From Istaria Lexica
One of the gifted
"Ryson tells you, Indeed -- the very reason you are standing before me now is evidence of your possession of the Gift. You see, there are those of us in Istaria who have been given the ability to circumvent the process normally associated with death. Those who have this ability are said to have the Gift... hence why they are referred to as being Gifted. No one ever knows that they have this ability until it is... tested, as it were, within us. Usually, this comes in the form of an untimely passing, often through not-so-gentle means. You have died somehow... though your soul and your physical body have not departed for the Realm of Spirit as it should. Instead, you stand before me, about to explore Spirit Isle. You are close to the discovery of your true destiny... this should be an exciting time for you! Well, there is the fact that you just recently died, but really, that is such a minor point now compared to what lies in front of you!"
"Ryson tells you, This temple and island were constructed shortly after the incantation of the Ritual of Life Everlasting, the source of the Gifted's emergence in Istaria. The purpose of the island is to assist you, Gifted one, in learning about the new world you find yourself in, and what roles you may wish to fulfill. Beyond me in are trainers for the various basic professions you may engage. There are two roles we all play in this world -- that of Adventuring, and that of Crafting. You will choose to join one of the schools of either of these roles, or perhaps a member of a school from both. The ultimate decision is, of course, yours; once you learn what the schools have to offer you, and what in turn you will best offer Istaria as one of the Gifted, you may then embark into the world and forge your own destiny."
Ritual of Life Everlasting
"Ryson tells you, It pleases me to see that you are inquisitive about the new world you find yourself in, Gifted one. Very well -- what is the Ritual, you ask? what history can I impart upon you? If you are interested in learning more, then please, let me share with you what I know. Otherwise, I will fulfill my duties and tell you about this Island and the temple of Istara."
What I know
"Ryson tells you, The Ritual of Life Everlasting was the arcane ritual developed and performed by two of the Eight Mages of Istaria -- the leaders of the various magical arts within the world. The Ritual was orginally designed as a means to bring arcane forces to bear in our struggle against the forces of Blight, as represented by the Withered Aegis. You could say the the Ritual was a failure, in that it did not do what it was originally intended, in stifling the power of Blight on the Prime. The amazing and permament changes to our way of life propogated by the Ritual were unknown, and in fact, quite a surprise once the final incantations were performed."
Changes to our way of life
"Ryson tells you, Once the final rites of the Ritual were enacted, everything changed for Istaria's inhabitants, though we were noen the wiser to this change. Today, scholars believe that the Ritual brought forth a subtl, yet all-encompassing element of the Realm of Energy on to the Prime itself. This element reacted to the strong infestation of the Realm of Blight upon the world by, as far as we have been able to determine, permeating the world's essence with a mix of energy and life magic. This in turn triggered a shift in the paradigm of existence of every living being on Istaria."
Paradigm of existence
"Ryson tells you, Well, I should say, there was a potential for a change; not everyone was affected by the Ritual. Very few actually went through this change and even then the change was subtle. No one knew this was even happening, let alone to whom. The single biggest change was the gift of virtual immortality to those affected. Some believe that the Gift, as we now call it, is the spark of an infantile divinity; others feel it is just the next step in a continual evolutionary process of the Living Races. Whatever it is, the effects of the Gift are undeniable. Indeed, Gifted one, I should be proof of that to you."
The effects of the the Gift
"Ryson tells you, Well, Like I mentioned, you cannot die. At least, you cannot die by a violent means. Upon your untimely demise, you will either be resurrected by the way of magic, or you will appear at the location where you last tethered your soul. Shrines are often locations to which you may bind your soul to. Because this is the first time you have died, your soul had no tether point. As such, souls like that come here, to the Great Hall. Once you tether your soul, you will return to that point when you die, though worse for wear. As one of the Gifted, you now also no longer need to eat or drink to sustain yourself, though many of the gifted still derive pleasure and sometimes benefit from doing so. You also no longer age... we think. Well if the Gifted are aging, it is at a considerably slowed rate than normal beings. Because of this you are, in lieu of a better word, immortal."
I should be proof
"Ryson tells you, I, like you, am Gifted.. was Gifted. Well maybe I still am. Honestly I do not know anymore. It has been ten years since the Battle of Tazoon, and ever since that fateful day for me, I have existed in this... limbo. I am neither alive, nor dead. I am not one of the Living Races anymore, but my being has neither succumbed to the "undeath" of Blight, nor has it made the final journey to the Realm of Spirit. I exist, but I do not. Maybe it had something to do with the detonation of the Artifact -- that is what the Eight Mages seem to think -- but nevertheless, here I am."
The detonation of the Artifact
"Ryson tells you, It is I who activated what everyone now simply refers to as "the Artifact" in the heart of the Undead Horde. The Withered Aegis had begun their siege against the very heart of the Living Races itself, Tazoon. Years before this, I had discovered qutie painfully that I was one of the Gifted; I never had such the opportunity for training as you do now, Gifted one... But, I digress. The Artifact was a vessel of tremendous power; many believe the Artifact was actually a portal to the Realm of Energy, and I must admit that theory holds the most weight with me."
Realm of Energy
"Ryson tells you, I and my comrades in arms, the Protectorate, suspected the Artifact to be such a portal. Because the Realm of Energy is a vast, chaotic source of unbridled essence, we thought that its activation would generate tremendous, destructive power when released. This released power could very well disintegrate whatever was in proximity of it. This is especially true if there were beings present that represented the antithesis of Energy, that being Blight. In fact, we counted on the fact that a destructive chain reaction would occur, should the Artifact be used in the midsts of the blighted ones. Since I discovered that I was Gifted, I thought there was a very small chance I might survive the point blank activation of the Artifact. Well... I was right. Sort of."
Point blank activation
"Ryson tells you, The Withered Aegis had rampaged throughout the lands west of the Great Barrier for years, decimating everything in their path. We, however, had begun to learn about the Gift, and the Gifted had begun to develop and understand their powers. Even with the Gift, we faced an overwhelming foe in the Withered Aegis. Their leader, Torrin Macalir, was once a brilliant Sorcerer and leader of the Human Society. He eschewed his soul for the powers of Blight, and it corrupted him to the core. Still he understood the Living Races, something the beings from the Realm of Blight could not comprehend. Much like Blight is an alien existence to the Prime, so is the Prime to the Blight. He used that against us, quickly emerging as the outright leaded of the Aegis itself in their war against the Living Races."
War against the Living Races
"Ryson tells you, Tazoon was where we were going to take back what had been taken from us, perhaps for the first time ever during the Lament. I remember seeing Fiend fight along side Human, something I thought I would have only seem amongst my own comrades. Even the aloof Dragons fought with us that day, both Helian and Lunus. We were the Living Races, unified for the first time. It was shaping up, however, to be the last time; the Aegis had all the momentum and they were winning the day. It was becoming readily apparent that our newfound unity was perhaps too little, too late."
Too little, too late
"Ryson tells you, The history books do not accurately depict how pitched the battle was. The fighting was fierce, and we were still losing ground. Our backs were almost against the wall.. literally. Something had to be done, and I knew I was the one who had to do it. I took the Artifact and removed myself from the presence of my comrades. I unsheathed my long sword and charged square into the heart of the advancing Horde, alone. None of my comrades would have wanted me to do what I did, but such a sacrifice is not to understand; it is simply to be done, and done it had to be. I made my way through what felt like a legion of zombies, skeletons and all sort of indescribable blighted denizen. I knew that my destiny was laid before me."
"Ryson tells you, The Undead Horde sensed I carried something terrifying to them, and they mostly gave me a wide berth. Those that did not tasted my blade, and my blade was swift that day, As I ventured deeper into the Horde's ranks, I entered what I think was a blight maelstrom. Normally, they are stationary anomalies, but this one seemed to move, like a putrid, foul fog across the battlefiedl. After entering the maelstrom, I found myself in what seemed to be the heart of a command regiment. The foul beings I saw were no mere lackeys of the Withered Aegis, but rather the Aegis themselves. I... I swear... I felt the Artifact grow warmer. It was humming... almost singing to me. At first, I did not understand why. I only thought that detonating it here would buy us some time, and perhaps even turn the tide of the battle. Then, I saw him."
I saw him
"Ryson tells you, Whom did I see you ask? It was Torrin Macalir himself, Gifted one. I recognised his sallow face the moment I saw it. There were many drawings, etching, and carvings of him done over the years, especially with the onset of the Lament. It was important to know the face of the enemy, as we were taught by our teachers and superiors. I never thought that I would actually see his face for real... that painfully close to me. I knew that Istara's Hands had shielded me from harm for a reason, and now I knew that reason. Oh, there was no question of what had to be done next, my friend."
What had to be done next
"Ryson tells you, I held the Artifact high above my head as I looked Macalir square in his shocked, hate-filled eyes. The Artifact was by now emitting wondrous music, as though a virtual chorus was embedded within. Without a second thought otherwise, I cracked open the seal. I, and everything around me, was engulfed in a warm and bright light. I then felt a hot rush of energy wash over me, and then... well that is all I remember. As we all know now, the Artifact had done its job. It destroyed the maelstrom, the Aegis' command regiment, and Torrin Macalir to boot. It also destroyed a large number of the Undead Horde, and a substantial chunk fo the desert. You can still see the crater of the explosion outside the wall of Tazoon to this day. Anyway, the battle was essentially over, and the Living Races had won the day in a way they had never imagined."
The living Races had won the day
"Ryson tells you, Well, along with everything else, I was slain. As far as anyone can tell, my physical form was forever destroyed by the unleashing of such raw energy, even though I was one of the gifted. The Gift affects more than just the physical body though... and thus, here I am. I find myself unable to re-tether my soul, though without a physical manifestation, I have pretty much transcended death itself. It is clear to me that Istara wishes for me to remain here, to guide the newly discovered Gifted such as yourself though their ascension. I continue to serve as best as I can; one day, I am sure, Istara will come for me, as she will for all her children, and take us to our promised and final destinies. Anyway, that is all I am able to share with you on this. Would you like fr me to tell you about the purpose of this Temple again? If not, then I wish you the best, Gifted one. Your destiny lies on the horizon before you!"
"Ryson tells you, The Adventuring schools are made up of many different professions, with the basic ones serving as a foundation for our society. Adventurers are those who choose the paths of valor and glory, often in the face of overwhelming odds. The basic Adventuring schools are: Cleric, Scout, Warrior, and Mage. If you wish to learn more about these schools, then you should speak to Cellardus, who stands behind me. He is here to assist you in discovering what each school entails, and what you might expect from being a member."
"Ryson tells you, The Crafting Schools are the foundation of Istarian trade and commerce. Those who choose to wield tools instead of weapons not only help keep the wheels of our progress turning, but also are just as vital in our continual efforts to reclaim the lands sundered by the Withered Aegis. While there are many different and distinct schools for a crafter, there are three basic school we offer in this hall: Blacksmith, Outfitter and Scholar. Each one of these schools plays a vital role in the reclamation and growth of Istara; Gravus has made himself available to you, to explain the schools fully."
Forge your own destiny
"Ryson tells you, I recommend you take your time and explore this island fully; both trainers here have dedicated themselves to your edification, Gifted one. Once you are finished with this island, you can proceed down the road to the Travel Gate on the southwest end of the island. Before you leve, I recommend you return here to speak with me as I have some parting wisdom for you. From there, your destiny is in your hands. You have the power to make of it what you will. I am more than happy to explain the purpose of this island and Temple again, need you for me to do so. Otherwise, I wish you the safe travels and prosperous future, Gifted one. May Istara's Hands shelter you in these trying times."