The Great Vault and the Lost Treasure Fleet of ElronEdit
In ancient times, before the rebellion of Robin the Black, and when it seemed no power under heaven could unseat the emperor, the teachings of Elron followed the frontiers of Arameia and grew strong in the domains of the first wealthy traders. It is said that before others even thought of crossing the Great Sea, the followers of Elron turned their eyes toward the horizon, dreaming of an empire across the water where they could trade for unheard of treasures. Today, even the Maradin say the Great Sea stretches as far as they know. But it is believed that once, long ago, some of Elron’s followers became so enchanted of the sea’s potential that they joined with the servants of Erina to tame the waves in a way never known before or since. With their combined skill, they created ships capable of going far out to sea when no one else could. Their methods were hidden from all, with only the greatest shipwrights working under the direction of only the wisest and most powerful members of each religion. Using these secret skills, the most trusted followers of Elron created a great fleet of treasure ships. These ships, however, were not intended for ordinary wealth. They were meant to carry only those goods and commodities that seemed to be on the brink of extinction in the known world. When cities or princes would fall, taking with them ancient techniques, Elron’s people would be there to take a share of the valuables. These valuables, lost to time, were gathered within an enormous vault on a distant, hidden island. The vault, said to be taller than the tallest building today, held things that simply could not be found anywhere else, things that are only spoken of in legend or completely forgotten. With the keen foresight of truly great investors, the Elronite patriarchs planned to resell these objects over time, once their like had not been seen in living memory and people would pay magnificent fortunes for one-of-a-kind things. As such, the Vault is said to hold a vast variety of treasures: pottery, jewelry, weapons, scrolls, and all manner of other wondrous goods from every place and time in Adylheim and, some believe, beyond. The one thing common to each and every one of them is the fact that their makers are long extinct. They can only be found in the Great Vault on the nameless island far over the horizon. It is said that as quickly as the alliance of Elron and Erina was made, it was unmade. One night, without warning, the ships of Elron’s treasure fleet were destroyed in a great storm. Without the help of the water goddess’ servants, the ancient Elronites could never again return to their own Vault. The influence of the Vault lives on, in secret, among the Elronite sects. Those who are bankers and traders take their teachings from the first investors who planned to reap the profit of thousand-year-old antiquities over many generations. Those who instead seek personal wealth without concern for the sacred flow of commerce have taken their views from the buyers, agents, and “collectors” who ensured that the prizes of lost civilizations fell into Elronite hands by fair means or otherwise. If the stories are true, then there are truly vast fortunes to be found by a clever seeker. There may yet be husks of the destroyed treasure ships, complete with all their wares, somewhere off the coast. But the biggest prize of all is the location of the island itself, which some adventurers believe is not far from the shores of Adylheim, instead of weeks’ journey away as the myths claim. This has led many people, both faithful to Elron and not, to try and decipher hidden clues to the island’s location.
Sacred Maths and the Map to the Great VaultEdit
There is no known map to the Great Vault, if indeed it exists at all. But many versions of Elron’s holy writ, passed down from the prophets and priests of ancient times, include strange and incomplete “accounting books” discussing the first trading endeavors of the Elronite religion. These books, when understood according to special numeric codes, are said to indicate the location of the Vault, as well as places where Elronites secretly buried treasure intended for the fleet after it was destroyed. Elronites of a very mystical bent believe in a form of sacred math. Though rare, there are those who feel that the hidden messages of Elron can be deciphered in the way numbers come together in business transactions, and that good or ill fortune can be interpreted by the geography of trade routes intersecting on a properly created map. The architects who were responsible for creating the first banks of Elron are said to have hidden many sacred numbers in the structure and proportion; the main sacred number is a figure known as “all the money in the world”, an official Elronite estimate of the total face value of all coins and banknotes in the known world at a given time. This is the principal number to which all Elronite sacred math relates. Since this number is re-estimated regularly, someone hoping to crack ancient codes in any document or building would have to know what the figure was at the time the author or architect lived. If a map to the Great Vault exists, it may be hidden in the figures of the account books that often appear at the end of Elron’s holy text. These books, though ancient and outdated, are used to create economic problems and trading scenarios to test the skill of Elron’s priests as they advance in rank within the hierarchy. If one gathered together many of the different versions of the holy text that have existed over time, perhaps one could find the secret, numerical key to the vault’s location.