IMAGE: Morning-Star's heart to Wishbringer

In the mid-tenth century, during the reign of mighty Anatinus, King of Misty Island, a beautiful peasant girl named Morning-Star was born, who was blessed with rare and perfect beauty. The legend of her beauty spread all throughout the kingdom, even to the court of King Anatinus. There beside the throne sat the heavy-hearted Queen Alexis. For her own newborn daughter, caused by by fate and prophecy, was sightless. She was unwilling to look upon her blind child’s face. And the baby Morning-Star, more beautiful and perfect, made her jealous.

Envy breeds evil. And thus Queen Alexis caused the simple peasant home of Morning-Star to burn. The sleeping family perished, all but Morning-Star, who, being rescued by the Queen's design, became her daughter, whom she claimed had her sight restored by prayer. The one true princess, who had been left behind to fill the vacant cradle, perished too, and never saw her mother. She was then raised as the Princess of Misty Island.

The years were kind to Morning-Star. Her beauty blossomed like the fragrant water-lily into full, abundant maidenhood. Many knights already sought her fair hand in marriage. On her seventeenth birthday, Anatinus made it known that whosoever might desire to win the hand of Morning-Star, should now come forth to claim it. According to the custom of the kingdom, the groom had to prove his worth by fulfilling a love-quest of the Queen's own choosing.

Many were the eager knights who journeyed to the royal palace, hoping there to win the love of Princess Morning-Star. Alexis, dark with envy, watched the lusty swains descend like vultures around her daughter, and vowed in secret not to let them have her.

From the knights assembled, six were chosen, and stood before the heartless queen for testing. But the crafty Alexis devised impossible love-quests for the suitors.
    The first brave knight, a lad of twenty-one years, was sent across the sea to beg Lord Nimbus, God of Rain, to quench the thirsting Fields of Frotzen. But that pseudo-god, not sympathetic, smote his vessel with a bolt of lightning.
    The second knight, a weapons-bearer, strong of limb and spirit, scaled the mountain peak of Matter-Horn, to seek Advice from spirits. The hopes of Princess Morning-Star fell with him.
    A third knight ventured forth to try the fabled Wings of Icarus, and learn the secret method of their Flight, to please Alexis. But whilst soaring home to claim the princess, the joyful knight flew into the open maw of Thermofax, a dragon.
    Alexis sent the fourth knight deep into the Mines of Mendon to slay a grue, and drag the carcass up where all might see it. But Darkness overcame the hapless knight, who, lost without a lamp, was soon devoured.
    Another knight, the fifth, directed by the Queen to steal the Coconut of Quendor, chanced upon a lair of hungry Implementors, and did not Foresee his peril.
    Lastly stood before the Queen a gentle boy, no older than the Princess. Morning-Star liked well his beardless smile, and begged her mother not to test his Luck too harshly. But Alexis caused the youth to spend an evening amidst an unclean cemetery, from where he never returned; for eldritch vapors carried him away, and gave no reason.
    Afterward, Queen Alexis cried, “Is no man in the kingdom fit to wed my only daughter? Methinks she must remain unmarried, then, and a virgin all her days.” So it was Written.

Morning-Star hoped death might grant her Freedom from the edict of Alexis, by her mother's timely passing. But the Reaper (busy elsewhere with a plague) heard not her praying; so Alexis lived, and laughed, and watched her daughter's beauty fade away, and all her wishes dwindle in her bosom until her demise.

Over the years, her body decayed into dust, except her heart, which, hard and shrunken to a pebble in the grave, shining brightly with the stifled wishes of her lifetime (rain, advice, flight, darkness, foresight, luck, freedom). This was the origin of Wishbringer, the Magic Stone of Dreams. Eventually, the whole incident would fade into legend, the reign of Antainus forgotten, and the names of Morning-Star and Queen Alexis lost in time.

Sometime before 1063 GUE, the return of magic brought startling changes all over the world, even reaching to Antharia and the Misty Island near Festeron. An unknown scholar exploring the island, amid the crumbling tombs of monarchs, chanced upon the mortal relic of Princess Morning-Star. Thus the magic stone, Wishbringer, was discovered. For the next few years, this stone passed through several hands in that region, even prompting Violet Voss, the Festeronian librarian, to publish a book entitled “The Legend of Wishbringer” (circa 1063 GUE). When the book was authored, she was uncertain if the legend was about humans or platypuses, but it was later confirmed to be about the second; thus many of the book’s illustrations depict a mixture of the two races.

At one time Wishbringer came into possession of an unknown resident nearby Festeron who used the magic stone to wish for rain to put out his barn fire and to wish for luck to find his stolen wallet and catch the Mad Arsonist of Festeron.

Eventually, the stone came into possession of the proprietor of Festeron's magic shop at the start of the Second Age of Magic. She had found it upon the hillside where the Magick Shoppe was situated. Though “the Legend of Wishbringer” told that the stone was the heart of Morning-Star, Y'Gael dismissed it as bullhooey. In her opinion, the stone came from outer space. Regardless of its origin, the stone was one of the main sources of magic for the islands. And while many sought to gain the Stone of Dreams, Y’Gael spent many years fighting to conceal it from The Evil One and others like her. Much was forfeited to ensure its protection. Perhaps that is where this tale should begin, with The Evil One.

The Evil One discovered that whoever possessed the Wishbringer stone would be instilled with incredible magic and that it was in the care of her sister Y’Gael. She had wanted the stone for years for her own foul purposes; mainly, the conquest of the islands, then of the world beyond. Gladys had always thought big. If Gladys was to get her way, she would not stop with Festeron, but would take over all the neighboring countries, and then their neighbors in turn, until she controlled everything upon the surface of Zork! But this could only be done if she could take Wishbringer, and, at the precise stroke of midnight place it in the forehead of the statue of Chaos, her power would increase a thousandfold, and she would become virtually unstoppable. Thus Gladys planned to place an entire curse upon Festeron, making it become Witchville (she was never very good with names).

Thus starting in 1157 GUE, and contining perhaps through the entire course of the Second Age of Magic until its closure with the Great Diffusion of 1247, Gladys tried many times to turn Festeron into Witchville in order to capture the stone. And each time, a Festeron postal employee succeeded in defeating her by placing the stone into the forehead of stone statue, which magically altered Wishbringer into the facet of a mysterious cat known as Chaos.Y'Gael told that this was Wishbringer's finest magic.

Wishbringer looked quite ordinary, little more than a smooth-sided overgrown pebble. Holding the wishing-stone, one was able to wield its magic. Seven was the number of wishes bound into the stone, and once a wish was spoken, that wish was spent and lost forever for that person, althought a successive user would be able to invoke it. But to make the wishes work properly, one was required to use all sorts of extra props and devices; a different one for each wish. And only one wish could be invoked at a time. When held, the small stone would begin to glow with an eerie violet.white radiance. This glowing would cease once the stone was dropped.

The following excerpt has been taken from the Legend of Wishbringer:

  1. RAIN falls for only the bearer of the Stone who standeth under an Umbrella.
  2. ADVICE may bring wise counsel to the bearer of the Stone who listeneth to Sea-Shells. 
  3. FLIGHT shall bear the Magick-wielder swiftly home, if ye be sitting on a Broom-Stick. 
  4. DARKNESS, blacker than the Night, shall fall across the land if Milk of Grue thou drinkest. 
  5. FORESIGHT lifts the veil of Time, and shows the Future, but prepare thy eyes with Glasses. 
  6. LUCK will bring good Fortune, if ye hold a Horseshoe and the Stone in thy possession. 
  7. FREEDOM springs the dreamer from confinement, but mark well that ye first hath eaten Candy.
The Legend of Wishbringer also warned against using wishes carelessly, and not to forget that Princess Morning-Star, who threw away her youth in easy wishing, died in vain. Her fate was to be a warnig.

Thus to wish for rain, one needed to be holding an open umbrella and the stone. But the wish would not work indoors. When the wish was invoked, a searing bolt of lightning would shatter the sky, striking the glowing stone of dreams, and then fracturing the sky into a billion raindrops. Everyting around was soaked in a brief but savage downpour.

To wish for advice, one needed both Wisbringer and a sea shell. As long as one was holding both, they would continue to receive advice periodically. The invoking of the wish would cause the stone to emit a violet flash of magic, followed by a faint buzzing sound, like an overheard telephone, coming from the conch shell. It was by listening to this shell that advice would be received.

To wish for flight, one was needed to sit upon a broomstick while holding the stone.

To wish for darkness, one needed to drink grue's milk and hold the stone. Darkness had to be wished for soon after drinking the milk, otherwise the wish would not come true. As this wish is spoken, the night air became very still. Then all at once, a terrifying shadow would sweep across the face of the full moon, plunging the landscope into total darkness. Lasting only momentarily, the light of the moon would return as suddenly as it had faded.

To wish for foresight, one needed to hold the stone while wearing a pair of glasses. The wish would not come true if the glasses were simply held.

To wish for luck, one needed to be holding both the stone and a horseshoe. The wisher's luck would be broken whenever they dropped either the horseshoe or the stone, but would come back whenever they were picked up again. To know that the wish had effect, the edges of the horseshoe would twinkle continuously with luck.

To wish for freedom, one needed to hold the stone and east candy. Like darkness, the wish had to be made soon after eating the candy, otherwise the wish would not come true. The magic stone would shine brightly as the wish was spoken, befor ebeing followed by a momentary dizziness, then a breath of fresh air as the wisher was released from whatever imprisonment they were bound up in.