True, true, true. And this has really
gotten off-topic from 'Unique Artifacts' I'll get to the powers of the Shard soon, but this idea is really fun to write up
So, let me present to you my next, if somewhat less rooted idea
The Book of deMorne Book of Ages, The new Grimoire
Once upon a time, there lived a wizard called Julin deMorne. He was a dark man in many ways, bitter and twisted by time and many failures on his part. He was powerful, well respected in his work as Capitan of the Royal Guard. All he could see were the things he could not affect. Corrupt officials whose guilt he could never prove. Bandits who fled before he could end their worthless lives. Guardsmen who would happily hang children and let the guilty go free so long as they were well compensated for it. At his heart DeMorne was a noble man, who strove to uphold law and justice, but he saw only the evils of this world, and was rarely able to appreciate it's betterqualities.
Yet one day, this blackened wizard found someone to care for. Her name was Jaquline, and she worked as a scribe in the royal library. It was hardly unusual for DeMorne to spend time there, so he started to speak with this radient figure. And she was everything he'd first thought of her. Charming, good-natured, and enraptured with the history she copied so often. She happily talked for an hour of the battle of Temple Hill before Julin was called away to his duties. The wizard left enraptured, stricken with love, but...
She is too naive, too caught up with her fanciful tales of bold knights and noble magi. She needs to understand the truth. The way things are, have always been, will always be. Otherwise...
He shuddered to think of how many ways black hearted rogues could play on so sweet a soul. He could not let that happen. She... would thank him later, surely.
So the cynical Sir Julin decided to show his beloved the truth of history. For a task such as this, he spared nothing. He combed every text he could think of, every account, every tale, looking for a way to demonstrate the blackness of the world as he saw it. But none seemed sufficient. These books were just facts, statistics, nothing that could even hope to break the delusions Jaquline surrounded herself with.
That was when it came to him. Only magic, divination of the purest sort, could provide the kind of revelation he sought. The library's spellbooks produced nothing, but perhaps instead he could create something suitable
Yes, a book. A book that showed the truth of the world, of history and the future alike.
So DeMorne set about creating his masterpiece. He took a selection of the greatest, most well regarded histories from the library, and burned them in his quarters. They glorified the world, they did not understand it, With their ash, he summoned the darker things that truly defined the mortal races; greed, pride, fear and hatred. These things he bound into the remains of a half-burnt spellbook, yet as the ritual finished, the binding seemingly began to mend itself, and pages of thick dark paper seemingly grew back into place..
Now, DeMorne was not a fool. He knew that magic can deceive as easily as illuminate. So before he rushed to fetch Jaquline, he gave one command to the book, a command that defined it forever.
"Show nothing but the truth"
There was a faint sound as Julin left. Almost like laughter
Extract from Cautionary Tales of Human Lands
; written by Gavlin Rockblade, and published throughout Dwarfen Alliance territory (insert date here)
Sometimes called 'The Black Oracle', the Book of Ages does indeed possess that power. It is a mighty device of divination, containing the essences of a host of demons within, all of which are charged with a singular task. To show the truth of things to any inquiring reader. Be this the facts surrounding some past event, or possible events that lie in the future, precious little lies beyond the book's sight. Those who peruse the book, with an question in mind, find themselves envelouped by it, as the spirits that provide power to the artifact take them within to demonstrate their answer directly. Thus, someone with inquiries about the outcome of the battle of Temple Hill would be transported to an illusiory version of the battle, in which their answer can be seen directly.
There is one limitation on the book's power, and one drawback to it's use. The limitation being the simple fact that the demons within have no power to grasp the minds of the beings they study. Questions about thought or emotion are harder to determine, unless they were clearly expressed at some point
The downside to this is quite simple, not only is the book powered by immortal personifications of greed, pride, fear and hate, but it was created by a man who could only ever perceive the world in shades of black. All visions seen through the Book of Ages are distorted, blackened, designed to show the reader DeMorne's 'truth', that the noble will die without reward, whilst the corrupt and selfish prosper. The difference being that whilst DeMorne was a noble soul, who was merely pessimistic, the book has no such pretensions towards virtue.
Oh, and whilst they can't see into the minds of others, the daemons of the book can see very clearly into the mind of any user, their history as well as their active thoughts. Willingly reading the book forfeits any protection against such things. And they will exploit that knowledge if at all possible, either to break the reader, or to leave them more... enlightened, as to the ways of the world.