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Chalice of the Holy Grail?

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Dale looked at the old chalice in Bastion's hands.  He noticed  the empty spots where jewels had once resided.  Noticing Bastion's interest in the chalice, Dale was very curious as to what the priest knew about it.

"Have you ever seen those symbols before?   Do you know what they mean?" asked Dale.  

Bastian's eyes were sparkling with excitement and his face fixed in a broad grin. "Yes, actually. These symbols are symbols of Sardior. These little pockets along the sides once held gem stones, doubtlessly rubies. This would have been used in a number of ceremonies, no one specific rite or anything."

His face grew even more excited as he considered what to say next. "What's truly fascinating though, I can't determine how old this piece is! It's shape and style seem to predate any such item from any of the time periods I've studied." Bastion lifted his gaze and fixed a very dry, almost weary matter-of-fact look at Dale and said, "and I've studied a lot..."

He returned his focus to the chalice.

"But then it's all together possible that it belonged to a splinter group or particular sect I've not heard of."

Bastions head snapped up as if a thought just occurred to him. "You know, I must wonder if it's possible our octopedal adversary may have liberated this from an unsuspecting soul such as we were when we found him along the road? It would explain why it's the only element that speaks of religious influence in the immediate area."

Dale was surprised by Bastion's enthusiasm.  As Bastion spoke, Dale remembered the zeal that some of the wizards of the coven had for academic debate.   They would spend endless hours arguing over the finer points of summoning creatures from the outer planes or finding how to create elemental power through the alchemical combustion of sulfur and charcoal.   This inevitably led to explosions, stinking fumes and more than a few singed beards.  

 By listening to these conversations, Dale learned that there were two kinds of scholars, those that debated to discover truth and those that debated to hear their own voice.   Dale hoped that Bastion was not one of the latter.   He feared that Bastion was one to listen to himself too acutely.

"It is possible that the arachnid stole the chalice from an unsuspecting victim...However, I think it is also likely that the chalice, cloak and scrolls were secreted away long ago.  The wall that they were stashed in may have been from a very old structure.   That structure may have been built around the same time as the chalice.   This of course is all conjecture.  We will probably never know for sure.  

" Might I have a look at the chalice?"   Dale stepped around from  the horse and approached Bastion.   He hoped that he might find something that would help define the chalice's age.

Bastion pursed his lips and nodded thoughtfully. He said, "You could very well be correct, my friend. My only wonder is that it took us a very short amount of time to discover the secret compartment, and we'd never been in there before. The creature, who easily outsmarted us," he stopped, remembering Dale's initial look of reluctance and suspicion when the apparently helpless man asked for assistance. "Well, most of us," he continued with a friendly nod of acknowledgment in Dale's direction.  "...obviously lived there. I find it fascinating that a creature that was smart and powerful enough to create such illusions wouldn't have known it was there in his (it's?) own home."

"But then again, perhaps the creature never considered the possibility that it might have been there!" Bastian threw his hands up in the air and grinned widely. He was obviously more entertained by all the possibilities, rather than annoyed at not having any answers. He was one of the few scholars who didn't care for debate much, only careful consideration of all facts. In the end, he was not concerned if his original theories were right or wrong. What was important to him was the truth, and he was always ready to entertain the idea that he might be incorrect.

"Be my guest, my good man," he said, smiling warmly as he handed the metal drinking vessel to Dale. "I'd be delighted to hear any possible information you might be able to ascertain!"

Seeing Bastion's good natured smile relaxed Dale a bit.   As Dale carefully took the chalice from the jovial priest, he said, "Thank you.   That is an excellent point.   Still, I wonder about all of the coins lying around on the floor.   Clearly that creature had no use for money.   Maybe it didn't value the other items either.   I am most intrigued by the difference in the wall that we found the chalice in.   It was clearly constructed, while the rest of the cave seemed to be more natural.   I would love to know what had been there.   Who lived there and why it was destroyed."

Dale let the conversaton dwindle as he intensely scrutinized the chalice.   He was looking for anything that might identify the time period of the chalice.   He was also searching for any sign or symbol that may have been missed by the priest.    Maybe Sardior would grant him a clue.


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