Inaill Icoryk, hunter of artifacts, hefted the scrying stone with one fist, peering into the gloom of Nektulos Forest . The grey, gauzy haze made finding evidence of the artifacts more difficult. Difficult, but not impossible.
There! Inaill's tail twitched slightly as he made his calculations before moving toward the shimmering rainbow undulating over the forest floor. The stone quivered slightly in Inaill's hand before crumbling into dust. Inaill nodded, gathering yet another artifact to add to his store of valuables.
"What's that rock do?" asked Hennah, the young halfling girl who had been trailing after Inaill all morning.
"This is a scrying stone," Inaill explained. "I use it to find things that we cannot see."
"You mean things that aren't there?" Hennah's eyes widened.
"Things that are always there, but hidden from our eyes." Inaill's tail flicked casually. He narrowed his eyes. "Occasionally, these stones find unseen beings as well."
"Unseen people? Gh...ghosts?"
Hennah hesitated, wavering between fear and curiosity. In a low, cautious voice she asked, "Can I have one?"
"They are not gifts to be given freely," Inaill said. "Though I am willing to part with them, for the right price."
"You're going to sell them? I know folks that would pay for them rocks!"
"Buyers are always welcome. Now, you must run along, little one. When the runes glow in a certain way, I may need to use all my skills to remain alive. I might not have time to save you, too."
With a huge gulp, Hennah backed away from the Iksar. "I was going now anyway. Good luck with your rocks!"
"Luck has nothing to do with this process," thought Inaill. The stones that he and his ratonga partner Liets discovered focused energies created deep underground by ancient artifacts. After much trial and error, he and Liets managed to concentrate the essence of the stones, which now led them further and further afield.
As he and Liets travelled, they gathered information on how the stones reacted but the questions still remained: Why? How exactly did they work? Were they chunks of the shattered moon or of something else entirely?
"Whatever they are, they will sell for a high price!" Inaill gloated. He removed another rune-etched stone from his satchel, weighing it in his hand.
The stones were small yet heavy and smooth except for the etchings. No one knew whose hand had created these orbs or for what original purpose. They served Inaill and Liets well, though, since many of the artifacts they recovered were somewhat valuable – at least, to them.
Inaill surveyed the area, searching for another manifestation of the focused energies. The veils of light were difficult to see in the gloom of Nektulos Forest, yet he knew the area held a high concentration of the right energy. Turning towards his left, Inaill saw that Hennah had returned and brought a curious crowd with her.
"They want to buy the rocks," she said simply. "And see the sparkly lights."
"Do they really?" Inaill smiled, his thin scaled lips pressing against his yellowing teeth with pleasure. "I have several of these scrying stones and will be happy to share them with your friends…for a price."
The group clamored for his attention and Inaill laughed inwardly as the buyers wandered away with their scrying stones. Hennah chattered away, describing what she'd seen Inaill doing earlier and he did not correct her misconceptions. Let the fools take these lesser scrying stones. Let them do the work for him.
"Don't forget!" he called after them as they wandered away, holding their stones like precious icons. "Bring me back any artifact you find; I will reward you!"
"And I will be rich in artifacts and power," Inaill added to himself with a satisfied hiss. "I shall be rich, indeed."