Sharn Inquisitive01/24/2005

Researchers Crack Code of Vvaraak
News for Far, Zarantyr 6th, 998

SHARN -- A Morgrave University team led by Antiquities Professor Casimir ir'Tannan announced on Wir that they've decoded the Code of Vvaraak, a puzzle that has fascinated cryptographers, linguists, and historians for decades.

The Code, created more than five thousand years ago by a dragon named Vvaraak, is found on inscriptions in ruins across Khorvaire.

"The characters and symbols in the code correspond to no known ancient language," ir'Tannan said. "But we thought we recognized some patterns in the syntax -- the order in which the symbols were strung together."

The key to cracking the code, ir'Tannan said, was accumulating Khorvaire's largest collection of Vvaraak antiquities. Morgrave University used its own researchers, expeditions from the Wayfarer Foundation, and independent explorers to copy or acquire examples of Vvaraak's inscriptions.

"If you're going to decrypt something, it's important to get the largest sample you can," ir'Tannan said.

Vvaraak's inscriptions can be found on ruins across Khorvaire, ir'Tannan said. The Lost City of Harad-Nui off the Qbarran coast, the ruined Mines of Blazegold in the Mror Holds, and the Seals of Aal'drash in the Shadow Marches have extensive examples of the Code of Vvaraak.

One remaining puzzle: Why the Code of Vvaraak resisted divination magic.

"We employed all sorts of divinations, but even efforts to commune or contact other plane didn't get us anywhere," ir'Tannan said. "In the end, it came down to a lot of brute-force cryptography and the extraordinary ingenuity of my team."

The team's findings, along with a complete lexicon for the Code of Vvaraak, will be published over the next several months, ir'Tannan said.

"Just as we're standing on the shoulders of great historians who came before us, I hope that our discoveries inspire the next generation of students," ir'Tannan said.

But reaction from the academic community was mixed. Athuran Happlestep, history professor emeritus at the University of Korranberg, called the effort to decrypt the Code of Vvaraak "typical Morgave irresponsibility."

"We know so little of Vvaraak, but we do know this: It trapped or killed a lot of strange monsters from far-off dimensions," he said. "Now that anyone can read Vvaraak's inscriptions, what's to keep tomb robbers from opening a bunch of mystic seals and unleashing horrors that the world hasn't seen for thousands of years?"

About the Author

David Noonan is a designer/developer for Wizards of the Coast. Before coming to Wizards, he was a daily newspaper reporter in Washington state. Apparently the city hall beat is good practice for an Eberron campaign.

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