|The Bone Collector shard, after becoming Accomplished,|
underwent a slight change in nomenclature. Where once
there was a brutal scourge of the undead now stood a learned
sage of the necromantic arts -- and other secrets.
Of course, I'm adjusting this from the Isle Imperium perspective (which was shard-centric) to a more standard Fantasy milieu, so that knowledge is a bit more rarified I suppose. Not just any adventurer will know it.
Most of them look like elongated crystals, just large enough to jut out from either end of a clasped fist. If you look closely, they're flecked with some kind of silver-gold metal; if you look closer, you might see geometric patterns of that metal inside the shards.
They're called shards, but others have called them power stones, magic rocks, godstones, and so on. It doesn't matter what they're called -- what matters is what they can do.
What they can do -- if you're a viable mount -- is transform you into something more than a mere mortal. And it's more than the garish costumes and frightful armor and strange transformations that shard mounts have to endure -- if you're new to shards and bearing them as a mount, you're only slightly more powerful than normal -- granted access to greater strength and toughness, given one or two magical abilities, and so on. The veteran shard bearers can give high level mages a run for their money, and it's said that some mages are shard mounts as well.
Without the shards, however, the mounts are just as human as before -- but don't think that it's easy to unshard a sharded mount. It seems only truly powerful beings and other sharded mounts can perform forced unshardings -- and shard mounts consider the act worse than rude: it's murderous by their standards, since unhealed damage and uncured illnesses are transferred onto their frail normal forms in full force.
- shard mounts can tell shards apart by memorizing the fleck patterns of their shard collections;
- different shards grant different abilities;
- shard mounts must select which shard abilities they will have access to for a given period of time -- some say this period is every 6 hours, others say it's every 8 or 12 hours;
- shard mounts can internalize abilities from different shards through a secret process, allowing them to access abilities from other shards they've borne when wearing a different shard;
- there are limits to the number of different abilities open to a shard mount, especially when mixing internalized abilities and current-shard abilities -- though there are supposedly ways to extend those limits;
- some shards will not allow shard mounts to select internalized shard abilities from other shards -- it's theorized there is a mystical opposition between the sources of these abilities;
- there are families of shards that certain shard scholars feel should be brought together;
- there are families of shards taht certain shard scholars feel should never be brought together;
- loyalty to a favored shard allows a mount to refine / accomplish / essentialize a shard -- it transforms into a similar, yet more powerful version of itself and gives the shard mount access to newer, more powerful abilities (and perhaps a change in shard wardrobe);
- all shards have two names -- a mystic name and a common name;
- a common name is said to be the translated version of the mystic name;
- if a shard's common name is different, even slightly, from the translated version of the mystic name (which is only learned via shard scholars and sages), then the true nature of the shard is being hidden for some unknown reason;
- shards have favored mounts, and mounts have favored shards;
- not all shards may be borne by shard mounts -- some have hidden requirements;
- unused shards can devolve into simpler versions of themselves after a time;
- fractured shards can drive their mounts insane;
- shard abilities can sometimes act in accord -- and are more powerful when more shards share that mystic accord;
- shards require a specific mystical framework to operate in, and are inert in certain locations;
- shards represent abilities and powers from ages gone by, allowed to work in the current time by the power of the mystical shard framework;
- shards represent abilities and powers from spheres and realms beyond our own, forced to work in our reality by the secrets and subtleties of the mystical shard framework.