Origins of the Qualis GemEdit
The storm raged against the cold stone walls of the castle.
Echoes of thunder rumbled down cheerless corridors and into the great hall, where revealing
shadows danced across rough stone walls to the silent music of flickering torches.
Althea sat alone beside the pool, clutching a finely-patterned wool shawl to ward off the damp chill.
“I hear you, Qualis,” she said simply. She looked up into the high rafters where the shadows deepened, untouched by the torchlight.
Above her, the snap and whir of leathery wings announced the descent of a small dragon. It touched down beside her, its sharp, curved claws scraping against the flagstones.
“Why do you not rest?” rasped Qualis.
“The storm keeps me wakeful. It reminds me of the night we lost our father, my brother and I,” said Althea, as she turned her gaze from the dragon back to the still water of the pool.
The mere-dragon regarded her silently, as she drifted into memories of her past. The pain of her sacrifice was still fresh, and as she thought back on all she'd given up, a solitary tear slid down her cheek.
The dragon watched her grief in bewilderment. He had lived with this elf-woman for years and still she remained an enigma. He could not comprehend her strong ties to her own kind, particularly her unbreakable link to her hatch-brother. He knew of the mysteries and the will. He understood the loose kinship of his kind, love of the hunt, the need every twenty winters to seek out a mate, but Althea's behavior was inexplicable.
He wondered, and not for the first time, if she was mentally defective or had a disease which caused a sickness of spirit.
He felt a familiar touch upon his mind then, a gentle shifting of perception, and knew that the Oracle was again coming to inhabit his consciousness. He had long ago ceased fighting this inner interloper. For centuries he had struggled against this possession, and always in vain. The futility of this resistance was at last borne upon him, and he discovered that cooperation was of mutual benefit.
Now, out of habit, he simply relaxed and cleared his mind.
“Althea, you are in pain,” rasped the Oracle through Qualis.
Althea started, as she always did when the Oracle took control of the dragon’s body without warning.
“Yes, “ she began, “I suppose I am. The storm has brought back so many sorrowful memories.”
“I know that it is still difficult for you, however willingly your choice was made. Yet poor Qualis does not understand, and is disturbed by your grief,” the Oracle said.
She felt the warm, familiar touch in her mind, and let the Oracle enter her consciousness. The room began to fade around her, and she slipped peacefully into the black.
When she opened her eyes again, it was morning. The storm had passed, and brilliant sunlight had banished the torch shadows from the great hall. The air smelled fresh and clean, with a hint of the rain still lingering.
Sitting on his haunches and surrounded by glittering, sapphire-hued gems was Qualis, perched with wings folded back and forearms resting upon his knees. “I am going to release Qualis to himself now. Please be gentle with him, as he is deeply distressed.” said the Oracle.
Althea looked at the Oracle-Qualis in confusion. “Why is he distressed? And what are these?” she asked, as she indicated the dozens of glowing gems, scattered like shimmering raindrops about the room.
“I allowed Qualis to experience your sorrow, Althea. Dragons, even clever mere-dragons, are incapable of understanding elven emotion. Their needs are simple, and they lack the emotive expression of your kind. These gems are the tears that Qualis shed when he experienced your pain.
Still confused, Althea said, “Dragons feel no sorrow, nor do they shed tears!”
“Do not and can not are worlds apart, my dear. For last night, this little dragon did. Once Qualis is more composed, he will undoubtedly slink off to sulk, so please pick up this litter of gems. I believe that they just may be useful one day.”
There are four ways to obtain Qualis Gems:
- One can be found in the hidden chest in Rane. Regardless of whether an NPC has told you about the hidden chest, it will be there.
- One can be found at the Red Brotherhood hideout you can find out about from an NPC. It is possible to hear about more than one hideout, but only the first will have a gem. The hideout does not spawn unless you pay an NPC for the map. To get this gem you must look for a chest just beside the entrance to the cavern. While you should kill all the bandits present in the hideout, it is possible to loot the chest at any time - therefore looting it as soon as possible reduces the risk of losing the Qualis gem should you be knocked out.
- More than likely, you'll get most of your Qualis Gems from Unique Spawns. You must capture the NPC in question (Prisoner Management is helpful here), speak to them while they are your prisoner and then you will be given the option to take the gem. More information on unique spawns can be found on the appropriate page.
- Once you have access to Elacrai, you can participate in the tournaments held the first 4 days every month. Among the excellent prizes, there is a 20% chance to win a Qualis Gem.
- Eyegrim the Devourer and The Three Seers will always die in the battle field (no capture chance), but a capture roll with be thrown. For every time it is a success after the first time, you will be granted a Qualis Gem (the first one for each will grant CKO unlocks, check more here, in Generic Spawns)
There are also numerous things you can do once you've acquired a Qualis Gem:
- Once you have accepted relations (10 or better) with the Noldor, you can use one Qualis Gem to open up Quigfen's inventory of Noldor items. His inventory is fixed across all games, and one gem opens up his shop for the entire game.
- You can also use a gem to hire Noldor adventurers are available from Quigfen. Note that you must spend a gem to even see what mercenaries are available; there will always be three options. For the same price, once you unlock Elacrai, you choose and hire a greater amount of adventurers from Arandur. Both Quigfen and Arandur will give more troops if you give with the Qualis Gem, one Noldor Trade Goods. To check numbers, go to the NTG page.
- You can use a Qualis Gem to gamble. This is an easter egg. Go talk with a Guildmaster in any town. Ask him for a job. You will have to accept whatever job he offers you. Then ask him "What if I can't finish the job you gave me?" He'll then ask if you would like to play a game of chance and explain what will happen. Gamble with him with the risk of losing a Qualis Gem. If nothing happens after you press yes, then you have won. You should have some new strong troops in your party when you exit the town. If you see "Item Lost: Qualis Gem" then you have lost. After the second win, you will always lose a Qualis Gem when you gamble. You can get powerful and rare units this way, including but not limited to, Noldor Twilight Knights, Omen Seekers, and Heroine Adventurers. If you are unhappy with the result, whether you lost a gem or get units you didn't want, you can reload a previous save to get a different outcome.
- A Qualis Gem is required for the construction of multiple Knighthood Orders: Ebony Gauntlet, Silvermist Rangers, Scorpion Assassins, Shadow Legion, Phoenix, Kraken Cultists and Shadow Legion. More info, as well as requirements for each order, can be found on that page.
- Finneas de Digit, a Pendorian book merchant, allows you to exchange a gem for raising stats. The Elixir of Arkon raises your STR, AGI, and CHA by 2 and Weapon Proficiencies by 30. The Potion of Janus raises your INT by 2. The Dust of Twilight randomly grants 2 STR, AGI, and CHA, or 2 INT, or +40 Weapon Proficiency to each of your companions. Using three potions (of any type), will halve the effects of any future potions. Finneas has an unlimited supply of potions.
- Brother Randalf, the other book merchant, will trade his map to the Hidden Mines of Al-Aziz for one gem.
- After you unlock the hidden mines, for additional gems, you can acquire the powerful Rune Weapons. Handling in another QG along with a Rune Weapon and Wine, it will allow you to improve it to its Emerald, Ruby or Sapphire variant, these make the weapons way stronger.
- To be revealed later on...