The Book of Lore
"Heaven to Ocean, Ocean to Earth, Earth back to Heaven"
The Book of Lore is an ancient and supremely valuable book dating from the very end of the age of Myth. Legend holds that after the Breaking of the World, a number of books were written and widely distributed to the survivors. Among them was the Book of Lore, which told the whole history of the era. Against all odds, the book survived into modern day, where it became known as "The rarest, most valuable tome you can probably find in your local book store's clearance bin".
An actual, in-tact copy of the original book of lore would be beyond priceless. What survived was not that.
Swords of Lore
Everyone knows of Echbalder, but there were others. Legend had it that when they cast their fire on Echbalder, they had also made two other swords. Iall, the sword of Justice, and Shenti, the sword of Liberty. These same ideals would alter be adopted by the Slayer Dragons.
The existence of the three swords was widely known, but long troubled scholars: why three swords when four Kings existed? In the late Sixth Age the answer was found: the long-sought Soul Stealer was actually a mythical sword of lore called Adon-Rey, the Sword of the Soul, or Soul-Bender. This secret was only known by Hunter Jusenkyou, who could not prove it for some time.
The eldest, by date, copy of the Book of Lore existed on M'KHara sometime during the pre-dynastic era. A nineteenth-edition of it was confirmed to exist in 4150 B.G.A. (a point of time considered by some to still be within Classic Antiquity).
The M'KHaren version was originally translated from Scholar (a "high" form of the Ancient language) into High M'KHaren. The two languages are so different in sentence structure a basic composition as to be completely incompatible; any translation would be effectively useless. In truth, there has never been an "expert" on both languages able to make a determination. Ancient Scholar is a highly contextual language: a word's meaning is dependent on its placement in the sentence and the other words around it; a well-assembled sentence can even convey the tone and candor of a message. By contrast, High M'KHaren is extremely pedantic, with a wide array of words and word-modifiers. A word in High M'KHaren has only one very specific meaning, which can lead to dozens (and in some cases hundreds) of words for basically the same thing. Any attempt to translate between the two is doomed to fail.
Yet translated it was; then copied down through several editions and iterations, until finally being translated into Low M'KHaren, then into an as-yet unknown, dead language for several generations, then back into Low M'KHaren, then Ancient Runarin, Middle Runarin, Low Runarin, Modern Runarin, and finally Common.
What survives is not pretty.
The book is essentially a collection of fables and tall tales. There is a narrative structure, but character names, locations, and even many of the supposed nuances are longer remotely clear. Even the early Common editions are lost, and at some point in the Golden Age the book was heavily re-written to ensure all the stories within it made sense. Scholars who study the book have concluded that any useful historic information is long gone; and the current book, in all its extent forms, is of no value in learning about pre-history.
- Nathan Searlin is thought to have owned a copy, based on a passage from one of his surviving journals: "[the book] is impossibly ancient... it's antiquity is so great that I cannot breath when I look upon it. I feel I can very nearly read it, its words are not so foreign to me. If my life ever grants me the time to study it, I will unlock it's secrets." - Scholars believe he is referting to a text called "The CostamoGuinn" which is thought to have existed as part of Arch Mage Vizzentnm's arcane stores, stolen by Nathan at some point in his life. Vizzentmn called the CostamoGuinn "older than time itself" and claimed he found it in an ancient cache of books in "the unreadable hand of the Road Builders". Scholars believe this copy may date to very early Greater Antiquity, and perhaps be less than a thousand year's removed from the original text. Many of Nathan's books later made their way to the Library of Arindell, possibly the Book of Lore among them.
- Like many impossibly rare things, the Gudersnipe Foundation is suspected of owning a copy. No information exists on where they obtained it, how old it is, or what language it's in, but sources working within Gudersnipe School's archives say "Probably".
The Late Second Hoax
During the late Second Age, a short-lived but viralent fad swept the multi-verse that involved college students sneaking the titles of lost and rare books into their university library indexes. "Book of Lore, IIIrd Ed." was the most popular, with many variations. At the time it was recognized as a joke, and the vast majority of these false indices were expunged from the records. It did not help that most universities DID include modern translations of the book.
Four millennia later; this hoax is still infuriating historians as they continue the search for an ancient copy of the book. Numerous scholars have spent years (in one case, even a decade) of paintstaking research, only to trace the lead back to a college prank. One particular historian working in the Sixth Age was so enraged when it happened to him that he quite academia entirely, and became the manager of a chain of fast food restaurants.