The wizard Beral Mnaillo survived the destruction of his elven village during the War of the Undead, but lost his wife, his children, and his sanity as the war progressed. Sometimes haunting the fallen village, Terrace, Beral often travelled the forests of Rakore somewhere on the edge between sanity and insanity. In 1325 Avard, he was discovered by a corrupt duke within the Rakoran government – and given powerful necromatic scrolls from the Ogre Nations. Beral utilized those scrolls to raise from the dead his best friend. Sort of. Beral talked to the animated corpse as though it were all there, and alive.
Beral was defeated in 1328, in Rakore, when Herod asked him to attack one of the few surviving members of his village. The wizard, mad with grief at the loss of his family, eagerly accepted the task, armed as he was with madness, spells, and scrolls of powerful necromatic potential.
Protection: The book releases bolts of force against anyone who opens it without a command word. If the book is closed, the next time it is opened, it will again hurl force bolts at whomever opened it. The command word, Aheeleyestridai, is Elven for 'sting'; it is located within the first several pages of notes.
Notes: (Written in Elven.) Beral's insane notes are barely legible one moment, and then infinitely precise the next. The elven text includes random thoughts, spatterings of food and blood, and completely random facts and acts. The tome has several references to Shivastaenel, the abandoned elven city from which Terrace was founded – located a day's ride west of Avath, deep in the forests. A beautiful rendition of an oxbow lake and several elven structures grace two pages together. The next page is absolute gibberish about what Beral found there at Shivastaenel. Some of the notes also talk about Beral's familiar, Theara, a monsterous spider nearly as mad as its master – and the plans for crafting silk armor*. Beral also constructed a number of magical items in his insanity. It's difficult to make out, but Beral may have tried to make enchanted horseshoes that would enable a horse to run across water – there is a beautiful illustration of a horseshoe with waves and wings inscribed all over it.
Contents: Hints to developing the feats Craft Arms and Armor and Craft Wonderous Item. Arcane Spells as follows: 0th-level (Arcane Mark, Dancing Lights, Daze, Detect Magic, Detect Poison, Disrupt Undead, Flare, Ghost Sound, Light, Mage Hand, Mending, Open/Close, Prestidigitation, Ray of Frost, Read Magic, Resistance). 1st-level (Alarm, Animate Rope, Expeditious Retreat, Jump, Mage Armor, Magic Missile, Shield, Sleep, Spider Climb, True Strike, Ventriloquism). 2nd-level (Blur, Knock, Invisibility, Melf's Acid Arrow, Mirror Image, Web).
*(Dragon magazine, issue #298)