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Knights of the Round Table. Graal (15th century)

Thoradin and his client kings marvel at the 'powers' of the Grail.

Agolandovis
('Cup of Unity King' in the Arathi tongue) or the Grail of Thoradin, is an ancient Azothan gold artefact supposedly owned by the ancient Arathorian Emperor Thoradin. For a long time this artefact was considered to be merely a myth, and those who claimed that it was real often did so based on conjecture. However, of late, new interest and evidence has been unearthed. This hysteria for the artefact culminated in a crusade to Lordaeron where, it is believed, the artefact rested.

HistoryEdit

The history of Agolandovis is written more in literature than it is in history books, and has thus given many historians reason to believe that the Grail is not in fact real, and is actually a prolonged metaphor for greed. However there is increasing evidence that suggests of such a Grail existing; though still, its magical capacity is dubious at best. This rise of new evidence has caused an increase in historical work on the Grail, and has led many, treasure hunters and archaeologists alike, to obsess over its location. Nevertheless, its undoubted beginnings are in the heart of the Arathor Empire and the seat of Thoradin's power, Strom.

ArathorEdit

The Grail, as eponymous, began in the possession of Thoradin. It is said that it was made from one of the last genuine pieces of the much valued and prized Azotha gold. Allegedly when Thoradin become old and weak he suffered from a disease which his apothecaries and priests could not cure. Thoradin turned to a famous bishop-turned-hermit who, it is said, performed miracles of healing on the local populace. However, despite sending his best knights and retinue to make sure the hermit came, he was denied on account of a small sick peasant boy.

The Great King had not been denied in some time, and so, he ventured to the hermit's lair. Thoradin became sicker by the day,

Associated LiteratureEdit

'Thoradin, the First and Last Emperor' by Richard WestmorelandEdit

"The Grail of Thoradin, or 'Agolandovis' in the Arathi tongue (literally meaning "Cup of Unity King"), was one of King Thoradin's prized possessions and treasures, and later, a vessel for the dying King's blood. The cup was originally a gift from a chieftain who submitted to the Great King's rule during the unification of the human tribes, and the Troll Wars. In appearance, the cup's beauty is said to match its reverence and holiness, and has been sought after by treasure hunters and crusaders alike. It is even thought to be one of the last pieces of pure Azotha gold left in the Eastern Kingdoms.

Though myth of the King's death, and perhaps some truth, accompanies this precious artefact. The myth, though its veracity and truthfulness is indeed disputed, nevertheless added to the great hoard of legends that piled on Thoradin's lifetime. The myth so details the events where Thoradin meets a monk and is cured of a great illness, but loses the Grail in order to gain the monk's healing. The pact so made by this exchange is still disputed to this day, and it is unsure whether the Grail is indeed magical or blessed.

Here is the myth, translated from Arathi to the best of my abilities:

"Thoradin was grievously sick. The Great Conqueror King called for apothecaries all around, and indeed they came and bled him many a time but to no avail. It was not until King Thoradin became so desperate and sick that he could no longer lift himself from bed, that he asked for the hermit monk of Hillsbrad, Gavin the Ragged. Gavin was thought of by many in the city as crazy, but among the peasants and freedmen of the countryside, his connection to the Light was so great that he had apparently once brought a dying farmhand back to life.

The knights were dispatched and Gavin sought out. The knights found him upon a hill, tending to a lowly peasant child. Some knights thought him profane, for he was an old and skinny man, who was said to be dirtier than an army cesspit. Not to mention he was nigh-on nude. Though many knights, sons of the high born Strom chieftains, had their reservations of the old monk, they had orders from their Great King to bring him to Strom. So they asked, and were denied: Gavin told the men that he could not leave Hillsbrad while he tended to a child. The knights scoffed at his impertinence, and told Gavin of the importance that King Thoradin had. Still, the monk refused. The knights knew that they could not forcibly move him for he was a former bishop, and so they returned to the capital empty handed to tell the King of their failure.

The King was angry that he had been refused for a poor peasant boy, but still sent many gifts and gracious words to the hermit - no reply came. Eventually, the King had decided to travel to the hermit instead. Many of his family disagreed, though the King had always been an adamant man and his will was made of iron, even if his health was not. So Thoradin went, with an entourage, his warlord Ignaeus insisted, of at least ten apothecaries, twenty servants and forty spearmen. They moved at a slow pace, and it was a slow cost that Thoradin could have done without.

The King finally arrived at the hill very sick indeed, and seemed close to death. Gavin was said to have not even looked at the King before he had finally dealt with the peasant child. By that time, the King was truly on his deathbed. Angry spearmen began to lament, and apothecaries, who had been pulling their very hair strand from root to cure the King, finally wept and gave up. As Gavin turned to the King, the King rose from his deathbed and rebuked the monk, telling him of his importance compared to that of a peasant child's. Gavin watched the King closely and frowned, and replied that he would not place the life of one man above that of another's. The King was angry at Gavin's impudence, but knew what Gavin said was true.

Gavin examined the King with interest, and proclaimed that he must have a possession which the King valued. The King answered with pride that Gavin could not have Arathor, and Gavin shook his head. He pointed to Thoradin's drinking cup, which the servant had been pouring wine into. The cup was indeed precious to Thoradin, for it was Azotha gold and that was rare even then, and its properties were mystical. The King denied the hermit, claiming the cup was too precious. The hermit shrugged, and began to walk away. The King stopped him, knowing that, even if the hermit's powers were a lie, he was indeed the last power here who had not yet failed in healing him.

Gavin took the cup from the servant and placed it by Thoradin as he lay there. Gavin cast a magnificent spell onto the cup, the ritual required for which was said to have taken two days. By which time the illness had made the King delirious, and Gavin made haste to cure him. Gavin asked for a spearman's knife, and used it to prick the skin of the Great, dying King. The blood that drained from the wound was received in the cup which Gavin had held under the King's wound, and as the blood touched the cup, Thoradin arose from his deathbed with renewed vigour and life.

It is said that then Gavin turned to leave with the cup grasped in his hands, and said:

"Let your very soul stand witness to the pact made here on this day. As your blood stains the grail, may the grail stain you. Even through death, which you have cheated this day, the grail will be your summoner. Your soul may escape your maggoted, cumbersome and fleshy frame, for the materials that make man are not permanent, but your spirit may not escape this very grail whose metal will outlast humankind. Blessed is this cup in the Light, and blessed are you now that you have survived. Pay your price to the Light now, and become humanity's King forevermore: So long as the hands of Kings touch and drink from the grail, you and your ancient lineage and future dynasty shall grant them your power."

Without another word, Gavin was not seen ever again.

So ends the myth and the chapter on Thoradin's artefacts."

'Noble Treasons' by Alain LaCorinsEdit

'I presented him with the cup he had asked for, and he had cast it away. His steward's eyes and mine fixed upon the grail as it hit the floor: Who was he? No lord or king, no man who could be answerable to the Light. He was a demon spawned from the foulest pits of hell and conveyed upon the Kingdoms of Men in a flush of sludge and slime. Yet there he sat, a snorting and whining swine atop a throne gilded with gold. His rage had lasted but only a few moments, yet the sacrilege he had dealt with that pudgy hand to such an ancient relic lasted forever in my memory. I was nearly compelled to spit that pig, and roast him over the sweltering fires that kept him comfortable in his realm, the realm of Alterac. However I gripped my heart quickly over my mail coat to seize it and so stop it from pounding hot blooded passion around my body to swell my brain with thoughts of treason. I satisfied myself with taking up the cup, freeing it from the dusty floor which it had been discarded to. Gentle I was in picking it up, for I did not want to scratch that gold surface, that dreamy surface in which the souls of kings lay in a respite of metal. There were only holes where the jewels had been when I rescued the cup, and that was the cause of my Pig King's displeasure.

Torn pages.

He had held it in his sweaty and fat palms and breathed his foul breath over its surface, so as to see the metal's polish. That breath, that stinking, profane and ale-dampened breath; I wished to take it from him as I had done with the grail. Of course he had wanted it really, for he sent for me to bring the cup back one afternoon in the same week. 

Down I came from my tower residence, escorted by the steward, a skinny man, bereft of the comforts of meat and ale that his King lavished in front of him. I pitied the man, for I could see in his eyes he longed to taste the sweet flesh of a roast chicken and gulp it down with a chalice filled with warm ales. Such were the delicacies of kings, I reflected, and I obeyed in handing the King his prize once more. I was a patient man, but even so I was once again rattled by the half-slurred and wheezing voice that echoed out of the great flabby cave of those monstrous jowls. "The jewels!" he wheezed, "I had thought that the cup would be more magnificent." The King paused momentarily, as a small and frightened slave girl wiped some surplus saliva that had coursed its way out of the grease of his lips to run down onto his rolling chins. I opened my mouth to protest, but the King once again spoke, and he luckily ignored my attempt to speak out of turn. "How do we know this is the right one?" Now his swine eyes watched me, instead of the cup, which they had been purusing naught but a few moments ago.

I explained to him my journey, across the fields of Lordaeron. I asked and was laughed at in many places. Called Agrin the Helpless in some. Eventually, when my destrier's limbs wearied, I stopped in a saddle of land below Mardenholde. I rested under an ash tree and there fell asleep. I was graced by a dream, a maiden clothed in a swathe of gold whose eyes shone brightly like gems and precious rocks. I instantly felt desire and lust, so I betrayed by knightly code and reached for her greedily. She stopped me, and the bright movement of her supple and shining limbs checked me so that I sat helpless under her shining sway. "Transgress not upon me, searcher, for I am the star that guides you when your quest's day becomes a hopeless dark. So sets the sun and let slumber come: In this dream stretch out your limbs and do not take me, but follow my path and fear not the dangers of the road, for upon on your once hopeless search, new seeds of direction are sown."

She fluttered then, a wafer-thin gold leaf upon a breeze of happy thoughts and dreams I still chase for in my sleep today. Flew to the east did she, and I was taken with her; lifted up by my ambition as words of joy fluttered in my throat. There was no fear of those heights, such beautiful and inconceivable heights that the greatest gryphons do not grace with valiant wings. From there, we dropped, and for a time it felt as if I had made love with death, for the exhilaration and beating of my heart was too great for a mortal to feel. But I was safe, for instead of plummeting to the ground I plummeted into a lake just south of a small village. T'was then I knew what location I would need to go to. As I awoke I checked for any nymphs or pixies in the forest that could have danced with me, and in so doing, tampered with my dreams so that mischief had been made of my ambitions.

None such creatures were found, and with the knowledge of the dream still fresh in my mind I advanced towards that destination. I do not write its name now for that is where I last left that cup, dropped in the lake again. For as I finish writing this I live a refugee in Lordaeron. Safe, perhaps, from the Alterac's vengeful hands. I had finished my recanting of the story to that King, and then he knew the cup to be true.

Torn pages.

The hateful steward, spurred on by my encouragements, had carved his King into pork. The slave girl only assisted him, her tiny hands gripping a dagger that tore up the jowls she had once wiped, and it was not until the guards restrained them that they found I had gone, and with it, the cup.'

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