the Faculty, Staff, and Students of the University,
On the day I met the High Sage, he opened a portal to the foothold village established in the Skybreak Ridge, to demonstrate his fondness for the people and their determination. In recognition of their hardiness, their sheer defiance in the face of the elements, he hoped to one day join them. He expressed a wish to build a house there, some day. At the time, a newly-admitted noviciate who was dressed for coastal climes, I could not fully appreciate his fondness for such a terribly cold and dangerous place, but I respected it. There was a passion and a will to his words that was impossible to ignore. What of him was obviously bright and powerful, I sought to emulate; what of him was strange and alien, I sought to understand. Then he vanished.
I made it my mission, in the year 814, to have a second conversation with him, and I have failed.
Mastering Illusion, Enchantment, Mysticism, and Divinity came quickly to me, because there was a need to explore everywhere a man of Astrum's capacity would dare to tread. And when I skirted upon the edges of territories past the Darkened Shore where even all of that gathered wisdom was not enough to steel my heart, I found company to give me courage, going so far as to convince guildmasters Eryn and Xelphiem themselves to accompany me. And never did I find a trace of our High Sage. There are surely places I have not been; a year is not enough to chronicle even a tenth of such a vast and dangerous world. But I am beginning to feel an awful dread, an instinct I anticipate many of you already share, that I will not find him no matter how far and how long I look.
Now, without the benefit of the Portal spell, I often find myself flying the entire range of Skybreak, delving into the depths of its many caverns in hope of catching some hint I must have already missed. There are none to be found. There are no scraps of enchanted cloth or missing spell components; no discarded mana gems; none of the villagers are Astrum in some glamered disguise; there is no secret abode my True Sight can detect. When at last all other alternatives turned up nothing, I sought out Vorkai himself and drew him into a trap. It took days to chip away that monster's defenses, but when I at last cut open his belly and gullet, none of the bones that spilled forth could have possibly belonged to an elf of Astrum's stature. For all his dreams of retiring to the Skybreak, Astrum is not there.
And he is not here. If it falls to me to speak the obvious, so be it. Humans have a well-earned reputation for impatience, so perhaps it was inevitable that mine be the first confidence to waver. We must nevertheless begin the conversation now, to find, to train, and to appoint Astrum's potential successor. This matter may wait another year. It may wait two. It cannot possibly wait another eighteen. Look around you with a careful eye, good people of Kalmyr, for among you walks the person who may be the next High Sage of the University. If Astrum does not soon return, they must be.
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