The Mehi Codex is a large collection of scrolls and metal "books" found in a cache in the Barrier Range. All the pieces of the cache are considered contemporary with each other, and date to within a few years of 2377 B.G.A.. While essentially a random collection of documents, since all the pieces date come from the same era they are typically assembled into a single book when reprinted for study.
The codex is not a single book, but in fact a series of unrelated documents, each a few dozen pages and bound with
The story of the codex and its miraculous preservation and discovery begins with the location in which it was found.
Mehi was a small mountain village whose population numbered at most 300, located in an extension of the barrier Range between the Lacados Rift Valley and the Agras Plain. The treacherous mountains made Mehi unreachable by carriage or later motor vehicles, and the site was considered "too unimportant" to construct a modern road. For its modern history, the village was reachable only through a series of daunting mountain trails.
During the industrial revolution of the Golden Age, the remote village fell on hard times, and was eventually abandoned. Not before, however, it was incorporated, assigned postal codes, and generally officially listed as an Alliance settlement.
The village remained on Alliance maps, but numerous landslides quickly wiped out the single trail that made the village accessible. Over a millennium would pass before it would see human traffic again.
In A.Y. 2178, the author Writz Castle wrote a generally poorly-received light novel based on a highly fictionalized account of Mehi's settlement and eventual abandonment. Writz had actually based his entire story on having over heard a few-sentence-long account of the village decades earlier.
But every book has at least one die-hard fan, and in this case it was a youth named Howard Winkle. At seventeen, Winkle and six friends set off to re-discover "The Lost City of Mehi". This was not actually a particularly challenging quest for Winkle, as the town was still listed on Alliance maps.
The real problem was getting there, and the reason Winkle's journey waited until seventeen, instead of fourteen when he found Mehi on a map. Winkle was an accomplished outdoorsmen and a capable mountaineer by seventeen, and his party had little trouble reaching the site of the old village.
Mehi had never been formally surveyed or charted, and was largely abandoned by the time it became an official Alliance settlement. When Winkle and his team arrived, they were surprised to find well-preserved stone buildings dating back into the Mage Wars. Winkle and Company carefully photo-documented the entire settlement, as well as filming hours of video and, playing amateur archaeologist, took measurements.
Winkle wrote a book and put together a documentary on Mehi, all before he was eighteen. He went to university and studied history and archeology, and in A.Y. 2185, he led the first real expedition back to Mehi.
Finding the Codex
During his years at university, Winkle used his pictures and measurements from Mehi to prove that the original site dated to at least the mid Intermediate Period, essentially between the first chaotic and dynastic periods.
Upon his return to Mehi, Winkle concluded that the village was a remote outpost military during the Intermediate Period, by some now long-forgotten civilization, and later resettled by the Marcon Alliance, who built an impromptu Mage Tower on a hillside.
During this excavation, Winkle was digging in a cave when he came across a large terracotta pot. Its location in the cave was underneath a layer of stones from a dynastic-era burial, indicating that it definitely predated the Alliance settlement.
As terracotta was not native to the area, it was a somewhat perplexing find. Since it had clearly been carefully sealed, Winkle decided to pack the pot out and open it at his lab at home, in case the contents required preservation. This turned out to be a very wise move, as the climate around Mehi Village was very moist and the jar contained paper scrolls.
Once opened, the pot was found to be stuffed with natron, bound scrolls, and metal books. The great antiquity of the find, the state of preservation, and the incredible fortune Winkle had to bring the find back intact, essentially made his career.
Winkle would spend the next fifty years painstakingly preserving, copying, and translating the codex, finally assembling it into book-form by joining the desperate documents into a rough chronological order.
The Codex itself is made up of several military manuals, personal letters, and even part of a diary, as well as various other documents. All of them are originals, and all date to within a roughly five-year period (the exception being the metal books, which could be considerably older).
Later historians would criticize Winkle for for assembling the documents into a single book, implying that some relationship existed between them where none was known, but Winkle responded by saying "It was always my intention to bring the find into the broad public light, how else did you expect me to do this? The form of the codex is intended to be accessed by the lay-person, for the scholar the originals have been carefully preserved.".